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Spending 4 days in Yosemite National Park

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Spending 4 days in Yosemite National Park

I was wondering what hikes you would suggest for a 4 day stay. I definitely want to see Half Dome and Nevada Falls.

I heard the Upper and Lower Yosemite falls suck during the July when I will be visiting.

I don't mind doing day hikes and then easier hikes on the same day. I am all about fitting as much as possible into these 4 days.

Also are these tours worth it?

Yosemite Grand Tour

Stargazing Tour

Glacier Point Tour

I want to see the nicest parts of Tuolumne Meadows.

Edited: 21 November 2013, 04:21
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1. Re: Spending 4 days in Yosemite National Park

Where are the best places to see the sunset and sunrise?

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2. Re: Spending 4 days in Yosemite National Park

Sunset is glacier point

Edited: 21 November 2013, 04:50
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3. Re: Spending 4 days in Yosemite National Park

My opinion is that no tours are "worth it" if you want to hike. Just get out and hike. Don't get on a bus for hours & hours.

Mariposa Grove ~ get there early, like before 8:30 am. Hike up to the Grizzly Giant and then go further. Check out all the trees that interest you. Go up to Wawona Point. Combining everything, it's probably 5 or 6 miles. Mariposa Grove: tripadvisor.com/Travel-g61000-d592681

Wawona ~ you probably won't want to hike here. If you have time or interest, walk out to Swinging Bridge with your picnic lunch and bathing suit. The river water is usually okay by mid July. Wawona: tripadvisor.com/Travel-g61000-c196037

Glacier Point area ~ this is another place where you'd probably want to arrive early, but if you're hiking you will get away from the crowds. I recommend making a loop of Taft Point - Pohono Trail - Sentinel Dome. Almost everyone will be on the Sentinel Dome trail. That's maybe ... 4.5 miles. Sentinel Dome info: tripadvisor.com/Travel-g61000-d532061

Also at Glacier Point .... just walk around and take in the views.

Panorama Trail ~ lots of folks do this one way from Glacier Point. They take the bus up to Glacier Point and hike down. Choose this or the next one. TA Reviews tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g61000-d33…

Mist Trail to Vernal Fall and on to Nevada Fall ~ then come down via the John Muir Trail.

Tuolumne Meadows ~ too many to suggest just one. Research and then pick .... Gaylor Lakes, Lembert Dome, Pothole Dome, Twin Bridges, or more.

www.YosemiteHikes.com is a great resource for most of these hikes.

You can see sunset from almost anywhere in Yosemite Valley. If you're lucky, the colors on Half Dome might be nice. Many folks watch from a meadow, a bridge, or from Tunnel View. There are sunset ranger talks from Glacier Point. Watch time-lapse webcam movies here: http://archives.halfdome.net/archive/showfile (Try a July date from 2013. July 10 at 36 seconds has a flash of sun. July 20 has a rainbow at 34 seconds. I guess you have to be there at the exact right time. My views have been just colorful ... pink & lavender.)

Sunrise isn't as appealing.

Be sure to read the Trip Reports in the Top Questions and the Trip Ideas to see what others have done.

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4. Re: Spending 4 days in Yosemite National Park

On the way to half dome won't I see Nevada Falls and Vernal Falls?

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5. Re: Spending 4 days in Yosemite National Park

Olmsted Point is another nice location for sunsets. And since you want to see Tuolumne Meadows - the hike to and behind Pothole Dome is nice and also is easy.

I wouldn't go on a tour. Figure out where you want to go and go on your own.

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6. Re: Spending 4 days in Yosemite National Park

Are you entering the lottery for a Half Dome permit? More info here: tripadvisor.com/Travel-g61000-d139183 Yes, go up Mist Trail, continue to Half Dome, back to the junction, and down JMT.

It sounds like you already have some hikes planned. Maybe you can tell us more about your itinerary and travel plans. Someone who spends all day on the bus Grand Tour is not the same person who hikes the 16 mile round trip, 4,000' ascent to Half Dome.

Will you have a car?

How many miles a day do you want to hike?

How much elevation gain/loss?

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7. Re: Spending 4 days in Yosemite National Park

I'd recommend Clouds Rest that time of year. A little easier than Half Dome with better views. Looking down 4500 feet into Tenaya Canyon is just ridiculous from the summit ridge of Clouds Rest. That would be my #1 recommendation (over Half Dome), but it would also be a great backup plan in case you don't get permits for Half Dome in the lottery.

yosemitehikes.com/tioga-road/…clouds-rest.htm

For seeing the waterfalls I'd recommend the Panorama Trail from Glacier Point down to the Valley. A start about 11AM or noon keeps the Sun out of your eyes for the spectacular view East across the Clark Range, and you pass by Illilouette Fall (just across a narrow canyon from you) and then hike over Nevada Fall and Vernal Fall. Just book a trip on the tour bus to get up to Glacier Point and then hike down. Or if you want a longer trip, you can hike up the Four Mile Trail from the Valley and down the Panorama Trail.

