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By Jonny Conger

My neck was a little sore when I woke up in Mariposa, California one early morning. It hardly mattered though, because I was going back to Yosemite today (just a 3.5-hour drive from the San Francisco Escape Camper Vans rental site). My first time experiencing winter in Yosemite National Park had been the year before. The lightly snow-sprinkled valley was mesmerizing that February. The upper valley and other locations in the park were closed due to the snowfall, but staring up at the glory of El Capitan was well worth the trip, even with the neck-strain hangover that followed. The walls of granite that fence the valley, shoot straight up several thousand feet, making it impossible not to stare up at it in awe.

This day we went to Tunnel View for sunrise. The valley floor kindly greeted us with a thick rolling fog as the sun rose over the horizon, shining a short-lived spotlight on El Capitan. The valley was surprisingly empty of the famed crowds of tourists. I talked to a Park Ranger and he informed me that this was common once the snow settles down in the valley.

Tunnel View Winter Yosemite National Park California

Experience the Change of the Seasons in Yosemite

This place is remarkably unforgettable. This month will mark only one year since my first visit last winter. I had the pleasure of making a second trip that May, which happened to be the first day roads to Glacier Point opened for the year. Visiting Yosemite for the second time was equally as exciting as seeing it new for the first time— three months into the spring and everything was green, the sun illuminating every meadow. The illustrious region was in full bloom, and I now was able to see the park anew after the blanket of snow had lifted.

I look forward to exploring more areas of the park and camping there in the future, living Yosemite through all of its seasons. Regardless of how highly Yosemite National Park is spoken of or how well its beauty is described, this superbly natural place cannot be fully appreciated until it’s experienced in person. A visit should be a highlight on everybody’s bucket list. I’m stoked to hop in a camper van and spend some more time in Yosemite National Park this year.

El Capitan Yosemite National Park

Campsites at Yosemite are booking up fast! Read more about finding camping in Yosemite here.

Half Dome Cloudy Winter Day Yosemite National Park California

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