Yosemite National Park

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See Yosemite in 2 days The family plan.

Jul 6, 2003 (Updated Jul 9, 2003)
Review by  
Rated a Very Helpful Review
  • User Rating: Excellent

  • Scenery:
  • Crowds:
  • Time needed for visit:

Pros:Scenery; rafting; hiking; free shuttle buses

Cons:Mosquitoes; crowds; not enough time to see/do everything.

The Bottom Line: Experience the "Wow".

After reading all of the other great reviews about Yosemite I knew it would be tough to see everything in 2 days. I hope to give you some information and ideas for your trip to Yosemite.

Here’s our June 2003 family trip (time is estimated).

These directions are from Fresno.

Wednesday – Day 1
9:30 am In Oakhurst
Fill up at the Arco at the north end of town on the east side of Hwy 41. About 1.68/gal compared to 1.84/gal at other stations.

10:00 am arrived a SouthGate entrance.
Paid $20 for 7 day pass (don’t hold up the line to get in -- ask questions at the Wawona Information Center)
Rangers give you a map with your $20 receipt stapled to the map.
Turned right and drove to the Mariposa Groves (big trees).

10:10 am – 10:35 Walk Giant Sequoia trail.
Photos of Giant Sequoias. Camera swap (another visitor takes your picture with your camera, then you take their picture with their camera).

11 am arrived Wawona.
Photos of the Hotel and grounds.

Went to the Yosemite Information Center to buy postcards, read bear warnings, and get fishing info. Ranger said best fishing info probably at the store.

Ask if it’s ok to leave food in your car during the day (bears become active at dusk was the answer I received).

Bathroom is behind the restaurant (walk into the hotel; walk to the left of the hotel check in counter, through the hallway and door that goes to the back of the hotel; continue to walk straight on the wood walkway until you have to turn left. They should be on the left.)

11:30 Wawona opens for lunch
Hamburger on fresh sourdough (called the Ninth Hole Cheeseburger?) recommended. They tend to cook it on the rare side. So ask for well done if you like the inside dark.
Lemon aid, ice tea, diet coke all good.
Lunch and desert for 4: $54 (including tip)

12:55 Stopped in Wawona store to get fishing license and tips on fishing spots. Proprietor recommended fishing at Fish Camp since the fish are stocked.

1:00pm - 2 pm drive to Glacier Point (7,250 ft)
Click on Interactive Park Map
Click on a red dot to see what you would see standing on that spot – 360 degrees!

Once you turn off Hwy 41 the road goes 16 miles on a lot of winding roads. You’ll be driving at about 30 mph so this section will take about hour.

There are several turn offs with great views – the best view is Glacier Point and well worth the drive (and 1/4 mile walk to view point).

Say Wow and take photos. Definitely a must see.

My wife did not like the car drive up. After hour rest in the car even she said it was worth it.

What a view.

After viewing and photos there is a store that has food and souvenirs. Also, the bathrooms/port-a-johnnies are by the store. Yeah. Enough said.

3:00pm – 4pm drive back down the mountain to the famous Tunnel View
This next part is best described by the author of “How to “do” Yosemite”

The following is from that html:
“Leave Glacier Point and go back the way you came. When you get to Highway 41 again, turn right and now you're heading to the valley!! It will be about 30 minutes from here, and you'll enter the tunnel. PLAN ON STOPPING THE SECOND YOU GET TO THE OTHER END OF THE TUNNEL! SLOW DOWN AS YOU APPROACH THE EXIT!! Just after you exit the tunnel, pull into the parking lot on your left and take in this view! This is the classic view of Yosemite that you have seen everywhere. The famous Tunnel View. This is the view on just about every trinket in the gift shop. During summer you will encounter large crowds at this vista. There will be busses, cars, trams, mini-vans, you-name-it. There will be people from all over the world pointing, exclaiming, and taking pictures with broad smiles. You'll be asked to snap someone's picture with their camera with the valley in the background. Don't be afraid to ask someone to do the same for you. Speak to the person standing next to you! You'll hear languages from every corner of the globe. You'll take a bazillion pictures.
Don't forget, you MUST take a picture of your group or family or each family member individually, with the valley in the background.
This is mandatory Yosemite protocol!! :-)
“ end of html.

4:00 pm shoot photos and camera swap.
Crowded. You bet. Bus loads. I was lucky to get a photo without anyone standing in front of me. I also asked a lady who didn’t speak English to take our family photo. Still there great pictures. And what a view.

After the view, exit the parking lot closest to the falls. Be sure to look both ways before pulling into traffic.

4:15 pm Drive to Bridalveil Falls.
Unfortunately, before reaching the Falls, a motorcycle and a car collided right by the entrance to the Falls. Traffic backed up for miles and we sat for 1 hour.

Since it’s been a long day we decided to check in to our motel.

See epinion “Best Value Yosemite WestGate: Location, Location, Location!” for our stay.

