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A couple of questions

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A couple of questions

Hi Everybody.

My girlfriend and I are planning for our trip to Yosemite and stumbled on a couple of questions regarding the park.

We arrive from San Francisco 29th of july to Yosemite Bed And Breakfast and we're traveling on to Bishop the 31st july (late sunday to tuesday).

- Reading the forum there's a lot of talk about shuttles in the park. I would personally prefer to drive my own car because of the liberty it brings. What do you prefer in the park and what are the pros of the shuttle?

- I love the Mirror Lake pictures with the reflections in the water but it seems like Mirror Lake has become somewhat of a pond. Are there any lakes you could suggest for this experience?

- Being late july will it be possible to se waterfalls or are they dried out at this time?

- It seems Hwy 140 is the natural way to head into the park and the obvious road to take when we head to the Big Oak Flat Road and Tioga Rd/Hwy 120 when we're leaving the park for Bishop. My question is if it's worth driving the Hwy 41 one day out of the park - from what I can see we'll be able to see some sequoias on that road which we would like given that we're not going to Sequoia National Park. Any experiences with driving this detour compared to driving the why 140 from Mariposa towards the Yosemite Valley?

It's our first national park so we'll appreciate every tip available.


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1. Re: A couple of questions

I had to Google "Yosemite Bed & Breakfast to find it... sort of a triangle with Mariposa and Cathay's Valley. I don't think the location is very convenient for Yosemite tourism, but I guess it's do-able it you like to drive. One day, you could take Hwy 49 to Oakhurst and Hwy 41 to the South Entrance. That's the fastest way to Mariposa Grove of Giant Sequoias. Other days you'll probably drive into Mariposa & take Hwy 140 into the Park as that's the fastest way to the Valley.

Some parts of the road in the Valley are shuttle-only. You cannot drive to Happy Isles or to Mirror Lake. Find a place to park in the Valley and use the free shuttle or rent bikes. Don't try to move your car to another shuttle stop area.

You will use your car to access Glacier Point, Tunnel View, & Bridalveil Fall.

Shuttle routes (two routes in the busy summer): …nps.gov/yose/…valleyshuttle.pdf

Map showing the Valley + Tunnel View & Bridalveil Fall: yosemite.ca.us/maps/yosemite_valley_map_2008…

Mirror Lake was never really a lake at all ~ just calm water with nice reflections. Tenaya Lake is pretty nice, and right on Tioga Road. Gaylor Lake is a steep up-and-over 1+ mile hike just before you exit Tioga Pass, and it's a beautiful high country lake. I don't know about reflections, but the general scenery is classic high country & worth the hike if you can hike at this high elevation. I just put "Gaylor Lake Yosemite" into Google Images and found some great shots including ones with reflections, but the reflections are the craggy hillside beyond & the clouds ~ nothing is looming overhead like Half Dome is looming over Mirror Lake.

If you rent bikes, go out to Mirror Lake just to be close to Half Dome or to dip your toes. Don't expect reflections.

Waterfalls .... some streams are perennial and some are seasonal. Vernal & Nevada Fall will have water, but it will be at a decreased flow. Yosemite Fall will dry up sometime this summer. Bridalveil is usually a wisp in late summer but might go 'wispy' earlier since this is such a low water year.


Late Sunday to Tuesday? That's all the time you have? Hmmm. I don't think you have time to visit Mariposa Grove. In your one full day in Yosemite, get into the Valley very very early (skip the breakfast at your B&B ... I'd guess you'll drive at least 1. 5 hrs to the Valley) and see Tunnel View & Bridalveil Fall. Then park, probably in the Visitor Day Parking. Rent bikes or hop on the shuttle and see all the Valley features you'd like ... waterfalls, water 'walls', meadows, river, trails, whatever. Get in line for meals or eat your picnic. If you want to see the fabulous view, drive 1 hr up to Glacier Point. www.SunriseSunset.com will give a good estimate of sunset time. Sometimes the sun setting in the west makes a nice color on the face of Half Dome to the east of Glacier Point. Then it's a long long drive back to your B&B.

If you want a leisurely day instead, then pare down your tourism 'must sees' to about two or three things and just relax. Absorb the Yosemite experience and don't rush. It's a different travel style, but it might be yours. I like to get up early and do lots, but some folks like to wander, enjoy the view, and see just a little.

The next day, head in again, but detour up the route you've planned via Big Oak Flat Road to Crane Flat & turn east on Hwy 120. There is a smaller grove of Giant Sequoias near Crane Flat, Tuolumne Grove, if you still want to see some. Plan on a 3 mile round trip hike. Continue to Olmsted Point, Tenaya Lake, and Tuolumne Meadows. Gaylor Lakes trail is just before you exit the National Park. Lots to see outside the Park as well ... Ellery Lake, detour to Mono Lake, probably no time for Bodie State Historic Park / ghost town, June Lake, Mammoth Lake, eastern Sierra beauty.


For anyone lurking on this thread and having more time in Yosemite National Park ...

>> Reading the forum there's a lot of talk about shuttles in the park. <<

We talk about the free shuttle in the Valley because that's really the only practical way to get around in a vehicle. If you find a place to park in the summer, don't move your car. You won't find another one. If you're staying in the Valley, the shuttles will come right by your location (lodging or campground.)

The free shuttle from Wawona to Mariposa Grove runs spring-fall because the small Mariposa Grove parking lot cannot accommodate many cars. Using this shuttle is required most of the day; you don't get to choose to drive to Mariposa Grove if the parking lot is full.

YARTS runs fee (with a cost) shuttles between some areas and Yosemite Valley. This is a good choice for folks who don't want to drive or want to make a one-way trip without a car for a hike. The route from Merced to Yosemite Valley runs year round. There are seasonal routes between the Valley and Tuolumne Meadows, between the Eastern Sierra and the Valley (including Tuolumne Meadows), and new this year ... between Groveland and the Valley.

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2. Re: A couple of questions

Thank you for this reply. It's cleared up a lot of stuff for me. We know that it's a tight schedule and that Yosemite B&B is a bit out of the way but it was what we could find within the budget and we don't mind the drive.

We're looking very much forward to the park.

San Antonio, Texas
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3. Re: A couple of questions

If you want really good reflections, be at the lakes PNW is recommending about 7-8AM or so.

Redlands, California
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4. Re: A couple of questions

I won't dispute that the "best" reflections are at certain times of day (because I don't know one way or the other) but you can get wonderful reflections for example at midday. This is Tenaya Lake, which is right on the road, taken near midday. kuhalearthshaker.com/PhotoPost/…Tenaya.jpg

Its a stiff climb up to Gaylor Lakes but the landscape is unlike anything else you will have seen--you almost expect to see a dinosaur ramble over the ridge.

Edited: 21 May 2012, 18:31
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5. Re: A couple of questions

Tenaya Lake is along Tioga Road, which you will be driving on your way out of the park. There's a loop trail around Tenaya Lake, and at the west end of the lake you could see a mirror-like reflection, if it's a calm day with not much wind. yosemitehikes.com/tioga-road/…tenaya-lake.htm

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6. Re: A couple of questions

Thanks vnrose52 and bw92116. That's nice to know. Tenaya lake can work as a safety net that's an added bonus to what we find in the park.

7. Re: A couple of questions

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