Snowshoeing and Cross Country Ski Trails in the Crane Flats Region of Yosemite National Park
Sierra Rec Magazine – Snowshoe Guides – Yosemite National Park – Yosemite National Park like so many place in the Sierra is a completely different place from the summer destination that many know. A great way to explore the park in winter is via Snowshoe.
Hear are the best eight locations near Crane Flat in Yosemite National Park
- Crane Flat Lookout Trail (1.5 mi., 2.4 km, one way): This trail is an uphill (365 ft elevation gain) , rolling climb most of the way to the fire lookout, where the 360 degree views of Yosemite are spectacular.
- Tuolumne Grove Trail (1 mi., 1.6 km, one way): This trail descends from the trailhead (400 Feet) the entire way to the majestic giant sequoias. This is a popular trail both with snowshoers and hikers and is an arduous return ski.
- Gin Flat Loop Trail (6.25 mi., 10.1 km, roundtrip): Start at the gate on the Tioga Road and go .25 mile (.4 km). From there you can continue up the Tioga Road or take the old Gin Flat Loop Trail up to Gin Flat. Either way, it’s about a 3-mile (4.8 km) climb, but then a nice ski down. Skiing back to the trailhead via the road is considerably easier than skiing back via the trail.
- Crane Flat Campground Trail (1.75 mi., 2.8 km, roundtrip): Wind your way through and around Crane Flat Campground, then cross a meadow to join the Clark Range View trail. Turning north takes you back to the trailhead.
- Clark Range View Trail (2 mi., 3.2 km, one way): This trail follows an old logging road with beautiful views of the Merced River Canyon and the Clark Range.
- South Landing Road Trail (2.25 mi., 3.6 km, one way): This trail follows an old logging road with views of the Merced River Canyon and El Portal to the south.
- Rockefeller Grove Trail (2.25 mi., 3.6 km, one way): Park at the Merced Grove parking lot and walk across the road to pick up the old trail to the Rockefeller Grove. It’s a gradual 2-mile (3.2 km) climb to this grove of sugar pines. The trail is entirely wooded. In low snow years this trail may not be skiable.
- Merced Grove Trail (1.5 mi., 2.4 km, one way): The first half mile is level and easy, providing a good warm-up for the steep 1 mile (1.6 km) descent into this grove of giant sequoias. This trail requires heavy snowfall from a cold, lower-elevation storm to be skiable
Toilet facilities are available at the Tuolumne Grove trailhead. There is no water available there. Limited food, water, and other supplies are available at the Crane Flat gas station. The nearest lodging facilities are in Yosemite Valley.
BEFORE YOU GO – KNOW THE RULES
Certain National Park Service regulations must be observed by winter back-country users; these protect the park as well as visitors.
• A wilderness permit for an overnight trips can be obtained at the Valley Visitor Center, Wawona Information Station, Badger Pass Ranger Station, or the Big Oak Flat Information Station.
• Camp at least one mile from any plowed road.
• Camp no closer than 100 feet (30.5 m) to lakes, streams, and trails.
• To dispose of human waste, dig through snow and six inches into soil.
• Pack out all garbage, including toilet paper.
• Cutting tree limbs or pine boughs for shelter is not permitted.
• No pets permitted beyond plowed roads.
• No motorized vehicles are permitted.
• Skiers and snowshoers should make and maintain separate tracks.
WINTER CAMPING TIPS
Before heading into the wilderness on an overnight trip, you must get a wilderness permit. When planning your itinerary, remember that winter days are short and conditions can change dramatically. Winter camping demands a much greater level of preparedness. Inclement weather, including heavy snowfall and rain, should be anticipated. Take time to learn about snow camping: melting water, building snow caves, and cooking. Be sure to pack extra clothing, map and compass, emergency shelter, and a winter sleeping bag.
Snowplows operate all winter long and may bury a parked car after a heavy snowfall. Plan ahead by bringing a shovel to dig out your car. Park near the back of a parking lot.