Tuolumne County’s High Sierra views are transformed in the winter months, making this all-season destination a true paradise for lovers of the outdoors. My fiancé, and I took a drive up our favorite highway for a snowy escape and we had an amazing experience. We’re both locals of Tuolumne County, so when we spotted a sunny day after some major snowfall, we knew we had to take a trip up Highway 108.
We checked the road status and asked a few locals about the conditions. The consensus was clear: our all-wheel drive would do fine getting us up the mountain. We recommend checking the CalTrans website for the most up-to-date information. After a quick stop for gas, ice, cheap sunglasses, and sunscreen, we were on our way. This bluebird day was about to make our childhood snow day dreams come true.
Yes, Valentine’s Day might be over, but the romance along Highway 108 is alive and well. We took in big vista views of frosty white mountain vibes and rocked out to our new favorite “Road Trip Classics” playlist. Our destination? Leland Meadows High Sierra Snowplay.
While pulling up to the Park, we both simultaneously glanced over at each other. We made it! I hadn’t been to Leland Meadows High Sierra Snowplay in over a decade, and it had been about 3 years for my fiancé. The Park’s lodge was hidden beneath the mounds of snow, and the brisk air filled our lungs and fed our anticipation for the fun that was about to begin.
Midweek prices of $25 per adult (for all day passes) and no crowds were all too satisfying. We chose our colorful tubes and headed over to the tow-pull that takes you up to the top of the hill. The easy peas-y ride up was a highlight of the day, giving us a 45 second chill-break to bask in the breezy moment.
We made it to the top and took in the vista views. After barreling down the hill countless times, we made our way back to the lodge for a couple of drinks and some fireside coziness. The friendly staff and chatty families made our visit more memorable. We left with smiling faces and promises to return before the snow melts.
On the way down from Leland Meadows High Sierra Snowplay, we took the road back to Pinecrest Lake. The bright sunshine reflected beautifully against the real-life winter wonderland complete with scattered white blanket-covered cabins.
The snow was so high, we didn’t wander around much, but the views were unreal. As locals, we haven’t experienced a winter like this in years. We look forward to the full lakes and rivers that are sure to follow this abundant season.
A day spent up in the mountains wouldn’t be complete without comfort food and cold brews. Mia’s was the perfect stop on our way home. The midweek quiet gave us a chance to talk with the down-to-earth staff and exchange stories of winters’ past. I ordered their “Smash Burger” with fries and I’m so glad I did. The evening rush began as we were on our way out the door. Snowboarders piled in with large coats and loud laughter about the great conditions at the nearby ski resort, Dodge Ridge.
We concluded our snow day adventure with big smiles and full bellies. I can’t wait for many more days like this before the snow melts and the season transitions into wildflower meadows and flowing falls.