3 days in Yosemite. Help!

Apr 4th, 2012, 09:38 PM
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3 days in Yosemite. Help!

My fiance and I are planning our first trip to Yosemite at the end of May. We will be staying at the Wawona Hotel and are driving from the Napa valley area early the morning of the 28th (I mean early! We would like to like arrive in the park around 10am), and leaving the evening/night of the 30th for Monterey . We are both in our mid 20s and fit so hiking and long, strenuous days are not a problem for us. I was hoping someone could give us the perfect 3-day itinerary that really packs in all of the spectacular highlights of the park.

Also, this is our first trip to this area of California and we will be spending 3-4 days in San Francisco, the next 2 in Napa, then Yosemite, and finally spending the last 2 days of the trip on the coast in the Monterey/Carmel area before a late red-eye back to NYC. So, if anyone has any suggestions for any of these places as well that'd be great!
Maritza_Dono is offline  
Apr 5th, 2012, 05:35 AM
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> hiking and long, strenuous days are not a problem for us

Read about the following hikes and choose which ones would interest you. When you arrive, check with the Rangers to ensure which ones are open and which might have some potential problems


PaulRabe is offline  
Apr 5th, 2012, 05:39 AM
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Check out the other posts in here - which have some great info/recommendations. The Wawona is beautiful - but I would also make a trek or two over to the main Valley floor of Yo - and enjoy the bus rides around, walk down to/by Yo Falls, maybe watch the climbers at El Capitan, hike up to Nevada Falls?.

Also - check out the schedule for Ranger Walks/Talks, definitely go walk around the classic Awahanee Hotel (maybe splurge for a meal there - but you might need reservations ahead of time), take the turnoff to Glacier Point to overlook the Valley, and on and on.

Oh yes, if Mirror Lake has water - it's very cute to walk around, or rent bicycles and ride around it and the valley floor in general. You can even rent rafts to float down the river.
Tomsd is offline  
Apr 5th, 2012, 08:54 AM
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I've never heard Mirror Lake described as 'cute' . . . but maybe that has a different meaning in San Diego . . .

There will most likely be Water in Mirror Lake in May and it really is amazingly beautiful. It doesn't usually dry up until much later in the summer. Paul Rabe has given you the best links for info. The PDF hiking map has good thumbnail descriptions

Wawona is quite a drive from the Valley - it will be an hour each way.
janisj is online now  
Apr 5th, 2012, 01:46 PM
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I would get some picnic supplies on the way in.
Head to Wawonna(right near the Pioneer History area) and have a picnic lunch by the river.
Spend the entire afternoon in Maripossa Grove
See as many of the trees as you can Clothespin, Tunnel, etc.
Dinner @ Wawonna Hotel

(if you can change your reservations-get the next two night in the valley-If you can't then no big deal)
Go to bed early

Day 2
Again-the earlier the start the better!!!
Get your first view of "the valley" from Tunnel View,
stop at Bridal Veil Falls(this only takes 30 minutes or so)

Take a shuttle(fee) to Glacier Point(if the road there is open) then hike Panorama Point down to The Mist Trail and back to the valley. This will take up most of your day. If the road to Glacier Point isn't open then hike The Mist Trail up to the top and then come back down The John Muir Trail. If you do either of these hikes in mid-morning and there is sunlight you are likely to see a lot of rainbows at the falls. Hopefully, that afternoon you can check in somewhere at the Valley(Curry Village, Yosemite Lodge, etc)

The Awahnee or Yosemite Lodge would be good for a more upscale dinner. If you want less expensive and casual- the pizza place there is really good after hiking.
If you have time after dinner be sure and see Yosemite Falls. See it at some point while you are here. It is also short walk and can be done in 30 minutes.

Day 3
Mirror Lake is a good hike(but is best at sunrise-I'm not sure about sunset). The reflection is very good at sunrise.
So, if you are at Wawonna, that might not work out.
Hetch Hetchy with a hike to Wapama Falls is an option or you could drive up to the high country/Tioga Road(if road is open)see it/hike there.

we really enjoyed-
Elkhorn Slough Kayaking
Sardine Factory for Dinner
The Aquarium(very good)
Dametra for dinner
First Awakenings for breakfast
The Tuckbox-for breakfast or afternoon tea/snack
Point Lobos Reserve

If you have an extra day-head down to Hearst Castle and also see McWay Falls in route.

In San Francisco
Segway Tour
Alcatraz (we like the evening tour)
Fisherman's Wharf
(all of the above is very touristy, but we enjoyed them-have been several times to SF)
Of course see the Golden Gate
Perhaps have Dim Sum in Chinatown-(City View restaurant)
Maybe go to the kite shop or fortune cookie store in CT
We really like The Mona Lisa restaurant
Ride Trolley Cars

Here is a link to our pictures of a May 23,2010 trip that was a 3 or 4 day trip. Notice that we got snowed on, so take appropriate gear.

Link to June, 2011 Monterey trip

Links to San Fran Trip March 2008?

2nd set of San Fran

The San Fran pics include Point Reyes and Muir Woods. While we enjoyed them, don't try to include them on this trip.
spirobulldog is offline  
Apr 5th, 2012, 01:50 PM
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You are going at a time when the waterfalls should be really rocking. Also the dogwoods will most likely be in bloom. They were at peak when we were there.
spirobulldog is offline  
Apr 5th, 2012, 01:56 PM
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I said Panorama Pt. I should have said Panorama Trail.
spirobulldog is offline  
Apr 5th, 2012, 01:57 PM
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The must sees in Yosemite--
Maripossa Grove
The Mist Trail-is a must hike
Bridal Falls
Yosemite Falls
El Capitan
spirobulldog is offline  
Apr 6th, 2012, 06:45 AM
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Thanks everyone for your input! I would have liked to book lodging in the valley but we decided to do this trip only this week and there was nothing available unless we wanted to stay in Housekeeping Camp. While neither of us have a problem with camping really, it's just not feasible to bring sleeping bags, coolers, blankets, and all that other stuff we'd need to comfortably camp when we are coming from out of town. And buying it there and then just having to get rid of it just seems like such a waste to me.

