One day in Yosemite
Replies: 36 - Last Post: Jun 22, 2010 5:07 PM Last Post By: travelgyal
Jun 7, 2010 5:35 PM
One day in YosemiteOK, I've read the threads about how crazy it is to drive from San Francisco to Yosemite as a day trip, but I'm still considering it. I only have the one day and will likely not return to the area for a very long time, if ever.
Any suggestions about what to see in Yosemite in only have six hours or so? Planning to get there at noon and leave around six-ish.
Thanks in advance!
Jun 7, 2010 5:55 PM
1Yosemite is a 4 hours drive each way without traffic from San Francisco. Plan to leave SF at 4 a.m., before any traffic, and hopefully not on a weekend. Use Google maps to find the quickest route (Merced) probably and maybe through the Livermore area, driving over the Dumbarton Bridge, if I recall after all of these years. I don't have the road map available.
You will want to see El Capitan, Bridalveil Falls, Yosemite Falls, Nevada and Vernal Falls, Half Dome, Mirror Lake, Awahnee Hotel -- you can park at the Yosemite Lodge area and take a free shuttlebus on a loop around the valley floor and hop on and off wherever you want to take photos and spend more time. You can buy food at a grocery store -- check out the Ansel Adams Photo Studio nearby. You can dine at the cafeteria/restaurant at the Yosemite Lodge.
Jun 7, 2010 5:58 PM
Jun 7, 2010 7:02 PM
3I'd also recommend leaving SF as early as you can possibly stand it (like 4-5 am). Then stay at Yosemite until dark, as dusk is the best time to see wildlife and the lighting on the rocks is beautiful in the evening. You can do a lot in 10 hours, including a short hike and all of the highlights in Yosemite Valley.
If you only do one hike, be sure it's the Mist Trail to Vernal and Nevada Falls.
Coffee is your friend.
Jun 7, 2010 8:00 PM
4Agree with those above. It took us 5 hours from SF and we had 2 nights there (so, one full day on the valley floor).
The valley floor has amazing sights and even if you just stay here you'll return happy. Depending on the time of year the trip up to Glacier point lookout would be another suggestion, but on a restricted time scale like yours, I'd probably just stick to the circuit of the valley floor seeing the waterfalls, trees, Awahnee Hotel and major formations.
It's not an ideal timetable, but I agree, if it's your one chance, definitely do it.
Jun 8, 2010 3:40 AM
5Yosemite National Park Web site
Go to the Visitors Center in Yosemite Village. Get oriented there. Walk to the base of Yosemite Falls. Take the shuttle to Happy Isles and walk around there. Maybe as far as Vernal Falls on the Mist Trail. See he park's Web site for lots more info, including restrictions on where you can drive (and have to take shuttle busses). I would just aim to get a general view, and relax enough to enjoy the place. If you can afford lunch at the Ahwahnee Hotel, it's an experience. Otherwise there are several options, some noted above. Camp Curry is kind of an enjoyable place, with a cafeteria and shops, and close to Happy Isles. Hopefully you know that the drive from San Francisco, and back, won't be the most exciting in the world. Coffee can help but it has its limits, and if you overextend yourself it can be A dangerous drive. Have a good trip.
Jun 8, 2010 4:39 AM
Jun 8, 2010 6:37 AM
7The former-road paved walkway to Mirror Lake is not the most exciting path, but it is a quick way to get to the "good part" - the lake itself. Take some time to walk at least part of the path around the lake for stunning reflection views.
There is a nice, short, walking path in the woods behind the Ahwahnee Hotel that lets you appreciate how the building blends into the scenic surroundings.
Jun 8, 2010 12:02 PM
8All good advice so far. One thing, though, I'd recommend NOT going via the Dumbarton Bridge as previosuly suggested. (You may already have looked at a map and seen this is out of the way.) Going from SF to the Dumbarton then following Hwy. 84 to Livermore would add way too much time to your drive. Just take the Bay Bridge from SF to Oakland (at 4-5 a.m., no need to worry about traffic), then take 580 directly to Livermore and beyond to the park.
Jun 8, 2010 3:56 PM
Also, if you are fit and not subject to vertigo (dizziness), consider the hike (steep with cable near top)
to the top of Half Dome.
If I was gonna do just one thing in YNP, this would be it.
Be aware that you need to bring food, water (at least 3liters), sunscreen, sunhat, layers, raingear, WOOL or poly socks (not cotton!), good hiking shoes. Be prepared to be turned away by YNP rangers if lightning threatens. Have more water in your vehicle to rehydrate yourself going back to SF.
Check with YNP itself for details on this hike.
Jun 8, 2010 4:07 PM
10Most definitely do NOT consider the hike up to the top of Half Dome if you're driving in from SF that morning and driving back that night. The hike is an all day affair (17 miles with 4000+ feet of elevation gain and loss) and you need to start EARLY (dawn) to avoid heat and afternoon thunderstorms.
Jun 8, 2010 7:36 PM
Jun 8, 2010 9:12 PM
Jun 8, 2010 11:39 PM
13Prepare thyselves for a long day, but it's well worth it. Especially if you don't think you'll ever have another chance to see Yosemite. And drive safe, that's a long round trip.
Jun 9, 2010 11:48 AM
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