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Staying outside the park?

Parsippany, New...
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Staying outside the park?

Was looking at the places to stay in the park. Everything that looks decent is way overpriced. Not looking to camp while we're there and definitely must have it's own bathroom.

Never been to Yosemite before, but I know like in Yellowstone, the treck into and out of the park is horrid and I remember thinking thank God we stayed in the park. Is Yosemite like that with the things you want to see taking over an hour to get to if you are staying outside the park? I was thinking the lodging outside the park seems like a better option, but I don't want to spend a ton of time driving back and forth since we'll only be there 2 full days.

What town would you stay in if outside the park? If you wouldn't suggest ouside the park, what would be a place you'd recommend in the park that's a "room" or hard sided cabin that would be reasonably priced?

San Diego...
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1. Re: Staying outside the park?

Unfortunately all the in-park lodging is controlled by a single private company that is the concessionaire to the park service, Delaware North Corporation. They are profiteers that set absurdly high prices for the lodging they have control over, and they can get away with it because there is so much demand to stay in Yosemite. If you want in-park lodging, you are forced to deal with them.

There are some areas of private property which are within the park or just outside the park boundaries, such as Foresta, Yosemite West and Wawona. Foresta has cabins and houses which are suitable for families, and it is a very short drive from Foresta to Yosemite Valley. The Yosemite West development has condos and cabins and is about a 30-minute drive from Yosemite Valley. Wawona has private condos and cabins and is a 45-minute drive from Yosemite Valley. (The Wawona Hotel and Tenaya Lodge are sold by the park concessionaire though).

Just outside the park's south entrance, Fish Camp has some small B&Bs but that is about an hour drive from Yosemite Valley, and there are hotels in Oakhurst, but that is an hour and 15 minute drive from Yosemite Valley. You won't want to make that drive over and over again on a multi-day visit. Near Foresta is El Portal, a reasonable drive from Yosemite Valley, in fact some of the park's employees live in El Portal. Further west is Midpines, where the Yosemite Bug hostel is, and further west is Mariposa, about an hour drive from Yosemite Valley.

To the northwest is Groveland, about a one-hour drive from Yosemite Valley. To the east is Lee Vining, about a 2-hour drive at a minimum from Yosemite Valley. If you have enough people to justify getting a cabin or house, I would look for something in Foresta, as it is close, maybe a 15-minute drive to Yosemite Valley. Or if it's just 2 of you, maybe a condo in the Yosemite West development.

California
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2. Re: Staying outside the park?

I would look into stayin in El Portal. It's not really much of a drive into the valley and you could always take YARTS:

yosemiteresorts.us/yosemite-view-lodge.htm

http://www.yarts.com/

Los Angeles
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3. Re: Staying outside the park?

It's due to supply and demand. It's not "overpriced" if most people are willing to pay it in order to stay there (and places often sell out). That's because the privilege of being able to walk outside your accommodation and see something amazing at every single one of these accommodations. At Curry Village, for example, you've got waterfalls, Happy Isles, etc. Wawona is usually less full and less expensive because it doesn't have the Valley views - but the chances of seeing deer (and for some, the desire to golf) still make it a place people return to again and again.

Staying outside the park can still be fun, but you're getting to pay less because the surroundings are not the same.

BW gave you really good estimates of driving times. There are a couple of Foresta properties that advertise "Yosemite views" and show you a picture of Half Dome (and it's possible you might see it from somewhere in the Foresta area) but don't count on having Valley views there. Foresta Hilltop Cabins gets good reviews, but one person does mention that it looks a "bit desolate" around the cabin - that's because Foresta has had forest fires and is a big fire recovery zone. But as you can see in most pictures of lodging, there are still trees and people like staying there.

But is it cheap? Summer rates for the Hilltop Cabins are stated at $245 and winter rates at $175 (holidays the same as summer) 1 bedroom, 1 bath - says "highspeed internet" and "television," but one review notes it's actually a DVD player and not broadcast television. So read the listings carefully - the "El Capitan view" cabin does have a view of the "backside" of El Capitan - but again, don't expect valley views. The "El Capitan View" is $300.

What I don't like about some of the listing pages is that they put a big picture of gorgeous Tuolumne Meadows on their page and some people think that's going to be where they're staying. The Yosemite West page has a header of Half Dome (not seen from Yosemite West) and then a picture of what Yosemite looks like once you drive from YM to the Valley. Yosemite West, to me, has a nicer feel than Foresta, but is further away - and the $95 condos go very fast - just like accomodations in the Valley.

