Yosemite

Old Dec 28th, 2005, 11:02 AM
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Yosemite

I am going to Yosemite 05/30/06-06/01/06. I am not sure if its best to come from San Francisco or to visit Napa Valley first and go from there. I am taking some friends that have never gone and want to really make the best of it for them I think three days (2 nights) there are good, I don't really want to waste too much time on the road and am afraid once in the park I won't know how to really plan my day does anyone have any suggestions on best route and how to prepare an itinerary will be staying in cabins not sure where they are I know it is close to the valley and I rented them through scenic wonders (if this helps) Thank you.
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Old Dec 28th, 2005, 11:39 AM
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Close to the valley? Can you be more specific? Can you tell me the closest city or address? Do you have a web link? Do they tell you the closest entrance to the park, ie: Big Oak Flats, Arch Rock Entrance near El Portal or Wawona? It makes a difference.

Yosemite Falls and Bridal Veil Falls are in Yosemite Valley. El Capitan, Half Dome and Mirro Lake are in Yosemite Valley. I would spend the one full day in the valley.

Do you hike? If so, I'd do the Mist Trail to at least the Vernal Falls bridge. If you are big into hiking you might go all the way to the top of Vernal Falls and then on to Nevada Falls. If you go in the spring on the Mist trail up to the top of Vernal falls, bring a rain slick...you will more than likely get wet!

In late May, Tioga Pass might still be closed. With the short visit time you have, I wouldn't plan on going to the high country anyways.

Utahtea
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Old Dec 28th, 2005, 12:06 PM
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Utahtea, thanks for your help. Here is what I was able to get the place is called Pinetree retreat address 7298 Black oak Lane Yosemite CA 95389. I know coming from S.F. the entrance is through route 120 am not sure if this is enough information and one more thing I will be exiting the park to go towards Monterey any advise there? I do like to hike I am going with some friends that are somewhat reserved on how much walking they like to do so I would like to stick to the moderate stuff. Thanks
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Old Dec 28th, 2005, 02:55 PM
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Scenic Wonders' rentals are in Yosemite West, a private development just outside the park borders, near the start of Glacier Point Road. The only way to get there is through the park, so you will pay the park entrance fee before you get to your lodging. It's the best you can get without staying in the valley itself.

Napa Valley is an hour from SF, then it takes a couple of hours to see it, so don't go there if it's going to be "just a stop on the way to Yosemite". It takes four to five hours driving from SF to Yosemite anyway, so if your 3 days include getting to and from SF, you really will have only one full day at Yosemite.

End of May is just when the high country is coming out of winter, Tioga Road and Glacier Point Road may or may not be open yet. Depends on how much snow falls in the next few months. But the falls in the valley should be at max for the year, and a lot of tourists will be there, so driving around the valley won't be very rewarding. Drive in and find a parking space, then walk or take the shuttle around. Or rent bikes. There's lots of trails in the valley, so you can do any kind of walking, getting on and off the shuttle.

Outside the valley, you could do a short hike along Glacier Point Road, to the Taft Fissure or to Sentinal Dome, both of which have great views of the valley from above. Or just go to Glacier Point which also has great views of the valley from above. Washburn Point is somewhere nearby and also has GVOTVFA. These last two require no hiking at all, but have lots of crowds, but there are trails you could take a short way to escape crowds. (This all depends on the road being open already--might be, might not be).

Another place outside the valley you may want to see is the Mariposa Grove of giant sequoias, near the south park entrance, near Wawona. The road to this grove closes in winter, but it should be open by late May. There's a shuttle through the grove, so you don't have to hike, but I don't know if it'll be running when you're there. If it is, take it to the small museum at the top, get off there, and walk to the restrooms nearby, on the way is a small trail with some signs and some of the most impressive sequoias, in my opinion. Also get off at the Grizzly Giant, further down. You can get on and off the shuttle as long as it's running.


