That new snow squeaked under our snowshoes as we headed out from Badger Pass to that amazing view at Dewey Point. I just love that way you can look at Tenaya Canyon, leading up to the high country. Fresh snow coated all of the mountains and was a sight to behold.
Where: Yosemite National Park
Distance: 7.39 Miles
Elevational Range: 7,323′ to 7,569′
Date: December 16, 2015
Map: El Capitan Topographic Map
Badger Pass Ski Resort had just opened up and the snow was the best we had seen in a few years. We parked at their parking lot near the trailhead that connected us to the portion of Glacier Point Rd. that was closed above Badger Pass and covered with snow. It was 17 degrees when we started at 0830 and our shadows were long on the trail, so we got bundled up, got our snowshoes on and off we went.
Summit Meadow was gorgeous in the morning light. A pristine snowy meadow, snow covered trees and that rail fence were picture postcard.
Hoar frost was clinging to just about everything. It forms overnight when it is very cold and there is some humidity. The name comes from Old English wording meaning “showing signs of age” and in this context means that bushes and trees look like they have white hair on them. There are different types of hoar frost and this type is known as air hoar when the frost is deposited above the ground on tree branches and plant stems. We also saw surface hoar, which is ice crystals deposited on the surface of previously frozen snow or ice. The patterns and crystals were beautiful and all unique.
At Summit Meadow, we headed north on the Meadow Trail. This was the marker directly across the road from where this trail began.
The meadow opened up and it was totally covered with a nice layer of snow, with drifts in spots and the trees surrounding it were still covered with snow.
Here is what it sounded like and looked like as we moved through the meadow. Have a listen: Snowshoeing from Badger Pass to Dewey Point Video
I took a closer look at a very frosty tree.
At the end of the meadow, the trail led us through snow loaded trees.
Looking closer at those trees, I could see that they were decorated with icicles.
There is a special feeling of anticipation that I get as the view starts to open up as I approach Dewey Point. I began to see the openness and get glimpses of Tenaya Canyon, leading my eye up to the Tioga Pass area.
When I reached Dewey Point, all I can say is wow!
Our view also looked into last week’s hike on the Old Big Oak Flat Road and we could easily see the big slide where we worked our way over the boulders.
Although it was a bit early it was a wonderful lunch spot and we had the place to ourselves for most of our lunch.
I talked Steve into taking a picture of me.
We had decided to make this snowshoe hike a looped one, so we headed back via Ridge Route. The Ridge Route, which splits off of the Meadow Route about a mile before you get to Dewey Point, is a little more difficult than the Meadow Route and there are a couple of very special places along this trail where you get some views that you can’t get any other place.
One of these special views is of Yosemite Fall through the trees shortly above the above trail split.
I think the other special view is when the trees open up on the top of the ridge and you can look into the valley clear over to Coast Range on a clear day.
When we made it back to Glacier Point Rd., it had been groomed and I caught this picture which illustrates how Nordic Skiers and Snowshoers share this trail. Groomed tracks are there for the skiers and we walked on the outside of these tracks with our snowshoes. We did the same thing on the other trails when we could.
If you are interested in snowshowing out of Badger Pass, they rent snowshoes and there are even guided snowshoe hikes. You can also check out their webcam, along with the rental and snowshoe hikes and current conditions at the Badger Pass Ski Resort’s Home Page here. Yosemite National Park has some great information on how you can safely enjoy winter sports at the link at the end of the blog. You can also access a PDF of their Glacier Point Road Winter Trails brochure on this link, which includes a map of the trails in the area with safety information.