We loved it, after a good nights kip, we were ready to take on Yosemite. But just as we left Groveland, it started to snow.
And it got worse withing just a few miles. Partly as we climbed higher, but also it was Christmas time after all, and I told my wife before we left the UK, to expect deep snow in Yosemite at this time, so we should get ourselves a big vehicle that can cope with deep snow. Plus the vehicle would be great when we hit the dry area too and off road of course.
Well, the snow kept coming a people with cars were struggling, but we managed to make our way through. We came to place where the road had been closed while the snow was cleared by trucks, and we had to wait a few hours with a hundred or more other vehicles.
I just started to drive around the parking area, when all of a sudden they opened the road, and who do you think was first through when they did, that's right me :) and we were off again to enjoy the drive.
Yosemite National Park was wonderful and pretty, and cold too, but well worth the visit. Given a few more days here Im sure we would have seen lots more fantastic things, but we had to move on sadly.
I rated this free because once you have paid for park entrance, every attraction is accessible to you. The tunnel view is not to be missed. We went through the tunnel 5 times in a four day span, what does that tell you? It is NOT to be missed. Driving up to the tunnel, you see the falls in a distance, but once you come out of the tunnel, you are greeted with this beautiful view of the mountains and water falls in the distance.
This is the location of the most photographed pictures of Yosemite. Do not forget to carry your camera with, we actually found 2 wedding couples taking their timeless photographs here. the backdrop is picture perfect, iconic and classic.
It was a little crowded, but who could blame it on anything other than the three phenomena in one place? The dichotomy of land, water and sky is without a doubt the most beautiful thing you will see. I was in awe!
Nothing prepares you for the beautifully lit mile long tunnel you drive through to get to tunnel view point. The map indicated that we would need to go through the tunnel to get to Bridalveil Fall. The orange light in the tunnel creates an interesting feeling, I cannot quite describe what I felt driving through the tunnel. My daughter and husband however , were quite excited, they shouted at the top of their lungs as we drove through.
One of the more spectacular rock formations, Lost Arrow is easily found as it's adjacent to Yosemite Falls. This rock finger can also be seen in a spectacular way from above if one hikes to the top of Yosemite Falls.
There was a really fantastic poster made from a photograph of rock climbers strung on a rope between this column and the nearest wall. Wikipedia notes the following about the original ascents of this formation:
The spire was originally summited by lassoing the summit from the main wall and then Ax Nelson prusiked the lassoed line to the peak and was followed by Jack Arnold. While Steve Roper called this "one of the greatest rope stunts ever pulled off in climbing history" many climbers did not recognize this "rope trick" as a true ascent. An undisputed ascent was completed later that season by John Salathé and Ax Nelson via the Lost Arrow Spire Chimney.
This under appreciated falls just east of Yosemite Falls is actually easy to see and quite spectacular in early to late spring. This is actually a cascade falls 1,180 feet (360 m) of world class status, meaning that it is a very steep and long flow or fall that's obstructed by steep rock face. This falls is the only one that retains its original Yosemite Indian name. This falls is very hard to photograph because it's in a deep canyon that tends to hide it in equally deep shadow.
Ansel Adams spent a lot of time in Yosemite producing his classic B&W photographic prints. At this studio, you can buy prints of his work, or you can purchase prints from other photographers, many of whom produce stunning color images. This is a great place to browse if nothing else.
The Miwok Indian Village was inhabited by Indians well into the 20th century, natives of Yosemite who by that time served to educate visitors about the place they called Ahwahnee. Today, the village is abandoned and part of the museum complex. Children will appreciate the cedar bark houses.
Meanwhile, inside the museum on many days is veteran Miwok Indian basket weaver, Julia Parker. Although she sits and weaves baskets, appearing like a old Indian woman, Julia is highly educated and has taught many other how to weave. She has several large baskets on display that took years to make.
I have a video clip of her lecture here on VT.
Here is some info directly from the web sit. You can ask by email or better yet, just give them a call. I have on many occasions when I was concerned about roads conditions and when is the best time to visit:
If you can't find the answer to your question, please send us an email. If you know the dates you will visit, please include them.
We usually reply to emails within one week. If you need information sooner, call us from 9 am to 5 pm Pacific Time (closed for lunch) at 209/372-0200; press 3 then 5. If the ranger is not available, you'll be returned to the phone tree's main menu.
If you are asking for us to mail information to you, we may not reply to your email. You should receive items in the mail within a few weeks.
Email us to ask a question or make a comment
(please include dates or season of your visit, if applicable)
You can also visit us on Facebook or follow @YosemiteNPS on Twitter to ask a simple question or to stay in touch with what's happening in the park.
Request printed information to be sent by postal mail
(e.g., trip planner, publications, brochures for school projects, etc.)
Contact Lost & Found
(please include address and phone number; we will only contact you if we find your item or if we have more questions)
You can also send a letter to:
Public Information Office
P.O. Box 577
Yosemite, CA 95389
Fern Spring is often dry in summers, but during April of 2011, it was misty and green as it should be. This flow of water may not seem particularly significant, and visitors often rush past it on the way to Bridal Veil Falls, but note that there is no apparent source for the flow of water. Thus, Fern Spring is a true artesian spring straight from a rock aquifer.