Your best route from SF, over the Bay Bridge (I-80) south through Oakland (can run into traffic here) to I-580 to I-205 to state highway 120 which takes you across the Central Valley and the foothills into Yosemite.
For an itinerary, well, you will pass through Yosemite Valley on the way to your lodging
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Old Dec 28th, 2005, 03:20 PM
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Ahem, as I was saying, you will pass through, or at least into, Yosemite Valley on the way to your lodging. This is where you could get turned around. You should head towards Wawona, Glacier Point Road, and not to Yosemite Village (although you could go there if you don't want to go to your cabin immediately).

Skip Tuolumne this time, it'll be soggy up there, even if Tioga Road is open. Do go to the Mariposa Grove, even if you have to walk a bit, you can see giant sequoias in the lower grove and the Grizzly Giant isn't that far a walk from the parking area. Popular hikes up from the valley along Yosemite Falls and up to Glacier Point may still be closed due to slippery conditions and are probably beyond what your friends want anyway, steep climbs 3000 feet up.

Play it by ear, if it's really crowded in the valley when you arrive, go up to Glacier Point or the mariposa grove first day. Otherwise, your friends are probly gonna wanna see the valley, no? So go there, and save the Mariposa Grove and Glacier Point for the next day.

Hey, the valley could even be flooded and you won't be able to get in. So you see, with the roads maybe open maybe closed, the shuttles running or not, you just have to flexible and see what things are like when you get there.
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Old Dec 28th, 2005, 07:04 PM
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Sequoia370, gave a lot of good advice.

I'll just add that the good news is you will be going on a Tuesday, Wednesday, & Thursday so the crowds shouldn't be to bad.

We can easily spend a week in the Valley because there is so much to see and do. I think I would concentrate on the Yosemite Valley.

Utahtea

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Old Dec 29th, 2005, 06:09 AM
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Sequioa370:
First of all thank you for your time and all the information, if you dont mind I have a couple of more questions, I really thought Scenic Wonders was inside the Park (according to their description it is) anyways, is that a good location, if not can you recommend something else that is more accessible?
I am afraid I did not make my self clear when I said coming from Napa what I meant was I am planning to visit Napa Valley anyways (will be in S.F. for 12 days so at this point I can arrange, rearrange to make the best of my time without spending on travel more than necessary) and was wondering if before heading to Yosemite if I should go to Napa. What I plan to do the day I go to Yosemite (from S.F. or Napa, which ever you guys think is best) I intent to start driving towards the park the day before to make my drive shorter, I want to perhaps stay somewhere in-between in this way when I get up in the morning and head towards the park I want to be rested so we can actually enjoy the scenery and not be rushing, last time I was there I know we were stopping at every waterfall we saw, and want to do the same this time too, (not having to be worried, that its late).

I have read a lot about Tioga Road, is this something I should not miss? Do you have any suggestions on my best way to leave the park, you know where I am staying and I am heading to Monterey if there is anything to see on the route I have to take to leave the park, and I am in no rush to get to where I am going if I get to enjoy some sceneries it would be great.

Listen thanks a lot again for your help, I really think this sites are a wonderful tool for people to learn from places and to know what not to miss, hope I can help you one day (live in Miami) if anything I can do can also give you some tips on Hawaii take care.
Gina
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Old Dec 29th, 2005, 07:45 AM
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Many visitors think "inside the park" means in/near the valley. YNP is huge and there is no fence that demarcates outside the park/inside the park. Yosemite West is practically ON the line dividing the National Park and the National Forest. It is as close as you can get w/o being on the floor of the Valley. So don't worry.

And I wouldn't worry about Tioga Pass either. The chances are it won't be open anyway. Ask again a few weeks before your trip and we can tell you if it is open or not.

As for the drive from Yosemite to Monterey. Just drive straight there -- well it won't be all that "straight". It is not a very long drive and the best place to stop isn't until you are practically to Monterey -- San Juan Bautista is a good place for lunch, see the mission, etc.
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Old Dec 29th, 2005, 08:24 AM
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Thanks for your help, I do appreciate it. have a great day and a safe new year.
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Old Dec 29th, 2005, 12:56 PM
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Another vote for stopping at San Juan Bautista on the way to Monterey. It is a nice lunch stop - small main street with several choices, the mission and a rebuilt/restored old town square.

