Need help with Yosemite lodging and itinerary

Old Oct 2nd, 2009, 09:44 AM
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Need help with Yosemite lodging and itinerary

We are traveling to Yosemite in mid Oct - We'll be there for 3 nights (2 full days) and I'm wondering what the best option for accomodations is. Is it imperitive to stay in the park? We will probably start the first day in the Valley, but the second exploring elsewhere. The Wawona has availability as does Curry Village (the Awanhee @ $400/nt is way out of our league), but I also found some nice sounding places outside the park near the west entrance and the south entrance. Any suggestions/ advice would be great! Also ideas for a 2 day itinerary would be appreciated - what hikes can't be missed?
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Old Oct 2nd, 2009, 10:28 AM
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Although staying in the park is preferable, staying in El Portal is a good alternative. It isn't very far from Yosemite Valley. I haven't stayed in Curry Village, so I don't have first hand experience with the lodging there, but this time of year, I would not choose the tent cabins. It will be chilly in Yosemite, esspecially overnight, and I would not want to have to leave the cabin to use the bathroom or to shower.

We've stayed at the Tenaya Lodge near the south entrance - the lodge was fine although the restaurant was overpriced. The main drawback is that it is a longer drive from the south entrance to the valley than from El Portal into the valley. On the otherhand, the Wawona and Mariposa Grove areas of Yosemite are closer to the south entrance.
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Old Oct 2nd, 2009, 11:50 AM
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We have reservations at the Comfort Inn for May in Oakhurst (route 41) which is close to the park. $98.99 senior rate. However I have no idea what it is like.
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Old Oct 2nd, 2009, 12:30 PM
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We stayed at Yosemite Lodge and enjoyed the location so much. Was anything available there? They have a shuttle that we used for dinner to go to the Ahwahnee. I can recomend dining there no matter where you stay, the dining room is beautiful with huge views bringing the outdoors inside! Also, no matter where you stay, the Mountain Room restaurant at Yosemite Lodge is very good, ask for window seating facing Yosemite Falls. If you want an economical breakfast, there is also a buffet by Yosemite Lodge and also there is a store that sells sandwiches,etc that you could buy to take with you on a hike.

Be sure to hike Mariposa Grove! It is just awesome.
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Old Oct 2nd, 2009, 12:51 PM
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We loved staying at the Wawona in October a couple years ago. It was so peaceful and beautiful; the trees in the meadows were turning, if you golf they have a great little course there, and the Mariposa Grove of giant sequoias was nearby. We drove into the valley a couple times, had brunch at the Awahnee (highly recommend it), and did a couple hikes on gloriously uncrowded trails. And the dining room at the Wawona is a wonderful old-fashioned place with terrific food.
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Old Oct 2nd, 2009, 02:26 PM
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Keep checking back to see if there are cancellations at Yosemite Lodge. There is a 7 day cancellation policy so people may be canceling rooms now. If you only have 2 days, I would want to stay in the valley to cut down on travel time.
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Old Oct 3rd, 2009, 10:09 AM
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We have decided to stay at the Evergreen Lodge located off of 120 close to the western entrance to the park. Friends stayed there recently and couldn't say enough great things about it. Will give a trip report when we get back. Thanks for the advice and any ideas about great hikes, must sees, etc. would still be helpful!
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Old Oct 3rd, 2009, 10:21 AM
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Evergreen is about a 45 minute drive to the Valley. Taking 120 in and out of the park over a three day period would get real old real fast. If you are okay with being that far away, I'd stay in Wawona. At least that way you are IN the park. The Wawona Hotel is very nice and quiet and is closer than staying way out at the Evergreen.
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Old Oct 3rd, 2009, 11:35 AM
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You are adding about 2 hours of extra driving a day (minimum of 45 mins each way - often more). I personally wouldn't -- but it is your trip . . . .
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Old Oct 3rd, 2009, 12:44 PM
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I would agree if there is anywhere to stay in the park do it. We traveled earlier this month and stayed outside the park and while we loved the placed we stayed the driving back and forth each day really impacted our ability to see all that we wanted. From experience I ignored the advise given here and wish I hadn't.
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Old Oct 4th, 2009, 04:23 PM
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I see what you guys mean about travel time but we weren't planning on driving into the valley all three days. Am I totally wrong in assuming that one day we would drive to the valley and the other days do a split between the Mariposa Grove and maybe the Heth Hetchy Dam or some hikes off the tioga pass road - eg Elizabeth Lake. So driving into the valley all three days isn't a necessity?
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Old Oct 4th, 2009, 04:33 PM
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"Am I totally wrong in assuming that one day we would drive to the valley and the other days do a split between the Mariposa Grove and maybe the Heth Hetchy Dam or some hikes off the tioga pass road - eg Elizabeth Lake. So driving into the valley all three days isn't a necessity?"

Depends - do you want to tick Yosemite Valley off some list "Yosemite Valley - √"?

Or do you want to see/do more things in the Valley?
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Old Oct 4th, 2009, 05:00 PM
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"Am I totally wrong in assuming that one day we would drive to the valley and the other days do a split between the Mariposa Grove and maybe the Heth Hetchy Dam or some hikes off the tioga pass road - eg Elizabeth Lake."

Not totally wrong, just partially wrong. Depends on what you consider a necessity. If it were my first trip to Yosemite I would spend as much time as I could in the Valley. I wouldn't worry about Hetch Hetchy either. I know Evergreen is near Hetch Hetchy, but I wouldn't spend any time there on a first visit.

I wouldn't count on hiking to Elizabeth Lake in mid October. Tioga Road might be closed by then. Elizabeth Lake is at around 9,000 feet and would probably be too cold to enjoy anyway.

If Wawona Hotel is available, get it. At least you'll be near Mariposa.
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Old Oct 4th, 2009, 06:21 PM
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They got a little snow last night. Doesn't mean there will be any more - but that will tell you how cold Tioga Pass/Elizabeth Lake could be.

And Hetch Hetchy - instead of another day in Yosemite Valley? Not unless one has been to YNP several times.
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Old Oct 5th, 2009, 08:23 AM
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Thanks for all the advice! Will keep checking for cancelations at the lodge, but will opt for the Evergreen over Wawano I think if nothing turns up. As for our itinerary - We didn't want to check the Valley off some list - just wanted to optimize our time in the Park by seeing a variety of sights. Hetch Hetchy and it's fierce opposition by Muir and many others is actually of great interest to me (but I'm a bit of a history geek and majored in Environmental Studies in college) so we didn't want to leave Yosemite without seeing it, but good to know about the Tioga Pass. Thanks again!
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Old Oct 5th, 2009, 08:36 AM
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I think from Hwy 120 to Mariposa grove, you have to drive through Yosemite Valley anyway - then it is a 40 minute or so drive from there.
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