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It’s been proven that outdoor activities whether it be a stroll or a strenuous endeavor will help reduce stress levels and refresh the soul. One thing’s for certain… there will be snow on the mountains and opportunities to create memories that will last a lifetime. Here’s a few outdoor adventures in California to try this winter that have a bit more elbow room.

Take One Snowshoe Step At A Time

Obsidian Dome snowshoeing on a snowy winter's day
Photo by: Local Freshies

Inhale the clean crisp air. Take in the deep cobalt blue sky. Snowshoeing is one of the outdoor California adventures during winter you don’t always think of. Compared to other activities, snowshoeing is a great option for the first timer. Simply put – if you can walk, you can snowshoe. To get away from it all, consider a snowshoe adventure in Mono County. Within the three thousand square miles, there’s almost an endless amount of options to pick from. For more snowshoeing ideas that you can combine alongside other activities, be sure to read our article: Snowshoe In The High Sierra – 3 One-Of-A-Kind Adventures.

Snow Play Like You Mean It

Tahoe Donner Snowplay
Image appears courtesy: Tahoe Donner Resort Community

Across the Sierra Nevada, there’s A LOT of snow play areas dedicated specifically for families, friends, and kids to just enjoy nature at its finest. Up and down the Sierra Nevada range, you’ll find an assortment of snow play areas. For example, if you’re near the southern gate of Yosemite, you’ll find the Goat Meadow Trailhead and Snowplay Area. In Tuolumne County? You have the Leland High Sierra snow play area. For more ideas on where to snow play throughout the High Sierra, visit our article: Family Fun & Snow Play In The High Sierra.

Hiking Isn’t Just For Summer

Sequoia hiking in snow under the large Sequoias in the national park
Walking in a winter wonderland – Image appears courtesy: Visit Visalia

Would you rather enjoy the snow from a distance or even not at all? No problem. The list of outdoor adventures in the California High Sierra in the winter can include summer-like activities. All you need to do is go down in elevation. A good example of this is the town of Bishop, located 4,000 feet lower in elevation than Mammoth Lakes. From here, you have access to a myriad of activities including hiking, rock climbing, or even mountain biking. On the western slopes of the Sierra in Sequoia National Park, even in winter you can walk in awe amongst the giant sequoias along the Big Trees Trail or Congress Trail. For more ideas on where to go for a walk in nature, read our article Great Winter Hikes In The High Sierra.

Slip, Slip, Slide To Cross-Country Fun

winter outdoor adventures in California high sierra
Image appears courtesy: Go Tahoe North

Another fun way to get outside this winter and hit the snow is to cross country ski.  Depending  on your skill level, you can pick a resort where you can leisurely glide through a meadow or kick it up a notch by picking a different location to give you a serious workout.  When it comes to Nordic skiing, North Lake Tahoe has you covered with the highest concentration of groomed cross country terrain.  Of course, just like any other outdoor activities in the California High Sierra, there’s a vast array of places to pick from outside of Lake Tahoe too. To see a list of spots to try cross-country skiing in the High Sierra, read Be Your Own Locomotive Try Cross Country Skiing In The High Sierra.

As you can see, even if you aren’t an adrenaline junkie or even a snow lover, there are many winter outdoor adventures in California High Sierra that allow you to reap the benefits of being outside. Here’s to a happy and fun winter!

Author: Alex Silgalis

Alex Silgalis is an outdoors travel writer who enjoys snowboarding, mountain biking, or having a cold one from a local mountain brewery. See more of Alex’s work at

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