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9 days in California (Mendocino,Redwood, Yosemite)

9 days in California (Mendocino,Redwood, Yosemite)

Apr 15th, 2019, 12:54 PM
  #1  
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9 days in California (Mendocino,Redwood, Yosemite)

Hello Fellow Travellers,

I need some help planning my trip to California. We are a couple in early 30's, fairly athletic, like hiking, biking, nature walks, picnicking near lakes, beaches.
Some background, I have been to California few times and I must say I love the whole state. We did a road trip couple of years ago in December where we went through San Diego to LA to SFO ( went to Sonoma and Napa on a tour) and Yosemite. It was beautiful but a lot of snow in Yosemite. Last year we also went through San Jose to Lassen to Crater Lake to Bend to Portland in July which was an amazing trip. So i have seen a lot of California but I am sure I have missed some hidden gems

Now, This trip I am flying into San Jose from Florida ( direct and cheapest flights ) and courtesy of Southwest companion pass. I am flying in on May 10th night and flying back May 19th noon. I already have reservations in Yosemite Valley for 16th through 18th May so probably would stay May 18th night somewhere close to airport. I need help planning the rest of the days. I would love to have some relaxing time if I can and not drive like crazy. Here is the rough itinerary and i would really love some feedback or ideas

10th - Reach SJC
11th - Point Reyes +Visit Sonoma +Stay in Sonoma
12th - Drive to Napa to Mendocino stay in Mendocino
13th - Drive to Redwood + Check out Redwood
14th - Check out Redwood National Park + Drive to somewhere close towards Yosemite
15th - Drive to Yosemite ( not sure if i can see something else )
16th - Yosemite
17th - Yosemite
18th - Yosemite
19th - Fly to MCO

Map of the rough itinerary

https://bit.ly/2IzMgK8


I really appreciate all the help
.

Also, I would love any recommendations of moderately priced ( $90-140) Airbnb's or Cabins I can stay at ?
Any restaurants I should check out ?

Last edited by ashishahuja23; Apr 15th, 2019 at 01:46 PM.
ashishahuja23 is offline  
Apr 15th, 2019, 01:11 PM
  #2  
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 65,031
>>11th - Point Reyes +Visit Sonoma +Stay in Sonoma
12th - Drive to Napa to Mendocino stay in Mendocino
13th - Drive to Redwood + Check out Redwood
14th - Check out Redwood National Park + Drive to somewhere close towards Yosemite
15th - Drive to Yosemite ( not sure if i can see something else ) <<

I'd rearrange this bit something like this:

11th: drive SJC > Garberville or Ferndale and stay 2 nights - Explore the redwoods
13th: drive Garberville > Mendocino - explore Mendocino/Ft Bragg
14th: drive to Sonoma via Bodega Bay and/or Point Reyes.
15th drive to Yosemite via Sonora/Colombia State Historic Park.\
janisj is online now  
Apr 15th, 2019, 01:38 PM
  #3  
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Hello Janisj

I like your idea but I don't have to get to Yosemite until afternoon of 16th so can i add an extra day somewhere and kind of drive the morning of 16th for 3 hrs to get to Yosemite. Not sure what place that would be

Also, I would love any recommendations of moderately priced ( $90-140) Airbnb's or Cabins I can stay at ?
Any restaurants I should check out ?

Last edited by ashishahuja23; Apr 15th, 2019 at 01:41 PM.
ashishahuja23 is offline  
Apr 15th, 2019, 06:45 PM
  #4  
 
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>>I like your idea but I don't have to get to Yosemite until afternoon of 16th so can i add an extra day somewhere and kind of drive the morning of 16th for 3 hrs to get to Yosemite. Not sure what place that would be<<

Oh - I misunderstood that you had Yosemite booked from the 15th. So you have one night to play with. I would spend it 1) add a 2nd night in Mendocino or 2) a night in the Gold Rush country (anywhere between Plymouth and Sonora - specifically in the Angels Camp/Murphys/Sonora tringle).

>>Also, I would love any recommendations of moderately priced ( $90-140) Airbnb's or Cabins I can stay at ?<<

I almost never use airbnb (have 3 times - nothing against it) All my recommendations in Ferndale, Garberville and near Mendocino are hotels and are well above that budget. Hopefully someone else will have recommendations for you.

My favorite near Mendocino is the Little River Inn; in Garberville - the Benbow; in Ferndale - the Gingerbread Mansion

https://www.littleriverinn.com
https://benbowinn.com
https://gingerbread-mansion.com
janisj is online now  
Apr 15th, 2019, 07:46 PM
  #5  
 
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I can't help with Mendocino, but I think there is a Holiday Inn Express in Klamath near the Redwoods. Those are generally within your budget.
5alive is offline  
Apr 16th, 2019, 05:37 AM
  #6  
 
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A couple of notes...

