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Lee Vining or June Lake?

Honolulu, Hawai‘i
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Lee Vining or June Lake?

We are heading to Yosemite in July of 2013 and will start out staying in the valley at the Lodge at the Falls. Then we are heading over to the East side to have closer access to the high country (thanks for the helpful advice on that!). We have adjusted our plans a bit and instead of just staying two nights spending very little time there, we are going to stay three nights and take a day to see Devil's Postpile and Mono Lake.

I have been reading reviews and descriptions of places to stay in Lee Vining and the June Lake area, but I am stumped about what to do. I was hoping that someone who has seen both areas would have suggestions. We don't fish. This will be a place to stay while we take day trips out to go hiking, walking, and sight-seeing.

If you had three nights, where would you stay?

thanks very much!

Fortaleza, CE
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1. Re: Lee Vining or June Lake?

If I had 3 nights, I'd probably spend 1 in Lee Vining, and 2 in Mammoth, or 1 each in Lee Vining, Mammoth and Lone Pine. But my wife hates to keep changing hotels so we migh tend up with 3 at June Lake. Individual tastes.

You can map out distances using Google Maps or Mapquest. Look at hotel costs. MammothLakes and June Lake more pleasant scenery than Lee Vining, and more restaurants, but you may well pay more. Mammoth closest to Devils Postpile. Lee Vining closest to Mono Lake (see the tufa towers) and Bodie State Park (ghost town). If you don't stay in Lee Vining, do visit the Mono Lake Committee visitor's center for info on Mono Lake. And read up in advance on Bodie.

With pletny of time you might look into the Ancient Bristlecone Pine forest high in the White Mountains east of Big Pine, Glacier Lodge (and nearby Palisade Glacier) west of Big Pine, Manzanar Historic Site (Japanese "relocation" camp used during WWII) north of Lone Pine, and the Alabama Hills, immediately south of Lone Pine.

Edited: 14 September 2012, 20:53
Menifee, California
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2. Re: Lee Vining or June Lake?

I would stay in Mammoth Lakes. If you are heading east out of the park to the 395 it isn't that much further. Lots of hotels, motels and condos to choose from. Sightseeing opportunites around the lakes and up at Mammoth Mountain.

Here is the link to the TA Mammoth Lakes Forum: tripadvisor.com/ShowForum-g60791-i711-Mammot…

Pacific Grove...
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3. Re: Lee Vining or June Lake?

I would stay at June Lake, Double Eagle Resort. Lee Vining is so desolate. You are going to get food shock.

San Diego...
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4. Re: Lee Vining or June Lake?

Lee Vining and June Lake are pretty close together, so it really doesn't matter much which one you stay at in terms of time. I would stay at one of the two for your first night after Yosemite. Then you could spend that last day in Yosemite driving along Tioga Road and enjoying the high country of Yosemite, then exit the park and drive down the mountain just before it gets dark. Then stay at either Lee Vining or June Lake.

If you were planning to go to Bodie or Mono Lake the next day, then staying at Lee Vining would reduce your driving time that day by a small amount. But frankly I would choose June Lake as it is a little more scenic and there may be more choices of places to stay and eat, as it is a ski resort in the winter months. The Silver Lake Resort on the June Lake Loop is in a gorgeous setting, prettier than June Lake, and although it is a very old rustic place, it does have a tiny cafe with good homemade breakfasts.

Here's a travelogue of that region: travelswithbillandnancy.com/eastern_sierras.…

Honolulu, Hawai‘i
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5. Re: Lee Vining or June Lake?

This is all really helpful. That Double Eagle Resort looks great! I'll call to find out more about rates and availability. Does anyone else have a specific suggestion of a place that they would like to recommend?

Seattle
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for Grand Canyon National Park
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6. Re: Lee Vining or June Lake?

We go to Yosemite high country almost every summer, and routinely spend a night in Lee Vining before heading into the park. We love Mono Lake. But the lodging opportunities there are fairly bleak, so one night is enough. Last time we decided to spend two nights, so went to June lake instead. We had an apartment at Gull Lake Lodge, an older "fishing lodge" type of motel. Our upstairs apartment was large, clean and very convenient. It was also a lot less expensive than staying at Double Eagle Resort (which looks very nice, but is more than we want to pay on our hiking vacations.)

June Lake is a bit farther from the Tioga road than Lee Vining, but not much, and the drive along the loop road is beautiful. Tthere are also some nice local hikes right from June Lake area.

We have also stayed at Mammoth Lakes, at Tamarack Lodge on Twin Lakes, but we did not use this as a base for Yosemite hiking; that drive is too long for our tastes. The Mammoth area offers good hiking on its own, and makes a nice place to spend 3 or 4 nights, separate from a Yosemite stay. It also provides good access to Devil's Postpile and Rainbow Falls, as well as the Shadow Lake and John Muir trails.

Fremont, California
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for San Francisco
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7. Re: Lee Vining or June Lake?

OK - they are a short distance apart. If you want to look at a lake by highway 395 and only that (Mono Lake is a nice place to visit) then Lee Viing works,.

But if y9ou want a mountain community, lakes, lake activities, places for a picnic lunch, places to go hiking, then skip Lee Vining. Its the place peopr stay who have never been to the Eastern Sierras.

The two places to stay are either June Lake Loop or Mammoth Mountain. June Lake Loop has 4 wonderful lakes; restaurants, mountains, fishing and more. Mammoth Mountain, a short half hour drive from June Lake Loop, has more restaurants, some nicer lodging, and better for mountain biking.

Lee Vining is basically a wide spot on the road - you drive through it in 5 minutes - with a nice view of Mono lake.

but for a mountain vacation skip it - especially for 3 days -

We've been going there every year for years - so know the area very well.

Enjoy your tip/.

Edited: 15 September 2012, 03:02
Fremont, California
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for San Francisco
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8. Re: Lee Vining or June Lake?

For loding in June Lake - there are a lot of nice condos as well. Double Eagle is nice - higher end property. Lower end is Gull Lake Lodge - 5 minute walk to Gull Lake.....and 10 minute walk to June Lake. Gull Lake Lodge has a loving room, bedroom, outdoor porch area; small kitchen, and a barbecue area on site....

There are similar other properties on the loop.

San Francisco
Destination Expert
for Death Valley Junction, Death Valley National Park
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9. Re: Lee Vining or June Lake?

** "Gull Lake Lodge has a loving room," **

Cool!

:^)

San Francisco
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10. Re: Lee Vining or June Lake?

<<** "Gull Lake Lodge has a loving room," **>>

Whee! How does one reserve? (Nice to see you back mini.)