Those would be my two longer hike recommendations. Clouds Rest is still a pretty tough 14 miles roundtrip with about 2500 feet of elevation gain (though it's only 1700 or so net), but nowhere close to the 17 or so miles and 4800 feet of elevation gain that Half Dome is. Don't get me wrong; Half Dome is freaking amazing too, especially for its view of Clouds Rest.

Another hike to consider might be Mount Dana; it's the second highest peak in the park and has a 6 mile or so roundtrip trail. I haven't been up it, but I have gone up Mount Gibbs right next to it, and it has some pretty ridiculous views of the Lyell Glacier, Koip Peak, and Kuna Peak. I imagine Dana is even better with the view of Mono Lake (I know the view of Mono Lake 2000 feet lower at Mono Pass is incredible). Maybe save that one for later in the trip when you get some altitude acclimation though, since it starts about 10,000 feet and goes up to 13,000 feet.

Skip all the tours. Going in July you can get out and hike away from the crowds.

For sunset, Glacier Point and Sentinel Dome are the places to be to see the alpenglow off Half Dome and Clouds Rest. Sunrises aren't too great in Yosemite since the Sierra rises to the East. If you want ridiculous sunrises you need to go to the other side of the Sierra so that the huge mountains are to the West to catch the alpenglow off the morning Sun.

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8. Re: Spending 4 days in Yosemite National Park

Well in terms of Yosemite right now all I know for sure is I want to get to the top of half dome. Taking the mist trail route so I can see Nevada and Vernal falls along the way up.

The only reason I mentioned the tour was because I heard the traffic and parking is a huge problem during the summer. I will have a car and plan on checking out all the viewpoints via car and driving through tioga pass to Mono lake.

I can handle day hikes but I am not looking to do multi day hikes. Even though I have the equipment to do it I would rather get a variety of scenic views. Having said that I don't mind doing 12-16 mile round trips.

I hike in the Appalachians Saturday and Sunday mornings and do a lot of rock scrambling. I love rock scrambling! I am scared to all hell of heights but I love the thrill! So far my favorite hike has been precipice in Acadia National Park. The hike will put some hair on your chest!

Also yeah I know I need a permit to climb the cables but I am just trying to get my trip planned first so I can enter the lottery for the proper days. I have a few other permits I need, and now I realize why people don't do roadtrips. Its very hard to plan and most people are too lazy to put in the work it takes to plan.

Edited: 21 November 2013, 15:17
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9. Re: Spending 4 days in Yosemite National Park

It's too bad Bob Burd's page is down, as he had tons of info on great scrambles in Yosemite. If that's what you're looking for though, register at yosemitenews.info. A poster there named chick-on knows about everything there is to know about Yosemite, and has done a million different off-trail routes, technical and non-technical, in the park.

Edited: 21 November 2013, 16:40
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10. Re: Spending 4 days in Yosemite National Park

Yosemite is a huge park, but the Yosemite Valley is a small place… 7 miles long, a mile wide…

The places being described, cloud’s rest, Glacier Point, Half Dome, El Capitan are granite cliffs looming and overlooking the valley… Park lodging… The Awhannee, Curry Village, The Lodge (now the Lodge at the Falls) as well as Upper, Lower, & North Pines Camp Grounds, and “House Keeping Camp” are all in the upper half of the Yosemite Valley…

If all you do is stay in the Valley and walk around and look up you will see most of the sights…

Bridle Vail Falls is at the west end of the valley… the best views less than 100 yards away from the parking area… Yosemite Falls is on the north wall of the valley about half way up… Again, best views about 200 yards… Vernal and Nevada Falls are up the side valley behind Half Dome… Hiking the Mist trail will allow you to see both… it’s a long mile up a steep but paved path… Illouette Falls can be seen from the Mist trail as well. You can't see Nevada or Vernal Falls from a vehicle...

The top of half dome calls for a 10 or 12 hour hike with 4,000 feet of elevation gain… It’s a hard one day…

The top of Glacier Point is a drive… some years ago it was a hotel until it burned in the late 1960’s… It is now closed in winter… In summer a permit is needed.

If all you do is spend two days on the valley floor, looking around, riding the shuttle (free shuttle) taking walks (not hikes) some 100 yards… some a mile… you will see the core of the Yosemite experience… More time can allow more hikes if able… more time can allow a high country experience (if not winter, in winter most is closed if you don’t have winter mountaineering skills…)

Yosemite rewards those with a few days, and rewards those with more time and more hiking skills more…

I don't know if an organized tour is a great option...

Randy (exploring Yosemite since 1968...)

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