It’s been almost two years since we’ve seen snow, so we decided it was time for a day trip from San Francisco to experience the winter. Yosemite National Park was the perfect spot, especially since the Sierra Mountains have gotten so much snow this year. It’s only a 3-4 hour drive from the city. We packed the cars with blankets, hot chocolate, snacks, and (most importantly) friends, and set out on our adventure.
As we climbed in elevation into Yosemite, it was astonishing how fast the landscape turned into a winter wonderland. Our first stop was an overlook of a deep canyon with the first of many waterfalls to come. There were lots of scenic pull-outs along the road. We stopped at the side of the river to check for trout and hiked a short (but icy) path to stand at the foot of Bridal Veil falls.
From there we drove to Tunnel View, where we set up a mini-picnic in the back of the SUV and broke out our decadent hot chocolate (get the recipe below), marshmallows, and chocolate chip cookies overlooking El Capitan and Half-dome. It was almost like we had the park all to ourselves!
Yosemite Valley was full of fantastic open fields of snow and wintery forests to wander through. We found some fresh patches of snow to play in and enjoy more hot cocoa. Surprisingly, the cocoa was still hot in our Stanley thermos late into the afternoon! We finished our trip back at our place with Champagne in the hot tub! We can’t wait to come back in the summer as the seasons change and more roads open. I think a fabulous summer picnic is a must!
- 3 cups whole milk
- 1 cup cream
- ¼ cup cocoa
- ½ cup sugar
- ¼ teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- Warm milk and cream in a saucepan over medium heat until simmering.
- In a separate bowl, mix the dry ingredients with about ½ of the hot milk. Add the mixture back into the pan and simmer. Enjoy right away or pour into a thermos for later.
- To serve, garnish with a giant marshmallows.