Winter is a magical season in Yosemite. It tends to be a Yosemite fan favorite because there are far fewer park visitors and the snow-covered scenery is absolutely stunning.
Oh, and we can’t forget endless snowshoeing adventures. Whether you sign up for our full-day Guided Wonders of Yosemite Naturalist Hike or Snowshoe, or prefer to adventure on your own, we encourage you to set out on an epic winter adventure with us here at Rush Creek Lodge!
The sparkle of Yosemite in winter makes for a much-needed healing vacation. See below for a complete itinerary.
Our Winter Savings discounts are up to 50% off, with nightly rates starting as low as $170 per night, plus tax. The sooner you book, the more you save.
For guaranteed best rates or more information call (209) 379-2373.
Ideal Yosemite Winter Road Trip Itinerary
To make things nice and easy for you, here’s one of our ideal Yosemite Winter Road Trip Itineraries, filled with activities and fun insider tips to enjoy the park and some lesser-known vistas outside the park entrance gates as well.
DAY 1: FUN AT THE LODGE
With your scenic drive to Yosemite in the rearview mirror, it’s time to settle in at the lodge and let the good times roll!
Stretch your legs on one of our 3 Hiking Trails in the forest adjacent to Rush Creek. The Nature Trail, The Vista Trail, and The Adventure Trail offer something memorable for all ability levels, including fresh mountain air and stunning views of the Sierra Nevada mountain range. Stop by our Recreation Desk to rent a pair of snowshoes if the trails are snowy.
Our heated saltwater swimming pool is open for good, clean fun, with social distancing and enhanced protocols.
You can casually roll into the evening by ordering to-go from the Restaurant with tasty hot meals including grilled cheese, Philly cheesesteak, delicious flatbreads, and more, in the comfort of our heated terrace.
S’mores & Stargazing
As the sun begins to set, bundle up in your favorite sweater to enjoy our nightly tradition of complimentary s’mores by our outdoor fire pits, and watch the night sky begin to reveal a spectacular display of stars unlike anything you’ll ever see among bright city lights.
Time to explore the wide-open spaces of Yosemite!
Fuel up for the day’s adventures with a hearty mountain breakfast from our Restaurant served in our outdoor dining areas. Then head over to our General Store to pack your trail lunch for the day with our freshly-made sandwiches and wraps, delicious salad medleys, and other tasty provisions.
You have a few different options for entering one of the most iconic areas of Yosemite National Park: Yosemite Valley.
- Participate in one of our partial or full-day excursions, all with guaranteed Park entry. See the wide array of tours, hikes, and other adventures in our online trip planner at www.RushCreekLodge.com/Explore or email our Recreation Desk at [email protected]
- To drive your own vehicle, make sure you’ve checked the weather forecast to see if you’ll need to carry chains, especially into the park.
Fun at the Lodge
Let your competitive side out with our wide array of indoor and outdoor games like classic board games, shuffleboard, table tennis, giant connect four, bocce ball, billiards, arcade games, foosball, and more. Or maybe you’d like to indulge in a massage to soothe your muscles so you’ll be ready for your next day of adventures.
Rush Creek’s culinary team continues to serve delicious menu items you can enjoy in any of our outdoor dining areas or back at your room in the privacy of your own deck, if conditions prohibit indoor dining. The kitchen is buzzing with energy, putting out amazing dishes to end your day on a high note with freshly prepared items like our Smoked Trout Melt with Havarti and Pepperoncini’s on Rye, or Grilled King Salmon with Bok Choy, Soy Glazed Shiitake Mushrooms and Yuzu Ginger Butter. Believe it or not, our Crispy Fried Cauliflower with Sweet Chili Sauce and Sesame Seeds is always a hit!
S’mores & Stargazing
Individually packaged s’mores await you to end your day in Yosemite the sweetest way possible. Once the sun sets, our heated saltwater pool is the perfect place for stargazing with an unobstructed view of the night sky. Insider Tip: Check in with the Recreation Team to see which stars or planets are particularly visible during your visit!
DAY 3: YOSEMITE’S HETCH HETCHY RESERVOIR
After a refreshing night’s sleep, get excited to begin the journey to a lesser-traveled part of Yosemite, the Hetch Hetchy region.
Our General Store is brewing up your favorite coffee order along with seasonal specials to get you energized for your day of hiking and exploring. From freshly-made yogurt parfaits to house-made breakfast burritos and coffee cakes, we’ve got all your favorite grab-and-go breakfast fixings to make even the pickiest of eaters satisfied.
Hetch Hetchy is one of Yosemite’s hidden gems, offering a variety of options from easy day hikes to strenuous backpacking excursions. The easy 2.5 miles (each way) trail to Wapama Falls is a favorite for adults and children alike. This trail, which runs through a rock tunnel and then along the north side of the reservoir, allows visitors to experience the true power and majesty of the Hetch Hetchy region even when the water isn’t flowing. Adjusted daily hours are 8am – 5pm.
On your way back to Rush Creek, you’ll pass through the historic Evergreen Lodge (note: annually closed January 1st – President’s Day weekend) where you can stop in their General Store for snacks and beverages as a tasty way to round out your afternoon. You’re welcome to wander freely and play around – try out the new Forest Disc Golf Course!
We know firsthand how Yosemite activities create robust appetites, and the culinary team at Rush Creek Lodge is eager to satisfy your hunger and tempt your taste buds with fresh and hearty California mountain lodge cuisine. Tonight is your night to fill up on favorite seasonal menu items and maybe try something unexpected like our Smoked Salmon Rillette or Thai Coconut Curry Veggies.
By now you’ve fallen in love with your favorite Rush Creek activities, but why not try something new to wrap up your time with us with an activity you can put on your shelf and be reminded of forever! Having a Paint Party is a great way to close out your time with us and the best part is, you get to take your creation home with you!
DAY 4: GIANT SEQUOIA HIKE OR SNOWSHOE
Explore like a local on your last morning with us at nearby Merced Grove or Tuolumne Grove of Giant Sequoias, just a few miles down the road and a local favorite.
After you’ve grabbed one of your favorite hot breakfast items or your usual coffee order from our General Store, you’ll be ready to squeeze in one last hike.
Merced Grove of Giant Sequoias
Check-in with our Recreation Desk for help with directions and snowshoe rentals. The Merced Grove trailhead is just about a 10-minute drive from the lodge, and the Giant Sequoias are about a one-mile hike or snowshoe walk in from the trailhead. The stunning contrast of white snow against the reddish bark of the sequoias, the largest living species on earth, is like nothing you’ve ever seen.
If the sun is shining, get ready to dodge melting ‘snow bombs’ as they fall from the tops of the trees. Beauty and comedy combined – what could be better?
On the Road Again…
If you’re leaving Rush Creek Lodge using Highway 120 West, you’ll pass through the charming Old West town of Groveland. You may want to stop by a locally loved coffee shop, Mountain Sage Coffee & Nursery, where you can sip on lovingly prepared beverages and home-baked goods in their enchanting gardens. You’ll also love the art gallery featuring incredible images and stories created by local photographer, naturalist, and all-around great guy, Robb Hirsch, who also leads our photography workshops in Yosemite.