“The mountains are calling and must go” –John Muir
The High Sierra is a land of contrasts. Striking at any time of year, winter’s blanket of snow transforms the region into a magical winter wonderland. We have been hibernating for almost two years, so with proper precautions, it’s time to wake up and get outdoors. February is a wonderful time to visit the mountains, the snowfall has been epic and the post-holiday roads are less congested.
The moment you see that first patch of snow that grows and spreads the further you drive up the mountain, all the stresses from daily life seem to disappear. Arriving and taking that first deep breath of fresh pine air, you begin to feel that ultimate sense of calm, a feeling of peace, and the pure beauty of the Sierra.
Perfect for families, winter sports enthusiasts and those who just want to get away from it all, here are four Sierra mountain towns that have it all.
Sonora gives you the opportunity to play in the snow while getting a bit of culture. Stroll down historic Washington Street for a glimpse of the past. Shops, restaurants, and inns are tucked inside well-kept 19th and 20th century buildings, filled with hours of exploration and entertainment. Be sure to stop by Legends to grab a Sarsaparilla float in a grand 1850s saloon.
Snow Play: Located only thirty miles from the slopes at Dodge Ridge Ski Resort. Or, if you want to go snow tubing, head over to the Leland Snowplay snow park. Want to snowshoe instead? Get a guided snowshoe tour with Yosemite Family Adventures.
Hiking and driving options are more limited in Yosemite in the wintertime, but the crowds are much smaller. The winter snow on the peaks and meadows are magnificent and wonderful to photograph. There is a plethora of winter activities to engage in, and in the winter months, lodging is much easier to find. Winter in Yosemite is magical and breathtaking. It seems that spending time in this magnificent national park is beneficial to body and mind, making a winter trip to Yosemite well worth it.
Snow play: Enjoy the oldest ski resort in California! Often touted as one of the most family-friendly ski areas, Badger Pass Ski Area offers downhill skiing, snowboarding, cross-country skiing, tubing and more. If hitting the slopes isn’t for you, take a snowshoe hike through Mariposa Grove, go cross country skiing on Glacier Point Road or even just take a brisk hike through lower elevation Yosemite Valley.
When you imagine a winter getaway in California High Sierra, one of the first places that comes to mind is the town of Truckee. As the snow falls, the quaint Historic Downtown becomes magical. There are plenty of shops to stroll through, cozy eateries for a warming cup of soup, or if you crave fine dining, there’s Trokay, Cottonwood, Stella and more. There are beautiful bars to sip on a hot toddy, and coffee shops for a seasonal latte.
Snow Play: The list of wintry fun in Truckee is long and full of fun. Go on a snowshoeing adventure up to Chickadee Ridge or hop on a sled or tube at Tahoe Donner Snowplay. Take a twirl on the ice-skating rink at Northstar Village. Ski or ride down the legendary slopes of Palisades Tahoe. There may not be enough time in the day to do everything you want.
Does the idea of leaving your furry family members at home seem terrible? You don’t have to when visiting North Tahoe. There are an abundance of places and activities that cater to dog lovers in North Lake Tahoe, especially the cozy hamlet of Tahoe City. Perched on the north shore at the head of the Truckee River, its walkable downtown is a perfect basecamp for pet-friendly outdoor adventures.
Snow Play: Tahoe City’s Winter Sports Park features all your winter fun rolled up into one location. There are 2.5 miles of groomed cross-country and snowshoe terrain with views of Lake Tahoe along the way, a sledding hill, and an outdoor skating rink for family fun. Your pup won’t feel left out, the Winter Sports Park offers dog-friendly trails!