As I've mentioned elsewhere, Redwood National Park was created some time after California had already protected some of the most impressive redwood groves as state parks. So with a fairly rushed itinerary, I'd recommend visiting the Humboldt State Park redwoods, such as the Avenue of the Giants (south of Eureka/Ferndale) and call it good.

If you're on a budget, and given your priorities for a nature-based holiday, I'm going to wonder out loud if the Mendocino part of the trip might be exchanged for a little more time in the redwoods, and then adding some other big trees, in this case giant sequoias, into the mix. Look at this imaginary map - https://goo.gl/maps/wyTHGUTagX52 - for example.

This eliminates the Mendocino coast and the big zigzags (on VERY slow roads) between the Napa/Sonoma area and the Hwy 1 coast, and then back to US 101. It substitutes the "Lost Coast" loop out of Ferndale, which touches the fringe of the Lost Coast, the last remaining coastal wilderness in California. It uses Ferndale as a base, but if you can't find affordable B&B or similar accommodations, you can look at either Eureka or Arcata, where there are numerous affordable options. In which case you should also have a meal at the Samoa Cookhouse in Samoa, a very enjoyable and historic place.

You'd then scoot across the Central Valley (via CA 20) to the gold rush country along CA Hwy 49 and its tributaries. You could visit some of the lovely and historic towns along CA 49 (like Columbia, mentioned above by Janis) but then also head up CA 4 to the Calaveras Big Trees State Park, where you'll be able to contrast the giant sequoias with the coast redwoods you'll have just seen. (They're quite different.) Visit Murphys, which is not only another picturesque and historic gold rush village, but is also the center of a rapidly developing wine region, with numerous wineries located in the town. The whole of this country - the foothills of the Sierras - is nothing short of glorious in the spring - wildflowers, rushing streams... do some googling of the places on the maps.

Just a recommendation.
Gardyloo is online now  
Apr 16th, 2019, 06:17 AM
  #7  
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Thank you everyone for these great ideas. I would work on the updated itinerary and post it soon
ashishahuja23 is offline  
Apr 16th, 2019, 07:20 AM
  #8  
 
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If you do go to Mendocino (and not to Humboldt), then on the way to Yosemite, driving via Ukiah, there is a wonderful redwood park called Montgomery Woods on the way, right off the road.

https://www.parks.ca.gov/?page_id=434
sf7307 is online now  
Apr 16th, 2019, 01:50 PM
  #9  
 
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If you end up in Murphys, we've stayed here https://www.vrbo.com/279248 and you should have plenty of other options in that price range midweek. We like Grounds Restaurant and Aria Bakery in Murphys.
Patty is offline  
Apr 28th, 2019, 05:10 PM
  #10  
 
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Great ideas above. Where are you staying in Yosemite? I just got back -- it's totally spectacular this spring, also quite to very crowded, depending on day of the week.

I'd highly recommend:
1)breakfast at the Ahwahnee (aka Majestic; there's a lawsuit not settled); stunning dining room, at breakfast moderate prices
2)GETTING A REALLY REALLY EARLY START. IMO, most beautiful day hike in Park is the Nevada Falls trail up the Mist Trail to Vernal Falls then Nevada Falls, then back by John Muir. Top third of John Muir closed right now, may change. Less strenuous version, hike to Vernal Falls, crossover to Clark Point, return by John Muir Trail.
This time of year we are on that trail/loop by 7:30 am at latest.
3) walking about meadows
4)Valley loop trails are uncrowded and under rated.
Same thing is true for Mariposa Sequoia Grove. Leave Valley by 7:30 am if possible. 45+ drive to Grove.
cmstraf is offline  
Apr 29th, 2019, 06:54 AM
  #11  
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cmstraf Thank you for your recommendation.
Things have changed as my wife couldn't get off for 10 days so we are just going to Yosemite from 16th - 20th. Staying in Yosemite Village for 3 nights. I would definitely check out the places mentioned by cmstraf
Any other recommendations for hikes or things to do in Yosemite ?
ashishahuja23 is offline  
Apr 30th, 2019, 05:01 AM
  #12  
 
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I'm sorry about your wife's vacation situation; we are struggling with my husband's company's draconian new policies ourselves. Can you tell me where in the Valley you're staying? I would suggest to ask for an early arrival (easiest to get at Ahwahnee/Majestic, but you can also try at Lodge or Curry/Half Dome Village. How

16th: If you are coming in by 120, stop in Iron Door Saloon in Groveland for lunch (historic gold rush bar and restaurant, fun, pretty good food). Drive slowly when you arrive in the park--savor its beauty. Stop and take a walk through meadows--you'll need to use boardwalks because meadows are likely to be soaked.

