Author Topic: Any Yosemite experts?  (Read 5066 times)

MayDay

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Any Yosemite experts?
« on: September 28, 2016, 02:20:02 PM »
I am flying out and seeing H for 4 days while he is in Santa Clara for a 2 week work trip.  We booked a tent-cabin in Yosemite for Saturday night in the Half Dome cabin area.  Unheated, expected temps in the 30's overnight!  Yay for an adventure :) 

We will drive out of SC super early on Saturday morning, and get to Yosemite around 9 am.  We will probably head back into the city sometime between noon and 4 pm.  Neither of us have ever been to Yosemite, but I've been to Muir Woods.  We are good hikers but probably 15 miles RT is about our max or whatever is about 3 to 5 hours of hiking, and we would be pooped. 

Questions:
1.  What are the must see things?
2.  Would you prioritize one longer hike, or try to see a bunch of iconic things, or what?
3.  I've seen mentions of a bus that loops around the valley, and of biking around the valley.  Can you rent bikes in the park?  Is the bus the way to go?
4.  What is food availability like in the park (I assume we won't come out once we go in).  Should we plan to pack everything?  Can you get hot water for tea, for example, at visitor centers?  We won't be full-on camping like we usually do, we probably will just have a small day-trip type cooler, for example. 


The_Dude

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Re: Any Yosemite experts?
« Reply #1 on: September 28, 2016, 02:56:17 PM »
1.  All the sites in the Valley plus the Glacier point overlook.
2.  a. If you can squeeze it in the Half Dome hike is the one hike most come to Yosemite to do.  It is a challenging hike with nearly 100% of the terrain on a grade with some steep sections.  Doubt you can get the permit to go on the dome itself but it is still a good hike.  EDIT: I just reread your arrival and departure times.  I don't recommend trying the Half Dome hike.
b. The panorama trail is my wife's 2nd favorite hike but I haven't done it yet. 
c. The Yosemite upper falls hike gets high ratings but I didn't think it was very good.  There are some neat views but the immediate scenery is boring (only boring relative to what Yosemite offers).
d. For an easier paced hike I really enjoyed the sentinel dome hike.  Offered great views and beautiful immediate scenery too.  You could probably mix this one with a couple of shorter hikes if you want to hike most of the day.
3.  For getting around to the various valley floor attractions the shuttle works well.  It is much easier than trying to find parking though this time of the year might not be as bad.  Its free and frequent.  I'm pretty sure you can rent bikes too which I haven't done before.
4. There is a general store and restaurants but if you will pay valley floor prices for it.

If you only have two days then I'd split the days up based on the valley floor and glacier point.
Day 1. Check out all the sights in the valley.  Ride the shuttle (or a bike) and hit Yosemite falls (easy short ~1 mile loop to the bottom), El Capitan, Bridal Veil falls, the river/meadow, etc.  If you are the moving and seeing type rather than stop and ponder the scenery type you will need to fit in a hike on this day.  I recommend the first part of the Half Dome hike to either Vernal Falls (3 hours) or Nevada Falls (5-6 hours)
Day 2. Drive up to Glacier Point (drive round trip takes a few hours).  Be sure to check out the overlook at the tunnel leaving/entering the valley.  Many of the famous Yosemite pics are taken from here.  Spend time at Glacier Point itself.  Time permitting you can do a few of the shorter hikes around that area such as the above mentioned Sentinel dome hike (1-2 hours).  I've done a few of the Glacier Point based hikes but I can't remember them all.  Generally I like these hikes as they offer better views of the valley since you start above it compared to the valley floor hikes where you have to hike up and out of the valley.  I would also rather hike through Forrest with moderate elevation changes rather than steep switchbacks which offer less immediate scenery benefits (just so you know my likes so as to judge my advice).

