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Re: Newcomer to Yosemite Needing help re; campsites

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Newcomer to Yosemite Needing help re; campsites
February 18, 2019 08:45AM
All;

We are arriving San Fran on 5/3 & will be in the area through 5/10, From Charleston SC.

We have rented a conversion van to sleep in & would like to stay in Yosemite for 2-3 days of this trip. Nothing has been scheduled yet.

Any advice for staying in the valley?

Any advice for other areas in Norcal to see? We are also contemplating Napa/Santa Rosa area as well as south on PCH from San Fran. Possibly Tahoe.

Any help is much appreciated. Thanks to all.

Jeremy & Allison
Re: Newcomer to Yosemite Needing help re; campsites
February 18, 2019 10:10AM
That's a lot of territory to cover in a week -- technically possible, but you would be driving, driving, and driving.

Yosemite Valley camping reservations are going to be a long shot at this point. Get on recreation.gov, if there is anything available in the valley schedule it immediately. You will be looking at Lower Pines, Upper Pines and North Pines. Outside the valley, but still in the park, Wawona or Hogdon Meadow are a possibility -- they are both about an hour drive from the Valley.

Another option is to not sleep in your van and stay at either Housekeeping Camp or Half Dome Village. Check availability for those on travelyosemite.com. Considerably more expensive than camping, but you may not have any other option.

Early May is prime time for Yosemite and you could easily spend your entire week there and be happy.
Re: Newcomer to Yosemite Needing help re; campsites
February 18, 2019 11:52AM
Thanks for your candidness.

All that I listed above were just potential options. Our itinerary is yet to be determined.

We have also considered just paying for lodging.. Yosemite may not be a realistic option for this trip.
Re: Newcomer to Yosemite Needing help re; campsites
February 18, 2019 03:28PM
There are other places to stay in Yosemite, particularly if you have a camping van. You don't have to stay in Yosemite Valley itself. If you drive to Yosemite from SF, you have to drive right past Hogdon Meadows and Crane Flat campgrounds, both of which are options. There may be some snow there, but it's only about 40 minutes from the Valley. Or the The Pines campground near Buck Meadows, (a USFS facility) that's about an hour from the Valley and even less expensive.



Balzaccom

follow our adventures, read our blog, or just to come hang out at our website: http://www.backpackthesierra.com/
avatar Re: Newcomer to Yosemite Needing help re; campsites
February 18, 2019 05:23PM
Quote
balzaccom
you have to drive right past Hogdon Meadows and Crane Flat campgrounds, both of which are options.

Considering the snowpack, I doubt Crane Flat will be open.
Re: Newcomer to Yosemite Needing help re; campsites
February 18, 2019 09:58PM
Yeah. May is early. If the snow keeps coming. And I hope it does!



Balzaccom

follow our adventures, read our blog, or just to come hang out at our website: http://www.backpackthesierra.com/
Re: Newcomer to Yosemite Needing help re; campsites
February 18, 2019 10:37PM
In early May, the waterfalls should be flowing in Yosemite. You'd be remiss to be in the SF area and not see the falls and Yosemite valley. So I would plan at a minimum taking one weekday (not Saturday or Sunday), getting up early (which should be easy to do as you'll have east coast jetlag for a few days), and do the 3-4 hour drive from the Bay area to Yosemite, even if you're only doing it for a day. If you get to the Valley before 7 AM, you won't have trouble parking, you can hike at least as far as Vernal Falls and if you want, go all the way to Nevada Falls (assuming the trail is open that far in early May), you can see Yosemite Falls and Bridalveil Falls, you can walk around the valley. If Glacier Point road is open, you can go there and hike around Sentinel Dome or hike the Panoroma Trail south from Glacier Point for about 20 minutes until you can see Vernal, Nevada and Illioutte Falls from one vantage point. I'm assuming Tioga Road across the park will still be closed, but you never know, if it's open it's worth driving across the park just for the views, even if you don't get out of your vehicle. At the end of the day you can stay in one of the campgrounds (Upper, Lower or North Pines in the Valley if you can get a reservation, Camp 4 walk-in camp in the valley if there's space, Hogdon Meadows or Wawona, or take a site in one of the national forest campgrounds around Yosemite if those are open, or take a hotel room in Oakhurst to the south).

Go to your public library and look as some books on Yosemite for more info. Jeffrey Shaffer's now-classic book on hikes in yosemite includes a description of what to do if you've only got one day to spend in the park.

