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San Fran to Yosemite

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Jun 11th, 2011, 09:28 AM
  #1
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San Fran to Yosemite

I am beyond confused. We will have Wednesday July 13 available to go to Yosemite and need to return the next day. I would love do Amtrack, but am terrified we will be at a disadvantage without a car. I have no idea where to stay or even if we can get a reservation for one night during July. The lodging websites I've seen don't have an availability calendar.

I'm tempted just to go to Carmel, but my son the Boy Scout wants to go to Yosemite. Any suggestions.
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Jun 11th, 2011, 09:50 AM
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The official park reservation system is http://www.yosemitepark.com/Reservations.aspx Click on Make Reservations and put your date in and you'll get a selection of availability. Today there is nothing available. Since people can make reservation up to a year in advance and many do, the cancellation rate is higher than most places. If you don't find what you want then check every day.

Also try Yosemite View lodge which is within easy access to the park via YART or car if you drive. Today they have a log cabin room available for $298 for that night. You can keep checking back there as well fro cancellations.

You can take shuttles around the park but with only one day you will be limiting what you can see by taking the long AMTRAK ride, then YARTS and shuttles.
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Jun 11th, 2011, 11:20 AM
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You might consider getting a tour. They might be able to find you accomodation within the park. If you can only be there one night, it is really important that you don't end up staying an hour's drive away.
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Jun 11th, 2011, 12:47 PM
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Thanks Suzie. I hadn't found that site. Unfortunately someone snagged that night before I did, but I bookmarked the site and will keep checking back. I will also try the tour operators.
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Jun 11th, 2011, 12:57 PM
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keep checking back. I did that for months to see if there was a cancellation and I got one. Sorry you can spend only 1 night in that lovely park.
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Jun 12th, 2011, 08:50 AM
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I would rent a car rather than go by Amtrak. You won't need a car in Yosemite Valley, but time is short so you don't want to me mucking around with Amtrak and their schedules. With a car, if you leave SF first thing in the morning, you can be in Yosemite before noon.
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Jun 12th, 2011, 09:37 AM
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Can you comment on the traffic between SF and Yosemite and what days would be best to avoid it? Or even what months would be best for both traffic and to enjoy the park?

Would a 4:30 or 5:00 am departure be a good idea?

If a visitor had several days, would you recommend AMTRACK and YARTS? Any specifics? Thanks!
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Jun 12th, 2011, 09:54 AM
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Really, your only serious traffic is in the immediate SF Bay area. After you are beyond Alameda County it is a pretty clear shot. No need to leave at 0430.

I'd never recommend Amtrak -- unless one simply can't drive, OR maybe in the winter when you can't drive around the park since everything except Yosemite Valley is closed off.

But from late Spring through Fall -- one would really want a car.
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Jun 12th, 2011, 09:55 AM
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Yosemite is easy without a car! Start with checking the shuttle routes on the National Parks website, see which hotels are connected by shuttles to the stop at the Yosemite Lodge - this is where the connecting bus will bring your from Amtrak.

There is also Yosemite View lodge on the way to the park - I think the connecting bus has a stop there too, and a shuttle can take you into the park.

If you don't want to do it on your own, there are overnight tours, probably Parlor Car tour or others.

Yosemite is one of the world's wonders that should not be missed! You son is right.

I don't know how much you are willing to spend, but Expedia usually has Yosemite View lodge (outside the park, but connected by shuttle - search!) and some other places in the park.
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Jun 12th, 2011, 04:08 PM
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Yes -- if you stay outside the park Yosemite View/El Portal is the closest and there is a shuttle. But that shuttle bus takes 40-45 minutes to get to the Village. So not terrible but also an extra 90 minutes travel time each day.

As I said --If one doesn't/isn't able to drive, Amtrak is fine. But it is not an even substitute to driving. The bus/train/bus route takes longer and you are limited to their exact schedule.

If it is Amtrak and/or guided tour - or no Yosemite at all, take Amtrak/tour. If you have a choice--drive.
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Jun 13th, 2011, 04:29 AM
  #11
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Thanks. I think for our family a two day trip via amtrack won't work. (Unless a reservation inside the park magicaly opens.) That is one of the good things about this site. You can learn and get other view points. A 45 minute shuttle added to the time of the journey would mean even less of our time would be on the ground in the park.
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Jun 13th, 2011, 08:28 AM
  #12
cd
 
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We drove from SF to Yosemite in 4 1/2 hrs and once outside of SF it was a pleasent drive. Theres a phone number on the link given above that you should call daily. They do get lots of cancellations. I kept calling until I got one and the phone would give you faster service then just going to their website. YOu can park your car and take the shuttle most everywhere except if you want to go to the Mariposa Grove, it's faster to drive there. http://www.nps.gov/yose/planyourvisit/mg.htm It's a wonderful walk thru amazing trees!
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Jun 13th, 2011, 08:31 AM
  #13
cd
 
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PS I was refering to staying in the Park, valley floor,(try for the Yosemite Lodge right in front of Yosemite Falls)
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Jul 21st, 2011, 06:41 PM
  #14
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Thanks for all the help. I realized that it was technically possible but wouldn't be as enjoyable as taking a shorter trip to Carmel. We did this trip for my daughters graduation present and I didn't have a lot of time to plan. For my son's graduation present I will get him to declare his destination when he starts his senior year. Maybe then we can get reservations if he chooses a national park.
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