One final tip.  The berry pie at the Ahwahnee hotel is amazing.  While a full meal there is quite pricey my wife and I like to come just for the pie.
« Last Edit: September 28, 2016, 03:00:43 PM by The_Dude »

Lake161

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Re: Any Yosemite experts?
« Reply #2 on: September 28, 2016, 03:32:12 PM »
Agree with everything the_dude says above, will just add a few additional thoughts.

Weekends can be really bad for parking in the valley, and sometimes the shuttle can be a bit sporadic. If you want to quickly see all the iconic sites without dealing with parking, book the 2-hour valley tram tour. A bit touristy but you learn a lot about the valley, it stops at all the key points, and you don't have to hassle with parking at each point. (http://www.travelyosemite.com/things-to-do/guided-bus-tours/).

Then pick one of the hikes recommended above. Vernal/Nevada Falls is a good one. And I second the recommendation to visit and hike the Glacier Point area on your second day.

Post-hike, we like to grab a pizza at Curry Village.  You can bring your own food and save $$$, but don't leave any food or visible coolers in the car (bears).

MayDay

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Re: Any Yosemite experts?
« Reply #3 on: September 28, 2016, 04:03:02 PM »
How does Half Dome work?  You can hike most of the way up, but then you need a permit for the last bit?

H is gung-ho to do that on Saturday.  Looks like we might spend all day Sat doing that (leave SC at 4 am or something which should be fine as we'll be on Eastern time). 

I really appreciate the explanations!

Trifele

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Re: Any Yosemite experts?
« Reply #4 on: September 28, 2016, 04:46:53 PM »
Lake161 is correct -- do NOT leave any food or scented items --whatsoever-- in your car.  The bears on the valley floor are PROFESSIONALS.   We camped in the Lower Pines campground last year, very close to where you will be.   On the second night we had a bear in our car.   It took the rangers 15 minutes to get her out.   We had no food in there at all--only a couple hard candies and a chapstick our daughter had forgotten in her backpack, and the car was locked.  She got in anyway.

That said, Yosemite is a gorgeous, must-visit location.   We had a great time.  Have fun!!     

Darryl Musashi

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Re: Any Yosemite experts?
« Reply #5 on: September 28, 2016, 05:26:51 PM »
How does Half Dome work?  You can hike most of the way up, but then you need a permit for the last bit?

This one has become kind of a pain. You need a permit to do the cables section of Half Dome these days.

They issue permits something like six months in advance. There's a loophole, though -- if you go to the ranger's station the day before, there will be a certain number of unclaimed permits you can snag. No guarantees, though.

nhcaak

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Re: Any Yosemite experts?
« Reply #6 on: September 28, 2016, 06:02:43 PM »
Lived there for a few years, though prior to the recent change in concessionaire, so not as confident answering food questions. Some random thoughts:

If you're coming from the Bay Area, you'll probably come in on 120. I'd stop at the Tuolumne Grove of Giant Sequoias on your way into or out of the valley, at the junction of 120/Tioga Rd and the Big Oak Flat Road that goes down to the valley. You turn onto Tioga Road, drive half a mile or so, and park. It's only a 1 mile hike downhill to the giant sequoias, which are still impressive even if you've been to Muir Woods before. Even if they're not, you only wasted an hour or so!

This time of year, I'd recommend a destination hike and a valley day. You might need to be flexible which is which, based on the weather.

For the destination hike, one option is one-way shuttle to Glacier Point (which will stop at Tunnel View on the way up). Then, hike down the Panorama/John Muir/Mist trails back to the Valley... Or go up those trails and get a shuttle back down to the valley if you're confident in your ability/timing. That's most of one day, with some time left over for sitting by the waterfalls along the way and the river when you're finished, reflecting.

Or, head up to the high country on the way in or out from the bay area, and hike either North Dome or Clouds Rest (details below). Drive exhaustedly but safely to your tent cabin or hotel, depending on which day you do it.

Things in the Valley:

Stop at Bridal Veil Falls on your way in as you likely won't get there again.