I recommend going for the all-day rental at $25 a day. This was a perfect way to explore Yosemite Valley and a wonderful way to get some great photo ops. Later on you can go back and decide which paths merit closer exploration on foot - and get in some hiking.
We rode on paved roads, dirt paths, and through designated areas of the valley; over bridges and all over.
There are a variety of camping sites to stay at in the park depending how much do you want to rough it or not. We have taken our tent and stayed at various camps over the years and have always been happy with the sites as far as space from other campers, clean restrooms and the occasional visit from the rangers who make a point to educate the campers about the bears. So make a point to got listen. Oh and they are not kidding here when they say: " From April through September, reservations are essential and even the first-come, first-served sites often fill by noon from May through September" It is a very well visited park and very much cherished by Californians! Check out the website for conditions, seasons, and camping sites
To make a campground reservation, call (800) 436-PARK (7275). If you are calling from outside the U.S. or Canada, call (301) 722-1257. The TDD number for the hearing-impaired is (888) 530-9796
The park is a great place to listen to the sound of rushing water. I love that sound. The Merced River runs through the Valley and offers great views and for the more adventurous, some leisurely to moderate rafting opportunities between approximately June and July.
NOTE: This was a response to a question here on VT. Welcome to VT. My wife and I spent 3 days in the Yosemite area the last part of October, so here is what I can tell you from personal experience.
First in regards to your hotel. Here is a link for you to check out. This is the Cedar Lodge located in El Portal about 8 miles from one of the Yosemite entrances. My wife and I stayed in Mariposa about 45 minutes away in a bed and breakfast, but we did pass this place by on the way to the park and checking their website I saw that it will meet your requirements.
On our first day in Yosemite, we drove from our B and B to Yosemite and arrived around 11:00 a.m. We drove through the valley, took lots of pictures, saw some of the waterfalls and had a late lunch in the fancy lodge in the valley (very expensive place to stay). After lunch we drove up to Glacier Point. It takes about 45 minutes to drive straight to the top without stopping, so if you stop and take pictures at various points you could take up to 2 hours. We were up at the top for sunset which was spectacular. The road is very winding and curving so if you don't like driving those types of roads at night (I'm from Illinois so I know how flat Indiana roads are also) you probably want to confine that trip to the daytime hours. There are several spots to stop and take pictures, but I would say the teenagers would love getting to the top more then anything else. I would also say to drive up yourself rather then take the bus so you can explore a bit (we've got 4 children, all grown and I know that is what they would have liked.
The second day we went to another part of the park to the Mariposa Groves and saw the giant Sequois. We didn't have a lot of time to spend here so we just walked around a bit. They have a tram ride that will take you on a guided tour. If we had had more time I think we would have taken that.
I would give yourself 2 full days to take in both those parts of the park, but if you needed to do only a day and a half, I would do the valley and Glacier point in one full day and the Mariposa Grove for half of the next day.
Yellowstone was the nation's first national park; but Yosemite followed close behind it attaining national park status 18 years later in 1890. Yosemite is one of the best parks to visit with a variety of interesting things to see, lots of facilities and lots of special activities. Start at one of the visitor centers to get maps of the parks, informative brochures and to consult a ranger about recommendations on how to best enjoy the park. This is one park where you can spend a few weeks and not get bored. I came here in very late May 2010 when the roads are supposed to be open for the summer season, however, there was a lot of snow the previous winter and many parts of the park were still closed. I mostly just toured the Yosemite Valley area (which was very nice). I must return again sometime later in the summer.
24 hours would not be enough to enjoy much more than just a taste of Yosemite. But I guess a taste is better than nothing :).
Given a chance, I would try to get accommodations in the park itself in Yosemite Lodge at the Falls or Curry Village. But I also understand that its very difficult to secure accommodations in the park because its so in demand.
All around the valley, the views would be amazing. I would try to get a parking spot as soon as I get in the valley and then take the free shuttle to get around so I could concentrate on the wonderful views and not worry about finding a parking spot every time I want to take in a magnificent vista (which is going to be very often. If you are driving around the valley, it will not be unusual to want to spot every 5 minutes or so just to take pictures). Go down every shuttle stop to explore a little and take small walks around. You can even take the free shuttle to Mariposa Grove of Giant Sequioas down south (If driving, it may take an hour from the valley and parking spots are a little limited down there).
After that and going back to the valley, I would take the car and drive up to Glacier Point. This is a wonderful place which shows panoramic views of the major sites of the valley and the park. You cannot miss this. I like going there in the afternoon near sunset because I like to listen to the Ranger sunset talk, which is very interesting. This takes about an hour's drive from the valley so be sure to get there before sunset. I've had friends before who miscalculated and got there after dark when its difficult to see the views :)
I would squeeze in at least one hike in your itinerary. I would suggest the Mist Trail which provides fabulous views. This would take about 2 to 3 hours, depending on how you pace yourself, but it is so rewarding. If you guys could wake up earlier the next day, this would be a wonderful start to your day.
After the hike, I would suggest going to the High Country. A drive through Tioga Road is unforgettable (I would not want to be the driver, though, hehe. I would not want to miss the breathtaking scenery). You will mass through beautiful meadows, lovely lakes, massive granite structures - ah just breathtaking. If you had more time, it would be great to explore this wonderful area, but with limited time, a drive would have to do ;) This could also be a nice way to end your Yosemite trip :)
Enjoy your trip! Maybe plan a longer one next time? :)
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