Emily and George wrote in to ask:
<blockquote>My husband and I are coming out to Calif. soon and would like to spend 2-4 days of the last week of March in Yosemite, but have no idea what to expect for weather, snowpack, what clothes to pack, or where to stay inexpensively (but of course, a private hot-tub would be great!). Websites are pretty vague on what they mean by ‘late winter’ or ‘early spring’ and obviously it depends on the year, so I guess I’m asking what it’s looking like this year. I know we need chains for the rental car, but do we need down coats? What roads are likely to be open?</blockquote>
As sure as I say it’ll be nice it’ll be rainy and if I say rain it’ll snow so let me just say it’s been a cold, wet March and there’s more rain and snow headed this way as we speak. You can’t go wrong by a nice, warm jacket with a waterproof shell and layer your clothes underneath. I’m personally a big fan of the jackets that have the polar fleece liner that zips out so you can wear it by itself. I think LL Bean has some nice ones if you need to pick one up.
As for the lodging March is an excellent time to visit the park as it’s still considered “off season” so the rates are considerably less than you’d find in summer while still giving you access to one of the most beautiful months in Yosemite. Check with Orbitz.com or Expedia and you should be able to find some good deals. My favorites aren’t the least expensive and not all the rooms have hot tubs but I’m still partial to the ones in the Valley like Curry Village, the Ahwahnee and Yosemite Lodge. They offer great views and since you’re closest to your destination you can get out early to do hiking or just enjoy the morning without having to drive for 20-30 minutes. If you find a hotel you like send me an email and I’ll tell you what I can about it.
And to address your question about which roads are open normally in March only the roads leading into the Park (120,140,41) and the Valley Loop are open. The Glacier Point Road and Tioga Road aren’t normally open until late May early June.
Have a great trip!