U.S. winter wonderlands you won't believe are real

USA California Yosemite National Park
Gareth Meade
24 Sep, 2021
3 minutes to read

Don't miss out on these stunning winter landscapes

While it can be nice to stay bundled up indoors during the cold winter months, sitting in front of the fire with a cup of mulled wine to hand, there’s only so much time you can spend hiding from the elements before things start to get a little cabin feverish. Snowfall utterly transforms many places, turning what may have been a relatively unremarkable scene for the rest of the year into a winter wonderland. Even places that are scenically striking in the height of summer can attain an extra level of beauty when dusted with snow. So if you’re keen to break out of your winter malaise and embark on a winter holiday, we have some absolutely gorgeous locales for you to choose from. 

Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming

It doesn’t get much more classically beautiful than the peaks of the Teton Range. Winter brings a stark solemnity to the already majestic landscape of Grand Teton, creating a gloriously monochromatic palette that plays to the strengths of this pristine wilderness. Keep in mind that many roads will not be accessible at this time of the year - if you really want to discover the best of what Grand Teton National Park has to offer, you need to strap on some snowshoes and strike out on foot.
A snow covered barn with mountains in the background.
A snow covered field with a track running through it.

Shenandoah National Park, Virginia

With the broad Shenandoah Valley and River to the west and the gently rolling hills of the Virginia Piedmont to the east, Shenandoah National Park is a soft and verdant country in the warmer months. While the green disappears as winter closes in, Shenandoah’s exquisitely delicate nature is actually accentuated by winter snows. Taking the Skyline Drive in the Blue Ridge Mountains is a great way to experience the park’s beauty - just be aware that conditions can turn harsh, due to the high altitude.

Generals Highway, California

When most people think of California’s soaring Redwood forests, it’s with the warm light of summer filtering through the far distant leaves. But if anything, winter emphasizes the immense size of these massive trees, as their trunks soar high above the white blanket of snow. Generals Highway will take you through both Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks, on a journey among giants. If you’ve never visited the Redwood forests before, make sure you stop to see General Sherman, the largest tree in the world at 83.8 meters tall and 7.7 metres across. 
Sequoia trees covered in snow.
When dusted with snow, the hoodoos turn into gnarled bicolored spires, the red rock contrasting sharply with winter’s white powder.
Snow on the side of the Payette River.

Payette River, Idaho

There’s something soothing about traveling along the banks of a river regardless of the season, but there’s no question that the Payette River Scenic Byway really comes into its own as winter closes in. This 112 mile drive follows the Payette River until it empties into Lake Cascade - if you can, take some time to get out of the car and go exploring in the Cascade Mountains area. 44 miles of groomed cross country skiing trails and hundreds of miles of snowmobile trails await the avid winter adventurer.

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Yosemite National Park, California

Yosemite is absolutely stunning at pretty much every time of the year imaginable but winter does bring a special kind of beauty to this magnificent park. Be aware that some roads will be closed over winter, but those that head into Wawona and Yosemite Valley are kept clear so that visitors can enjoy ice skating, skiing, snowboarding and snowshoeing, all within the majestic setting of this world renowned wilderness. Fishing in the glistening Merced River is another popular way to enjoy the winter months in Yosemite National Park.
The snow covered Yosemite Valley.