Riverside Lodge Minutes from Yosemite National Park
Once it leaves Yosemite National Park, the Merced River picks up speed, developing whitewater rapids by the time it barrels past Yosemite View Lodge. This secluded inn is tucked into the Sierra Nevadas along the park's western border. Guest-room balconies overlook the rushing river and towering pines lining it on both sides. A short drive takes you to the entrance of the park, where you can behold Yosemite’s snow-capped peaks.
A private balcony or terrace is attached to each queen river-view room. Guests can warm up by the fireplace or brew a pot of coffee in the kitchenette. Each guest room is also outfitted with a spa tub, where you can make use of the goodies included in your complimentary spa gift bag.
The outdoor hot tubs sit on the river's edge, so you can have splash wars with passing trout, but you can also take a dip in the indoor pools if you’d rather stay inside. For a hearty meal before an outdoor adventure, visit the mountain cabin-esque River Restaurant & Lounge, which serves upscale, traditional American breakfasts as well as dinner. For lighter bites, the Yosemite View Convenience Store sells groceries for lodgers looking to prepare their own meals and snacks.
El Portal, California: Gateway to Winter Adventure in Yosemite National Park
California State Route 140 follows the snaking Merced River 20 miles into Yosemite National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage site that welcomes millions of visitors each year. Much of the Yosemite Valley, as well as the Wawona area farther south, remains accessible to drivers, hikers, and snowball poachers throughout the winter. Crowds are much smaller in the cooler months than during the summer rush, meaning you can leisurely explore the park while introducing yourself to its cold-weather beauty.