As for other stuff, depends how much driving you want to do. There are other national parks and rec areas around there (Point Reyes and Muir Woods north of SF, Pinnacles to the south of SF, Lassen to the north of Yosemite, and of course Sequoia and Kings Canyon south of Yosemite). Might be worth getting a national parks pass, which is good for a year and still a steal at $80 if you visit several parks over the course of the year. Plus there are state parks in the area (e.g. Mt. Tamalpais, Mt. Diablo, Great Basin Redwoods park near Santa Clara).
Re: Newcomer to Yosemite Needing help re; campsites
February 19, 2019 06:42AM
OP has a week. My head hurts just thinking about al that stuff. So does my butt from sitting the in car that long.

Aim for Yosemite: it's a crown jewel. And make it work.



Balzaccom

follow our adventures, read our blog, or just to come hang out at our website: http://www.backpackthesierra.com/
Re: Newcomer to Yosemite Needing help re; campsites
February 19, 2019 01:13PM
We have booked two nights in Yosemite Valley, Wed & Thurs @ Housekeeping Camp.

So.....

We could be there Wed, Thursday & part of the day Friday. Our flight leaves out on Saturday AM from SFO.

We know we want to spend some time in San Fran. Probably Friday after we arrive & Saturday.

Leaving Sunday - Wed to fill in the gap.

Two options it seems, North or South of the City..

PCH north (Muir Woods, point Reyes, Bodega & driving through Napa, Santa Rosa (Russion River Brewing) on way to Yosimite seems like a good option.

That said, Monterrey, Big Sur, etc seems just as compelling.

I don't have a clue to be honest. Its so overwhelming to put together.

Oh, we ditched the van camper for a jeep.. So lodging would have to be accounted for. I am thinking 300 per night average.

Thanks to all for your help. We can double back to a 2.5 day itinerary for Yosemite.

Anymore thoughts, suggestions on what you would do?
Re: Newcomer to Yosemite Needing help re; campsites
February 20, 2019 09:49AM
Quote
cantrell00
Leaving Sunday - Wed to fill in the gap.

Realistically, looks like you have Monday and Tuesday as you head to Yosemite on Wednesday. It's about 4 hours drive from the bay area. If you are more into wineries and breweries, you can do north Point Reyes/Napa/Russian River or if you are more into coast and sunsets (not so common in the east cost), go for Big Sur/Carmel/Monterey.

Either way, you gonna have a blast!
Re: Newcomer to Yosemite Needing help re; campsites
February 20, 2019 10:10AM
I think I will flip a coin.. LOL

I am a huge beer junkie, homebrewer, etc so I think odds are the North will win out.

I cannot be this close & not go to Russian River!

For those that have been to each, Is the PCH south of the bay area more awe inspiring than the stretch from Bodega to Tanner?

If there are strong similarities then it's probably a no brainer. Petuluma & Chico are pretty close too.
Re: Newcomer to Yosemite Needing help re; campsites
February 20, 2019 11:38AM
The Sonoma Coast from Bodega Bay to Jenner is spectacular with many options for beach access and hiking. Goat Rock on the north end and Bodega Head on the south are two places you may want to check out.

Point Reyes is amazing -- can easily spend an entire day there.

You could head north on Hwy 1 (not trying to be snarky, but we don't call it the PCH in northern CA) see the Golden Gate Bridge, head into Point Reyes, keep going up the Sonoma Coast to Jenner and then go east to Santa Rosa on River Road. Check out all the pubs that interest you in the Healdsburg/Santa Rosa/Petaluma area (Bear Republic/Russian River/Lagunitas) and then drive south to Yosemite.

Armstrong Redwoods in Guerneville (along River Road) is a great alternative to Muir Woods. I would recommend seeing the Coast Redwoods there and then seeing the Giant Sequoias in Yosemite's Mariposa Grove.
Re: Newcomer to Yosemite Needing help re; campsites
February 20, 2019 12:05PM
many thanks!
Re: Newcomer to Yosemite Needing help re; campsites
February 20, 2019 05:31PM
Quote
cantrell00

I cannot be this close & not go to Russian River!
For those that have been to each, Is the PCH south of the bay area more awe inspiring than the stretch from Bodega to Tanner?
If there are strong similarities then it's probably a no brainer. Petuluma & Chico are pretty close too.

And then you'll have to decide which Russian River brewery to visit. :-) The new one in Windsor is an impressive facility, but has no pizza. The old one is in downtown Santa Rosa, nothing special about the interior space, but it does have really good pizza. (I live less than ten minutes from the old one).