But if you consider the ability to cook a kind of savings or a fun thing to do, then staying outside the park takes on extra value. Motels in Oakhurst can definitely be cheap - but they are average motels (most of them - there are some higher end properties near Oakhurst) and to me, that 1.25-1.5 hour drive to the Valley doesn't make it seem much liike a *Yosemite* vacation.

So Foresta (15-20 minutes to the Valley plus time to find parking) is the best bet for closeness. The fact that you're already parked in the Valley when you wake up in the morning is worth something in and of itself - and we love the rustic quality of Yosemite accommodations (big step up from a tent, for us).

Only so many spaces in Yosemite Valley - and way too many people wanting to stay there.

Parsippany, New...
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4. Re: Staying outside the park?

OMG...I just checked availability. The only thing that's left for the end of next June inside the park are tents with no bathroom and the $500 a night hotel. Looks like we'll be staying outside the park....

Looked at Cedar Lodge in El Portal for $167 a night and Foresta Hilltop Cabins (in Mariposa) for $150 a night for the Doe's Cottage. Both of these seem like good options.

Any preferences? Is one closer than the other?

Oakland, California
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5. Re: Staying outside the park?

Hi, Disneymom- now you are here in my turf!

Are you approaching Yosemite from LA or SF? If you are approaching from the south, you could stay at Oakhurst for one night, where you can usually find inexpensive motels, then stop at the Mariposa Grove of Giant Sequoias and take a detour to Glacier Point Road on your way to Yosemite Valley the next day. Then you could stay one night in the valley itself- preferably Yosemite Lodge since that suits your requirements- even though it is on the pricey side.

Or, as already mentioned, stay in one of the 2 motels in El Portal. They are the closest to the park without being in the park itself, and allow for minimal driving. The cabins in Foresta or Yosemite West are also a good alternative.

You are right that the long drive in from cheaper locations isn't really worth it. However, with exclusivity and location, the lodging choices close to the park are pricier than similar lodging elsewhere.

Oakland, California
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6. Re: Staying outside the park?

Oops- you posted while I was replying!

Cedar Lodge is a decent choice; nothing special, but well located.

What I would recommend is that you get that reservation, but keep checking yosemitepark.com for cancellations at Yosemite Lodge. You have plenty of time to get a reservation there, and the cancellations are commonplace, especially as you approach your vacation dates. They get booked out by big tour companies who then cancel as the dates approach and the bookings are unsold.

Don't try to get reservations in the park at a separate site like hotels.com. Go directly to the DNC site I listed above.

Parsippany, New...
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7. Re: Staying outside the park?

We'll be coming in from Tioga Pass straight from Death Valley.

Doesn't really look like we're going to have much choice of where to stay since there's no way I'm staying in a tent with no bathroom for $150 a night (I stay at Hiltons that are cheaper than that....I do camp, but with our camper and it only costs me $50 a night). I can't believe that's all that's left this far out. I can't swing the $500 a night place.

LA
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8. Re: Staying outside the park?

That's a helluva long drive from Death Valley. Add another 2 hours from Tioga to the western parks entrance.

Why don't you just stay in a motel in Lee Vining or June Lakes the first night?

And you have to pay to stay in the park. No need to get indignant about it.

San Diego...
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9. Re: Staying outside the park?

Cedar Lodge is definitely closer to the park than Mariposa is. It's strange that any cabins in Mariposa would have the word Foresta in the name, because Mariposa and Foresta are 2 different locations. That's a little deceptive. Forest is about a 15 minute drive from Yosemite Valley while Mariposa is about an hour drive. I would verify carefully the exact location of any cabin you rent. You might consider the Yosemite View Lodge, again it's nothing fancy, but you won't be staying in your room much, and it's close to the park. As mackjack said, keep trying at yosemitepark.com and in the coming months a cancellation by someone else may open up an opportunity for you. If you can call toll-free, try calling frequently, as someone else on this forum says that not all the rooms that become available will show up on the web site, they may be rented to someone else before they even have time to update the web site. The outlying towns such as Oakhurst, Mariposa, Groveland and Lee Vining, are useful as a one-night stopover on your way into the park, or on your way out of the park after you are done, but are too far away to be useful as a base for a multi-day visit. Depending on where you are coming from before Yosemite and where you are going to after Yosemite, these outlying towns can be locations for pre- or post-park nights.

La Verne, California
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10. Re: Staying outside the park?

We just returned yesterday from Yosemite. We stayed in Yosemite West. Perfect location. Yes pricy, but only about a 30 min drive to Glacier Point, the Valley, and Wawona. Check this site for private residences in the park. You might find something here. I'll post a trip report shortly.

http://www.vrbo.com/search/usa/california/gold-country-high-sierra/yosemite/yosemite-national-pa?q=yosemite+

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