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Tips for Sloths...

England
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Tips for Sloths...

OK - so we love the great outdoors but... we're not the fittest family.

I'll have an octaganarian, one teen and two 10 year olds plus me & dh. Our OAP is probably the fittest amongst us so any arduous trails are out of the question :)

We love to amble, and enjoy good walks, gentle cycling but only up to 3 or 4 miles and hiking is not our thing. We spend lots of time messing about in rivers and having picnics, plus great scenery and nature are really important to us.

I'd love to see Yosemite but - I don't want to experience it in a car but I don't want hours of hiking either. As it's unlikely that we'll be passing this way again, I think it's also important to introduce it to the kids but don't know whether I've just got carried away with myself.

Do you think I'm kidding myself that we could still enjoy a day in Yosemite or do you think I should just drop it out of our plan? We'll be taking a few days to drive up from Vegas to San Fran then down to LA as part of a 3 week trip. So if it's not practial to enjoy it on this basis, I'll just start in San Fran, thru to LA and end in Vegas (if that makes sense).

Sorry - I'm not painting a great picture of our family, we are healthy and moderately active - honest....

Also as the plan stands currnently, we'll be hitting Yosemite the Friday of Labor Weekend. Will the Friday be as busy as the actual weekend?

Any tips appreciated :)

S

Fortaleza, CE
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1. Re: Tips for Sloths...

Look at the park's Web site http://www.nps.gov/yose/index.htm (you can even phone the park). There's lots of info on trails, short, medium and long. If the Web site doesn't have enough info for you, go to the visitor's center in Yosemite Village when you arrive. I think your problem will be having too many appealing options during your short visit, not too few.

Edited: 17 January 2014, 13:59
Fortaleza, CE
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2. Re: Tips for Sloths...

p.s. the park will be very, very busy. Traffic and crowds, and-- above all-- finding accommodations, will likely be more problematic than your fitness level.

Washington State
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3. Re: Tips for Sloths...

Hi

Friday will be busy but Saturday will probably be crazy busy. I think your plan is fine.

Are you following this general plan for your Las Vegas to Yosemite (and on to SF) drive? tripadvisor.com/Travel-g28926-c182361

You may want to concentrate more of your time in Tuolumne Meadows. Stroll along the Lyell Fork of the Tuolumne River to Twin Bridges and spend the day with the picnic, dipping toes into the river, and enjoying the afternoon. Then continue down Tioga Road to Tenaya Lake (or just spend the day there... swimmable lake right alongside the road with lots of beautiful surroundings and a few trails for the walking folks to enjoy), on to Olmsted Point (just for the views) and down to Yosemite Valley.

I'm not sure if you'll find lodging for one night of a holiday weekend. Yosemite Lodge at the Falls is the most motel-like but also the most popular.

Other great places that you might enjoy on your short visit ..

Glacier Point ~ it's actually wheelchair accessible so even sloths can enjoy it. Lots of views, places for ten year olds to scramble (not near the edge) and a hike to Sentinel Dome if part of the group wants to do that tripadvisor.com/Travel-g61000-d532061 (There is an alternate trailhead for Sentinel Dome from Glacier Point if you want to keep the group somewhat together.)

Wawona ~ small community near the South Entrance with a swimmable river and the Pioneer History Center

Mariposa Grove of Giant Sequoias ~ send the old-timers (you?) on the $$$ audio tram tour while the others walk a bit tripadvisor.com/Travel-g61000-d592681

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If you're still setting your overall itinerary (now that you've chosen Labor Day instead of Memorial Day), you can ask a new question on the CA state forum. Here is one possible loop: tripadvisor.com/GoListDetail-i38853-Three_we…

An advantage to starting a one way trip in SF and working your way south is that you won't have the unnecessary car in SF. The route could be SFO - SF - Yosemite Valley - Monterey - and so on.

I assume you know that Las Vegas will be hot.

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I guessed from context, but we don't use the term OAP in the US. For anyone else who wonders if their guess is right... "Accepted United Kingdom shortened form of Old Age Pensioner (OAP) and used on official documents in this form."

Edinburgh, Scotland
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4. Re: Tips for Sloths...

I personally would knock of all or any days in Vegas and LA and spend the time in Yosemite but each to their own. You haven't said what time of year you're coming but I've assumed early summer when the waterfalls in Yosemite will still be flowing.

The scenery in Yosemite valley is jaw-dropping so, even if you don't hike, you can still spend a memorable day there. In the morning, I'd suggest either a walk (it's not really a hike) round the Cook's Meadow loop or you may want to hire bikes and tour round the valley floor that way. Bike hire is around $12 per hour or $30+ per day. Either option will give you a good introduction to the sights in the valley and the walk and valley floor cycle route is flat. There are picnic areas in various parts of the park but, if you like messing about in water you could try the area around Swinging Bridge for a picnic lunch. There are other dining options in the park if you don't want to picnic, ranging from the Ahwahnee Hotel (worth seeing) to deli sandwiches and burgers. The bar in the Ahwahnee is cheaper and easier to get into than the Dining Room - be sure you have a look round the inside and ouside of the hotel.

