Snowshoeing to Dewey Point in Yosemite National Park is a great way to explore the wonders and beauty of the park during a time of year when there are far less crowds. And snowshoeing is as easy as hiking by following just a few simple tips.
There was snow in the valley, but not enough for snowshoeing. One of the best places for that starts at the Badger Pass Ski Area (although it’s been renamed due to concessionaire disputes, I’m sticking with the old name). We went on a Saturday, and sure enough, the parking lot was busy. The area serves the skiers and snowboarders at Badger Pass, as well as snowshoers and cross-country skiers. We grabbed our trekking poles, snowshoes and daypacks and easily found the trailhead.
The first 1.2 miles is actually on old Glacier Point Road. It’s closed to vehicles, but groomed for cross-country skiing and snowshoeing. The basic rule for snowshoeing (or hiking here) is to stay to the far right or far left and off of the ski tracks. The slope here is gentle and the views are beautiful.
We probably could’ve used microspikes or even just hiking shoes here, but we also wanted to get used to the snowshoes, and this first mile provided an easy area to warm up.
At 1.2 miles, we reached our junction with the Meadow Trail to Dewey Point. Here the trail leaves the road and meanders through the forest and meadows, winding up, down and around.
We still encountered cross-country skiers, but the trail was not groomed, making it a little more challenging and a lot more fun.
The “trail” is not always clear. Most of the route will have tracks already laid by others, which can be both a blessing and a curse, as you run across areas with multiple tracks splitting off in different directions. We used the trail markers on the trees to help keep us headed in the right direction, and of course we also had GPS and a map with us as backup.
On this bright, sunny day we didn’t need GPS or map, but if the weather had been foggy or snowy, those would’ve been indispensable!
As the sign warned us, the last 1.5 miles was the most difficult, with more up and down. We were fortunate that conditions were excellent. Not a lot of ice; just beautiful, soft snow.
Finally, the trees cleared and we could see across the valley. The views of the snow-capped mountains are stunning.
We took a lunch break at Dewey Point along with about fifty other people. It’s nice to rehydrate and rest while enjoying the sunshine and views.
Heading back we retraced our route. It was easier going back because we knew what to expect. Note that snowshoeing is easy, but it’s slower going than hiking on dry trails. We spent about four hours total traveling 7.2 miles, with a break for lunch and photos at Dewey Point.
After snowshoeing, we drove down to the valley. Naturally we had to stop to take a photo from tunnel view. Yosemite is an amazing natural wonder that changes with each season.
Dewey Point Trail Map and Elevation Profile
Dewey Point Tips & Trivia
- Dewey Point is named for George Dewey, Spanish-American War hero, friend of Theodore Roosevelt, and the only person in U.S. history to achieve the rank of Admiral of the Navy.
- You can extend this trip another mile and make it more challenging by taking the alternate Ridge Trail back. This trail adds even more up-and-down and vertical gain.
- You can rent snowshoes from the Yosemite Ski & Snowboard Area (formerly known as Badger Pass) which is right at the trailhead. At the time of writing, an all-day rental was $22.50.
Yosemite National Park Weather Forecast
We snowshoed this trail on February 14, 2016. Have you snowshoed in Yosemite National Park? What was your experience?
Looking for a great place to try snowshoeing in Southern California? Try this trek in Mt San Jacinto State Park.
Hey Jeff, we went snowshoeing in Yosemite a few years ago. Best part was the Dewey Pint Trail.
I was actually there that same weekend and did this same hike the day before you guys! Small world, huh? I didn’t put the snowshoes on until the return trip. The trail was so packed down, didn’t need ’em. I decided to go off trail on the way back just to put them on and justify carrying them that whole way! Tip: hoof it to Crocker Point (about a half mile west of Dewey Point) for an equally impressive, but much less crowded, view.
Thank you for sharing the experience!
Appreciate that you mentioned that it’s actually don’t really need the snowshoes, I was wondering all the time whether we can just hike without snowshoes! Snowshoes are sometime too cumbersome I personally feel. 🙂
LED lantern says
Love snowshoeing! My kids especially liked it, and we packed in a thermos of hot cocoa in our pack for a trailshide warmup. Funny thing about winter hiking at elevation is that on a sunny day without any wind, it can almost be warm in the sunshine–perfect for a trail break.
Mike Bran says
Hey! Awesome post. The images are breathtaking. We aren’t far from Yosemite – something we def have to do when visiting for sure.
Elizabeth Alvarado says
Hiya! First time hiker here! I see you mentioned we may not need snow shoes but what kind of shoes should one take? I have no idea what I’m looking for.. thanks in advance!
Jeffrey Hester says
Hi Elizabeth! If you’re hiking in snow, I recommend waterproof hiking boots. These come up over the ankle and keep some of the snow from getting in your shoes. Depending on conditions, I’ll also wear gaiters.