Yosemite - 3 nights in Oakhurst

Old Jan 27th, 2023, 04:36 PM
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Yosemite - 3 nights in Oakhurst

Hello, I am traveling with my brother who is not able to walk a great distance. I think .5 mile walks is the most he is able to do. We are staying in Oakhurst for 3 nights. Suggestions on how to make the most of our time close to Yosemite? Thanks in advance for your help!
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Old Jan 27th, 2023, 05:21 PM
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Sorry, but if your plan is to visit Yosemite Valley . . . then Oakhurst is not a good place to stay

From Oakhurst to Yosemite Village is more than a 90 minute drive over a VERY twisty turny mountain road. And 90 minutes is optimistic if it is on a weekend or in the busy times of year. So 1.5 to 2 hours each way. For visiting Yosemite (meaning the Valley) you will want to stay either IN Yosemite Valley, or in El Portal. Anyplace else will be a total slog.
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Old Jan 27th, 2023, 06:57 PM
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When I visited, I had my dad with me who was going through some medical issues. He really wouldn’t walk so I looked up on the National park website the hiking/walking distances and we went to the shortest ones. It worked out fine as he was able to see a few of the water falls from the car, a short level walk or sitting just at the bus stop. He had a good time and don’t feel we really missed much.
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Old Jan 28th, 2023, 02:48 AM
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janis has it spot on. Yes, Oakhurst is about 15 miles from the edge of Yosemite park, but the park is huge - about the size of the state of Rhode Island....
The 90min drive is only to get TO the valley, not find accessible parking, or even near any sights. Unless you are there during the off season you cannot really drive around the valley in your own car and park by different sights. You need to take the park shuttle buses. The best case would be to get lodging IN the park, for example at Yosemite Valley Lodge, or whatever it is called now).

In your situation, I cannot imagine staying at Oakhurst and visiting the valley for evn one day, let alone three.
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Old Jan 28th, 2023, 04:41 PM
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Thank you for your response Janis! We found a place in Mid Pines south of El Portal but 30 minutes closer. I hope you approve!
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Old Jan 28th, 2023, 06:17 PM
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Sorry but no. Mid Pines is almost as bad. Mid Pines to Yosemite Village (to use the same point of reference as my other post) takes about 1n hour and 20 minutes over an even more twisty turny road - though at a lower elevation than the Oakhurst road. Honestly -- the ONLY places that make sense are 1) IN Yosemite Valley, 2) IN El Portal, or if neither has availability then 3) in two other nearby enclaves -- Yosemite West or Foresta

Yosemite Valley speaks for itself
Yosemite View Lodge in El Portal is approx 30 minutes from the Village and that section of the road is MUCH easier for a daily commute.
Foresta is maybe 35 minutes from the Village - again, over an easier road.
Yosemite West = about 40 minutes BUT partially over a twisty turny/urpy road.

Mid Pines is definitely as inconvenient as Oakhurst.
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Old Jan 29th, 2023, 07:21 AM
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Originally Posted by janisj View Post
Sorry but no. Mid Pines is almost as bad. Mid Pines to Yosemite Village (to use the same point of reference as my other post) takes about 1n hour and 20 minutes over an even more twisty turny road - though at a lower elevation than the Oakhurst road. Honestly -- the ONLY places that make sense are 1) IN Yosemite Valley, 2) IN El Portal, or if neither has availability then 3) in two other nearby enclaves -- Yosemite West or Foresta

Yosemite Valley speaks for itself
Yosemite View Lodge in El Portal is approx 30 minutes from the Village and that section of the road is MUCH easier for a daily commute.
Foresta is maybe 35 minutes from the Village - again, over an easier road.
Yosemite West = about 40 minutes BUT partially over a twisty turny/urpy road.