So, the Wawona was the only hotel available. However, after reading and researching some more I decided to add an extra day in Yosemite, switch the itinerary around and spend only one day in Napa. And luckily enough I was able to get a room for one night at Curry Village in their motel.

While I love food and wine, I live in NYC and have easy access to some of the most incredible food in the world, so, on vacation I'm really more interested in seeing great sights (natural and architectural). I'm also vegan so Michelin rated restaurants that serve steak don't really have all that much appeal for me and most of what I've been reading about Napa was about food.

So what do you all think? One extra day in Yosemite worth it at the expense of a day in Napa?
Maritza_Dono is offline  
Apr 6th, 2012, 08:29 AM
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I thought curry village just had tent cabins and regular cabins. Just wanted you to make sure that if you have a tent cabin, then you are still semi-camping.
Also, People cancel at the last minute. Check every day and then check even upon arrival. It is VERY LIKELY you will be able to secure another day or two there. I still would stay at Wawona for at least one of those nights.
spirobulldog is offline  
Apr 6th, 2012, 09:19 AM
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Nope, definitely not staying in a cabin. At Curry Village they also have some Stoneman Standard rooms in the Stoneman Cottage which apparently are just typical motel rooms with heating, daily maid service, and a private bath but of course no telephones or TV. There's only 18 rooms which is probably why many people haven't stayed there or heard of them.

I've heard there's a lot of cancellations so I am going to keep on checking and see if anything comes up.
Maritza_Dono is offline  
Apr 6th, 2012, 12:09 PM
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I've heard of them but wasn't sure what the were. I thought they were just a different type of cabin.
spirobulldog is offline  
Apr 6th, 2012, 04:45 PM
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yes - motel rooms -- I haven't stayed there, but friends/relatives have a few times.

one quick note about Mirror Lake: "Mirror Lake is a good hike(but is best at sunrise-I'm not sure about sunset). The reflection is very good at sunrise. "

True, it is terrific at Sunrise, but because of the mountains/cliffs surrounding it, truly AMAZING photos can be taken at any time of day, even high noon. To give you an idea . . . http://tinyurl.com/6sonknu
janisj is online now  
Apr 6th, 2012, 06:34 PM
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I have always known that taking reflection type of picture(especially those with Mountain reflections like Mirror Lake, Grand Tetons, etc) are best early or late. However, the links above are in agreement with janisj--they actually say that afternoon is the best time-which I am having a hard time agreeing with in my mind-now I guess I'll have to go back and see it in the afternoon.

You can find many many prints for sale of reflections(especially half dome reflection) in Mirror Lake on the web. They are taken at all times of day.
It is more of a walk than really a hike, IMOP. If there in the summer when a lot of people swim in it, keep in mind the ripples in the water will not allow nearly as much of a smooth reflection.
spirobulldog is offline  
Apr 6th, 2012, 06:54 PM
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My own favorite photos of mirror Lake were taken in March w/some snow on the ground, early afternoon, brilliant sunshine w/ a few billowy clouds . . . and no one even daring to put a toe in, let alone swim
janisj is online now  
Apr 7th, 2012, 09:10 AM
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Great recommendations by Spirobulldog - and yes, I would take a day away from Napa and spend it in the incredible natural splendor - known as Yo to some of us.

We enjoy "camping" in Curry Village - (ask if they can put you in a quieter area) - and they really have Tent "cabins" - (see pics below) - with canvas walls and mattreses on beds with wool blankets - in addition to having hard walled/true cabins, and also a motel? which I can't recall.


They also have a fun pool where you can look up at Glacier Point, and yes - sometimes there are kids splashing about - but their energy is also part of the "camping" experience.

The Pizza place at Curry Village also makes some pretty good pies, and you can get some without meat.
Tomsd is offline  
Apr 7th, 2012, 09:36 AM
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Since you are staying in the motel accommodations - don't worry about the camping/tent cabins.
janisj is online now  
Apr 7th, 2012, 08:11 PM
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You won't be sorry you spent more time in Yosemite. Napa is pretty, but is flat vineyards. Yosemite is amazing.

The road to Glacier point should be open late May if we don't get a late pile of snow, and the Panorama trail is really nice. You take the hiker bus up to Glacier point, and then hike down to Ililouette falls, back up to the ridge, pass Half Dome, hike around the rim to Nevada falls, then down the Mist trail past Vernal falls and down into the valley. It's 8.5 miles in a one way loop with up and down hiking, some of it strenuous, and down all those stairs at the end. It takes most of the day, you see the whole valley from above.

Then visit Yosemite falls, Bridal veil falls, the Mist trail, check out the redwood groves, etc. There's plenty to do in Yosemite for a few days. I got great moonbow pics last June. Bring your cameras. If you feel like you've seen what you came for, you can always leave a little early for Monterey.
mowmow is offline  
Apr 8th, 2012, 04:47 AM
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mowmow: That reminds me. We took a great Ranger/Photography walk once - where the two Rangers pointed out great places from where to take classic Yo pics. No charge for the various Ranger Walks/talks - just check the schedule when you arrive. Their slide shows at night at Camp Curry are also fun.
Tomsd is offline  
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