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Planning Spring 2012 Trip to Yosemite & King’s Canyon

PostPosted: Wed Jun 22, 2011 3:09 pm
by Paul
We are in the process of planning our first trip to Yosemite from the Midwest.

Day hikes, waterfalls and scenic views are important to us. In the past, we have hiked in Rocky Mountain National, Glacier and Tetons and averaged about 7-9 miles a day. We are not backpackers, just lots of day hiking.

We plan to be in Yosemite either the third week of May or the third week of June.

Is one of these better than the other? Could we be too early for Glacier Point in May?

If we go to Sequoia National Park then should we skip Mariposa Grove if time becomes a problem or is it on the way anyway?

We are planning on flying into the San Francisco/Oakland or Sacramento area and spending approximately 8 days in the parks.

Thanks so much for any guidance you can give us.


Re: Planning Spring 2012 Trip to Yosemite & King’s Canyon

PostPosted: Wed Jun 22, 2011 3:27 pm
by AlmostThere
Be aware that you can easily burn a whole day traveling between Yosemite and Sequoia. Traveling between them will involve a lot of two lane, winding mountain roads, on which the speed limit varies from 50-35 mph. In the parks you are expected to drive around 35 mph. Plus you will have RV traffic, tour busses, and road construction (something that is ongoing the past couple of years in both parks).

Also, either park could easily keep you dayhiking for a full week and still not see everything. If I were to have out of town visitors who had never been to either I'd pick Yosemite every time. Waterfalls, granite peaks, sequoias, scenic lake basins, and just the granduer of Yosemite Valley and the awesome views from Tioga Pass, make it the better place for a week of Sierra experiences, IMO. Sequoia has some awesome remote high scenery and a lot of sequoia, bigger than the ones in Yosemite - but some of the Yosemite hikes draw us back, year after year. My favorites are Clouds Rest, Mt Dana, Ten Lakes Pass, Hetch Hetchy, Grand Canyon of the Tuolumne (really a backpack but you can dayhike to Glen Aulin, even all the way to Waterwheel falls though that's a 14 mile rt and uphill coming back), and going out toward Merced Lake. Upper Yosemite Falls and North Dome, El Capitan - I just did a cross country hike to Devil's Dance Floor too. I keep building my list of reasons to go back....

The don't miss it dayhikes in Sequoia/Kings are Mist Falls/Paradise, Redwood Canyon, Alta Peak, Pear Lake, Silliman Pass, Big and Little Baldy, Panoramic Point - well, I guess I have a long list there too! But hikes starting in Kings Canyon have to be really early - it's low elevation and the climbs are really steep if you're on a trail other than Woods Creek - and the hike downhill it will start to be hot in June/July in the afternoons. Hikes starting in Sequoia (other than the Sequoia groves) will be around 6-7,000 feet at trailheads and go higher.

How are you for elevation sickness? Acclimation should be considered if there's a history of it.

This year, June was almost too soon to go - it was snowing in early June, with some periods of chain requirements. June would be a safer bet but no guarantees or confirmations until next May when you will see the roads opening.

Re: Planning Spring 2012 Trip to Yosemite & King’s Canyon

PostPosted: Wed Jun 22, 2011 3:42 pm
by Paul
Thanks AlmostThere.

Yes, I do usually need a day to acclimate before hiking...not so my wife.

So if we come in June and day hike Yosemite only, you think that we could keep busy for 8 days or so?


Re: Planning Spring 2012 Trip to Yosemite & King’s Canyon

PostPosted: Wed Jun 22, 2011 3:44 pm
by AlmostThere
I suspect you could dayhike for two weeks and have trails left, if Tioga Pass and Glacier Point Rd are open. has a list of destinations by region - it's incomplete.

Destinations my hiking group has dayhiked to include:

Mt Dana
El Capitan/Eagle Peak
Upper Yosemite Falls
Valley loop
Vernal/Nevada Falls
Clouds Rest
Cathedral Lakes
Sunrise Lakes
May Lake/Mt Hoffman
Ten Lakes
Wapama Falls
Devil's Dance Floor
Dewey/Crocker Points
Ostrander Lake
Chilnualna Falls
Alder Creek Falls
Sentinal Dome/Taft Point
Panorama Trail/ilillouette Falls/Glacier Pt/Four Mile trail (14 miles of ups and downs)
Bunnel Cascade
Gaylor Lakes Basin/great Sierra Mine
Parker/Mono Passes
Mariposa Grove
North Dome/Indian Rock
Chain Lakes (access from a Sierra NF trailhead outside the park)
Young Lakes
Glen Aulin
Lembert Dome
Lyell Canyon

I'm sure I could think of more, but those are the popular ones.

Re: Planning Spring 2012 Trip to Yosemite & King’s Canyon

PostPosted: Sun Jun 26, 2011 7:09 pm
by boshness
Where are you planning to stay in Yosemite?
Because I made a reservation in Housekeeping Camp about a week ago, and then went back to change it, and there were no open spots at all.
All red. I called as well, and same story. Ppl book up one year and one day in advance, and woosh, the spots are gone.

So you'd better check online and by calling. Maybe at one of the expensive hotels there are spots. Tenaya Lodge is so pricey, seems like you can always get something.
There are lots of lodging and camping and tent cabin options, though, so hurry up and check NOW...!!!!!
Also, there are many privately run lodging facilities, you just have to check online. So if budget is not too much of a problem, you will find something nice.