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3 July Nights in Yosemite - What are the "Must Do"

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Jun 30th, 2013, 09:18 AM
  #1
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3 July Nights in Yosemite - What are the "Must Do"

Dear Fodor Friends,
Never been to Yosemite, so your ideas/suggestions would be greatly appreciated. We have three nights at the Yosemite Lodge at the Falls, starting on Jul-10. My wife and I love to day hike, especially when rewarded with breathtaking views or beautiful scenery. Casual biking (I'm not a fan of mountain biking) is also a possibility if it provides an opportunity for something special. We've had the rooms reserved for months, but work has gotten in the way of my normal "over" planning process.

Our trip has us flying into Reno, renting a car; 2 nights in Mammoth; followed by 3 nights in Yosemite; followed by 2 nights in Murphys; and ending with 3 nights in Incline Village, Tahoe. I'm counting on a great trip, but Yosemite is the primary objective. I'd really appreciate any suggestions for any part of the trip, but especially Yosemite.

Thanks for helping me catch up with my plans.
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Jun 30th, 2013, 02:12 PM
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Assuming that the waterfalls still have some flow to them-

See everything in the valley. Bridal Veil Falls, El Capitan, Yosemite Falls. Have a meal in The Awahanee. The little place that serves pizza is very good pizza(I'm blank on the name of it).

Take the shuttle to Glacier Point. Be sure and actually see the view from GP. Then hike back down on the Panorama Trail that connects to the Mist Trail. Maybe hike Mirror Lake in the evening for a short trail.

Take 1/2 to 3/4 of a day and drive to Maripossa Grove. Hike pretty much the entire area. Have a meal at The Wawonna.

For Day 3- drive Tioga Road/Tuolomne Meadows area. If that doesn't interest you, then Hetch Hetchy is worth the drive to it too.
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Jun 30th, 2013, 11:02 PM
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If you're a hiker, the Park Rangers will have maps available for you to use.

At the MP, make sure you see the giant sequoias. Quite beautiful. There's a tram ride you can take.
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Jul 1st, 2013, 03:02 AM
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I like to hike up the Mist Trail, but turn around to look at the mist bows behind you, then the Panorama trail to Glacier Point and Sentinel Dome. Bus back from there. A meal at the Ahawahnee. Mariposa Grove and Wawona Area is a nice day trip. If you come over Tioga Pass stop for a while in Tuolomne Meadows, a hike down the Tuolomne River is worth the time. A day hike around the Valley floor is worth the time, stopping frequently to watch climbers on El Cap and Lost Arrow, and enjoy the Merced River. A long day on Hwy 49 getting to Tahoe is worth the time.
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Jul 1st, 2013, 10:47 AM
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There are also daily ranger/naturalist/photographer led walks and programs. All the valley accommodations will have printed flyers/newsletters listing activities.
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Jul 1st, 2013, 12:57 PM
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> your ideas/suggestions would be greatly appreciated

I've stated on this board that, of all the places I'd love to be, after 52 years of traveling, my favorite is at Glacier Point as the sun sets.
http://www.nationalparklover.com/ima...glacier001.jpg

> drive Tioga Road/Tuolomne Meadows area
I totally agree! Too many people visit only the Valley, and overlook the other 93% of this great park!
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Jul 1st, 2013, 03:38 PM
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Thank you everyone for the suggestions. At this point, I'm definitely planning to do the Panorama Trail, starting at Glacier Point, down through the Mist Trail. Sounds like I may want to return to Glacier Point for a sunset as well. I'll be there on a new moon, so stars should be incredible.

Mariposa Grove sounds like a natural for us too. We love to be overwhelmed by incredible nature. Also appreciate the eating suggestions.

Spirobulldog, the thought of the falls not having some flow to them in early July hadn't occurred to me, but I appreciate the reality check. At least now I'll be mentally prepared if that's the case.

Thanks again. Any other suggestions are still greatly appreciated! Sounds like a real "bucket list" visit!
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Jul 4th, 2013, 01:19 AM
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My wife and I are just back from Yosemite. Glacier Point MUST be done. It's about 27 miles to drive there from the Lodge, but well worth it. We went there at 8:30am and, though it was pretty quiet, the view was hazy. Still magnificent but I'd hauled all my camera kit from the UK and didn't see the panorama I'd witnessed on previous visits. I love the 15 miles valley walk - but get a decent trail map or you'll end up searching for a river crossing at the western end (near to Bridalveil Falls).
The hike up to Nevada Falls is amazing. Whilst Yosemite Falls is lacking very much water right now the Nevada Falls still look spectacular. The climb up there looks tiring but the descent is heavy on the legs. Well worth the effort.
Whatever you choose to do it will be a wonderful experience in Yosmite.
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Jul 4th, 2013, 01:56 PM
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If you're coming from Mammoth, you'll drive over Tioga Pass and through Tuolumne Meadows. No other option. If you want to stop for breakfast or pick up a picnic lunch or snacks on your way from Mammoth to Yosemite, stop at the Whoa Nellie Deli at the SW corner of highways 395 and 120 (at the gas station).

