January, 2014: Although skiers in California are mourning the continued absence of snow, hikers and horseback riders in the Northern Sierras have reason to rejoice.
Recreation vendors and concessionaires in Yosemite National Park are reopening their horseback riding activities and hiking hut after unseasonably dry conditions have prevented the typical influx of winter skiers. DNC Parks & Resorts at Yosemite recently announced that it will open its horse stables and offer trail rides indefinitely. The Glacier Point Ski Hut, a stone-and-log dormitory across from Half Dome, will also reopen and become available by reservation for hikers.
Until otherwise noted, tourists can register for two-hour guided trail rides to Mirror Lake in the Yosemite Valley. Tours will leave three times daily at $64 per rider. Hikers have the chance to follow the Four-Mile-Trail to Glacier Point Ski Hut and spend the night for one evening on Friday, Saturday, Sunday or Monday nights.
Conditions permitting, hikers can follow Four-Mile Trail to Glacier Point Ski Hut and spend Friday, Saturday, Sunday or Monday nights “roughing it.” Register in advance and expect to pay $120.50 per person trip.
Lisa Cesaro, a spokeswoman for the concessionaire, remembers other years when the stables and hut reopened for non-snow activities. “We had another dry winter two years ago that allowed us to open the stable and the Glacier Point Hut for hikers,” she told the “In Transit” New York Times blog. “A storm came through shortly after that, when we closed the facilities down. I believe they were open for a week during that season.”