Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Snowshoeing to Dewey Point

Despite the mild winter here in California (and pretty much everywhere else), I took a day trip to Yosemite  earlier this month to go snowshoeing. The destination was Dewey Point via the Meadow Trail. It had stormed/snowed a few days beforehand, so I expected there to be more snow and powder, but there was hardly any at all. Much of it had melted by the time we got there.
Dewey Point, March 4, 2012.
Dewey Point, January 15, 2011.
I had visited Dewey Point last year in January and there was far more snow. Nevertheless, the views were still incredible and this remains as one of my favorite treks. Here are some highlights from an article on SFGate.com titled "Yosemite's Dewey Point well worth the walk":
  • California's best snowshoe trek is within reach of anyone who can walk 7 miles
  • This is California's greatest showpiece.
  • The exhilaration of the view hits all at once, as you seem to tower over El Capitan, directly across the valley. To your right is Cathedral Spire and beyond that is Taft Point. Below is Yosemite Valley leading to Half Dome.
Mike White also lists this trip in his book Best Snowshoe trails of California: 100 of the finest routes in the Cascades & the Sierras. He writes, "the trip to Dewey Point may well be the most popular winter journey for outdoor recreationists anywhere in the park".

This is indeed one of the most popular winter snowshoe hikes in the park. It gets so much traffic that I'm convinced that you probably can get away without wearing snowshoes in the winter, given that it hasn't just stormed. The trail is so well defined, compacted, and heavily traveled that it's unlikely you would posthole in the snow. Last year, I had hiked it without snowshoes and this year I hiked it with snowshoes and really did not need them at all. 

The hike itself is 3.5 miles one way on relatively flat terrain and took about 1 hour and 45 minutes from Badger Pass. We ate lunch when we got there and enjoyed the spectacular views of El Cap, the Valley, and a unique rainbow on Ribbon Falls. Here's some photos:
The trailhead to Dewey Point is at Badger Pass.
The Meadow Trail.
#18 Meadow Trail.
The view from Dewey Point.
Black and white photo of El Capitan with a rainbow on Ribbon Falls.
Rainbow on Ribbon Falls.
The snow melted on Glacier Point Road.
If you still have energy and time after Dewey Point, go visit Crocker and Stanford Point, which are not too far away. You can see Crocker Point from Dewey. It is to your left if you're looking at El Cap.
Crocker Point..
Crocker Point.
Crocker Point.