Welcome! Log In Create A New Profile Recent Posts
Pothole Dome (Tuolumne Meadows, Yosemite National Park)

The Moon is Waning Crescent (22% of Full)


Advanced

Re: Need Help Planning Short Notice/First Time Visit

All posts are those of the individual authors and the owner of this site does not endorse them. Content should be considered opinion and not fact until verified independently.

Need Help Planning Short Notice/First Time Visit
August 24, 2010 07:54PM
We are bringing my son to San Francisco on a last minute internship opportunity he received. We are driving him out so he has a car and decided to visit Yosemite. After watching the Ken Burns series on the National Parks we all knew we had to take the opportunity to see Yosemite. We have had no time to properly plan and want to experience the park for the 3 days we plan on being there. We are from Minneapolis and will be coming into the park from the North East side on Highway 140 sometime Tuesday morning August 31st and leaving late in the afternoon on September 2nd. So we have basically 2.5 days to take in as much as possible. I have made a reservation at a motel in Mariposo that can be cancelled if I receive suggestions for staying somewhere else assuming availability. We are looking for suggestions on maximizing our limited time and things to avoid. Feel free to suggest things such as sites that can't be missed, times to visit to minimize crowds etc. Anything you can suggest will be greatly appreciated. This is not the way I like to plan a trip but due to the circumstances we need to reach out and ask for help. Thank you in advance your your help.
Matt Haviland and Family
avatar Re: Need Help Planning Short Notice/First Time Visit
August 24, 2010 08:08PM
Can't be missed and minimizing crowds may be somewhat mutually exclusive. There are great places to visit (Clouds Rest comes to mind) that aren't crowded, but that would mean either a long and strenuous day hike or a backpacking trip. However - I think a drive along Tioga Road to Tuolumne Meadows and back might be a good place to start. There are great places to stop like Olmstead Point and Tenaya Lake. The mosquitos are supposedly out in force however.

I'd really just recommend checking out the sites in Yosemite Valley like El Capitan, Half Dome, Yosemite Falls (anyone know how much water there is now?), and Bridalveil Fall.

You might try taking a short hike. The hike from Happy Isles to Vernal Fall via the Mist Trail is really spectacular. I think Vernal looks even better when the water level isn't that full. That hike is 3 miles round trip, although it is crowded and steep at points. However - you could probably do it in 2.5 hours if you and your son are in reasonably good shape. It's going to be reasonably warm (maybe highs at 80ºF) during your visit.

You'd be hard pressed to find a place to stay on short notice in Yosemite unless you're camping and can secure a first-come, first-served campsite.
avatar Re: Need Help Planning Short Notice/First Time Visit
August 24, 2010 08:53PM
My suggestion would be to try and find accomodations in El Portal instead.
It's closer and you will avoid a windy drive to Mariposo.

Try to get to Glacier Point for a sunset and also check out the Tuolumne Grove.
Other than that you will find plenty to go oooo and ahhh over in the valley.
Lower Yose Falls, Vernal, Bridalveil.... just go and explore...
Don't worry about crowds. Just expect them. It's just too beautiful for it
to interfere too much with the enjoyment of the place IMO.
You may also want to just sit in El Cap meadow and stare up at it...

Have fun
avatar Re: Need Help Planning Short Notice/First Time Visit
August 24, 2010 08:54PM
Quote
bill-e-g
you will avoid a windy drive to Mariposo.

As in lots of curves not moving air?
avatar Re: Need Help Planning Short Notice/First Time Visit
August 24, 2010 08:57PM
Quote
eeek
Quote
bill-e-g
you will avoid a windy drive to Mariposo.

As in lots of curves not moving air?

Some would say that drive blows....
Re: Need Help Planning Short Notice/First Time Visit
August 24, 2010 09:02PM
Thanks all for the great info....
avatar Re: Need Help Planning Short Notice/First Time Visit
August 24, 2010 09:07PM
I guess should ask where exactly you entering the park from?

North East? 140? That would be rather difficult.

You mean from the West on 140, no?
avatar Re: Need Help Planning Short Notice/First Time Visit
August 24, 2010 09:09PM
El Portal is 30 miles closer to the Arch Rock entrance than Mariposo...
Re: Need Help Planning Short Notice/First Time Visit
August 25, 2010 01:09PM
Yes we are coming in from the West on 140.
avatar Re: Need Help Planning Short Notice/First Time Visit
August 25, 2010 06:07AM
Just a short note about the Sequoia Groves...
I mentioned Tuolumne Grove and not Mariposo Grove due to the fact
that from what I was told this year ... getting to the Mariposo Grove
can take some significant commitment. The lot is perhaps closed?
And you have to take a shuttle bus?
A friend just spent a few days staying in Wawona and even they
didn't go to the Mariposo Grove. They mentioned the 2 ? above as facts.

