Yosemite National Park

Yosemite National Park

Top 10 Winter Activities in our National Parks

February 9, 2010, 12:06 pm

http://www.nps.gov/getaways/yose/While the spring and summer are both great times to visit your favorite national park, why not try taking advantage of all of the winter activities the park has to offer? The crowds are gone and the lots are empty, and you’ll find the perfect spot for peace, quiet and the serenity of our nation's most beautiful places. Go downhill skiing, snowshoeing, ice skating, cross country skiing, and yes, even ice climbing! So strap on your skis, grab a scarf and have some fun in the snow!

Ski Badger Pass in Yosemite National Park

Skiing? National Park? Yosemite? Sign me up. Badger Pass Ski Area is located in the southern part of Yosemite, covering 90-acres and providing 10 runs and 5 lifts with downhill, snow tubing and snow boarding facilities. There are also training areas with instructors for beginners and novices.

Cross Country Skiing in Acadia

Forty-five miles of carriage roads in the park offer a bucolic setting for cross-country skiing and snowshoeing. Volunteers on sections of the carriage roads sometimes lay down ski tracks when snowfall exceeds four inches. A perfect way to enjoy the Maine wilderness!

Snowmobiling in Yellowstone


If you've never been on a snowmobile, or even if you have, what better place to try than Yellowstone National Park. In winter, a number of Yellowstone roads are open only for snowcoach and snowmobile touring between December 15 and March 15. If you want to visit the park on a snowmobile or in a snowcoach, you must either travel by commercial snowcoach or accompany a commercial guide on snowmobiles (private, unguided snowmobiles or snowcoaches are not allowed).

Ice Skating in Chesapeake & Ohio Canal National Historic Park

Grab your skates. Grab your hockey stick. (Or if you're into curling, grab your broomstick.) Head over to the Chesapeake & Ohio Canal National Historic Park and sled until the sun goes down! But be careful, the park staff does not monitor the ice conditions and ice skating and sledding are not permitted in the widewater area of the park.

Snowshoe in Sleeping Bear

Winter on the lakeshore of Lake Michigan is beautiful, which is why snowshoeing in Sleeping Bear National Seashore should be on your list of things to do this summer. Ranger lead snowshoeing trips run every Saturday and Sunday throughout January and February. All outings begin at the Philip A. Hart Visitor Center on Highway M-72 at the edge of the village of Empire at 1 p.m.
 
Pear Lake Ski Hut in Sequoia & Kings Canyon National Parks

The Pear Lake Ski Hut, in Sequoia National Park, is open for use by the general public mid-December through April. Pear Lake has an elevation of 9,200 feet and is reached by ascending a steep six miles of trail from Wolverton Meadow (7,200 feet). This advanced level ski/snowshoe trail offers a chance to explore the beautiful wilderness of the Sierra Nevada Mountains in winter. The hut sleeps 10 people and is heated by a wood pellet stove.

Ice Climbing Pictured Rocks National Seashore

Winter might be cold at Pictured Rocks National Seashore in Michigan, but that doesn't have to stop you from enjoying the park's ice climbing. [JS1]With ample lake effect snow, numerous waterfalls, porous sandstone cliffs, and the water, which seeps out of the rock layers, curtains and columns of ice are common.

 Crystal Ice Cave Tours in Lava Beds National Monument

Crystal Ice Cave contains some of the most spectacular ice formations among Lava Beds’ many caves. Because of the sensitive nature of this cave's formations and its cold environment, Crystal Ice Cave is open to park visitors only on small ranger-guided tours during the winter months. So grab your helmets, gloves, sturdy boots and headlamps and make a reservation now!
 
Sledding in Rocky Mountain National Park

For some old-time sledding fun, look no further than Hidden Valley in Rocky Mountain National Park. The park can be a winter wonderland for visitors, but conditions are not always safe. In particular, when snow coverage is limited, rocks and logs may not be safely buried. Make sure you check the visitor centers for daily condition updates.

Snowshoeing in Shenandoah

Shenandoah's only road through the park, Skyline Drive, is closed during the winter months during inclement weather and at night for hunting season. But the park is open 365 days a year, so bring your snowshoes and hike on in. Wildlife comes out in the serenity of the winter months, so keep your eyes and ears open for turkeys, squirrels, foxes, bobcats, deer, chickadees and woodpeckers.

Image: Marked winter trails around Badger Pass, Crane Flat, and in the Mariposa Grove accommodate beginner, intermediate, and advanced skiers. Source: NPS.gov.