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Advice Please! May 19-23, 2008 trip.

Hiking, backpacking, running, biking, climbing, rafting, and other human-powered activities in Yosemite National Park

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Advice Please! May 19-23, 2008 trip.

Postby whirlybird » Mon Feb 25, 2008 1:08 pm

Hello. I plan to visit Yosemite May 19-23 give or take a day. To avoid Mem. Day wkend, should we leave before Friday, Saturday??

I'm visiting with a friend from the east coast who has never visited the park. I have only been once, and for only a couple days. We are physically fit, fairly experienced backpackers and are interested in hiking, camping, waterfalls, wildflowers...anything awe-inspiring really. I am also into photography, and may carry some equipment depending on the itinerary. So my questions are:

1. Any suggestions for planning/reserving now, without knowing what road conditions will be? We'll be coming from San Francisco.

2. Is backpacking a good/reasonable way to go, or should we scratch it and camp. Or, is that even unreasonable? If backpacking or camping aren't suggested, any recommendations for nice lodging that won't break the bank (ie, 100-150 max/nt) or ruin the experience with overly commercialized amenities/crowds and still provide proximity to good day hikes?

3. Is this too late in the year for xcountry skiing? This is another interest, so if snow is still good for this in late may, we may want to incorporate it into the trip.

4. Any suggested areas to visit this time of year? Must-see attractions?

5. Lastly, we do have the Memorial Day weekend off and would consider heading north to the Tahoe area before heading back to SF. Does anyone know if this would be a bad idea? Would also be interested in any other sort of side-trip for those three days... outdoors, unique to the west coast for my east coast visitor.

Apologies for the lengthy, question-filled post. Thank you in advance for any advice!
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Re: Advice Please! May 19-23, 2008 trip.

Postby dan » Tue Feb 26, 2008 12:22 am

To avoid Memorial Day weekend crowds, leave Friday or at least Saturday morning.

Highway 120 (Merced Canyon) is closed during some weekdays during the day for road construction. See http://www.nps.gov/yose/planyourvisit/conditions.htm for the status on this and other roads.

It's kind of late for campground reservations. Otherwise, you can see what's available for each day at each campground at this unofficial website:

Lodging in Yosemite breaks the bank, although tent cabins at Curry Village are available for under $100 a night. Some cabins are heated. They have central bathrooms and a showerhouse. Cafeteria dining.

Outside the park I recommend El Portal--it's closest and the hotel rates are more reasonable.

May is too late for XC skiing, except at the very high country (Tioga Pass), and that is difficult-to-access.

It's a terrific time to see the falls in Yosemite Valley with all the water. Here's a hiking map:

Tuolumne Grove is nice, although the tram isn't running that early--you have to walk into the grove, but it's a nice walk. Maps:

The Tioga Road is usually not open before Memorial Day. In high snow years it doesn't open until early July or late June, so it's hard getting to Tahoe.
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