Yosemite, San Francisco Plans

May 30th, 2003, 08:03 PM
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Join Date: Apr 2003
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Yosemite, San Francisco Plans

Still working out the details for a 7-day (counting in and out of SFO) trip: How does this sound? Arrive SFO Friday 7/25, drive directly to Yosemite. Spend 3 nights hopefully inside the park (we know it's late to try and get anything), then on Monday drive to SFO. Fly out of SFO on Friday (8/1). This is 2 adults and 2 kids (12 & 16). Because it has taken awhile to nail down our plans, we haven't reserved any accomodations yet. Wawona Hotel in Yosemite has availability, but isn't the Valley "better?" We are not opposed to "simple" accomodations - don't need anything fancy, and would prefer to save $$$ where possible. But we could use help on 1)accomodations inside vs. outside Yosemite. If we are outside, the "park pass" is good for 7 days, right? One guidebook says the park can close unless you are staying inside, and we of course don't want to not get in at all. Is this true? 2) 3 nights Yosemite, 4 nights SFO, or vice versa? 3) SFO accomodation suggestions?
faye1 is offline  
May 30th, 2003, 08:20 PM
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If I were you I would spend 4 or 5 nights in Yosemite and 2 or 3 max in SF. There is so much to see, and also you will lose an entire day driving to and from Yosemite. I would reverse the order doing SF first and Yosemite last. Traffic heading toward Yosemite on a Friday will be terrible. If you can get the Yosemite Lodge in the valley it would be preferable to Wawona. However if Wawona is the only place that has rooms, I would go with that.
braham is offline  
May 31st, 2003, 10:32 AM
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You may have difficulties getting weekend accomodations in Yosemite. You might want to sandwich it between your stays in San Francisco.
Michael is offline  
May 31st, 2003, 02:12 PM
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As of right now this very minute there are rooms available at Curry Village in the tent cabins. Yes they are very rustic but I'd much rather put up with the spartan surroundings than stay outside the park. In fact it is kind of fun, like staying at a big summer camp. They have a pool, a couple of restaurants and a bar. I love the slide shows the show at night. If I were you I'd call soon.
viamar is offline  
May 31st, 2003, 02:17 PM
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Yes the Valley is better. The Wawona is very nice but it still quite a drive to Valley. Once in he Valley you can take the free bus around to all the trail heads. Nothing beats waking up in the morning a gazing up at Half Dome while sipping your morning coffee. Trust me.
viamar is offline  
May 31st, 2003, 03:02 PM
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I agree with Braham about considering reversing the order. Don't know where you're flying in from, but if its far, the drive will exhaust you, especially on a Friday. Also, if you're coming in late, I don't know if you want to be driving the long and winding cliff hanging road into Yosemite at night.

The Wawona is inside the park, but it's towards the South end on Hwy 41 rather than the West end, where you'll be coming from S.F.. It does have the advantage of having the last gas station before you go into the Valley (there is no longer a gas station in the Valley so MAKE SURE you fill up your tank at the last gas station you reach before entering the Valley).

Accommodations DO open up, like Viamar said. Over Memorial Day weekend, we waited until the last week, and were able to secure 1 night at the Ahwahnee and 1 night in the tent cabins. You will need the 4 person tent cabin or 2 of the 2 or 3 person cabins. After the Ahwahnee, but husband hated the tent cabins, but the kids and I were quite satisfied with them. They are clean with fresh sheets & towels, and toilets are showers are close by. Like Viamar said, it's like being at summer camp with the kids, without a campfire pit (pity). You can rent bikes, rent rafts to float down the river, and swim in the pool. Great pizza and ice cream at Curry Village; decent bar. I would jump on the free shuttle bus and head over to stop no. 3, the Ahwahnee for a late afternoon/early evening drink on their patio, which is truly an enjoyable experience. Say hi to Colleen the bartender.
Surfergirl is online now  
May 31st, 2003, 03:17 PM
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Errata as to "toilets are showers" -- should be "toilets and showers"!

