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Top Tours

 
2-Day Yosemite National Park Winter Tour from San Francisco
"Immerse yourself in the beauty and solitude of Yosemite National Park in the winter with this 2-day tour from San Francisco. Throughout your trip your guide will teach you about the history of Yosemite and give you great advice on how to get the most out of your time in the park.""""Escape to the snow-capped mountains of Yosemite National Park from San Francisco for two full days. Take a coach tour of Yosemite Valley with your guide and enjoy various activities during your free time such as hiking and snowshoeing. Soak in views o Yosemite is said to be best in the winter months!Likely to Sell Out: Rooms at the Yosemite Lodge often sell out months in advance. Reserve early to avoid disappointment"title=Highlights&1=2-day+winter+tour+of+Yosemite+National+Park+from+San+Francisco&2=Take+a+coach+tour+of+spectacular+Yosemite+Valley+and+enjoy+views+of+famous+sites+such+as+Half+Dome&3=Stay+overnight+at+the+cozy+Yosemite+Lodge+at+the+Falls&4=Choose+from+a2 days / 1 night
From $473.00
 
Yosemite In A Day Tour from San Francisco
"The tour begins with a pick-up at your hotel or in front of The Parc 55 Hotel in one of our comfortable vans. We will then drive east across the San Francisco Bay Bridge with views of San Francisco Alcatraz and the Golden Gate Bridge. We will continue on through the Central Valley (San Joaquin Valley) of California. The Central Valley is the largest food growing region in the United States. We will drive past almond walnut cherry and other fruit and nut orchards. After making a quick stop for snacks we will continue on into the Sierra Nevada foothills and California’s gold country where we will drive through the historic gold country town of Groveland California and finally into the mountains and Yosemite National Park.Once in the park
From $140.00
 
Yosemite National Park and Giant Sequoias Trip
"Your journey begins with a convenient pickup at your hotel. You'll cross the San Francisco Bay Bridge en route to the Sierra Nevada mountain range driving through gold rush towns as your guide carries you back to the era of the old West.In the late morning enter Yosemite National Park where you'll take a guided walk. Visit the Tuolumne Grove (weather permitting) and be amazed by the size of the redwood trees in Yosemite's largest grove. Let the serene surroundings of the forest recharge your energy. Stop a watch for rock climbers as they daringly make their way to the summit. In the springtime marvel at the tallest waterfall in the park Yosemite Falls.After you may explore Yosemite Valley on your own. For lunch
From $159.00

Driving / Traffic Tips (22)

Try not to speed

Getting to and from Yosemite is a long drive from most places, and drivers tend to get ansty and want to drive fast by the time they're at the park (or readying to leave). Most of the time, in the valley, there are only two lanes, and lots of people and ANIMALS walking near or on the road.

Please try to be patient, not speed and keep an eye out for "scamperoffs" (the creatures that jump on the road and dash off quickly).

jessicadf's Profile Photo
jessicadf
Sep 01, 2004

Road hazards

Yosemite's roads are filled with debris such as tree limbs and the occasional falling rock. I'm not exactly sure what ripped a hole in this tire, but it surely put and end to sightseeing that day.

If you find yourself in a similar situation, please note that there are no full service gas stations or other facilities within 30 miles of Yosemite. The closest place to get a new tire is Oakhurst, south of Yosemite, no matter what the rangers may tell you. Yosemite Village has a gas station and can change a tire, but if its a serious repair, you're out of luck.

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goingsolo
Sep 07, 2004

Chain control taken seriously

For many years, we have driven our 4WD all over the Sierras in the worst winter conditions and have never needed or been required to put on chains. However, it is a different story when you get to Yosemite after a snowstorm.

As we approached the Park, we noticed a very long backup of traffic. It was all due to the chain control. I have the deepest respect for our Park Rangers, but they were under some weird mandate. The signs approaching the Park said "4 wheel drive ok", but the sign was apparently meaningless, because the Ranger said we could not go into the park without chains. We were told we could purchase chains from the chain installer in the parking lot for $60 and he would install them for another $25. If we didn't do this, we would have to drive back to Mariposa (1 hour) or possibly Merced (1-1/2 hours) to look for chains. Then we would have to wait in the long line again to get into the park.