Mid Pines is definitely as inconvenient as Oakhurst.
If you are coming from the south (Fresno) and coming through Oakhurst, ONE night in Oakhurst might make sense depending on the time of day you leave Fresno. On an anniversary trip in early November (2016?) we arrived in Oakhurst in the late afternoon. We picked up a nice cake at a grocery store and checked in to a motel in Oakhurst. We had an early breakfast in Oakhurst and then headed for the south entrance. After going through the south gate, we turned right and went to the Mariposa Grove and took a nice walk there among the Giant Sequoias. Leaving the grove, we headed for the Valley. On the way to the valley we drove through a tunnel. Immediately after exiting the tunnel, there is a great viewpoint on the left. Be sure to stop there for great pictures of the Yosemite Valley including Half Dome.
Depending on the time of year, there is a place to get close to a waterfall that may be anything from a trickle to a torrent before you get to the Valley. If you can't get lodging in the Valley, El Portal would be second best and Midpines a poor third. On our anniversary trip we stayed at the "BUG" hostel near Midpines. Our room was in a double log cabin that had a shared bathroom with the other side of the cabin. There was a separate kitchen/dining room where we ate the remainder of our cake before driving back to the Valley for the day. Parking can be a problem in the Valley as in waiting for someone to leave the parking lot so you can take their space. Use the free bus service within the park. There is a YARTS bus stop at the foot of the driveway of the "BUG" hostel. You can check the fares and schedule on yarts dot com. They do have year round bus service from Merced to the Valley with a reduced winter schedule. Yosemite Area Rapid Transit System "YARTS" also has buses that go from Fresno to the Valley with a stop in Oakhurst.
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Old Jan 29th, 2023, 03:54 PM
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Thanks for your reply. I will follow your lead and do the same. Question, how was your shuttle bus experience? We used the shuttle service in Zion 2021. I am wondering if it as well run. Thanks in advance for any information. Maribeth
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Old Jan 29th, 2023, 04:04 PM
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Thanks for all the info Tom and everyone else. The lodging cost closer to Yosemite is much higher than our budget will afford. We are going to stick with our reservation in Midpines. We will be 40 minutes outside of El Portal but we will just have to get our butts out of bed early for 2 days. I think we can do it!
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Old Jan 29th, 2023, 05:07 PM
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That could be a real false economy. -- have you looked at Cedar Lodge in El Portal? It isn't as nice nor as close but is probably cheaper than Yosemite View Lodge. The 40 minutes between Midpines and El Portal (80 minutes for the total commute) is the worst part of the entire drive.

OR - maybe a better solution would be to cut back to two nights and be ables to afford a better place to stay?? You'd be able to see/do just as much with two full days and substantially less commuting.


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Old Jan 30th, 2023, 06:04 AM
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I think for what it’s worth, if you need to stay further out from Yosemite then work with what you have.

I stayed in Fish Camp in June after the road to Glacier Point opened. While it was not as close as some other places, it was all that I could get with a room set up, that worked for our needs. I won’t lie, it wasn’t cheap but my parents loved it and I would do it again. Yes we got up early partly because why not. The day we went to Mariposa Grove, we were on the second tour of the day. When done there was no parking. I was glad we did everything early but we are like that and it hasn’t ever let me down.
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Old Jan 30th, 2023, 06:51 AM
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Originally Posted by mad99 View Post
Thanks for your reply. I will follow your lead and do the same. Question, how was your shuttle bus experience? We used the shuttle service in Zion 2021. I am wondering if it as well run. Thanks in advance for any information. Maribeth
I/we did not use the YARTS bus service but I do notice that there is a stop at the Midpines Post office as well as the one at the end of the driveway of the "BUG" hostel. I found the geocache in the bus stop structure. Check for lodging there. The YARTS bus service seems to have been run well for many years. Getting an early bus into the park and one of the last buses out saves over 2 hours of driving and parking hassles inside the park.
The "BUG" at the hostel is an aluminum pipe sculpture and not living crawling insects.
As I remember that trip, we got off the Amtrak San Joaquin train in Fresno and had a taxi ride to the Fresno airport (FAT) where we rented a car and drove to Oakhurst. We returned the car after a foggy drive from Midpines to Fresno where I got a taxi back to the train station where I had dropped off my wife with the luggage. That night we were in Sacramento waiting for the northbound Coast Starlight back home in Oregon
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Old Jan 31st, 2023, 08:34 AM
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What month are you going and where are you coming from?

If coming from the south and when the Glacier Point Road is open, I would not mind staying in Oakhurst for one or two nights. (For me, Glacier Point is the highlight of any visit). As mentioned above the Mariposa Grove is also near the south end. Read about the free shuttle and drive through options if your brother has a disability placard.

Go on to the official booking site and see if you can get two nights at the Yosemite Valley Lodge inside the park.

Last edited by mlgb; Jan 31st, 2023 at 08:36 AM.
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Old Feb 1st, 2023, 03:24 PM
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We have decided to stay at a rental home in Midpines. The house is 22 miles from Arch Rock entrance. I know it’s a 35-40 minute drive to the entrance but we will be prepared for that. We are staying 3 nights beginning on 6/28. Since we won’t be hiking we should have plenty of time to drive. I would like to visit Mariposa Grove and of course Glacier Point. I was there in 2004 and can’t wait for everyone else to see how beautiful it is. My brother does have a disability placard. I can’t remember if we went to Mariposa Grove in ‘04. Any recommendations for a senior trip are much appreciated!
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Old Feb 1st, 2023, 04:06 PM
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Well your mind is made up, no confusing you with facts. Midpines is twice as far to the Mariposa Grove Welcome Plaza as is Oakhurst. They are about the same drive time to the turnoff to the Glacier Point Road.

Good luck.
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