I am thinking of taking the Gases to Yosemite during the kids’ Spring Break starting March 15. I’ve never been. It looks like it is still very much winter there at that time of year. What could we expect that week? Is it too snowy for trail hiking? Looks like some main roads will be closed too.
Should I be thinking of this as more of a winter vacation (snowshoeing, skiing) than a spring vacation (hiking, horseback riding)?
Definitely more of a winter vacation. The Tioga Road will be closed. The Valley is often snow-free by then (though this year has more snow than usual) and the roads west out of the Valley are usually clear, though chains may be required. It can be very rainy, so check the forecasts. Outside of the Valley there is usually significant snow, but you can often still hike up to Vernal Falls and on the south-facing slopes like the Yosemite Falls trail. The Glacier Point Road is cleared only to the (very small) Badger Pass ski resort, and past that is kept groomed for skiing all the way to the Point. Cross-country equipment can be rented at the resort, and there are other marked cross-country trails leading from there.
I may go at around that time, and if I do I will mostly be cross-country skiing.
You might be able to see some blue water. The water in the rivers is cold enough to freeze, but moving too fast to be able to do so. It takes on a blueish tint. (Or at least, so I had it explained to me as a kid.)
If you dress warm, it shouldn’t be too bad just walking around, but I don’t think you would be able to go up any paths that were particularly sloped since it will be either wet or snowed in.
Thanks for the input. Wanted to let everyone know we had a great vacation. After a cold first day, the temps in Yosemite Valley were in the 50’s, very comfortable, especially if you are hiking. The Valley had only a little snow here and there. Some roads at higher elevations were closed so we were disappointed we couldn’t get to Glacier Point. Otherwise, we hiked up the snow-covered and closed road to Mariposa Grove, using snowshoes though they weren’t really necessary.
We did not make to Badger Pass for skiing, although I suspect the warming temps and sunny days were making for slushy ski conditions.