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  1. #1
    fc
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    OT: Yosemite advice

    Looks like a great year to get out there.

    https://www.sfgate.com/bayarea/artic...#photo-2142035

    What is the best way to spend a couple days there?

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  2. #2
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    By bike!

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  3. #3
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    Iíve always liked the Tuolumne Meadows area. Lots of small lakes and great trails.
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  4. #4
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    ^^ Good call. The valley is a zoo in the summer, although it's a pretty great zoo. If you do go to the valley you can drop 99% of the people by walking 5 minutes from the road. The hike to the top of Yosemite Falls is a great one.
    The broken are the more evolved. Rejoice.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by dirtvert View Post
    ^^ Good call. The valley is a zoo in the summer, although it's a pretty great zoo. If you do go to the valley you can drop 99% of the people by walking 5 minutes from the road. The hike to the top of Yosemite Falls is a great one.
    Iíve heard Little Yosemite Valley is good too with way less crowds but I havenít had a chance to check it out myself.
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  6. #6
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    Half dome hike or climb is unforgettable. Amazing terrain.
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  7. #7
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    Was just there over memorial day weekend. We ended up spending 3 full days.

    Day 1: Visit main visitor center, plan what to do. Go see bottom of Yosemite Falls. Then hike up half-way to Upper Yosemite Falls about 30 mins past Columbia Rock. Took us with the kids about 3-4 hours

    Day 2: Biking around the valley, bike to Bridalveil Fall, raft down the Merced river.

    Day 3: Visit Happy Isles visitor center. Hike to Vernal/Nevada falls.

    Tip #1: Bring bikes. Valley is so flat it's even not too hard for non-biking folks to get around. Even beats having to take the crowded shuttles. Just know there is zero mtn biking to be done around the valley.

    Tip #2: If you do the hike to Vernal/Navada fall, consider using the John Muir trail instead of the Mist trail. I think it's equally as nice and way less crowded.

    Tip #3: Drive into the park early if coming for a day trip. Specially on busy weekend, I could not believe the traffic on the southside/northside drive.

  8. #8
    fc
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    Quote Originally Posted by adagioca View Post
    Was just there over memorial day weekend. We ended up spending 3 full days.

    Day 1: Visit main visitor center, plan what to do. Go see bottom of Yosemite Falls. Then hike up half-way to Upper Yosemite Falls about 30 mins past Columbia Rock. Took us with the kids about 3-4 hours

    Day 2: Biking around the valley, bike to Bridalveil Fall, raft down the Merced river.

    Day 3: Visit Happy Isles visitor center. Hike to Vernal/Nevada falls.

    Tip #1: Bring bikes. Valley is so flat it's even not too hard for non-biking folks to get around. Even beats having to take the crowded shuttles. Just know there is zero mtn biking to be done around the valley.

    Tip #2: If you do the hike to Vernal/Navada fall, consider using the John Muir trail instead of the Mist trail. I think it's equally as nice and way less crowded.

    Tip #3: Drive into the park early if coming for a day trip. Specially on busy weekend, I could not believe the traffic on the southside/northside drive.
    Very good tips. What did you enjoy the most out of all your activities?
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  9. #9
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    Sentinel Dome and Taft Point are great, easy hikes off of Glacier Point road.

    If you want a more challenging hike, do Cloud's Rest (off of Hwy 120). Best views in the park imo. Give yourself a full day for this one.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by fc View Post
    Very good tips. What did you enjoy the most out of all your activities?
    Hard to say. Yosemite is our happiest place in earth. We normally enjoy every minute we spend there. The hike to Vernal/Nevada is sorta special for us. With kids growing up we keep going further along this route. 3 years ago, my 4 yo could only get to the base of Vernal Falls. 2 years ago, we manage to make it the top of Vernal Falls. This year, we made it to the top of Nevada Falls and now my boys have on their mind to do Half Dome.

    I like hiking a lot but with a young family we try to mix things up and not burn the kids out with hiking non-stop every day. That's when little visit to visitor center, biking around, rafting is nice. If the weather is nice and warm, there are some cool beaches to hang out to dip your feet in the Merced river. Swinging Bridge is a pretty good spot for that.

