Given how beautiful the weather is year-round in California, there isn't much reason to not go backpacking in the winter. A few of us have been planning a trip to Yosemite on the weekend of November 23-24 and it would be fun if some other fellow BPLers joined us for the trip.
The itinerary is to hike up the Yosemite Falls Trail to the north rim of the Valley, and then up to the top of Eagle Peak. Conditions permitting, we will camp on top of Eagle Peak and enjoy what John Muir called the "most comprehensive of all the views" of Yosemite Valley for the sunset & sunrise. We can also take a short off-trail diversion to Eagle Tower, which directly overlooks the Yosemite Falls amphitheater, and to Yosemite Point, which looks out over the impressive Lost Arrow Spire (which my wife and I have stood on top of) and the Valley below. This trail is justifiably popular in the summer when it gets hordes of tourists, but by late November we should nearly have the place to ourselves. It's only 6 miles to the top of Eagle Peak, but the elevation gain is 3700 feet, so it is a strenuous hike.
Since it is getting to be late in the season, there is the possibility of cold temperatures and snow, so you should be prepared for such. However, November in the Valley can also be really nice with sunny weather and moderate temperatures. We will have a better idea of what to expect as the trip gets closer, but you should be prepared for overnight lows that will probably be in the high 20's but could dip down into the teens if there is a cold snap. The Falls trail is south-facing and gets a lot of sun, so unless there is a big snowstorm within a day or two of the trip the trail up to the rim should be dry. Right now there has not been a big snowstorm yet, so the North Rim is dry ground, but if we get a big dump before then, that could change in which case you might want to pack an extra sleeping mat and footwear for hiking over snow.
The group size limit is 15. Right now we have 4 people coming for sure and another 4 maybes, so there are at least 7 spots available. I got a campsite at Upper Pines in the Valley for Friday the 22nd and am planning on driving up the night before. The campground only lets you have 6 people per campsite, but the campground is nearly empty so if anyone else is interested in hanging out the night before it should be easy to secure a spot.
Post up if you'd like to come along!