Yosemite and Coast highway in April

Apr 17th, 2007, 03:16 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Apr 2007
Posts: 37
Yosemite and Coast highway in April

hello fodorites! thanks to everyone in advance for their great ideas! this forum in invaluable!

We are going to Yosemite followed by the Pacific coast highway the last week in April and wondering if there was anything we should be on the lookout for (pros and cons) for this time of year! Any thoughts?

Will Toulumne meadows be open at the end of April? if we only have a short time in the park, is it possible to do the valley, mirror lake, mariposa AND toulumne meadows in a day or two? Or will there be snow up in the mt's?

thanks in advance!
scagly is offline  
Apr 17th, 2007, 03:32 PM
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Overall, that is probably a good time to visit this area, although you could get some rain if we have a late storm. It shouldn't be very much if you get any at all though. The coast should be really pretty since the wildflowers will be in bloom and fog should be minimal.

In Yosemite, Toulumne Meadows will be closed - I think the earliest the high country has openned in recent years is mid-May.

Mirror Lake is a short hike from the shuttle stop - maybe a mile, I think less though, so you can easily see that while touring around the valley. Mariposa Grove is about a 45 minute drive from the valley, so that is easy to visit as well. Depending on your itinerary, you might consider entering or exiting Yosemite by the south entrance and stopping to see the grove then.
J_Correa is offline  
Apr 17th, 2007, 03:33 PM
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Looks like they will be plowing the road now. They were supposed to start yesterday. The pass doesn't usually open in April and usually much later. I would not count on Tuolumne Meadows be accessible during your end-of-April visit. For your two day visit you should be able to see the valley and Mirror Lake on the first day and then Mariposa Grove on the second day which could be your get away day since exiting from the south gate would be an ok way to escape to the coast.
Suzie is offline  
Apr 17th, 2007, 03:34 PM
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LOL we said virtually the same thing!!
Suzie is offline  
Apr 17th, 2007, 03:35 PM
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According to th park website, they started plowing yesterday:


But it is ver unlikely they will get the whole road up to Tuolumne opened in 2 weeks. And even if they did, the meadows would be covered with snow and puddles.

I think your short time in Yosemite is best spent in the Valley, and enjoying the sequoia groves.
enzian is offline  
Apr 18th, 2007, 08:38 AM
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thanks everyone! Too bad about Toulumne meadows... maybe next time... glad you've forewarned me about the roads! Looking forward to seeing all the wildflowers! (in another thread someone mentioned wild iris!)

If we get to the park reasonably early in the morning, do you think we would have time to enter the park, drive to the valley (stopping at any lookouts), walk to mirror lake, drive to glacier point, and see mariposa on the same day?

Also, if we did so, do you think we would be able to leave the park (through the south entrance) and stay the night outside of the park that evening? We have yet to make a reservation (EEKS!), but am wondering if we will have time to be able to drive into the park, see everything we want to see (valley, glacier point, mirror lalke, mariposa), then drive out of the park to a hotel that night. Is this doable? Or is it a long drive INTO and OUT of the valley/other sights and so we will need to try to stay inside the park near mariposa grove?
scagly is offline  
Apr 18th, 2007, 09:11 AM
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You shouldn't have any problem seeing everything you want to. We went last April for two days and stayed south of the Park. The first day we drove up from SF, hiked around Hetch Hetchy and then headed to the valley, stopped to admire the falls and views, walked to Bridleveil falls and then stopped by the lookout at the south end of the valley for pictures. Then we headed out the south entrance and stayed at the Narrow Gauge Inn. The second day we drove into the Valley, stopped and walked down to the Merced River by El Capitan, parked and took the shuttle. We hiked to Vernal Falls, then over to Mirror Lake and then went over to Yosemite falls and walked up to the base of the falls. We stopped other places for little walks as well. At the end of the day we headed back out the south entrance back to the inn.

I can recommend the Narrow Gauge Inn. We had a room in the back grouping of rooms with a deck looking over a little stream. It's rustic, but clean and charming. They also have a wonderful restaurant that rivals anything in the area.

I don't know what the Park will be like this year, but last year it was fantastic. We never saw as much water coming over the falls and had rainbows everywhere. We're heading out that way again next week, but going up to wine country this year.

BTW - we had snow in Toulumne meadows in August. They closed the pass and we had to drive two hours down to the valley to get to Tahoe.

Enjoy your trip!
BarbaraJ is offline  
Apr 18th, 2007, 10:35 AM
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For such a short time in the valley, I would recommend taking the valley tram tour - it lasts a couple hours and hits the highlights of the valley. It is pretty fun and led by a ranger, so you see a lot and learn a lot in a relatively short time.
J_Correa is offline  
Apr 20th, 2007, 03:29 PM
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Thank you J_correa, Suzy, Enzian, and Barbara -- your information is very helpul and will help us have a very enjoyable trip! Happy Travels to all of you and thanks again!
scagly is offline  
Apr 21st, 2007, 12:19 PM
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Here's hoping for great weather during your trip! There is a storm moving through right now, but it isn't anything major.
J_Correa is offline  
Apr 21st, 2007, 01:09 PM
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They have made incredible progress on plowing the Tioga Pass Road, however, they are still only just reaching the high country, and I think it is safe to say the road will still be closed for the rest of this month. The current storm will stop operations for a few days, and they never open the road as soon as they finish plowing, they still need to do repairs and so on. Even after the road opens, Tuolumne Meadows is still covered in slushy melting snow (freezing over at night) for about another month. Spring doesn't really begin up there until late June/July.

Wildflowers will be blooming at lower elevations, like the Valley, and also along the coast. We saw a few wild iris in the Santa Cruz Mountains (coastal mountains between San Francisco and Santa Cruz) last weekend, along with blooming California lilac (Ceanothus), large shrubs with clusters of tiny purple flowers at the tips of branches, and some other small ground flowers. It's not the best year for wildflowers, since it was a pretty dry winter, but there are some here and there.
sequoia370 is offline  
Apr 23rd, 2007, 04:56 PM
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Thanks everyone! I'm looking forward to seeing the local flora, even if it's not as much as other years... and thanks for the update about the snow/weather/road conditions in yosemite. Much appreciated!

I do have one more question. I've read many many posts (it's amazing how many hours and hours i can spend on this site!) -- but I still can't seem to grasp how long some of the driving takes!

We will be leaving Fish Camp, Ca, early morning on Wednesday May, 2nd to head across to the coast/Cambria and then begin to drive up PCH. If we have a hotel reservation that night in Monterey, will we make it in time? or is this too rushed? On the day we leave fish camp going to monterey, we hope to stop on the coast to see the sealions/elephant seals, maybe make a quick scenic-beach-stop, have lunch, hike up the short hike to see the falls in julia pfeiffer, and drive through big sur before arriving to our hotel in Monterey. Will we make it to monterey from fish camp in the same day if we sitesee along the way (as outlined above)? Do we need to take out some of our site-seeing to make it to the hotel before 7 pm or so? Any thoughts would be appreciated!

We will be in Monterey for two nights and hope to also drive 17-mile/pebble beach, explore Carmel beach and shops, and have a nice seafood dinner the next day. We've chosen to stay in Monterey because we were finding better hotel rates there, I just hope it works out okay!

scagly is offline  

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