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Itinerary suggestions for 3 nights at Yosemite

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Rio de Janeiro, RJ
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Itinerary suggestions for 3 nights at Yosemite

Greetings to all forum contributors.

I'm about to spend 2 weeks with my girlfriend vacationing in Las Vegas and California (1st timers to these destinations). When I started to plan it last month I wasn't expecting Tioga Pass Road to be open at this time of the year, so instead of traveling by land from LV to Yosemite via Death Valley, we'll fly LV/SFO, spend a few nights there and then head to Yosemite, which I expect to be the highlight of the entire trip - just don't tell it to the nice guys from LV and Grand Canyon NP forums, they might get jealous! ;)

In my trip I'll be arriving from SanFran and I'm staying for 3 nights from May 22nd at the Lillaskog Lodge near the Big Oak Flat Road - 120(CA95321), since I wasn't able to find available rooms inside or closer to the park. From Yosemite my next destination will be Carmel/Monterey.

I have been browsing this forum over the last few weeks, and learned quite a bunch, also have read and learned a lot from the marvelous yosemitehikes.com website. However, I'm certain that the most kind fellow forumers and destination experts could help me fine tune my draft itinerary plan, which is as follows:

May 22 (arrival day) - I plan to leave SF in a rental car by 9am. Google Maps tells me it is just a 3h drive, so I'm planning to continue the drive along the 120 all the way up to Tioga Pass and back. I should use bw92116's suggested itinerary (no trekking, just short walks) in response to elbodans' post a couple of days ago. My question here is - will I have enough time to do this or should I swap it with one of the following two full-day plans? That way I could fit short hikes at Tenaya Lake and Tuolumne Meadows, for instance.

May 23 - visit the Valley - walk Sentinel/Cook's Meadow Loop including the short walks to Lower Yosemite Falls and Vernal Fall footbridge, plus stops at Tunnel View (Artist Point also?) and Bridalveil Fall on our way to the Valley. Is it enough for the day or could I fit some other hike here? If I were to hike the Panorama trail (I'd love to), should I fit it in this day or the following? - see below.

May 24 - visit Glacier Point area- hike the Sentinel Dome and Taft Point. Can I add the Panorama trail (downhill) in the same day?

May 25 - on my way out, take the 41 (Wawona) and visit Mariposa Grove before hitting the long road to Carmel. This looks like a no-brainer.

A final remark: we're a couple in our 40's and reasonably fit, we love to walk in natural environments but do not have extensive experience with mountain trekking - did a wonderful trip to Patagonia (Torres del Paine/El Chaltén) once, but we usually take walks at beach/jungle environment. We don't even have trekking poles- will we need them at Yosemite?

Wow, this post ended up being longer than I planned, thanks for bearing with me up to this point!

Redlands, California
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1. Re: Itinerary suggestions for 3 nights at Yosemite

I don't see how you can add Panorama to May 24--the problems are transport. If you have a car you can get from Sentinel Dome trailhead over to Glacier Point and Panorama, but then you hike down! If you take the shuttle/tour bus up, even if they let you off at Sentinel Dome you'd still have to walk along the road maybe two miles (???) from Sentinel Dome to Panorama after doing Sentinel/Taft Point. You could take the bus up, walk to Sentinel Dome from Glacier Point, and come down the Panorama. Or drive up, hike Sentinel/Taft, drive to Glacier Point, hike down to Illilouette Falls (I might have missed an 'l') and back up--This would be reasonable if you do Vernal and/or Nevada on another day.

Based on yosemitehikes.com (which you've seen) I'm looking forward to hiking up to Artist Point this summer.

Otherwise, its hard to say. For me, the Valley is mostly admiring the iconic rocks and waterfalls, which should be at their best. I didn't feel the need to hike much, i.e. up to Upper Yosemite Falls. But the Tuolomne Meadows area and Tioga Pass road are full of hidden and not-hidden gems. Tenaya Lake you can really just look at (from each end) but the Meadows repays walking around (if not slushy or even snowy)--Pothole Dome I HIGHLY recommend. May Lake from the spur parking lot is also a short hike but does depend on conditions at that time of year.

You can't really go wrong. :-)

Rio de Janeiro, RJ
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2. Re: Itinerary suggestions for 3 nights at Yosemite

Thanks for the heads-up! I missed to check that Sentinel/Taft trailheads do not depart from Glacier Point itself.

With that in mind, I'm now thinking of going to Glacier Point Road area on the arrival day and leaving a full day to explore the Tioga Pass Road area, allowing more time for short hikes, including the ones you suggested.

Edited: 04 May 2012, 20:46
Washington State
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3. Re: Itinerary suggestions for 3 nights at Yosemite

The trailhead for Taft Point and Sentinel Dome is about just over a mile before you reach Glacier Point. You can combine them with the Pohono Trail to make a 4+ mile loop, but I don't know what the trail conditions will be like in late May. Usually the trails are covered with snow. Someone commented recently that folks were ending up off trail because there are footprints going a variety of ways, and rather than using a map & compass, visitors are following random footprints just hoping to end up where they want to go. In a few weeks, it may be more clear to follow the trail.

Remember to stop at Washburn Pt as you are driving toward Glacier Point. It's oriented a bit differently than Glacier Point so it's worth the stop.

From Glacier Point to a lodging outside the Big Oak Flat entrance station may take at least 1 1/2 hrs, maybe more.

On your exit day, look for a sign in Wawona indicating if the Mariposa Grove parking lot (7 miles ahead) is full and thus you will be required to take the free shuttle from Wawona. I think the sign is on your right just after the bridge.

Rio de Janeiro, RJ
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4. Re: Itinerary suggestions for 3 nights at Yosemite

"From Glacier Point to a lodging outside the Big Oak Flat entrance station may take at least 1 1/2 hrs, maybe more."

Good point. Probably not a good idea to stay there for sunset, driving at night on a mountain road can be tiresome, maybe even dangerous, isn't it?

Stoke on Trent...
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5. Re: Itinerary suggestions for 3 nights at Yosemite

If you get away from Glacier Point as soon as sunset is over, you will still have quite a bit of "light" time before dark. This will get you off the top end of Glacier Point road.

With care, this road isn't bad to drive and staying at Glacier Point for sunset is well worth it. My opinion only of course :-)

6. Re: Itinerary suggestions for 3 nights at Yosemite

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