A bike ride around the valley is spectacular, and you can rent bikes. Bike trails go roughly to the Yosemite Lodge/Camp 4 area, but you can go further west down to El Cap meadow, which is worth it. The shuttles are easy and frequent, too, though sometimes crowded. Avoid driving, even though it's getting late in the season. There will be traffic and parking issues. There's a shuttle to the west end of the valley (El Cap meadow/ Cathedral meadow area) that is likely still running its 'summer' hours. I'd take that down and walk back along the river to at least Yosemite Lodge where you can pick up the more regular shuttle back to Curry/Half Dome Village.

You could stroll from Curry/Half Dome Village roughly straight across the valley to the Ahwahnee/"Majestic Yosemite" Hotel, have the fancy brunch or a coffee, and then walk east to Mirror lake/meadow, which is right beneath Half Dome and a nice viewpoint.

On your way out of the valley, stop in El Capitan meadow, walk up through the woods to the base of the wall, and look up. Walk back across the street, and sit in El Cap meadow and look for climbers (ideally with binoculars), appreciate the place, and be sad that you are leaving ;-).

Generally:

(Upper) Yosemite Falls trail is not too exciting in the summer/fall, as the falls are almost, if not completely, dry, and the trail itself is exposed, hot and dusty.

As others have pointed out, the bears are for real, don't leave anything in your car. And please don't stop in the middle of the road if you see one. Lots of deer, too, that seem almost tame but certainly aren't, especially as the bucks start to get interested in fighting over the does this time of year. Have seen some good deer-jousting in the school playground (near valley loop trail between Lower Yose Falls and the Ahwahnee).

For my money, hiking up Half Dome is vastly overrated. Unless you're a true peakbagger and have to check it off, it's actually rather strange to be on top and.. umm, not see Half Dome from wherever you are. Also not the most enjoyable dayhike (other than the Vernal/Nevada Falls sections). Lots of elevation, lots of people, scary slab, hassle with permits. Nice views, though.


Hike info:

Clouds Rest from the Tioga Road (~1.5 hour drive from Yose Valley) is spectacular, and also about 15 miles r/t, and a lot flatter than Half Dome (though not flat! maybe 2000' climb vs 4800' for HD). You end up right across from Half Dome, but 1000' higher, and it's really wonderful. Stellar view down into Tenaya Canyon, can see Tenaya Lake, and great views of the high country. Hardest part is right at the beginning.
North Dome from Tioga Road is similarly flat with a lot less elevation gain than Half Dome, shorter drive (1:15) from the Valley, and shorter hike (~9 miles r/t) and you also end up almost across from Half Dome and overlooking the valley. If you were to do either of these day two, you'd likely head right home afterwards, so make sure you've had time to sit in the meadow next to the river and just stare upwards already!








MayDay

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Re: Any Yosemite experts?
« Reply #7 on: September 28, 2016, 06:05:58 PM »
How does Half Dome work?  You can hike most of the way up, but then you need a permit for the last bit?

This one has become kind of a pain. You need a permit to do the cables section of Half Dome these days.

They issue permits something like six months in advance. There's a loophole, though -- if you go to the ranger's station the day before, there will be a certain number of unclaimed permits you can snag. No guarantees, though.

Hmmm, we would have to hike it Saturday, and of course there are no permits. But I can't get out there Fri. Oh well.

Is it worth going all the way to the point you need a permit if you have to stop there? Or should we turn around earlier?

jamesbond007

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Re: Any Yosemite experts?
« Reply #8 on: September 28, 2016, 11:25:54 PM »
I am flying out and seeing H for 4 days while he is in Santa Clara for a 2 week work trip.  We booked a tent-cabin in Yosemite for Saturday night in the Half Dome cabin area.  Unheated, expected temps in the 30's overnight!  Yay for an adventure :) 

We will drive out of SC super early on Saturday morning, and get to Yosemite around 9 am.  We will probably head back into the city sometime between noon and 4 pm.  Neither of us have ever been to Yosemite, but I've been to Muir Woods.  We are good hikers but probably 15 miles RT is about our max or whatever is about 3 to 5 hours of hiking, and we would be pooped. 