  11. #11
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    Avoid Yosemite Valley in the summer if at all possible. Other seasons see much few visitors. Tuolumne Meadows and the backcountry are great in the summer if you are into backpacking and camping.

    I did this ride last spring on my cross bike. A hardtail would also be fine. It's about 60 mi of dirt or so. No single track. But very cool.

    https://blog.sfgate.com/bicycle/2018...car-free-road/

    Also great to ride Tioga Pass Rd or Glacier Point Rd when they open it to bikes only just before it opens for the season. Difficult to time tho (usually May or June depending on snow fall).

  12. #12
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    Gotta see the sequoias man https://www.nps.gov/yose/planyourvisit/mg.htmOT: Yosemite advice-img_2444.jpg edit to add a photo :-)

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    I'd also add if your comming in or leaving from the east Mono Lake is worth a stop. On a calm day the formations are very photogenic.
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    Some off-the-grid (not on park maps and no trail signs) Valley hikes if you want avoid the crowded trails:

    1. El Cap base hike. Starts from the road across from El Cap Meadow a couple hundred yards west of the El Cap Bridge. Follow the trail to the base of the Nose of El Cap. From here you can follow a well used climbers trail left along the base or right along the base. These are both out-n-back trails. Steep in places but not scary. Climbers hike up these trails to approach their routes wearing 100 lb haul bags... If going up the right side you will end up in the zone of the September 2017 rockfall. Probably best not to turn around at this point (it will be obvious when you see it).

    2. Gunsight hike/scramble (4th class with fixed lines). Start at a pullout on Southside drive not far from the El Cap viewing area and more or less below the notch between Lower and Middle Cathedral Rocks. The pullout is on the left side of the road and you will see a huge boulder on the right side. Hike up a drainage until you get to the notch (the Gunsight). As you hike up the gunsight, the terrain will steepen and you will need to scramble a bit. The walls on either side of you get closer as you move up the Gunsight. There are usually ropes at the steepest parts to help you out. Don't attempt unless you have some climbing experience or have good judgement as to when you need to turn around. At the top of the notch a short hike to the right (West) will get you to the top of Lower Cathedral Rock with views of El Cap and the top of Bridalveil Falls. Reverse your route to get back. Be careful of the loose rocks in the gunsight if there are others in your group.

    3. Old Big Oak Flat Road. This is the old road that was replaced by the 120. It starts at a pullout with a gate about 3/4 mile West of El Cap Bridge. Follow the single lane road up and west as long as you want to go- you will end up near Foresta/Tamarack Creek Trail eventually. You will marvel at the old rock retaining walls built by hand in the 1800's. The road disappears in places, you will have to follow rock cairns at times.

    4. Ribbon Falls Amphitheater. Starts as for the hike above, but take a trail off to the right after a 1/2 mile or so (may be a cairn at the start). Follow this climber trail all the way to the base of the falls amphitheater. Some spots along the way require some easy scrambling. Ribbon Falls dries up in the summer.

  15. #15
    fc
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    How is it on weekdays in the summer?
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    Still crowded, slightly less than weekends. Basically, it's Calcutta. Can be that hot, too.

    Quote Originally Posted by fc View Post
    How is it on weekdays in the summer?

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    Get a ride up to Tuolumne. Hike to Cloudsrest, then up Half Dome (if you can get a permit), then down to the Valley. 20ish miles. Drink beer, rinse in river. If you have energy the next day 4 Mile Trail to Glacier Point is good, and can also be done all downhill if you catch a ride up there. Sequoias are good for lazy walks. Good camping on the river outside the park past El Portal if the park is full. If you decide to go over Tioga, the Mo-Mart is a mandatory stop.

  18. #18
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    I would second Tuolumne Meadows, very pretty, less folks. Also, Glacier Point. The valley is nuts. Stop off in Groveland, or Exchequer to ride your MTB.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by JStrube View Post
    I would second Tuolumne Meadows, very pretty, less folks. Also, Glacier Point. The valley is nuts. Stop off in Groveland, or Exchequer to ride your MTB.
    What is the best stop/hike at Tuloumne? I was just there and did a couple things. Would like to know the best 2-6 hour jaunt.
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    I really liked the hike from campground to Elizibeth lake, then up (cross country) to top to Cockscomb. Fantastic views. Only 1/2 day. Might even get some snow for glissading.

