Crane Flat Snowshoes

posted Feb 20, 2012, 9:07 AM by Paul Wagner
We're back from a quick almost day-trip to Yosemite to explore on snowshoes.And that's the Clark range from the vista point.  I had to climb about 200 feet, pure bushwhacking, to get this shot, as the mountains are not really visible through the trees on the trail itself!  We stayed at the Westgate Lodge in Bucks Meadows.  This is a relatively nice, clean hotel that is twenty minutes from the Big Oak Flat entrance station of the park.  It worked well for us on this trip--and allowed us to get into the park before 9 a.m.
We decided to just hike around the Crane Flat area on our snowshoes.  The first trip took us through the campground out to the Clark Range Vista, which was an easy two miles out to the end of the old road.  From here you could imagine seeing the Clark Range, but it was pretty much hidden by trees. So P climbed up the ridge until he could get a clear shot, which you can see at right.  
It was a serous bushwhack to get there.  But we were the only people on the trail that day.  And the view WAS nice.
And then we went to the Crane Flat store to get a quick mug of hot chocolate. 
Note the fire damage on every trunkFrom there we decided to hike out to the Rockefeller Grove of giant Sequoias.  We'd seen this on the maps for years, and now it was time to check it out.  Well, there is a reason that this doesn't get a lot of attention.  In fact, we were the only people on the trail again. We know how to pick'em!
The trail is easy, but leads through more than two miles of forest that has pretty severe fire damage.  And there are not a lot of views on the way.  The first mile is also within easy earshot of the highway... 
And then when you do get to the's not much of a grove.  A few smaller redwoods sprinkled in among some much more impressive firs and cedars.  We're just happy we did this one in the winter on snowshoes, because in the summer it would be a long hot hike through burnt forest, without much water, and without many views.  hmmm.  
And apparently a bear passed this way recently
But we did get to see the recent tracks of an ursine visitor.  That's ALWAYS fun.
As it was, we enjoyed the hike, had a nice picnic in the forest, and wrapped up time to head home for dinner.
And this trip also allowed us to dine at the Priest Grade cafe...which was delightful.  Well-made home style cooking at prices that are perfectly reasonable.