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Yosemite for 1 day in August

PostPosted: Wed Apr 27, 2011 8:50 am
by CJ
Yes... I know you'll say it's a bad time to visit... but that's the way it is. Family of 4 (inc 2 grown up kids) with one day to 'do' Yosemite in early August. Staying in El Portal and with a full day and a car at our disposal. Do we drive? If so, where to? Do we hire bikes? How far could we get? I want to see the most spectacular things all in one day, don't mind walking/hiking - but I want a full day's plan!! Not a lot to ask... but the members of this forum clearly love the place, so I think I'm asking the right folk!
Thanks in advance :-)

Re: Yosemite for 1 day in August

PostPosted: Wed Apr 27, 2011 9:03 am
by dan
Yeah, you need to rent a car. It's difficult to get to Yosemite without one. Anyway I would focus on visiting the Valley. There's a Valley tour that's a few hours that gives you a good introduction. It's in an open air shuttle bus and it's led by a Ranger. Then you can go back and see what you want--Yosemite Falls is a must. I also recommend Bridalveil Fall and Vernal Fall. ... Tours.aspx

Also, I would not miss Glacier Point, . It has a terrific view, one of the best, of Yosemite Valley, Half Dome, Yosemite Falls, and Little Yosemite Valley (with Vernal and Nevada Falls).

If you have time, I would also see the Mariposa Grove of Giant Sequoias (I think they are called Wellingtonia in the UK?--I saw some in Kew Gardens there). It's at the far southern end of the park, near Wawona, about 1 hours drive from the Valley.

I would recommend spending more time, at least two days, but that's not always an option.

PostPosted: Wed Apr 27, 2011 9:20 am
by CJ
Thanks Dan. Much appreciated.

PostPosted: Wed Apr 27, 2011 3:23 pm
by Ljrack

I definitely echo Dan's suggestions and will just add my own thoughts.

So, you're staying in El Portal, assuming the Yosemite View Lodge. Great spot. Make sure you get a "River View" room. Well worth it. Even in August the water rushing beneath the room just a few feet away is worth it.

And if you're actually spending the night, you technically have more than a day! The valley is only 20 minutes from El Portal. Definitely try and adjust your plans to include that extra half day!

Because of your limited time, definitely do the valley tour bus and schedule early to mid morning. You will get the most out of your visit in terms of sights and information from that tour. Have lunch in Yosemite Village, visit the Ansel Adams Gallery, Visitors center, etc. etc., but don't linger too long since you don't have a lot of time. And since you'll be in the main part of the valley, check out the short walk to Yosemite Falls. You'll park at Yosemite Lodge. With the very large snowfall this year, the waterfalls should still be running good, although certainly won't be as dramatic and powerful as they would be in May/June. The other very short walk would be to the base of Bridal Veil falls, which is also recommended. You won't have time to hike/walk to Nevada/Vernal falls on the Mist trail, so skip that.

As a lunch alternative, pack your lunch from the hotel (they offer a brown bag lunch service I believe) and find your way to El Capitan meadow. Have lunch below the below one of the largest granite monoliths in the World. Sit in the meadow, have lunch and look for and watch the rock climbers on the face of El Cap. Bring binoculars if you have them.

Make another loop around the valley stopping at Bridal Veil Falls. Mid/late afternoon, make your way up highway 41 towards Wawona and Oakhurst. Stop at the Tunnel View lookout just a mile or two after leaving the Valley floor and Bridal Veil parking lot. Tunnel View is a must stop.

Proceed towards Wawona and visit the Mariposa Grove as Dan suggested. You should be able to get some dinner at the Wawona hotel, but it's quite pricey. Otherwise, pack snacks and have a late dinner back at the hotel.

Time your visit to the redwood grove and Mariposa to finish and end the day at Glacier Point. Also a must see, especially in August on a warm summer night. Get there at least an hour before sunset and stay for the ranger talk after the stars come out. It's fun and quite an experience to be what seems like on top of the world. Sunset will be between 7:30-8PM during the month of August.

It will be about an hours drive back to El Portal.

That's a FULL day, but about all you can squeeze in.

Have fun!


PostPosted: Thu Apr 28, 2011 1:16 am
by CJ
Lon, that's a great plan. This is part of our first West Coast road trip and Yosemite is definitely an area that requires some planning to maximise the time there (which, as you rightly suggest, includes the evening before and the morning after, before we carry on to San Francisco). So we'll squeeze in as much as we can. It's good to know that there's people like you and Dan who care as much as you do about Yosemite and its visitors. Many thanks.

PostPosted: Thu Apr 28, 2011 7:56 am
by Nacci
Assuming that you & your young adult children want a day stuffed full of sights, walks, and driving, the itinerary hitting the main destinations may work. Be aware that early August is very crowded and you'll experience delays on the road (slowly lumbering RVs) and parking challenges. For example, you'll park in Wawona at the store, wait for the shuttle bus to Maripose Grove, ride to the Mariposa Grove parking lot, pay $25.50 for the tram tour or walk, then ride the shuttle back to Wawona. I've heard that the large Glacier Point parking lot fills on summer days, but I avoid it at that time. Hopefully your sunset visit won't be as crowded.

Personally, I'd recommend you drop Mariposa Grove from your one-day itinerary. It will require too much time. But again, it's your visit and you get to decide how full you want your day.

Perhaps on your arrival day you can enter Yosemite at the South Entrance and visit Mariposa Grove when most other visitors are gone ... 5:30 or so? Take a picnic with you. In fact, if you have all of your meals with you, you won't need to stand in any lines for food.

Or maybe visit quieter & smaller Tuolumne Grove or Merced Grove on Highway 120 on your final morning. It would be a bit longer to go back into Yosemite and out on Highway 120 than leaving directly on 140, but it would allow you just a bit more time in the NP.

If you plan in advance, you can maximize your limited time and have the Yosemite experience you really want. Have fun!

PostPosted: Thu Apr 28, 2011 8:18 am
by CJ
I appreciate the reality check, Nacci! One question.... if we go into the Park on the evening, day, then again the morning after, do we have to pay an entry fee each day?
Thanks for the top tips!

PostPosted: Thu Apr 28, 2011 8:46 am
by dan
CJ wrote:if we go into the Park on the evening, day, then again the morning after, do we have to pay an entry fee each day?

No, the entry fee is good for about 7 days. Just keep and show your receipt.

Tuolumne Grove or Merced Grove is closer to Yosemite Valley, although the groves are smaller, you still get to see the Giant Sequoias.

PostPosted: Thu Apr 28, 2011 9:54 am
by CJ
Cheers Dan

PostPosted: Thu Apr 28, 2011 2:09 pm
by Nacci
This is part of our first West Coast road trip

If your trip includes other National Parks or Federal Lands, consider getting the America the Beautiful Interagency Annual Pass for $80. You can purchase it at your first National Park.

Check entry prices to see if it's a good deal for you. Here are a few prices: (seven day passes for each) Yosemite $20, Death Valley $20, Grand Canyon $25, (one day pass) San Francisco Maritime Historical Park (Hyde Street Pier) $5 per person.