Yosemite Lodge or alternative?

Old Feb 1st, 2004, 02:08 PM
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Yosemite Lodge or alternative?

I am in the preliminary stages of planning a first trip to Yosemite in late Sept or early Oct for about 6-7 days. I plan on seeing all of the park's major sites (El Captian, Glacier Point, Mariposa Grove) and would like also to do some serious full day hikes, maybe in the Tuolumne Meadows area. In previous trips to other national parks, I have enjoyed staying at the park lodges mainly bacause of the location and historic atmosphere. I have always been disappointed, however, in the room furnishings, linens, and other amenities, especially in view of the prices charged. (NPS concessionaires have a serious racket going IMHO.) Also, the food in the lodge restaurants is usually only ok, and the service mediocre at best. I have only ever stayed for a few days at a time in lodges prior, but since this time I will be there for a week, I thought I would look into other options. In my web research, I have founds two areas that offer cabin or vacation home rentals, The Redwoods in Yosemite Vacation Rentals and Yosemite West. The idea of more room, privacy, and self catering are all very appealing to me, but much of the comment on this forum says that the Valley is where it's at.
My question I suppose, is - does anyone know of these other lodging areas? Are they extremely isolated (not necesarily a bad thing) and, should I choose one of these areas, would it require significantly more driving to get to the areas I mentioned? What can I expect the traffic in the park to be like at this time of year?
Thanks for any and all help.
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Old Feb 1st, 2004, 03:28 PM
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Well, we are planning our trip to Yosemite in mid May and have booked a studio condo at Yosemite West. Tried to get into the lodge in the valley but it was booked up. You may want to do a search here becuase I have posted questions regarding this before. I believe, the Yosemite West condos are about 15 minutes from the valley, which isn't too far. The lodge pictures looked basic - no radio/tv, etc. but I do beleive it is clean. We were told to stay in the valley if poossible.
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Old Feb 1st, 2004, 04:23 PM
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We rented a house at Yosemite West 2 years ago and were really pleased with it.
It is about a 20 minute drive to the Valley, about an hour and 15 min. to Tuolumne.

Just make sure you stop for groceries before you get there - in Oakhurst if you're coming from the south.
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Old Feb 1st, 2004, 04:24 PM
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One addition - the company we used was Yosemite Four Seasons.
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Old Feb 1st, 2004, 04:42 PM
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We enjoyed the Yosemite View Lodge just outside the park in El Capitan this past Oct (early to mid) for the same reasons you mention we were also disapointed with in-park lodging.
The YVL has very nice rooms-jacuzzi tub,small kitchen,modern and balconies right on the Merced River.
It was super to hear the river just below as we drifted off to sleep.
We were perhaps 10 mins to the park-you pay $20 for a week long pass. The food was pretty good at YVL, but I would say you would have to drive a very windy 45 min drive to Mariposa for more choices.
You don't go to Yosemite for the food tho we had a nice lunch and dinner at the Awahnee. Things start winding down this time of year-the horses are gone
from the Tioga Pass road and most concessions up there were closed. But the crowds are gone as well!Best check with the park about how late in the year they let you hike up in the Meadows. Down in the park it was pretty warm 75-80. some of the water falls are running but Yosemite Falls was dry.
Let me know if you have any other questions-I think the condo rentals others have mentioned are a good option as well.
R5
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Old Feb 1st, 2004, 06:27 PM
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Hi. Just a heads up, the Tuolomene Meadows area could be closed in October, depending on the weather. Services may be closed for the season. We have been to Yosemite many times, and consider it one of the best places in the world. If you have any specific questions on hikes, we could offer suggestions. We have hiked a great deal, and we especially love the high country. We have stayed in Yosemite Lodge and felt the same as you expressed. We are sadly disappointed in National Park Lodging, high cost and dumpy rooms. Yosemite West, I believe is privately owned, individually, so each cottage is owned by someone and therefore you could have a different experience depending on the owner.
We have stayed at Yosemite View Lodge and have enjoyed it immensely. Just as razzledazzle stated. It is a 20- 30 minute drive to the Valley, but well worth it. Near Tuolomene, in Lee Vining, there is okay lodging and GREAT food. Kinda strange, but the Mobile Station has a gourmet restaurant, incredible. You will love Yosemite.
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Old Feb 3rd, 2004, 05:13 AM
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Thanks for all of your replies. I will definitely look into Yosemite View Lodge and Yosemite Four Seasons.

