Tunnel View, Yosemite in Winter

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No matter what the weather, or time of day, I doubt you’ll ever be able to drive past Tunnel View without seeing at least a half-dozen tripods.  This is one of the most photographed spots in Yosemite, and with good reason.  At Tunnel View, the entire valley opens up in front of you.  There’s a great view of Half Dome, El Capitan, and Bridalveil Fall.

Early on Day 5, I was heading to Badger Pass to ski, when I stopped at Tunnel View (located on California Rte. 41, the southern exit to Yosemite National Park).  A fellow photographer (who had already set up his tripod) told me the valley had been socked in with fog since he arrived, more than a half hour earlier.  But I had arrived at the perfect time — that magical moment when the misty clouds started to drift away, revealing an absolutely incredible scene.

Just a few minutes earlier, I wouldn’t have been able to see Half Dome.

Best of all, everything — including the trees below Bridalveil Fall — was frosted by that morning’s fresh snowfall.  I think this is all the proof you need, that there isn’t a wrong season to visit Yosemite.

The following day, I took Route 41 as I was leaving Yosemite National Park, and I made another stop at Tunnel View — although this time, the clouds were gone and much of the snow had melted.  You can see what Tunnel View looks like on a sunny day here.

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