Forget about Petaluma and Chico. Chico is too far. And Petaluma, given the short amount of time you are here doesn't make the cut. If you like "cutesy" towns with nice stores and restaurants, both Sonoma and Healdsburg fit the bill.

Re: highway 1, I was just at the coast yesterday (Jenner and Bodega Bay) and it is beautiful. But I will also say that the coastal highway south of Santa Cruz is also beautiful. The coastline along Monterey, Carmel and Big Sur is really gorgeous. Northbay will be less crowded, which is a plus.

I also think San Francisco is worth at least a full day, if not more.

One last item as you plan your itinerary, bay area can have TERRIBLE traffic, especially highway 101 and the x80s in the east bay, but they are fairly predictable patterns. Use Google Maps and the time changing feature to do your planning.
Re: Newcomer to Yosemite Needing help re; campsites
February 21, 2019 08:58AM
Noted;

Chico & Petuluma were for Sierra Nevada, Laguinitas but not a big deal to me..

Bear Republic is the other..

We think we have changed our itinerary a bit. We are going south once we get our car, spend the night around big Sur & drive back north into san fran for a day or so & then continue north to Bodega Bay, then east through napa on our way to Yosemite on Wednesday.

We are finding places to stay along that route.
avatar Re: Newcomer to Yosemite Needing help re; campsites
February 25, 2019 02:37PM
Chico is kind of far away. I will say my beer of choice when I got back from my backpacking trip in 2007 was a tall Sierra Nevada Pale Ale with a mini pizza on the Curry Village Pizza Deck.

The advantage of the Russian River Brewery and brewpub in Windsor is that they actually have brewery tours. The brewpub in Santa Rosa has a few tanks, but I'm not sure if they even use those. The production brewery in Santa Rosa is in an industrial part of town and not open to the public. If you get anything there (probably several bottles) I'd recommend at least one bottle of Supplication, which is their brown sour ale aged in Pinot Noir casks with cherries.

If you want really good beer, the place to go is Berkeley. They have a variety of different places.......

The Sierra Nevada Torpedo Room, which is the only tasting room they have outside of their breweries in Chico and North Carolina.



https://sierranevada.com/brewery/california/torpedoroom

Fieldwork Brewing. This place is really special. They don't sell retail except for limited kegs sold to bars and restaurants. They have crowlers and cans, but only sold at their brewery and several satellite sites (Monterey, Napa, Sacramento, San Mateo, San Ramon).



https://fieldworkbrewing.com/berkeley/

Gilman Brewing. It's really close to Fieldwork.



http://www.gilmanbrew.com

The Rare Barrel. Their specialty is sours.



https://www.therarebarrel.com
Re: Newcomer to Yosemite Needing help re; campsites
February 28, 2019 06:41AM
Awesome info. Much appreciated...

I have been to their brewery in Mills River many times. Chico is not imperative.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 02/28/2019 06:42AM by cantrell00.
avatar Re: Newcomer to Yosemite Needing help re; campsites
February 28, 2019 09:53AM
Just to clarify, I looked up more info on Russian River Brewing, and they do have actual production at their Santa Rosa brewpub, The equipment isn't just for show.

Also - in Berkeley there's Trumer Pils, which makes an Austrian-style Pilsner. They're affiliated with the Austrian company with that name. They only make one beer though. There was Pyramid Breweries (based in the Seattle area), but they closed down a few years ago. However, Fieldwork, Gilman Brewing, and Trumer Pils are all within walking distance of each other. Also a few small wineries.
avatar Re: Newcomer to Yosemite Needing help re; campsites
February 20, 2019 10:25AM
this has information on campsites etc.... right now, the campsites are closed due to snow.

Yosemite camping info
Re: Newcomer to Yosemite Needing help re; campsites
February 20, 2019 02:24PM
I have driven highway 1 from SF both South and North probably 100 times. They are both stunning, but there is way more to do if you head North: breweries, wineries, restaurants, redwoods, etc. That's not to say that you can't find all of that stuff heading south, but Marin and Sonoma (and Napa, for that matter) have way more, and it's more accessible.



Balzaccom

follow our adventures, read our blog, or just to come hang out at our website: http://www.backpackthesierra.com/
avatar Re: Newcomer to Yosemite Needing help re; campsites
February 28, 2019 10:17AM
Point Reyes area is beautiful. Great hikes, generally low crowds (compared to many other places in the Bay Area). Point Reyes Station has some good cheese.
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