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Please help Northern California National Parks & San Francisco itinerary

Please help Northern California National Parks & San Francisco itinerary

Old Jan 13th, 2014, 07:31 PM
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Please help Northern California National Parks & San Francisco itinerary

Our family is headed to Northern California to see some of the National Parks and spend a few days in San Francisco. We are not completely sure how to break up the trip and are looking for advice. We like to hike and have three very active kids. Also pretty excited about time in SF. Have not had success getting lodging within Yosemite yet. We have started thinking about either Yosemite West or some combination of YW and Evergreen or something on the northern side of the park. This would give us a chance to see some of this side before heading to the southern attractions.

Day 1: Arrive SF & head out to Yosemite (TH)
Day 2: Yosemite (FR)
Day 3: Yosemite (SA)
Day 4: Yosemite (SU)
Day 5: Yosemite or drive to Sequoia ) (M)
Day 6: Sequoia (or drive there and have 1/2 day) (T)
Day 7 Kings Canyon (W)
Day 8 Either KC or Sequoia (TH)
Day 9 Head back to SF Giants game F
Day 10 SF
Day 11 SF
Day 12 Head home

So did we split this up right? I should mention in SF we hope to visit Alcatraz, bike the Golden Gate bridge (over with ferry back?) and see several attractions. We have family to visit as well as would hope to go to Muir Woods. I don't think we have enough time in SF so I guess we cut one from Yosemite and move everything back a day? Started planning a while ago but never got the accommodations I had hoped for in Yosemite. Now second and third choices are starting to book up. Some have big penalties for changing reservations so I need help. Thanks for your insights!
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Old Jan 13th, 2014, 07:50 PM
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Re Yosemite -- book Yosemite View Lodge in El Portal (they have a good cancellation policy) and then keep trying for inside the park.

That is a LOOOOOONG way from Sequoia to that Giants game. About a 5 hour drive - or longer if you hit traffic. There is a lot of construction along hwy 99, so it might be better to cut over to I-5 - which is a bit farther but will be faster.

(just an FYI - Can't really call Sequoia/Kings Canyon 'northern' CA - and even YNP is in central CA really. From your title I thought you were asking about Redwoods and Lassen NPs in northern CA)
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Old Jan 13th, 2014, 09:08 PM
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It is hard to pick and chose just a few things to do in San Francisco. I live an hour north, and still have a hard time deciding how to spend a Saturday. Anyway, enough about me....may I suggest taking the ferry to Angel Island for an amazing day of bike riding and picnicing. The views are spectacular along with hiking. Great history, too. Whatever you do, you will have a splendid time
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Old Jan 14th, 2014, 04:40 AM
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When are you going to California?
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Old Jan 14th, 2014, 07:50 AM
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I agree with janis re Yosemite lodging. Book something now, and continue to try to get lodging in the park.

For 3-4 nights you'll really want the ability to come and go during the day, or to have part of the group stay in camp or at hotel while the other goes off.

There are a lot of great hiking trails at Yosemite, some of which are strenuous but wonderful.

Here's my list of favorites:

1. Panorama (from Glacier Point down) You need to arrange transporation up TO Glacier point, either car or bus ($$). About 10mi, mostly downhill, but one uphill section.

2. Yosemite falls 6-8 miles, half of which is straight up, the other half straight down. Continue on past the top of the falls to the overlook point to view Half Dome. YOu can also just go 1/2 way up, to the point where you can see the base of the upper falls. That makes for a good morning or afternoon hike, not a full day like the full falls hike.

3. Mist or Mist / Muir loop to the top of Nevada Falls.

4. Valley trail loop - anything from 3-4mi up to 10-12 if you do the whole loop. You can break it into parts and use the valley shuttle bus to/from various points.

5. Half dome - have never done. not for the faint of heart. Permit required.

6. Four mile (up to Glacier point). I did this combined with Panorama when I was there in the fall since the road to Glacier point was closed). Makes for a very long day of ~16-18mi with a lot of elevation gain. Worth it if you can do it.

Look at www.everytrail.com for guides/maps that you can also download to your smartphone (need the $2.99 everytrail pro app).
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Old Jan 14th, 2014, 07:45 PM
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Sorry about the Northern California title. I will see if it can be edited. Does anyone know how many days are reasonable for kings canyon? Sequoia?

We thought about Redwoods but based on advice from this forum we decided not to.

We are going in the summer.

Thanks the insight on traffic. We knew about drive time but have to think about traffic and construction! Thanks.
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