Questions:
1.  What are the must see things?
2.  Would you prioritize one longer hike, or try to see a bunch of iconic things, or what?
3.  I've seen mentions of a bus that loops around the valley, and of biking around the valley.  Can you rent bikes in the park?  Is the bus the way to go?
4.  What is food availability like in the park (I assume we won't come out once we go in).  Should we plan to pack everything?  Can you get hot water for tea, for example, at visitor centers?  We won't be full-on camping like we usually do, we probably will just have a small day-trip type cooler, for example.

I live in the Bay Area and visit Yosemite almost every month. In fact I will be in the valley Saturday and Sunday. You can rent bikes in the valley but I don't recommend them. They are pretty beat up bikes and climbing steep roads on those bikes is not my idea of fun. I'd do it if it was a good road bike or mountain bike though. If this is the first time you are visiting the park, I'd recommend no hiking at all. I can spend hours admiring the scenery leaving no time to hike. If you are like me who enjoys scenery, you probably won't have enough time to hike. If you absolutely must, then I recommend a short hike up to Vernal falls. It takes about 2-3 hrs RT. You can continue up to Nevada falls from there and come back adding another 2 hrs or so.

Also, this time of the year is perfect to visit. Less crowd. Even weekends are not crowded. Parking is easy to find. It is getting really cold there at the moment. It even snowed in the Mono lake area. If you are lucky you will catch some fall colors too. The stretch of the road between Tunnel view and Bridalveil falls has some of the best fall colors in the valley. Rest of the park is green.

Also, October is when you can get a glimpse of the golden half dome. Get to Sentinel Bridge area at least an hour before sunset. You will find a lot of photographers (Including myself) flocking to the bridge and fighting to find a spot. Half dome shines golden during the golden hour.

Coming to food. I usually eat at the curry village restaurant. That's best bang for the buck in the valley. You get a large pizza for $20 which fills 3 people easily.

Must dos:
1. Tunnel View
2. Glacier point
3. Yosemite falls (at least the lower falls, Although there is hardly any water left as of 2 weeks ago)
4. Hike up vernal falls (Not a must do, but a great filler hike if you have time and very beautiful too)
5. Sentinel Bridge during Sunset (This is different from Sentinal dome. Sentinal bridge is in the valley floor. Sentinal dome is near glacier point. Both are awesome. But for golden hour, I highly recommend Sentinal Bridge)

If you are photographer or have the slightest interest in photography, then skip the hikes for now.

Enjoy and don't forget to thank me later :)
« Last Edit: September 28, 2016, 11:29:25 PM by jamesbond007 »

PathtoFIRE

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Re: Any Yosemite experts?
« Reply #9 on: September 29, 2016, 10:13:22 AM »
Visited this spring, the only thing I have to add is that the Mariposa sequoia grove will be closed for another year for restoration. For some reason that fact didn't come up on our planning.

mm1970

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Re: Any Yosemite experts?
« Reply #10 on: September 29, 2016, 01:37:54 PM »
If you are into hiking, I enjoyed the loop to the top of Nevada falls.  I think we took the Mist trail up and John Muir trail back.  It was long. But very pretty.  (It's also the start of Half Dome).

boarder42

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Re: Any Yosemite experts?
« Reply #11 on: September 29, 2016, 01:50:40 PM »
follow... we'll go in the next 5-10 years.

MayDay

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Re: Any Yosemite experts?
« Reply #12 on: September 29, 2016, 02:20:38 PM »
Visited this spring, the only thing I have to add is that the Mariposa sequoia grove will be closed for another year for restoration. For some reason that fact didn't come up on our planning.

I saw this. What a bummer. Oh well, we'll come back for a longer trip sometime with the kids.