    Iíve heard Mt Hoffman is a great hike, but have never done it.

    For a long hike hike Mt Dana from Tioga pass.
    Or cilmb Mt Conness from Saddlebag lake. Long but worth it.

  21. #21
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    Skip Yosemite and drive a little farther south to Bass lake. Ride with the southgatetrails.org crew. Epic Rides in the area including 2 big ones with over 5k and 4k feet of elevation gain and lots of varying terrain on the way down!

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by fc View Post
    What is the best stop/hike at Tuloumne? I was just there and did a couple things. Would like to know the best 2-6 hour jaunt.
    Dog Lake is a cool shorter hike. But think about Lembert Dome. It may be the best chance you'll ever have to get to the top of a roche moutonnee and you'll have the best view of the area. You could do both in 5-6 hours I think.



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  23. #23
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    Ok if you have never been...
    If in the valley, start early and climb Yosemite Falls trail, 3hrs round trip if you hump it and beat the heat (did I say start early like at crack of dawn?). That is a bucket list hike.
    Half Dome is ALL day 16+ miles and lots of footies so expect a 10hr + day and need a permit from last year; need lots of water and probably no more hiking for the trip. Also a bucket list hike, but need a little planning (food, water, filter, goretex gear etc). Half way is Vernal Falls, then Nevada so nice half day hike with two raging falls to see. Hard to avoid crowds here at all hours.
    Plan on river float @shuttle part car part bus. It is a little chilly and good way to beat the heat.
    Check out Awhanee Hotel (now called Half Dome View or something silly), great Sunday brunch.
    Drive up or hike 4 Mile Trail to Glacier Point (sunset is worth it if driving). Trail is dusty and a bit hot.

    Tuolumne
    Cathedral Peak 9ish miles- gets you up in real High Sierra landscape. You can hike up the saddle and if game can climb 4th class up the south west corner to get near the peak - spectacular views.
    Waterwheel Falls 9 ish miles(+ others) along Tuolumne River - you will want to go back.
    Clouds Rest 11ish miles - you end up looking down the valley past Half Dome and El Cap in the distance...unique view of Yosemite.
    Mt Hoffman, Lambert dome are nice, as well as any of the other peaks mentioned.
    Bring lots of bug juice (skeets are starting to emerge) and sunscreen for the altitude. Also, plan on carrying water, the altitude sucks you dry.

    Good luck and have fun!

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by fc View Post
    What is the best stop/hike at Tuloumne? I was just there and did a couple things. Would like to know the best 2-6 hour jaunt.
    My wife and I usually just wander a bit. I still want to hike to the top of Yosemite Falls from Tuolumne, Iíve done it from the floor. We are only 2 hours away, yet only go once a year.

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by fc View Post
    How is it on weekdays in the summer?
    It's not bad on weekdays, particularly if you are used to driving the Bay Area (i.e., seeing other cars from time to time, and maybe having to slow down for them). Last year I had an excellent time hitting up one of the first come first served campgrounds off Tioga Pass, Tamarack Flat (bit of a gnarly drive off the pass, single lane road with tight blind switchbacks and not many turnouts). We had to hit the road pretty early, before 6am if I remember right, and got there around 10am very lucky to roll up and find a free site. It seemed like you could hang out around checkout time or in the morning and grab a site if you were willing to wait for someone to leave. First day we did Yosemite Valley, decently crowded but not that bad, hiked Yosemite Falls which was great. There's also a great hike that starts from there to the top of El Capitan that is definitely doable but all day for sure. My buddy and I didn't make it all the way, and we hiked for 8-9hrs; had to turn back because of thunderstorms. One of the nice things about first come first serve campsites is that you can extend your stay as much as you want (up to limits); we had only planned to stay one night but pivoted to two no problem when my boy from Toronto told me he needed more mountains.

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