On your way from Reno to Mammoth, stop at the Mono Lake Interpretive Center (next to the lake). Lots of interesting displays about the lake, local flora and fauna, and Native American history in the area. Also watch the movie that runs continuously. The Mono Lake Visitors Center in Lee Vining has a good selection of books on the Eastern Sierra and Yosemite.

You'll also pass by the road (mostly dirt) to the ghost town of Bodie (north of Mono Lake). It's interesting, but, if I had to choose between Bodie and Mono Lake, I'd pick Mono Lake.

http://www.parks.ca.gov/?page_id=509

While you're in Mammoth, take the ski area gondola to the top and hike around. You can walk/hike back to the bottom of the mountain or ride the gondola down.
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Jul 4th, 2013, 08:01 PM
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And now some of the negatives.

Yosemite is the most commercial national park in the country. Everything is intended to have you buy a ticket for something.

Preference is given for things that are purchased rather than things that are free. In other words, if there's a free shuttle that breaks down, it will be fixed eventually (could be several days). One that has paying customers will always be working.

At Yosemite Lodge at the Falls, call and make sure your room isn't directly across from the office. After 8AM and all day that parking lot is reserved for tour buses and people with dining reservations. You'll have to drive around looking for parking in the lots for the other parts of the Lodge and then walk there from your room in the morning to get your car.

Try to stay where your car will be.

Californians like their cars so it's possible you'll either get caught in traffic jams or not find parking everywhere.

If you plan on hiking down from Glacier Point then you'll probably want to take the paid shuttle up as you'll be hiking down. Otherwise make sure you're there fairly early as the parking lot is pretty small and will fill up.

If you are not hiking down, drive to Glacier Point first to look around (go early to make sure there's parking), then backtrack to Washburn Point and then stop for the hike to Sentinel Dome. A very nice hike with great views down into the Valley.

The parking area for Sentinel Dome is very small but the road there is wide enough with a shoulder to park off the side of the road. This is not possible at Glacier Point as there's no shoulder there.
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Jul 5th, 2013, 10:31 AM
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"Californians like their cars so it's possible you'll either get caught in traffic jams or not find parking everywhere."

LOL!

Yes, Yosemite's traffic problems can be traced to Californians love for cars, not the tourists from other states or countries with rental cars or those those rent-a-campers.
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Jul 5th, 2013, 02:04 PM
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Actually, I think most of the problem is due to mismanagement at Yosemite.
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Jul 5th, 2013, 02:11 PM
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Sorry myer, but you really have no idea whet you are talking about. The management of Yosemite can do almost nothing w/o conferring w/ various governmental agencies and MANY environmental orgs. On another thread you said they need to add parking lots at various places (Glacier Point, etc.) Simply ain't possible.
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Jul 5th, 2013, 04:03 PM
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The amazing view from Glacier Point....it's worth the drive. Dinner in your hotel restaurant! Really nice. And brekfast at the Awahnee Hotel very early. I hope you have a great trip.
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Jul 5th, 2013, 04:51 PM
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Yosemite Valley is what it is. You either accept it the way it is, look past the warts and see the beauty of it or else it will drive you nuts. I have been going for over 45 years and have seen it when there was actually smog in the Valley due to overcrowding, so I just sort of roll with it when it comes to the state of the Valley these days. It ebbs and flows.
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Jul 5th, 2013, 06:32 PM
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Or don't visit Yosemite in summer.
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Jul 5th, 2013, 07:20 PM
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I was there 3rd week of May(2 or 3 years ago). I've been to 33 National Parks. Yosemite is my favorite and my wife and daughter rank it there 2nd favorite. We got into a bit of traffic twice. I thought it was great and we didn't even make it to Glacier Point. I do plan on returning.
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Jul 5th, 2013, 08:41 PM
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Spiro,
Next time, plan your trip for the summer so you can go to the High Sierra camps/Tuolumne Meadows/Twenty Lakes Basin/Eastern Sierra. It is a different world.
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Jul 6th, 2013, 07:03 AM
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jsnisj,
I may not know what I'm talking about but this is the only park where problems cannot be solved.

Zion had an auto problem and did an excellent job of solving it. I never thought that I would be the type to ride an inpark shuttle bus. Frequent, efficient, comfortable.

You say the laws and pressure groups are causing the problem. Maybe so.

How about the three free shuttle buses from the Grove parking area to the Grove being out of service on Fathers Day weekend causing people to wait well over an hour for a ride.

Why can't people staying in Yosemite Lodge opposite the office park in their parking lot while tour buses and people with dining reservations get priority?
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Jul 10th, 2013, 06:33 AM
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Here is an article from this morning's San Jose Mercury News. Because of the nature of some of the posts here I thought it was appropriate to post a link to it. This plan has literally been decades in the planning.

http://tinyurl.com/l4jnhee
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