Yosemite’s Glacier Point is famous for good reason: the views are some of the grandest in the world. In summer, hordes of tour buses, families, cameras, and general craziness descend on this point; but in winter, look left, look right, and all you see are Ansel Adams-worthy inspirations: glacier-carved granite walls, snow-clad peaks, Half Dome, and waterfalls in the crisp Sierra air. After the first big snow, Glacier Point Road is closed, making the 10.5-mile journey there possible only by ski or snowshoe. Rent a pair of touring skis (similar to cross-country skis but with edges) and glide to one of America’s premier ski-in huts—Glacier Point Ski Hut. (The trip to Glacier Point Hut is accessible for do-it-yourself types, but guided tours are also available.) It’s not just the extraordinary views that make this hut unique. A hut master welcomes you with hot cocoa, tea, soup, and other snacks—if you’re lucky, fresh-baked chocolate chip cookies—along with a wood-burning stove to warm your toes. Also included at the hut: three delicious meals a day, and wine with dinner and dessert. At sunset, make the 5-minute walk out to the official Glacier Point viewing spot, and watch as the sun’s rays light up Half Dome, while Nevada, Vernal, and Yosemite Falls free-flow in the distance. Stick around for a few minutes after sunset and watch as the mountain sky turns purple and indigo. Back at the hut, enjoy a hearty dinner and play card games (Spoons is highly recommended). Before going to sleep, head outside for one last look at the starry sky; the Milky Way seems close enough to touch.
Glacier Point Ski Hut is accessible with a guide ($350 per person) or self-guided ($120 per person). Rent all the gear, including an internal frame backpack, at the Badger Pass Cross-Country Ski Center. Three meals a day are included with your stay. To make a reservation, call 209-372-8444.