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Week Long Photography Trip

PostPosted: Sat Mar 12, 2011 7:05 pm
by traveler
I will be visiting the park for the first time (March 30-April 1) as part of a week long photography vacation. After flying into Vegas, my plan is to stop at Sequoia NP on way to Yosemite, spend 2 nights 3 days in Yosemite, drive down Route 1 from Monterey to San Luis Obispo and then finish the trip at Antelope Valley if the poppies are in bloom. The only must see is Yosemite. Everything else is may see.

Any suggestions regarding photo ops, hikes, weather, tire chains? (I'm renting a midsize suv), while at Yosemite would be appreciated. Have reservations at the Yosemite View Lodge.

PostPosted: Sun Mar 13, 2011 4:12 pm
by AlmostThere
Likely you won't need chains/cables, which is a good thing, since most rental companies won't let you use them.

tioga pass and glacier rd will be closed. Mariposa Grove road may be open, if not it adds 2 miles to the walk.

Weather should be variable - rainy, even snowy, cloudy, sunny, you name it, it's the end of March! We've done Chilnualna Falls in April and eaten lunch under a rock overhang while the rain poured down in sheets. Pretty much anywhere you point the camera there's a photo op in Yosemite.

For flowers do Hite Cove, which is not in the park but south of El Portal on 140. Chilnualna out of Wawona is an excellent spring hike, look out for snakes! Wapama Falls at Hetch Hetchy will be awesome, some meadows along the way, should be flowers and great views of the lake, and if they rebuilt the bridge by then you can go further to Rancheria Falls if you like long dayhikes.

PostPosted: Sun Mar 13, 2011 8:20 pm
by Nacci
It's not clear to me. Are you planning to drive from Las Vegas to Sequoia NP then on to Yosemite in one day? I hope not.

Pack a poncho or raincoat for hiking near waterfalls.

A midsize SUV should put you high enough to see views well. It's possible that your SUV will be 4WD or AWD, but definitely not guaranteed. You can get chains/cables in Oakhurst or Mariposa (depending on your route) if a storm is headed to Yosemite during your visit.

PostPosted: Sun Mar 13, 2011 8:59 pm
by balzaccom
That's a lot of driving for a week, particularly if you are planning to get out of the car and take some photos from time to time...

PostPosted: Sun Mar 13, 2011 9:07 pm
by AlmostThere
Yup. But he did say Yosemite was the non-negotiable.

Driving to Sequoia will take a day, driving through Sequoia stopping to take pictures... oh, that could take more than a day! too much to see. Slow, winding, rough road - they've done a lot of work on it and will probably continue working on it this year.

Doing Monterey to San Luis Obispo is awesome scenery... would almost be criminal not to stop and walk some of the great short trails along the way.

from there to Antelope Valley? wow. another day. And not a real scenic one either. Ugh, Bakersfield.

If it were me... I'd take a week in each spot, if I had a good camera. Except Antelope Valley - think I would go out into the Sespe Wilderness instead, or visit Santa Barbara and hit some trails there, either inland or out on the islands.

PostPosted: Mon Mar 14, 2011 4:29 pm
by traveler
Thanks for the tips and suggestions everyone. I know that I have a full itinerary and will play it by ear once I get to Yosemite. If the weather is good (photography good) and the light fantastic, I may just stay there. If not, I will definitely drive the coast. The more I read about the photo opportunities there the more excited I'm getting. Wish I had two or three weeks but am thankful I can get away for the amount time I have.

PostPosted: Thu Mar 17, 2011 12:24 pm
by Ljrack

That's quite an aggressive travel schedule as mentioned by others already. Is there a reason for flying in to Vegas? Business perhaps? It might be too late to change, but Fresno, Oakland or San Jose are considerably closer.

Just driving alone could take about 8 hours from Vegas to Yosemite. Being a photographer, you KNOW you can't just drive straight through and will probably stop for some photos along the way. If you stop in Sequoia, you won't get to the Yosemite View lodge until the wee hours of the morning.

Great lodging choice btw. Since you're staying on 140 there in El Portal, it's my opinion that the Merced River canyon is a photo destination all by itself. See some pics on my site. The Redbud should be in good bloom and perhaps the poppies may be out. The moss will be prime and you could easily spend a day wandering up and down the 16mile stretch from Bryceburg to the YV lodge. I would extend your stay there at least another night.

I can't not recommend the Big Sur coast, but getting to Monterey from Yosemite is another big drive, a good 4 hours. Monterey to SLO is another day figuring you won't drive straight through. And consider at least another 6-8 hours back to Vegas depending on where you end up. Cut over from SLO (San Luis Ob) and do some Googling for the Carrizo Plain. The drives through the central coast there will beat anything will see driving through Bakersfield. There is also the Tejon area at the base of the Tehachapi mountains and pass. Check out this wildflower link.

Although the there's lots to be seen around Antelope Valley is always a crap shoot and honestly not the best destination considering your time constraints. It's almost ALWAYS windy.

If it were me. Drive directly to YOsemite, stay 3 nights. Night 4 in Monterey/Carmel/Pacific Grove. Speaking of Pacific Grove, I highly recommend driving from Monterey to Pacific Grove along Ocean View and Sunset Drives. A beautiful, classically Monterey/Pacific Coast scenics and rugged coast. Start in Monterey, drive through Cannery row and make a big loop.

Anyway, should be enough to chew on. There are just too many possible destinations - even if you blindly picked a route from Yosemite to the coast and back to Vegas you would do ok.

Have a great trip.

PostPosted: Fri Mar 18, 2011 5:55 am
by traveler

Thanks for the suggestions. I'm flying into Vegas because that's the only place I could get to with my free ticket. I may skip Sequoia NP and drive directly to Yosemite stopping for the night when I get tired. I would like to get to Yosemite as early as possible.

My own reading is in agreement with your suggestion that the Merced River Canyon is worth some serious time. I enjoyed looking at your photos of the area.

The seemingly endless rains you seem to be getting, along with the washout on Route 1 south of Big Sur has made me rethink that part of the trip. I still want to hit the Monterey area but will have to make some decisions on what to see on my return trip to Vegas.

Thanks again for your suggestions. Feel free to keep them coming.