From Yosemite, either leave the park on Hwy 140 or 41 (depending on whether you want to stop at Mariposa grove on the way out) and then make your way to Hwy 152 west. Then take 156 west, which will pass by SJB, and link you up with Hwy 1. It is a pretty easy route. Some areas aren't very scenic - just miles of farm lands, but that is the central valley and you've got to get across it one way or the other

When you get to Yosemite, you might want to take the open air tram tour around the valley. It is a bit pricey - I think around $20 a person, but it is a good tour. You get a good over view of the valley and it is ranger-led, so you get quite a bit of information about the park as well. This is a good way to orient yourself to the park and get an idea of what you want to revisit.

Another fun thing to do is rent bikes and ride around. The valley is very flat, so riding is easy and you will see more than you could on foot or in the car.
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Old Dec 29th, 2005, 01:28 PM
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how far is the ride around the valley and is there bike rental close by?
Is there a bike trail or do you ride on the road??
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Old Dec 29th, 2005, 02:18 PM
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Sunburn,

There is a bike rental at Curry Village right in Yosemite Valley. There are over 12 miles of paved bike paths available in Yosemite Valley that weave around the Village area. Most are pretty level except the ride to Mirro Lake.

In addition, bicyclists can ride on regular roads (if they obey traffic laws). Helmets are required by law for children under 18 years of age.

Off-trail riding and mountain biking are not permitted in Yosemite National Park.

http://www.nps.gov/yose/trip/biking.htm

We love taking our bikes to Yosemite and riding around the valley!

Utahtea

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Old Dec 30th, 2005, 06:57 AM
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columbiana,

Your plan is great, then, you'll really have 3 full days for Yosemite.
I would go to Yosemite directly from Napa, then you will avoid any heavy east-bay traffic.

Take highway 12 out of the Napa Valley, it will put you onto I-80 for a short distance, so watch for the Hwy 12 east exit from 80 (Suisun City). Take 12 through the Delta (Rio Vista) to Lodi, then take Hwy 99 (freeway) south to Manteca, where you can get onto Hwy 120E to Yosemite. You could stay in any of these towns or in Oakdale, or Groveland along Hwy 120, but you can make it all the way to Yosemite West easily if you leave Napa by early afternoon, so you could even get settled into your cabin the day before your "official" first day.

Don't worry about your cabin being "outside the park".
Yosemite West is mush closer to Yosemite Valley than are most of the lodgings that are officially within the park, like Wawona or Tuolumene Meadows. It's only 12 miles from Yosemite Valley and you don't pass through any park entrance station, so you will never know that you are officially over the boundary--as I said, you can only get there by entering the park first, so it sure seems like it's in the park, even if it's officially just a stone's throw outside. your 'cabin' will be more like a decent sized house, much better than the 'cabins' in Yosemite Valley itself, which are little better than one room shacks. The only advantage to staying in the valley (other than staying at the Ahwahnee luxury hotel for $350 a night) is being in the valley. At Yosemite West, you won't be able to walk out in the middle of the night and see Yosemite Falls, El Capitan, Half Dome, but you will be able to get there within twenty minutes any time of day or night.

The Tuoulumne Meadows area will likely still be pretty soggy even if Tioga Road is open, so I wouldn't make it a big priority to get there, especially since you want to see all the waterfalls in the valley. I would try to get to the Mariposa Grove and see the giant sequoias, and definitely get up to Glacier Point if the road is open. Mariposa Grove is near Wawona, about an hour's drive from the Valley or Yosemite West. Glacier Point is also about an hour from the valley, and the road starts very close to the entrance to Yosemite West.
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Old Dec 30th, 2005, 07:35 AM
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Sequoia370:
Thanks for your help once again.
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Old Jan 2nd, 2006, 05:28 AM
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Have been following along this post filled with great information and suggestions on Yosemite as we are planning a trip one month earlier and had not realized that the first of June was "early" for accessing all areas of Yosemite. I guess that means that we should cross Lassen off our list for this trip!
We're finishing a conference in San Diego on Saturday, April 29th and planned to drive up the coast to take in the Hearst Castle. I had heard great things about the Kon Tiki Hotel in Pismo Beach for our first night, but unfortunately they do not have availability. Any other suggestions for accommodations enroute to San Simeon or "must stops" along the Coast? After the morning Castle tour, we were heading over to Sequoia-Kings Canyon and were thinking of staying at the Wuksachi Lodge. We assumed 1 day here would give us a strong flavor of the area. Then we plan to head to Yosemite and have been checking out the Tenaya Lodge at Fish Camp, although now will check out the cabins columbiana found as that is appealing as well. Planned for 2 nights in Yosemite before heading over Tioga Pass to Mono Lake going up the back way on 395 for 1 night in South Lake Tahoe. Then had penciled in 1 night in Lassen before heading into Reno to fly home on Saturday early AM. Any feedback on these tentative plans will be gratefully appreciated and I hope it is not improper to tag onto columbiana's post.
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Old Jan 2nd, 2006, 06:12 AM
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northfloridatraveler, I do believe you will have to rethink your itinerary. There's usually still a lot of snow on the ground in this region at that time.