MayDay

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Re: Any Yosemite experts?
« Reply #13 on: September 29, 2016, 02:25:31 PM »
H and I are going to try to nail down a plan either tonight or tomorrow night. Thanks all!

I talked to my brother who has done quite a few 14ers. He said half dome was super hard for him. Between that advice and not wanting to spend all Saturday daylight hours on that one thing, I think we'll skip it this time. 

We are not photographer types, we mostly like to quickly observe scenery and move on.

We'll be in a rental car, no idea if it'll have a trunk or be a hatchback. If no trunk, hopefully the tent-cabin has a bear box. We've camped in Yellowstone which has bears as well, although from the sound of it, maybe not quite so clever of bears! But we are aware.

One bear question: in Yellowstone we carried bear spray on all hikes, but my brother took it home with him. Should we buy some to carry in Yosemite?

jamesbond007

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Re: Any Yosemite experts?
« Reply #14 on: September 29, 2016, 10:27:59 PM »
H and I are going to try to nail down a plan either tonight or tomorrow night. Thanks all!

I talked to my brother who has done quite a few 14ers. He said half dome was super hard for him. Between that advice and not wanting to spend all Saturday daylight hours on that one thing, I think we'll skip it this time. 

We are not photographer types, we mostly like to quickly observe scenery and move on.

We'll be in a rental car, no idea if it'll have a trunk or be a hatchback. If no trunk, hopefully the tent-cabin has a bear box. We've camped in Yellowstone which has bears as well, although from the sound of it, maybe not quite so clever of bears! But we are aware.

One bear question: in Yellowstone we carried bear spray on all hikes, but my brother took it home with him. Should we buy some to carry in Yosemite?

There are no grizzlies in CA. Humans killed all of them long ago. No need for a bear spray. But carrying them doesn't hurt, especially if you feel safe. Bears are most active this time of the year in preparation to hibernate. So just be on the look out.

MayDay

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Re: Any Yosemite experts?
« Reply #15 on: October 02, 2016, 04:11:03 PM »
Updated plan:

1.  Decide between now and Thursday noon whether to apply for HD permit.  Find out Thurs night if we got it.
2.  Sat morning:  leave Santa Cruz at 4 am, arrive 7:30 am.  Immediately either hike half dome or do the Panorama/Glacier Point/4 Mile loop (14 miles).  Possibly add Sentinal Dome to that if we are feeling it.  Plan for it to take all day.  Dinner at either Curry Station or the sit down restaurant at Yosemite Valley Lodge.  Thought about the fancy hotel but you have to dress for dinner?!?!?  We will have been hiking and will be staying in a tent cabin with shared bath, so I think we will skip that.  I plan to poke my head in though.
3.  Sunday morning eat breakfast (either packed food or grab something cheap).  Is the fancy hotel dining room cool enough to be worth eating breakfast here?  If so, need to make reservation.
4.  Rest of the day Sunday, do a few valley hikes (Inspiration point, El Cap meadow, Bridal Veil falls) then hit Tunnel View and the Tuolomme Grove on the way out.

Possible variation:  If we decide HD is a must do, and we don't get the Saturday lottery (although online sources indicate odds are high we will get it this late in the season) We could do HD on Sunday.  Advantage:  can start earlier.  Disadvantage:  Will be driving back to Santa Cruz late- will traffic be bad?