Spent during day 1:
Park entry fee___________20
Wawona lunch___________54
Glacier Point____________20

Thursday – Day 2
10:00 am – 11:00 am drive to Swinging Bridge
Since we went fishing by our motel in the morning and 1 hour drive to get to Yosemite Valley, we had a late start.

11:00 am Swinging Bridge
Great View. Photos and mosquitoes. I could not believe the number of mosquitoes during the middle of the day. We’d swat them before they punctured us and our hand would have large blood spots. Be sure to apply insect repellant before this stop.

Looking back: This was the only spot we encountered mosquitoes.

11:05 am – 11:15 drive to Yosemite Village parking lot.
Parking is free. The shuttles are free. Shuttles bus comes every 10 minutes. Day Parking is stop #1. The shuttles go in a figure 8 in the valley. To shorten your ride ask the Shuttle Driver what shuttles to take to get to your destination.

11:15 am 11:55 am Shopping at Yosemite Village
Visit the Ansel Adams Gallery
Send postcards to friends

12:00 noon-12:15pm Shuttle to The Ahwahnee #3.
We got on at Stop #2 and took it to stop #3.
Shuttle Stops as of June 2003
1 – Yosemite Village/Day Parking
2 – Yosemite Village
3 – The Ahwahnee
4 - Yosemite Village/Degnan’s
5 – Visitor Center
6 – Lower Yosemite Falls
7 – Camp 4/Yosemite Falls Trailhead
8 – Yosemite Lodge
9 – Visitor Center
10 – Yosemite Village
11 - Sentinel Bridge/Yosemite Chapel
12 - Housekeeping Camp/LeConte Memorial Lodge
13 - Bicycle & Raft Rental Stand
14 – Curry Village
15 - Upper Pines Campground
16 - Happy Isles/John Muir Trailhead
17 – Mirror Lake Junction
18 – Stable
19 – Lower Pines Campground
20 – Curry Village
21 – Bicycle & Raft Rental Stand

12:15 pm – 1:15pm lunch at The Ahwahnee
If you don’t have lunch here at least walk around. Amazing.
Even in the dining room people were taking photos.
Lunch and desert for 4: $108 (including tip)

1:15 – 2:00pm Walk around the Ahwahnee
Bathroom break.

2:00 – 2:30 pm Shuttle back(#3 to #4) to parking lot to change into our bathing suits
Parking lot is about 30 yards of level walking from stop #4.

2:30 – 3:00 pm Shuttle to Raft rental stand (#2 to #13)
Verify with the shuttle driver this is the fastest way to get to #13.

3:30pm-4pm River rafting rental
When I mention lets go rafting my wife said “No way”. When she saw the stream as smooth as glass moving about 3 miles per hour she said ok (this is a Class I river run). We also came to Yosemite on a very hot day.

Adults: $13.50 Kids (12 and younger): $11.50
Includes: raft, life jacket, 2 paddles, and a shuttle back to rental office.
Cost for 4: $54

They have hundreds of rafts. The river trail is about 3 miles and takes 1 hours without stops. There is a shuttle at the end to bring you back to the rental location.

Make sure you under stand all of the rules. Example: They do have a weight minimum of 50 lbs for kids. A family behind us had a daughter that weighed 48 pounds. They do check weights and they could not take her on the raft.

Stand in line and fill out liability form.

We had cameras (still and video) in a carrying bag. We should have rented a dry pack to store them in. However, we did not plan on getting too wet. In our case, everything stayed dry.

4:00 pm – 5:15pm Going down the river.

Before you go into the river you get a 10 minute orientation.

You’re given a raft to carry to the river. Look for the black strap under raft to grab and carry the raft. Carrying the raft by the top rings kills your 2 fingers (that’s all that fit in the ring).

During the trip my daughter and I dipped in the river. Even on a hot day this water is freeezzzing (33 degrees?).

We snapped photos as we drifted down the river.

This was one of the highlights of our trip. The kids said they like to come here with friends and do this all day long.

5:15pm – 5:30 pm Shuttle from 13(raft rental) to 1 (day parking lot).

5:30pm – 5:45pm Dry off and change into clothes

5:45pm – 6pm Walk to Degnan’s for Pizza

6pm – 7pm Pizza.
Dinner for 4: $36

7:15pm – 7:45pm Stop in Grocery store for milk and cereal and an ice cream.

7:45pm Drive back to motel.

Spent during day 2:
Ansel Adams____________13
The Ahwahnee__________108

1 - Bring water: we bought a case from Costco and the 4 of us just about drank the whole case during our 2 day visit.
2 - Bring lots of film. We averaged 50 photos a day.

Places I wanted to visit but was out voted by the other 3 in the family:
1)Bridalveil Falls (20 minutes round trip if your in the Valley)
2)Vernal Falls (1.3 miles hike done in about a 2 – 3 hours round trip)

Gee, this has been like having neighbors over and boring them with slides of our vacation. On the other hand, I hope the reason you read this is to get information and ideas for your visit to Yosemite.

Recommend this product? Yes

Best time to go: June-August
Recommended for: Familes
Review Topic: Overview

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