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Re: Crowds in late June - how to beat them?

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Crowds in late June - how to beat them?
March 13, 2012 02:36PM
Hi all,

I will be in Lower Pines in late June for four nights, and don't like big crowds (I know, they will be there regardless). Do a lot of people drive in/out each day, thereby making the crowds smaller in the early morning? , or before sunset? Do the crowds peak at a certain time each day at the main tourist spots?

I will be with my wife and two girls (4 and 6), so know that long family hikes (more than 3 miles round trip) are out of the question. I would like to get one or two in by myself though (more like 10 or so miles). Any recommendations?

Thanks!
avatar Re: Crowds in late June - how to beat them?
March 13, 2012 03:08PM
Early morning can be very good even in June.
avatar Re: Crowds in late June - how to beat them?
March 13, 2012 03:12PM
Since you're staying in Lower Pines, your campground will be crowded mornings and evenings since the campsites are pretty much right up against one another in the Lower Pines campground. (Just giving you a heads-up.)

If you hate crowds, avoid all these trails between the hours of 9:00 AM and 6:00 PM:

The John Muir Trail (from Happy Isle)
The Mist Trail
The trail (road) to Mirror Lake
The Lower Yosemite Falls Trail
The Upper Yosemite Falls Trail



Trails that during the day won't be that crowded (though there definitely will be other people on the trails):

The Valley Loop Trail (west of Yosemite Lodge and Swinging Bridge)
The Four Mile Trail.
The Pohono Trail
The trails to Sentinel Rock and Taft Point.
The Panorama Trail (though it ends at the junction with the John Muir Trail which will probably be crowded).


There are also a couple of old abandoned roads (the Old Big Oak Flat Road, and the Old Wawona Road) you are allowed to hike on from the valley floor that won't have too many people on them either.

Also, remember that you're free to travel off trail (unless an area has been posted off-limits by signs) in Yosemite, including Yosemite Valley. Just parking in the western half of Yosemite Valley at a designated paved pullout and walking no more than 100 feet will take you away from 99% of all the park visitors.
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Re: Crowds in late June - how to beat them?
March 13, 2012 03:19PM
My family are late sleepers and I'm not, so I usually take off early in the morning and the Valley at that time is all yours. Even as late as 8 a.m I've been almost the only person on the Lower Falls trail/walk. What campsite do you have in Lower Pines? I find that Lower Pines (in general) is the least crowded (drive in) campground in the Valley. Get up early and enjoy the Valley.
Re: Crowds in late June - how to beat them?
March 14, 2012 09:57AM
We got spot 38. It looks amazing!
avatar Re: Crowds in late June - how to beat them?
March 13, 2012 08:37PM
I prefer the chick-on method of going where the crowds aren't. However that usually entails going in inclement weather, strenuous trails and cross country. I wouldn't recommend that (except cross county) with small children. Early morning is the way to go, if you can get them up early. If you're willing to go off the beaten path a bit, you can leave most of the crowds behind. I'd definitely take plawrence up on the suggestion of the abandoned roads and you'll ditch the crowds. Enjoy your stay.
avatar Re: Crowds in late June - how to beat them?
March 13, 2012 09:16PM
Expect crowds...make it fun for the kids or else they won't want be excited to go back...and you want them to want to go back...good kid stuff...indian caves (sorry not pc - but that's the old name for the rock piles below Washington Column)...getting soaked by waterfall spray at either Bridalveil or Yosemite Falls (bring a towel the water is cold!)...any of the kid related ranger programs...hanging out at the great room at the Ahwahnee Hotel-a nice place for a picnic lunch.....watch for mosquitoes, they can make life miserable (especially for kids) if you are not prepared...best hikes for you, I would recommend either the Old Big Oak Flat Road up to Rainbow View (an abandoned trail, a bit sketchy in places but great views and little to no peeps) or the longer 4 mile trail/Panorama Cliffs/John Muir (or alternatively Mist) Trail to Happy Isles...a butt kicker but a classic. Probably more than 10 miles but still a long day hike...lots of vertical.
Re: Crowds in late June - how to beat them?
March 14, 2012 05:33AM
Quote
Bearproof
I would recommend either the Old Big Oak Flat Road up to Rainbow View

I agree that the OBOFR is a great hike but, unless your kids are VERY agile, I wouldn't do this one with them. There are quite a few rockfalls that have to be scrambled over. If you're looking to do something with the kids, the old Wawona Road from Bridalveil up to Inspiration Point is a much better choice (although that might be a bit far for them...about 5 miles RT). . You'll have to scramble over around some downed trees but that might be fun for the kids and you're not likely to meet anyone on this road (at least not until you get to IP...the Pohono Trail goes right past IP and there probably will be people coming up that way...given the amount of overgrowth at IP these days, the views are better coming up the road anyway). Only caveat here is to start early as the closest parking is at BV falls and that will be packed once the regular crowds get out of bed.
I concur that the west loop trail is nice, mostly flat and, in spite of being parallel to North & Southside Drives, you'll probably have much of it to yourself.

P.S. Just re-read Bearproof's post before posting this message and realized he was recommending OBOFR for you, not the kids. As you can tell from my opening comments, I agree! Search for posts about that route if you think you might do it. There's at least one slightly tricky bit shortly before you get to Rainbow View.
Re: Crowds in late June - how to beat them?
March 14, 2012 09:03AM
Great tips all, thanks!
Re: Crowds in late June - how to beat them?
March 14, 2012 09:39AM
If you are going to beat them, would you rather not have bruises show? then maybe a 2 by 4 to the midsection. If you don't care then maybe a baseball bat.
Re: Crowds in late June - how to beat them?
March 14, 2012 10:57AM
38 is a great site...basically river-side, except for the fence, but it has a break in it behind your campsite where you can wade in the river. Some shade but pretty wide open too so you may want to bring an easy up for shade. It's one of the top sought after sites in Lower Pines. Great view of Half Dome too. Here's a site for pics. of your campsite:

http://tinkhamroad.com/Pages/Yosemite/Yosemite-Lower-Pines.aspx
Re: Crowds in late June - how to beat them?
March 14, 2012 11:10AM
I hadn't seen that site yet, thanks! I had been using this: http://yosemitecampsites.com/
avatar Re: Crowds in late June - how to beat them?
March 14, 2012 12:55PM
I've got to agree with Tom, you got one of the best campsites in Lower Pines.

Generally speaking, the bulk of Lower Pines campsites are too close together for my taste, but not #38. You got a great site. Enjoy!
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avatar Re: Crowds in late June - how to beat them?
March 14, 2012 02:33PM
Wow, that is a hell of a campsite.
Re: Crowds in late June - how to beat them?
March 14, 2012 08:12PM
No crowds really until 8:00 am and after, even in July or August. If you get up at 4:45, you can have the Valley Floor all to yourself. And if you say, "I'm a late sleeper," you should make an exception. Yosemite is a once in a lifetime experience for many! smiling smiley
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