H and I are both undecided on pursuing HD.  On one hand, we aren't peak baggers (dying at that term, btw).  OTOH, the next time we come will be with kids, and we won't be doing HD with them.  Thus the indecision. 

jamesbond007

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Re: Any Yosemite experts?
« Reply #16 on: October 03, 2016, 10:57:37 AM »
Updated plan:

1.  Decide between now and Thursday noon whether to apply for HD permit.  Find out Thurs night if we got it.
2.  Sat morning:  leave Santa Cruz at 4 am, arrive 7:30 am.  Immediately either hike half dome or do the Panorama/Glacier Point/4 Mile loop (14 miles).  Possibly add Sentinal Dome to that if we are feeling it.  Plan for it to take all day.  Dinner at either Curry Station or the sit down restaurant at Yosemite Valley Lodge.  Thought about the fancy hotel but you have to dress for dinner?!?!?  We will have been hiking and will be staying in a tent cabin with shared bath, so I think we will skip that.  I plan to poke my head in though.
3.  Sunday morning eat breakfast (either packed food or grab something cheap).  Is the fancy hotel dining room cool enough to be worth eating breakfast here?  If so, need to make reservation.
4.  Rest of the day Sunday, do a few valley hikes (Inspiration point, El Cap meadow, Bridal Veil falls) then hit Tunnel View and the Tuolomme Grove on the way out.

Possible variation:  If we decide HD is a must do, and we don't get the Saturday lottery (although online sources indicate odds are high we will get it this late in the season) We could do HD on Sunday.  Advantage:  can start earlier.  Disadvantage:  Will be driving back to Santa Cruz late- will traffic be bad?

H and I are both undecided on pursuing HD.  On one hand, we aren't peak baggers (dying at that term, btw).  OTOH, the next time we come will be with kids, and we won't be doing HD with them.  Thus the indecision.

Sounds like a good plan but physically challenging. I did half dome once back in 2008, started at around 4 AM in the Bay Area and go to the valley floor by 7:30. Hiked half dome, came back home in the Bay Area by around 10:30 PM the same day and slept. But we were 3 drivers and we took turns driving. Traffic can be bad as you approach Santa Cruz but I don't anticipate much until you hit 101 on your way back. If you end up arriving late expect normal to less than normal traffic.

I'd suggest Half dome on Saturday and you don't have to rush to come down. Get up there and take your time to take pictures and take in the view. Come back down leisurely. Again, it depends on the lottery.  I am not the kind of person who eats at fancy restaurants so I don't even know how it is. But the hotel itself is worth taking a look. Also, another option while you are driving out (depending on when you start driving back) is the River restaurant at the Yosemite View Lodge on 140 in El Portal (2 mile away from park entrnce on 140), they have a pizza place too. Another option is the Cedar Lodge on 140 in El Portal (7 miles from the entracne) where they have a bar and burgers.

Another thing to take note is that I've been there this past weekend. Came home last night. The crowd is unusually high for this time of the year. Maybe due to prolonged warm weather? Not sure. Even the local businesses in El Portal were surprised actually. Parking was a PITA. We just parked there and took the free valley bus to roam around. So getting in early will get you a spot for sure. I recommend parking at Curry Village or Yosemite Lodge parking. They have plenty of space at those two spots. Curry Village Pizza deck is open till 9 PM. Also, there is a deli/burger joint near the Visitor Center. They also have a grocery store there if you plan on preparing breakfast on your 2nd day.

Also no water in the waterfalls. So don't expect any :) Yosemite falls is bone dry. Just a trickle in Vernal and Nevada Falls. If you cannot go all the way to HD, I'd recommend at least going to Nevada Falls and do the 4 mile trail o Glacier Point. That itself is worth the trip and crowd.

Hope it helps.

MayDay

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Re: Any Yosemite experts?
« Reply #17 on: October 03, 2016, 01:14:42 PM »
Thanks jamesbond007. 

H has vetoed HD on Sunday as he wants to get back at a decent time since he will be working the next day.  I don't blame him.

We may just apply for the Sat permit, and let that make the decision.  I thought it was a high chance, but if what you are saying about high fall crowds is true, then maybe we won't get it.

I knew all the waterfalls would be low, but I'm bummed to hear many are nonexistent.  Oh well, we'll just have to come back in June sometime!

We plan to park at Curry Village super early Sat morning if we do HD, or Yosemite Village if we do the 4 mile/Panorama loop.  Then not move the car until we eat dinner at 7-8pm if at all (hopefully traffic is lighter by then!). 