Alex8 or razzledazzle - any suggestions for day hikes? I really liked the photos I have found on the internet of the lakes and meadows in Tuolumne, and would like to explore in that area at least one day. I suppose a loop would be best, since it seems the shuttle buses won't be running on the Tioga Road then (we have decided Sept 26 - Oct 1 in Yosemite, then a weekend in SF)and we will have to get back to our car. We are both in late 30s, good physical shape. I would like something that would take a half day to 3/4 of the day, including time to stop and enjoy the scenery and eat a picnic lunch. One of us has a fear of heights, so we would have to avoid any trails with a steep drop off or any serious climbing. Thanks again for your help.
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Old Feb 3rd, 2004, 12:13 PM
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If you do choose YVL be sure to request a 3rd floor river view-and don't buy your groceries at YVL-The El Portal store about 1/2 mile from the YVL is very well stocked and the prices are better.At your favorite bookstore purchase the Lonely Planet guide for Yosemite-it has helpful factoids about hikes/duration/length/difficulty/maps
etc.We enjoyed the trek to Dog Lake and and Lower Cathedral Lake-both in the book. The LP guide offers much much more about the park.Have fun- those dates should be perfect!
R5
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Old Feb 3rd, 2004, 02:32 PM
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I second Cathedral Lake, it is a great hike. We did Elizabeth Lake last year and did not enjoy it as much, the hike was nice but the lake did not compare to Cathedral. Lembert Dome is short but steep and the views are tremendous, it takes about 1-1/2 - 2 hours total, a great place for sunrise and sunset. Don;t miss it. North Dome is on 120 about halfway between the Valley and Tuolomene, it takes about 4-5 hours. Mount Dana is at the Tioga Pass, kinda short, but will take your breath away, literally. It starts at about 9800' and goes to 13,053'. Towards the top you really slow down if the altitude affects you. Great views of Mono Lake. This takes about 4-6 hours. You could do Clouds Rest, 14 miles, we have not been able to do this one yet because there has always been too much water, we go early in the season.
A couple of good books "Yosemite National Park- A Natural History Guide to Yosemite and Its Trails" by Jefrrey P. Schaffer, great book, really detailed descriptions of the hikes, also the Frommer's Yosemite National Park book, has good info and compact style. Check your local library, or try to get the info off the Frommer's website.
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Old Feb 4th, 2004, 08:49 AM
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Thanks for the recommendations - you guys are great. Sounds like we'll be doing Lower Cathedral Lake, at a minimum.
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Old Feb 4th, 2004, 11:27 AM
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Hi Tommy: We have stayed in 3 different cabins (more like homes) booked through Yosemite Four Seasons. They all had hot tubs and gas BBQs on the deck, wood burning fireplace, and a pool table and were beautifully furnished (We stayed in "Longs Logs" last time and it was great - 4 bedrooms so may be too large if just for 2 people). Their cabins are a bit pricier than some, but are really nice. Check out the pictures online. The drive into the valley takes about 15-20 minutes from there (these cabins are near Glacier Point turnoff). We kind of liked getting out of the valley and getting back to the quietness of our cabin. Also, Wawona and the Mariposa Groves redwoods are about the same distance the other way. Have lunch or dinner at the Wawona Hotel restaurant which is fun (this hotel is a fun place to stay as well, but you have to make reservations a year in advance). When we were there a few years ago, on the spur of the moment we decided to check the Wawona to see if they had a room and they did, so we stayed one more night. Really pretty grounds....
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