Well, Murphy's law. As soon as it was our turn to buy chains, the guy was all out. At this point, driving to Mariposa or Merced was not attractive. So, instead we slunk out of the parking lot and drove on to our hotel in the Park. Miracle of miracles, the roads were completely plowed and sanded, the weather was sunny, the roads are flat and we never slid once.

Next time, however, we will bring chains. We didn't particularly like setting the example of scofflaws in front of our young impressionable teenagers, who no doubt will turn to a life of crime because of this experience.

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karenincalifornia
Jan 07, 2004

Snow Chains

Yosemite is absolutely gorgeous in winter and I highly recommend visiting during the off season of January and February but be aware of road conditions. Yosemite can pick up a lot of snow in the winter and whenever there is snow on the road, chain requirements are in effect. There are three levels of chain control:
R1 - Snow tires or chains required. Your vehicle must be equipped with one of these.
R2 - Chains required on all vehicles except 4-wheel-drive vehicles with snow tires.
R3 - Chains required on all vehicles, no exceptions.
When chain control is in effect, rangers generally monitor the roads to make sure people obey. Failing to obey will result in hefty fines. In fact, if you choose to drive without chains and are in an accident or slide off the road, you are responsible for any damages to property or resources. All visits are required to carry chains in their cars if in Yosemite National Park between November 1 and March 31, no exceptions. Chains may be required at any time. Chains can be rented in the park but it's expensive. Rent chains in Mariposa or Oakhurst, it's much cheaper.

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Ischyros
Dec 13, 2003
 
 
Sponsored Listings

Hotels Near Yosemite National Park

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9005 Ahwahnee Drive, Yosemite National Park, California, 95389, United States
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Yosemite Valley, 9005 Southside Dr., , California, 95389, United States
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9010 Curry Village Drive, , California, 95389, United States
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P.O. Box 578, Yosemite National Park, , California, 95389, United States
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33160 Evergreen Rd., , Groveland, California 95321
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11136 Highway 140, PO Box D, El Portal, California, 95318, United States
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Road Construction

You may want to check the National Park Service website for road construction and/or closures. When visiting in late May, early June the asphalt roads in Yosemite Valley were being slurry sealed and it was common for one lane to be closed off. Delays were from 5 to 30 minutes and a few times I turned off my engine if it appeared to be a long wait. Not sure if they were trying to complete the roads before the height of the summer season or if construction is on-going.

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annk
Jun 15, 2005

Slow down for wildlife!

If you're frustrated by the 35 mph signs on roads in the park and would like to go faster, remember that the speed limit is to protect wildlife, not you; national parks don't just preserve scenery, but the everything natural within its borders. Deer and other animals react with bad judgement when they see cars coming, and speeding will not give them enough time to escape. If you hit a deer, not only will the animal die, your car will be heavily damaged. Also, on Tioga Road, slow down for bears! Every red bear sign you see on the roadside signifies that a bear was hit and killed by a car there. Remember that this is their home and not yours.

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chewy3326
Jul 05, 2006

Crazy drivers

such a madness!!!! this is a proper word to identify how so many people drive their cars, vans o RV. I guess that max speed is 40 or 45 miles per hour because there are some risk of bear crossing...actually main cause of bears death is for drivers who run over them. So almost nobody respect that speed .. no paying attention laws and wildlife.. its a pitty and I shame on them

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DPando
Apr 21, 2008

Extremely Vast

You can't help but feel tiny when visiting Yosemite. The surrounding rock faces and sheer size of the park account for that meager feeling. The vastness will certainly be an amazing feeling but a few problems arise from it.
1. With everything so far away (30-40 miles from park entrance) it will take you a long time to travel from place to place. The trip to Glacier Point from the valley floor for an example is an hour each way. The idea here is to give yourself a lot of time.
2. Unless you have a very fuel efficient car you will use more than half a tank of gas in the park. The main problem here is that their were only two gas stations in the park. Both near entrances and the gas at them was priced about a dollar higher than the current gas prices elsewhere, so try to fill up before you enter.

