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Yosemite sightseeing in January?

Brisbane Australia
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Yosemite sightseeing in January?

Hi, after being blown away by Yosemite in May many years ago, I'd love to show my family (husband, 15+16yo girls). But we're coming in January and I don't want to set myself or them up for unrealistic expectations. We will have at most 2 days and we're not looking for snow activities, just scenery - big mountains and trees and whatever I can remember :-/ Is this possible in January? I originally assumed we'd drive from LV via Death Valley, but it appears due to seasonal road closures that'll be one really long drive. Are there other options? Also I've tried to locate central accommodation in the park but everything seems to be snow related and I can't get a handle for the locations. sorry I know trying to recreate old and very dusty memories is fraught with peril, but I don't want their entire memory of the USA to be about cities. We're starting in NY, flying to LV with a side trip to the Grand Canyon then onto SFO for a few days before flying out of LA. Ideally I'll insert Yosemite between LV & SFO. Thanks in advance.

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1. Re: Yosemite sightseeing in January?

Here's a link to the other thread on Yosemite in January:

tripadvisor.com/ShowTopic-g61000-i315-k48738…

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Washington State
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for Yosemite National Park
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2. Re: Yosemite sightseeing in January?

Hi again Raylea

First tip, when you say you're headed to SFO, that's the airport. But if you're going to the city of SF, that's a different route. So be clear about your destination when you're asking for route planning assistance.

"Central" accommodations would probably be in Yosemite Valley. The lodging info is linked to the Top Questions in the upper right. The basic motel-like accommodation is Yosemite Lodge at the Falls, but it may be full. Cancellations happen, so get something and then check for openings often. The town of El Portal is about 25 - 30 minutes from the Valley, if you're looking elsewhere.

There are lots of big trees in Yosemite NP, but if you want to see the really big trees, you'll have to walk into a grove of Giant Sequoias. Mariposa Grove is near the South Entrance (the winter route from LV) and is about 2 miles to gently ascend to the MG parking area, then another mile to the famous Grizzly Giant and California Tunnel Tree (walk thru.) The Tuolumne Grove is past the Valley near the Crane Flat gas station and is about 1.5 miles to walk down to the trees and 1.5 mile back up.

When you're in the Valley, ride the free shuttle to a destination of your choice and then stroll, hike, walk, whatever.

Even tho' you are not interested in winter activities, ice skating under the open sky next to cliffs is pretty cool. Just watch skaters if you don't want to try, and have some hot chocolate by the fire.

Maps:

general Park map nps.gov/yose/planyourvisit/loader.cfm…

larger area map yosemite.ca.us/lodging.html

And just so you aren't too bummed about missing the "shorter route" from LV to Yosemite Valley, that one is 399 miles. The longer route you need to take is 475 miles but only a half hour more driving because this route has faster speed limits. It's definitely not a scenic, but it isn't horrible.

My usual suggestion for folks thinking about this route ... drive fromLV to Death Valley and enjoy a fast drive thru visit. If time allows, stay here for a night. If not, visit fast and move on. Depending on your travel group and driving ability (how long can you sit in a car?), you may make it all the way to Oakhurst on Hwy 41 for the night. Note that including Death Valley will add miles; the 475 mile route described above is the one directly from Las Vegas to Bakersfield to Yosemite Valley.

The next morning, visit the Mariposa Grove (remember, it's a long walk. If it's snowy, rent snowshoes from the Tenaya Lodge in Fish Camp. Sometimes you can just walk on this road. In January,... I'd guess snowshoes or cross country skis would work better.) Anyway, from Oakhurst you could just drive to Yosemite Valley if you don't want to walk 6 miles to big trees. Follow some of the One Day Itinerary ideas, check in to your lodging, enjoy the day. Stay the night. The next day, see a bit more (Tuolumne Grove?), then drive out Hwy 120 (higher elevation) or Hwy 140 (lower elevation) to SF (not SFO.)

Does that make more sense?

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3. Re: Yosemite sightseeing in January?

"We will have at most 2 days and we're not looking for snow activities, just scenery"

Well, there will be plenty of photo opportunities in the Valley during January. Last year, there was lots of snow.

Here are some photo examples of winter in Phil Hawkins photography link below:

http://tinyurl.com/Phil-Hawkins-winter

He does one day classes in the valley too.

Brisbane Australia
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4. Re: Yosemite sightseeing in January?

Thanks everyone, you've given me heaps of inspiration. I can't wait :)

5. Re: Yosemite sightseeing in January?

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