17th: breakfast in Ahwahnee dining room, you can make reservations on Open Table. I think it's one of the most beautiful rooms in this country and much more affordable than dinner. Spend day walking on uncrowded Valley Loop trail. You can walk from Ahwahnee to Mirror lake (can be crowded, if water has stilled by then will be truly lovely), from Mirror Lake to Happy Isles, from Happy Isles to Lower Yosemite Falls. If you follow Loop Trail west from there, right after you cross the road there is a lovely place to picnic by the river where you can see Half Dome and meadows. At this point, we often turn back and follow a deer trail to Swinging Bridge across meadow where you can see both Half Dome and Yosemite Falls. Return "home". Dinner at Mountain Room at Lodge where you can now reserve on Open Table. Very nice room, OK fine food at moderate prices (given location.

18th: Hike Nevada Falls trail, going up Mist Trail to Vernal Falls, then on to Nevada Falls. There are steep slippery stairs on the way to Vernal Falls, be careful, also be mindful of inexperienced hikers in tennis shoes. You will get wet from Fall spray -- we wear rain jacket and pants, a poncho would do. Don't wear blue jeans, they take too long to dry. Rest on top of Vernal Falls, go on to Nevada Falls where you can have picnic lunch. If John Muir trail at top is open, come down it. If not retrace your steps to trail crossing, hike over to Clark's Point, come down rest of Muir trail. This, in my mind, is the most continuously beautiful trail in the Valley. There will be rainbows. Push yourselves to start hike by 7 to 7:30 in morning to avoid crowds. It's worth it. nap in the afternoon. Lodge and Ahwahnee have mini fridges. We usually bring fancy take out food for dinner. There is also a grocery store in the Valley where you can buy roast chicken for dinner. Ice chests can sub for refrigerators.

19th: Drive to Wawona, see Mariposa Sequoia Grove early--there are hikes of various lengths. Very popular, about a 45 minute drive from Valley.Again arriving early makes huge difference.

20th: rent bikes to ride around valley in the morning before you leave. I recommend this guidebook made by Yosemite Conservancy
https://www.amazon.com/Complete-Guidebook-Yosemite-National-Park/dp/1930238819/ref=sr_1_5?crid=2G2KTRSUONDIH&keywords=yosemite+guide+book&qid=1556629130&s=gateway&sprefix=yosemit%2Caps%2C194&sr=8-5 https://www.amazon.com/Complete-Guidebook-Yosemite-National-Park/dp/1930238819/ref=sr_1_5?crid=2G2KTRSUONDIH&keywords=yosemite+guide+book&qid=1556629130&s=gateway&sprefix=yosemit%2Caps%2C194&sr=8-5

For evenings, we usually just read and collapse, but there are ranger talks that can be cool and fun.
cmstraf is offline  
Apr 30th, 2019, 06:48 AM
  #13  
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@cmstraf I am staying in Half Dome Village in the tents. I am arriving to SJC on 15th at around 8:30 so I was thinking to drive to somewhere close to Yosemite that night for couple of hours so that would save us some time on 16th. I have driven through 120 but it was in December, It was really beautiful but we had to put snow chains after we entered the park. Do you think there still would be snow if we come through that route or I can drive through El Portal which I am pretty sure would be snow free

Any towns near yosemite I can drive to on 15th that you would suggest ?
ashishahuja23 is offline  
Apr 30th, 2019, 07:20 AM
  #14  
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Sorry posted twice

Last edited by ashishahuja23; Apr 30th, 2019 at 07:21 AM. Reason: Duplicate
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Apr 30th, 2019, 07:32 AM
  #15  
 
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If you go Hwy 140, maybe stay around Mariposa for your first night.
MichelleY is offline  
May 1st, 2019, 04:48 AM
  #16  
 
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We've stayed in the Best Western in Mariposa several times. It is excellent. Ask for a quiet room in the back.

Oops, I just checked. They are sold out for that night. You could try the Holiday Inn in Mariposa or the Best Western in Turlock. Route 140 is beautiful now.
cmstraf is offline  
May 1st, 2019, 08:59 AM
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A friendís daughter owns The River Rock Inn In Mariposa. I donít know anything else about it. Perhaps you can check ratings.
MichelleY is offline  
May 2nd, 2019, 06:49 AM
  #18  
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cmstraf MichelleY thank you very much for the suggestions.
Unfortunately, I received a call yesterday that all the unheated tents in Half Dome Village were damaged in a snow storm in Feb and they wouldn't be able to open it till end of May so my lodging reservations were cancelled and they don't have any availability in those tents. I can't really afford to stay in Majestic Lodge and everything else is booked
Thankfully, I have southwest flights so i can cancel and request a credit or refund. I might have to cancel my trip and see if I can drive somewhere close for those 3-4 days as we have already requested days off from work
Again,
Thank you for all your help
ashishahuja23 is offline  
May 2nd, 2019, 07:59 AM
  #19  
 
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>>I can't really afford to stay in Majestic Lodge and everything else is booked<<

Check out Yoseimte View Lodge and the cheaper Cedar Lodge, both in in El Portal -- very convenient to Yosemite Valley.
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