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Condos near Yosemite

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Planning our first trip to Yosemite in June 2012. Does anyone have experience or knowledge about condos in the area called Yosemite West? The website claims it is inside the park. The 2 condos are part of a group called Peregrine Lodging - they have several B & B's along with a rental house.

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    Hi jfmkem --

    When we visited Yosemite in June 2008, we stayed at the "Yosemite Four Seasons". I'm not sure if it is in fact "Yosemite West Condos" (I just can't remember), but if not, then it's essentially the same thing.

    Yosemite Four Seasons has a huge number of suites/condos/lofts/cottages for rent that are INSIDE the park. We stayed in the Lower Enchanted Unit -- here is a link (which will give you the website to look at all of their other units as well):

    http://www.yosemitelodging.com/lef.html

    It was AMAZING and I would highly recommend it. We stayed here for 3 nights with our 12-month-old son. We only needed the 1BR unit (I believe that we could have rented the upper unit as well to allow for a bigger space, but since we didn't need it, we were happy that they would rent them separately).

    Our experience was fantastic. I couldn't recommend it more highly! One picture that they don't show (I'm not sure why!) is the tremendous view from this unit! It's got a forest/mountain view of the park from the raised deck. My hubbie and I would sit in the enormous hot tub on the deck and have a glass of wine while watching the sunset over the park.

    As for location, we loved it. Yes, it is something like 14 miles from the Valley. Which means - it's not "close". And I've read on this forum about terrible traffic in Yosemite this season which might make it harder... But for us, it was amazing. We were SO glad that we didn't end up staying in the Valley (it was full - we actually booked the Four Seasons unit only 2.5 months before our trip!) - the Valley was packed with people and not the experience we were looking for. Yes, it took us 20-30 minutes to get to the Valley when we wanted to, but often we were heading in different directions to go hiking and it was even more convenient (for example, to get to Glacier Point, we were actually already halfway there!).

    The units felt secluded and private and had beautiful park views, and yet weren't outside the park headquarters (and therefore we didn't have to go out and re-enter (and re-pay) each night.

    Have fun - Yosemite is absolutely amazing.

    Hope this helps!
    Jenn

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    I've also had good experiences with Yosemite West lodging, though it was years ago. The condos are privately owned, though, and whether you get a "nice" one or not seems to depend on the luck of the draw. You should definitely request one facing the woods, rather than the parking lot. And they all have fireplaces, televisions and complete kitchens.

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    jfmkem: We just stayed in a rental home recently in Yosemite West in late June 2011. We rented Ahwahnichi Lodge, a home that sleep 8 people in Yosemite West, rented through Scenic Wonders.

    I just posted a trip report on tripadvisor.com about our trip including many details about Yosemite West and Ahwahnichi Lodge. I will also be posting a trip report here on Fodors soon but haven't had a chance to do it yet. (I'm Melissa5 on tripadvisor.com as well.)

    The rental homes in Yosemite West vary greatly in quality...there are some basic ones, some older ones, some brand new beautiful ones... Some with views, some without views...

    We rented Ahwahnichi Lodge in Yosemite West through www.scenicwonders.com .

    One big problem with renting any house in Yosemite West for the summer is that there isn't any public transportation from Yosemite West...no shuttles or buses...therefore you have to drive everywhere. When you drive down to the Yosemite Valley in the summer crowds, you will be stuck in traffic jams for 2 hours in June! That is what happened to us. There is a big discussion about this problem on tripadvisor.com right now.

    If you can get up early every day and get into YOsemite Valley and park before 8 am, you will be ok. But the worse thing you can do in the summer is to try to drive into Yosemite Valley from Yosemite West between 9:30 am and 6:30 pm. We were stuck in traffic jams going into the valley, and then again getting out of the valley!

    I understand that technically speaking Yosemite West isn't really in the park...but it feels like it is in the park, because to get to Yosemite West, you have to drive into the park, so you will feel like you are inside Yosemite National Park.

    We were waiting in line one night to eat at the Mountain Room restaurant in Yosemite Valley. We were chatting with an older couple who have been going to Yosemite every year for many years. They said they won't ever be coming again to Yosemite because they had never seen it so crowded as it was this June 2011 during our visit!

    Ask if there are any houses under construction next to your rental. We were disappointed that during our visit, a new house was under construction right next to Ahwahnichi Lodge in Yosemite West...and they were using noisy heavy machinery, which meant there wasn't any peace and quiet during the daytime. )-: I was hoping to take some time to remain at the house and write some poetry and relax, but the noisy heavy machinery ruined the peace.

    I chose Ahwahnichi Lodge rental by reading reviews on tripadvisor.com . Scenic wonders properties in Yosemite West have some reviews on tripadvisor. There are also photos on the web-site.

    Ahwahnichi Lodge is new and beautiful inside. It is very well furnished. The only objection I had was the noisy construction next door, and the stress of driving from Yosemite West into Yosemite valley in the 2-hour traffic jams of June 2011 summer.

    Yosemite West is very close to the road to Glacier Pt. which has amazing views. We drove to Glacier Pt. twice from Yosemite West...once at sunset and once in the dark. (Bring flashlights!) There was plenty of parking and not much traffic at those times. (But I am hearing people that tried to visit earlier in the day couldn't get parking and did find traffic.)

    Good luck with your trip!

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    jfmkem: I forgot to mention that in Yosemite West, there are condos, there are rental houses, and there are some b&bs and some cabins. They are all different, some more basic and others more luxurious. Some of the rentals are handled through www.scenicwonders.com . You will find others through www.yosemitewestreservations.com .

    If I return to Yosemite in summer ever again, I would want to book rooms a whole year in advance so that I could stay in Yosemite Lodge at the Falls...right in the valley. Then I wouldn't move my car...I would walk around and take the shuttles or bike. I wouldn't move the car until I was leaving Yosemite Valley. Then I would drive over to the eastern part of the park and stay up there for a few days. (Currently there is still snow in the high country, eastern part of the park...so I don't think the accommodations in the eastern side of the park are open yet this year.)

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    It's so interesting how people's experiences are so different! As I say, we were also there in June (in 2008) and we rather enjoyed staying on the outskirts of the park. The Valley just seemed like one big, packed, noisy mess - you couldn't have paid me to stay in the valley! Instead, we headed into the Valley proper only once (it took us about 30 minutes) and on that one day, we did all of the different hikes that we wanted to do that required us to be in the valley (we walked to a lot of them, and took one shuttle to the farthest one). The other days, we did hikes at Taft Point (our favourite) and Glacier Point -- neither of which required us to be in the valley at all. We were there in June and yet the park felt peaceful and wonderful - we barely saw any other tourists. And as I say, staying in the Lower Enchanted Unit was fantastic. Although it wasn't the most modern decor or anything, it was unbelievable to be in such a beautiful place, with a hot tub with the most beautiful view and then be able to play pool, have a fire - all before bed :)

    If there are such serious traffic issues in June nowadays, perhaps you'll want to consider moving the trip up a little and enjoy a more peaceful May trip!

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    Yosemite West would be a great place to stay if you needed more than a hotel room -- but NOT in June/July/Aug. (I wouldn't stay in Wawona actually IN the park either). YW is the closest area w/ accommodations other than the Valley itself. El Portal is another good location from Sept-May.

    But as Melissa5 says -- driving in out of the Valley in the crazy/busy summer will take just loads of time. Can be just a horrible slog. It is best to stay IN the Valley any time of year if one can get in, but in high summer it is the only option that makes sense.

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