The chances that the Tioga Road will be open in early May are about nil. In fact, I think that you will probably find that Glacier Point and the Mariposa Grove will not be open yet either.

But the waterfalls in Yosemite Valley should be awesome, and I would not cancel your visit to Yosemite because these things will be closed, but look forward to them for the next visit.

So you almost certainly will not be able to get over to Mono Lake to take 395 up to Reno, as spectacular as this drive is. Definitely pencil it in for a summer season visit later. This time you will probably have to exit Yosemite to the West and go up to Tahoe on that side.

I don't know what if anything will be open at Lassen at that time. But it's actually quite a way up there and back anyway, and I wouldn't spend that much of your limited time on long distance driving. I would recommend you eliminate your planned night there and instead schedule two nights at Tahoe. I think you will find plenty of spectacular scenery at Yosemite and Tahoe to occupy the time you have.
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Old Jan 2nd, 2006, 06:16 AM
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One other potentially naive question... Being from Florida, we can't imagine staying in a property without air conditioning so I ruled out the accommodations within the park, even though there are many clear advantages. Would you expect the lack of air conditioning to be an issue the first of May?
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Old Jan 2nd, 2006, 06:44 AM
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northfloridatraveler, in the Sierra in early May you are much more likely to need heat than air conditioning! In fact, you usually need heat at night even in the peak of summer. Air conditioning would be very rarely used if available. I can't emphasize how different an early May climate than you are used to you will be heading into into the Sierra. Or even how different from the climate in the Central Valley just a hundred miles to the East, where you would want air conditioning.

Particularly since I think the attractions south of Yosemite Valley will not be open, I would recommend staying in the Yosemite West area described by the posters above, which I agree is the next best thing to staying in the Valley. But it is still best to stay in the valley if you can--there's something indescribable about being able to wake up, step outside on your patio and look up at the wonders surrounding the Valley.

I forgot to mention, in recommending that you forego a night at Lassen for a second night at Tahoe, that your tentative plan to leave directly from a night at Lassen to catch an early AM flight out of Reno is extremely inadvisable. The distances are too far and much of the driving too mountainous and winding. In addition, at that time of year there is substantial possibility of delays due to snow or rock falls.

Tou will have to get a very early start even from Tahoe, and I would not stay further away from Reno airport than that.
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Old Jan 2nd, 2006, 06:50 AM
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Oh, I notice I moved the Central Valley of California to east of the Sierra--such power Fodor's gives us. I meant to say, in my earlier post above, that you might need air conditioning that ime of year 100 miles to the WEST in the Central Valley.
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Old Jan 2nd, 2006, 07:05 AM
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JCB411: Well - actually one might want a/c 100 miles east in the Nev. desert too

northfloridatraveler: You most definitely will not need a/c in Yosemite. Even if it did get up to 75F (and that isn't likely) it would only be about 15% humidity so will seem downright cold to you.

As for your questions about Pismo Beach and the coast -- you will do better to start a new thread w/ those questions. The title of this one is "Yosemite" so it won't attract those w/ info about the Central Coast.

You will not know if Lassen is even accessible until a few weeks before your trip. I would definitely not count on it. And as JCB411 says - Lassen to Reno for a morning flight - just not on. Plan on staying 2 nights at Tahoe - and be prepared to take the long way around to get there.
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