In the afternoon, I'd head to Glacier Point Road but stop off at Briadalveil Falls and Tunnel View ( the classic Yosemite View framed by El Capitan, Half Dome and Bridalveil Fall). After Tunnel View head up Glacier Point Road but stop at the trailhead for Sentinel Dome/Taft Point. The hike to Sentinel Dome is short (1 mile each way) without a huge elevation gain and the payoff views from there are terrific. If you're feeling more energetic you could follow the Pohono Trail to Taft Point for another great view.

After your short hike(s), head to Glacier Point. Again, you'll find a classic Yosemite View especially if you take in Washburn Point which will give you a slightly different perspective on Half Dome. If you're at Glacier Point in the evening and it's not overcast you'll be rewarded with the view of Half Dome lit up by the setting sun.

The link below is for the Yosemite Hikes web-site which will give you more info on the hikes/walks/viepoints mentioned in this post. I'm very evangelical about Yosemite and cannot recommend it highly enough. We've re-routed holidays in the past just for another chance to visit and, no matter when we've gone, we've been blown away by its beauty every time. I've deliberately confined the options to less strenuous, one day activity but my advice would always be spend as much time there as you can and see as much of the park as possible.

www.yosemitehikes.com

Incidentally, you may have guessed I'm not a lover of LA or Vegas. I'm not sure how much time you want to spend or if you have any particular things to do there but I prefer San Diego to LA and there are spectacular parks in Southern Utah three hours drive from Vegas (Zion) and a bit further on (Bryce Canyon). The Valley of Fire State Park about an hour north of Vegas is a closer alternative and also worth seeing.

Whatever you decide I'm sure you'll have a great time - enjoy it.

Washington State
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5. Re: Tips for Sloths...

Travel dates (for other members contributing ideas)

>>Also as the plan stands currently, we'll be hitting Yosemite the Friday of Labor Weekend.<<

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If you do the one way out of SFO, you might arrive in Yosemite NP earlier than Labor Day weekend.

Edinburgh, Scotland
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6. Re: Tips for Sloths...

Sorry just realised that I hadn't read your post properly and missed the fact that you're planning to be in the park on Labor Day weekend. Yosemite Falls will be pretty much dry and Bridalveil Falls will be reduced. Vernal and Nevada will still be flowing albeit with a reduced volume of water.

The lack of waterfalls makes my itinerary a little less appealing so, although I'd still do these things, PacificNW's suggestion which was posted as I was typing is probably the better option.

Should have gone to Specsavers :-)

England
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7. Re: Tips for Sloths...

Thank you - fantastic tips. I'm a bit overwhelmed with it all (as well as excited).

Yes I know Vegas will be hot, but we'll be very much pool (and restaurant) based in Vegas except for hopefully a helicopter trip to the GC. Plus we're staying slightly longer in Vegas than San Fran so as it's recommended not to have a car in either location, Vegas seemed the sensible option. Dh & I have been to Vegas before (a couple of years back) in August and did the Chopper trip - wish we'd have left it until this time as it's one of those trips that you only really want to do once.

I would rather do it the other way round i.e. San Fran to Yosemite however with my itinerary it means that we end up in Disney on Labour Weekend which will be a toil of a pleasure. I figured we could at least enjoy the views in Yosemite, even if it is a little busier. Our LA part will be very much focused on theme parks I'm afraid and after Labour Day, crowds drop completely (I subscribed to touring plans to check :) Although again that proves to be a dilemma as if the parks are quiet we probably won't need as long there and could add a night somewhere else. I've been trying to plan around Labour Day so it doesn't fall in Yosemite or Disney. Another benefit would be that we can fly into Vegas and out of LA, all other routes would mean a full loop (as far as I can tell).

The lack of waterfalls is a shame but as I haven't got anything to compare it with - it will still be breathtaking for us.

The suggested loop and driving itinerary seem to have been written for me, so once again many thanks.

Just out of curiousity - what do you call OAP's over there?

Thanks again - much appreciated

S

Washington State
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8. Re: Tips for Sloths...

OAP ~ Senior citizens maybe? Seniors? I don't know of an acronym for older folks.

It looks like the clever marketing has sucked you in. You did not take a helicopter ride from Las Vegas to Grand Canyon National Park. You went to grand-canyon-west. It was invented for Las Vegas tourists who don't want to travel too far. You can also see the Statue of Liberty (fake) and the gondolas of Venice (fake) in Las Vegas. It's all fun, but be aware of what you're actually seeing.

I still don't think Las Vegas is a great choice in August, but it doesn't match my travel style. With kids, I'd spend more time in a destination where they can actually do something ... kayak in the Elkhorn Slough between Santa Cruz & Monterey, hike 1.1 miles up to the top of Sentinel Dome in Yosemite, bike across the Golden Gate Bridge in the summer fog.

9. Re: Tips for Sloths...

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Santa Cruz...
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10. Re: Tips for Sloths...

Yes, the helicopter ride from Las Vegas does not go to the Grand Canyon National Park but to another section of the canyon of the Colorado River. It is a sort of hoax, actually, because many people believe that they have visited the real "Grand Canyon". It is a "for profit" area.

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