MayDay

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Re: Any Yosemite experts?
« Reply #18 on: October 03, 2016, 01:16:22 PM »
And a quick google says we WILL have a bear locker at the tent-cabin, so although I think we will plan on a hot meal for Saturday night, we can bring other food for the rest of our meals. 

jamesbond007

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Re: Any Yosemite experts?
« Reply #19 on: October 03, 2016, 02:12:58 PM »
Have a fun trip. Sad that there is no water. But if you ever plan to come back and don't care about Glacier Point, I'd recommend early May. Less crowd and more snow and water. Water or not, it is certainly fun. I plan to go there again during Christmas.

One thing I forgot to mention is the dark sky. I don't know where you live but if you want to see dark skies, then stay up a bit late and go to Tunnel View.

Jaguar Paw

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Re: Any Yosemite experts?
« Reply #20 on: October 03, 2016, 02:24:59 PM »
Applying for the half dome permit lottery is definitely worth the effort. My wife and I honeymooned the area September 2015 and were immediately upset that we wouldn't be able to hike half dome because of sold out passes. We applied the night before and were approved without any issues! My wife and I hiked and had a blast. On a side note, we spoke to several people that hiked to the top without a permit (gasp!). Even if you can't get to the top of the dome, the hike is still beautiful.

We also did the valley floor hike, which is beautiful and requires minimal effort, though we're both in shape. Glacier point is also super beautiful at the top and a pretty awesome hike. I ran down while my wife drove down and she beat me by a minute or so because the drive is something like 20 miles and one way hike is around 4.

There are some amazing Redwoods that aren't in Mariposa grove that you should really see south of the park. Super amazing, we had never seen or imagined trees that big. If interested, I could try and find the name.

Enjoy!!

CRG

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Re: Any Yosemite experts?
« Reply #21 on: October 03, 2016, 05:05:25 PM »
My advice is to skip all the tourist-related stuff around Yosemite Valley and instead head east up Hwy 120 to Tuolumne Meadows and find a hike to do out of that area. Let me know if you'd like any recommendations based on how long you'll be there. Also, don't worry at all about bears. Black bear encounters are incredibly rare and black bears aren't aggressive unless there is food involved, in which case you should let them have it and walk away.

Have a blast!

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Re: Any Yosemite experts?
« Reply #22 on: October 03, 2016, 05:16:51 PM »
If you want an adventure hike, look up Sierra Point. It is a trail that was abandoned by the park service in the 70's. Starts at the HD trail head. It will take some route finding skills, but if you are a reasonably experienced hiker you can pull it off. It is not on any current trail map, so there will not be anyone else on the trail.

Its also cool to walk up to the base of Yosemite falls when the water is not flowing. Just be careful, granite gets incredibly slippery when wet.

MayDay

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Re: Any Yosemite experts?
« Reply #23 on: October 03, 2016, 06:45:03 PM »
If you want an adventure hike, look up Sierra Point. It is a trail that was abandoned by the park service in the 70's. Starts at the HD trail head. It will take some route finding skills, but if you are a reasonably experienced hiker you can pull it off. It is not on any current trail map, so there will not be anyone else on the trail.


Any idea why it was abandoned?  I find that kind of thing very interesting. 

MayDay

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Re: Any Yosemite experts?
« Reply #24 on: October 03, 2016, 06:46:26 PM »
My advice is to skip all the tourist-related stuff around Yosemite Valley and instead head east up Hwy 120 to Tuolumne Meadows and find a hike to do out of that area. Let me know if you'd like any recommendations based on how long you'll be there. Also, don't worry at all about bears. Black bear encounters are incredibly rare and black bears aren't aggressive unless there is food involved, in which case you should let them have it and walk away.

Have a blast!