I forgot one other thing -- about the reservations to get into the park. A few years ago they were restricting the no. of people going into the park and checked reservations during peak periods. The NPS has this plan to keep cars out of the Valley altogether, claiming there's too many cars and too much pollution caused by all the cars. Instead, they want to buy loads of gas guzzling busses to cart people from designated areas just outside the park into the park, which is vehemently opposed by the elderly, the day trippers, and the campers. In fact, there was a huge protest last weekend just outside the gates over this issue. I suspect the NPS wishes to prove its point, as it let everyone in without checking reservations who wanted in (at $20 a car), and 40,000 people were there over the weekend which caused, for the 1st time ever, gridlock for those who were leaving the park last Sunday night. Whether this was intentional or not and for some ulterior purpose, I really don't know. I do know, having spoken to campground hosts who spend the summer months there every year, this was the first time it's been bad like that.
Surfergirl is online now  
May 31st, 2003, 04:41 PM
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Wawona is a 45 minute drive from the valley. Outside hotels/motels may be much farther. Wawona is cute/quaint and worth the stay. I had a very bad time staying in Curry Village--the tents are very, very close to each other and I had some talkative neighbors that keep me up all night. You might want to book the Wawona and keep checking the lodging web site--last minute rooms do come up. I was able to get into the very hard to book Ahwanee two weeks before my last trip.
chucklesbythebay is offline  
May 31st, 2003, 07:18 PM
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In checking potential Yosemite reservations, we can get a 3-person tent at Curry Village, or a room at Wawona for 4. From everyone's comments, it sounds as if the Valley is the way to go, so perhaps we should book the 3-person tent with the hope of getting a 4-person (or perhaps 2 2-persons). Reservations will likely open up based upon previous comments, right? 3 of the 4 of us don't mind the tent at all, and Faye1 can probably come around too! It looks like it could be a fun family type of setting. What about El Portal, as we could get a room at Cedar Lodge, and supposedly it is only 10 minutes from the west entrance?
faye1 is offline  
May 31st, 2003, 07:26 PM
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Staying in the park is best, but if you can't, we stayed in El Portal at Yosemite View Lodge. It was right outside the park entrance and very clean and comfortable. Ask for a room by the river for a beautiful view. They also have an outdoor pool, altho it was too chilly and we were too tired when we got back to use it.
ellen_griswold is offline  
May 31st, 2003, 09:15 PM
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We stayed at Yosemite View Lodge just outside the park in El Portal in May 2001. We loved our stay there. Our room was huge, huge bathroom and balcony overlooking the river. Very close to the valley floor (about 15 mins). On the weekend, it was a little longer because of some traffic, but nothing unbearable. We paid about $150/night. The restaurant there was also pretty good. There is also another hotel there, Cedar Lodge, I think. It also looked ok, but not as nice as Yosemite View. I would prefer this area unless you are planning to do things on the other side of the park. Wawona was a very long drive away from the valley.
kmg is offline  
May 31st, 2003, 11:43 PM
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I would book the 3 person tent cabin with the expectation that another room will open up, as it did with us. We had 9 people, with 2 -3 person tent cabins. Then the last week, another room opened up. Check in is at 5 p.m., but I arrived at 10 and they got me all 3 together. By noon, one of the 3 had opened up for check-in, followed by the other 2. They ARE close to one another; my husband and my son and his friend were the loud mouths ChucklesbytheBay probably had to deal with (were you in tent 317?!?).

I'd stay at Wawona over Cedar Lodge. Wawona is really pretty, although frequented by the golfing people, since there's a small golf course across the road. Ever since those women were murdered at Cedar Lodge, it's left me with that Psycho kind of feeling, so I would be hard pressed to stay there.
Surfergirl is online now  
Jun 1st, 2003, 10:07 AM
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Yes reservation do open up. You might want to book 2 3 person cabins just in case. Also try calling reservations directly not just checking online. Last summer we had a tent cabin booked but I called 2 weeks before and was able to get a cabin (hard sided) w/out bath.

Last night we just happened to watch our home video of last years Yosemite trip and yes you want to stay in the Valley. Even on our TV screen it was amazingly beautiful! The rusticness of Curry Village is more than made up for by the beauty of the Valley. One of the best times we had last year was spending the afternoon in the Curry Village pool after a morning hike to Vernal Falls. What a view! I'm so jealous. We won't be going this year due to 2 family weddings this summer. But one is in Tahoe so it's not all bad!
viamar is offline  
Jun 3rd, 2003, 08:47 AM
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Book the curry village tent cabin and call everyday: things open up on a daily basis. Being right in the valley has a HUGE advantage over staying outside the park. You can get up in the morning and go for walks early and stay out late. Even though you have to pay for the call, I think you have the best luck with calling at this point rather than checking online constantly. Good luck, you will LOVE Yosemite. Take a swimsuit, there are great pools for swimming in the Merced River and it gets quite warm there (90's) in the summer. Chris
ChrisCal is offline  
Jun 3rd, 2003, 08:57 AM
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Another vote for staying in the valley if possible, in El Portal as a 2nd choice.
J_Correa is offline  
Jun 3rd, 2003, 10:12 AM
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Wawona is one of our favorite places. It is a slice of the past and yet very comfortable. Your kids should like the river in walking distance with fun river swimming. The ride to the main valley is lovely and Half Dome is before the valley. Wawona also has golf if you want it. The restaurant is adequate and there is a store nearby to buy food and stuff. We have stayed at Wawona in prefence to the other lodging.
Elainee is offline  
Jun 3rd, 2003, 10:52 AM
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Stay in the valley. Really. Trust me on this. If it is all possible, stay in the valley.

Also, you were wondering if the park closes at night, not that I know of. However, there's not much to see past sundown unless you go to one of the ranger talks. If you end up doing a lot more exercise than you're used to, early bedtime is quite welcome.

If you stay in the valley, make sure that everyone has a flashlight, not all walking paths are well lit.
BayArea is offline  
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