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GuthrieColin
Nov 22, 2004

Top 5 Yosemite National Park Writers

chewy3326's Profile Photo

chewy3326

"The Incomparable Valley (and Park)"
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goingsolo's Profile Photo

goingsolo

"Yosemite in a day"
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richiecdisc

"On Becoming Part of the Food Chain: Yosemite"
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acemj

"Yosemite National Park"
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atufft

"Yosemite is Perhaps the Prettiest Park in the USA"
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Easy on the Brakes

Their are a lot of very long stretches of downgrades In Yosemite. The worst of which would have to be the road down from Glacier Point. When you are traveling down that and other long hills you may want to downshift. The continual use of your brakes could very easily render them useless.

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GuthrieColin
Nov 21, 2004

Roads Closed in Winter

Each winter, the Sierra Nevada recieves a large amount of snowfall (150+ inches), which will usually shut down many roads and trails in Yosemite National Park. This means that visitors in winter will not be able to reach places like Glacier Point, Mariposa Grove, and Tuolumne Meadows. Here is a bit of information about what's closed and what's not in winter:

Yosemite Valley: Open year round, roads are plowed in winter though chains may become necessary. The Mist Trail from it's first junction with the John Muir Trail to the top of Vernal Fall and the John Muir Trail from Clark Point to the top of Nevada Fall are closed in winter, and the cables ascending Half Dome are down.
Hetch Hetchy: Open year round, though a major snowstorm may cause the road to close temporarily; reduced hours in winter.
Glacier Point: The Glacier Point Road is usually closed from late October-early November to May. In 2006, the Glacier Point Road was opened on May 24. The Glacier Point Road is kept open to Badger Pass during winter.
Mariposa Grove: The Mariposa Grove Road is closed November to April. Plowing starts after snow stops.
Tuolumne Meadows: Tioga Rd is closed from Crane Flat to Lee Vining from late October to May. This is not definite; sometimes snow doesn't come until late in the season (one year, the road wasn't closed until January 1st the next year), and sometimes it snows alot (another year Tioga Rd wasn't open until July 1). In 2005, Tioga Rd was open on June 23, in 2006, on June 17; plowing usually begins on April 15, but on years of heavy snowfall this will be delayed to May 1. Plowing the road takes about 45 days, if there are no major avalanches.

Note that Yosemite's High Sierra Camps usually won't be open before July 1, and that on years of particularly heavy snowfall (like 2005), they were closed for the season.

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chewy3326
Aug 25, 2006

Lots of Curves!

Be careful when you drive to Yosemite. It is curve after curve for miles. Especially going South from Yosemite Valley.

A lot of drivers become impatient so you can use the pull outs. Reduce you speed when pulling over so you don't go over the edge of a cliff.

mikehanneman's Profile Photo
mikehanneman
Jul 10, 2007

Tioga Pass

Tioga Pass, the main entrance into Yosemite National Park from the east, is at a high altitude (over 9000 feet). As a result, it is often closed until late May or even June due to heavy snows that take a while to melt or get cleared.

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mikelisaanna
Jul 22, 2005

Things to Do Near Yosemite National Park

Things to Do

Mirror Lake

Mirror Lake was empty when we visited this place on 12 September 2009. Even though the lack of water was unexpected, it was quite an interesting sight and we also had the rare opportunity to stand on...
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Things to Do

Ahwahnee Hotel

We didn't stay at the Ahwahnee Hotel, so I can't comment on its lodging attributes, but we did have a few rounds at the bar after a long day of hiking, and we spent about 30-40 minutes walking around...
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Things to Do

Half Dome

The half dome is one of the most popular hikes in Yosemite. At over 400 feet incline, it is a difficult hike. The trail runs 12 miles; 6 miles each way. It is a seven hour hike in all. Since I was...
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Things to Do

Valley

This is a must do, even if there is traffic. The views are amazing and there are plenty of parking along side the road if there is a view you would like to see a little longer.Coming into the valley,...
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Things to Do

Glacier Point

Okay, they say a photo is worth a thousand words, so I have, by way of the photos here ALREADY written 5,000 words ^O^. But if you have the time, take the road up to Glacier Point, it is one of those...
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Things to Do

Falls

We went to Yosemite in July, it was perfect, the weather is not too hot then. We went on a hike, an easy one, passing by the Yosemite Falls, it's really beautiful. It's at 2,425 ft. There are several...
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