Can I ask what you reasoning is?  I generally assume that the touristy stuff is touristy because it is the most interesting to see.  I've read some hike descriptions of Tuolomne Meadows hikes and nothing stands out, but that may be the bias of the descriptions.  I wish we had more time to do everything. 

jmink

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Re: Any Yosemite experts?
« Reply #25 on: October 03, 2016, 08:36:17 PM »
Get out of the valley (and off the half dome trail) if you can.  The people drop off exponentially.

Beyond that amtrak will actually bring you all the way into the valley (the last leg is by bus) so that might make your travel more pleasant.  It's also a good trick to know if you ever decide to hike the John Muir trail.

jmink

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Re: Any Yosemite experts?
« Reply #26 on: October 03, 2016, 08:39:25 PM »
My advice is to skip all the tourist-related stuff around Yosemite Valley and instead head east up Hwy 120 to Tuolumne Meadows and find a hike to do out of that area. Let me know if you'd like any recommendations based on how long you'll be there. Also, don't worry at all about bears. Black bear encounters are incredibly rare and black bears aren't aggressive unless there is food involved, in which case you should let them have it and walk away.

Have a blast!

Black bears aren't aggressive, but they will open your car like a can opener and feeding them will end up with them being put down.  I've been known to be a sleep with my food type of backpacker in other places, but Yosemite has the most troublesome black bears of anywhere I know.  I carry a canister there and try and avoid bringing a car.

MayDay

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Re: Any Yosemite experts?
« Reply #27 on: October 04, 2016, 04:34:55 AM »
My advice is to skip all the tourist-related stuff around Yosemite Valley and instead head east up Hwy 120 to Tuolumne Meadows and find a hike to do out of that area. Let me know if you'd like any recommendations based on how long you'll be there. Also, don't worry at all about bears. Black bear encounters are incredibly rare and black bears aren't aggressive unless there is food involved, in which case you should let them have it and walk away.

Have a blast!

Black bears aren't aggressive, but they will open your car like a can opener and feeding them will end up with them being put down.  I've been known to be a sleep with my food type of backpacker in other places, but Yosemite has the most troublesome black bears of anywhere I know.  I carry a canister there and try and avoid bringing a car.

I love the bear stories.  H is a bit freaked that his work rental car will get crunched by a bear, so we will definitely be super careful to keep food in the bear box. 

When we camped right outside Yellowstone as a kid, in a national forest, my mom was freaked out about bears.  She wanted to sleep in the van.  We convinced her she would be fine in the tent.  We woke up in the morning to paw prints ALL OVER the dirty van.  Luckily the bear wasn't smart enough to get in and eat all our food, and luckily mom wasn't in there while she did it! 

bognish

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Re: Any Yosemite experts?
« Reply #28 on: October 04, 2016, 12:17:58 PM »
The Sierra Point trail was closed due to a rock slide in the 70's. The trail still exists, there are stairs and metal railings, its just not maintained. There has been mush more recent rock fall activity in the tent cabins than on this trail, so thats not a reason to avoid it. There are a few abandoned trails like this in the park. I think the park service just likes to keep the masses corralled into a few easy to maintain areas. Very little is actually off limits, but some areas are discouraged due to the risk of rock fall onto popular trails below.

Another cool place to explore is mirror lake and the indian caves between the Majestic Yosemite Hotel (what a stupid new name) and mirror lake. These can go really far back in the boulder field. Bring flashlights.

It seemed to me that the cars most likely to get picked on in the valley were at the edge of the parking lot or end of the line. Stick to the middle of the herd, keep anything that could look like a cooler or hold food out of site and you should be fine.

norabird

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Re: Any Yosemite experts?
« Reply #29 on: October 04, 2016, 01:10:38 PM »
How fabulous! I really liked getting up to tuolumne meadows, and did the hike down four mile trail as well as a hike off the valley floor.  I was not at all up for doing half dome and still had a delightful lovely amazing time and loved every bit of it. Can't go wrong.