Have fun
Re: Need Help Planning Short Notice/First Time Visit
August 25, 2010 08:16AM
The worst crowds in the valley are at the grocery store and restaurants. Bring picnic supplies and anything you need from outside the Valley. I would not miss a meal at the Ahwahnee, though. Breakfast is the best and most reasonable. I would also not miss Glacier Point and a short hike to the top of Sentinel Dome. Go early in the morning or later in the afternoon. Check the Yosemite web site for road construction updates: Yosemite National Park.
Re: Need Help Planning Short Notice/First Time Visit
August 25, 2010 07:27PM
Book (in advance by calling) the Valley Floor Tour. IMO this is a very good introduction for the first timer. It is about 2 hours and is given in an open air tram by a knowledgeable tour guide. Do it first if you can.

Then hike up to Vernal Fall as suggested. In the afternoon you'll see a rainbow at the base of the fall if there is enough spray.

Another must do, IMO, is to rent a raft at Curry Village and take a lazy trip down the Merced. Bring a lunch and beach the raft to make the trip longer. (This is seasonal, dependent on water level) This can take anywhere from 2 hours to 4 hours, depending on how long you linger. On the same day, take a swim in the Merced.

Skip the hike to Mirror Lake, which will be a meadow this time of year, it's really not all it's hyped up to be.

Go to the base of Yosemite Falls and Bridalveil falls, both easy, 10 minute walks.

Have breakfast in the great dining hall at the Ahwahnee, no reservations needed, and not terribly expensive.

Rent bikes at Curry Village and bike around the valley on the bike trails.

Visit the Ansel Adams gallery in the Village.

That is my short list of must do's in the Valley.

Then of course, go to Glacier Point. If time, hike to Sentinal Dome.

Outside the valley, there is the Mariposa Grove of big trees, Toulumne Meadows, etc, but with only 2.5 days, you might not get to those places.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 08/25/2010 07:28PM by hotrod4x5.
avatar Re: Need Help Planning Short Notice/First Time Visit
August 25, 2010 08:33PM
Quote
hotrod4x5
Then hike up to Vernal Fall as suggested. In the afternoon you'll see a rainbow at the base of the fall if there is enough spray.

In September?
Re: Need Help Planning Short Notice/First Time Visit
August 26, 2010 05:45AM
Quote
eeek
Quote
hotrod4x5
Then hike up to Vernal Fall as suggested. In the afternoon you'll see a rainbow at the base of the fall if there is enough spray.

In September?
Ya, I should have bolded the word IF. You're right, it'll be pretty small and there won't be any spray for a rainbow. But still a worthwhile hike.
avatar Re: Need Help Planning Short Notice/First Time Visit
August 26, 2010 01:47PM
Quote
hotrod4x5
Quote
eeek
Quote
hotrod4x5
Then hike up to Vernal Fall as suggested. In the afternoon you'll see a rainbow at the base of the fall if there is enough spray.

In September?
Ya, I should have bolded the word IF. You're right, it'll be pretty small and there won't be any spray for a rainbow. But still a worthwhile hike.

The Merced can get very low:


http://yosemitephotos.net/main.php/v/yosemite/sh-20061110235352.jpg.html
Re: Need Help Planning Short Notice/First Time Visit
August 26, 2010 09:28AM
Thank you very much hotrod... I will follow your suggestions. We are staying in Curry Village in the hard sided tent so this should all be doable.
Re: Need Help Planning Short Notice/First Time Visit
August 26, 2010 02:17PM
If the water is as low as in Eeek's photo, then the rafting will be closed. You'll have to play that one by ear.
avatar Re: Need Help Planning Short Notice/First Time Visit
August 26, 2010 02:56PM
Quote
hotrod4x5
If the water is as low as in Eeek's photo, then the rafting will be closed. You'll have to play that one by ear.

Rafting usually closes in late July.
Re: Need Help Planning Short Notice/First Time Visit
August 26, 2010 05:13PM
Quote
eeek
Quote
hotrod4x5
If the water is as low as in Eeek's photo, then the rafting will be closed. You'll have to play that one by ear.

Rafting usually closes in late July.
I never paid attention to when it closes. I have done it once in early July, it was fun, we did it two days in a row.

So anyway, to the OP, put that on your list for next time.
avatar Re: Need Help Planning Short Notice/First Time Visit
August 28, 2010 08:00AM
Vernal looked like this yesterday:

Re: Need Help Planning Short Notice/First Time Visit
August 28, 2010 10:22AM
Quote
bill-e-g
Vernal looked like this yesterday:

Nice shot, I see a rainbow in the mist.
avatar Re: Need Help Planning Short Notice/First Time Visit
August 29, 2010 07:56AM
Thx. I think the one from Liberty Cap is much more interesting...

How about this:

avatar Re: Need Help Planning Short Notice/First Time Visit
August 28, 2010 08:31AM
Here's Nevada from top of the Cap.

Yose Falls is completely dry now btw...

Sorry, only registered users may post in this forum.

Click here to login