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Author Topic: Where to stay around Yosemite  (Read 11161 times)
Paul Kay
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« on: May 14, 2007, 07:15:49 AM »
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In September I am able to spend a few days in California (I'm UK based) with some friends and intend to visit Yosemite. Does anyone have experience/suggestions as to where to stay that's not too far out and isn't overly expensive?
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Riverman
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« Reply #1 on: May 14, 2007, 09:23:50 AM »
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In September I am able to spend a few days in California (I'm UK based) with some friends and intend to visit Yosemite. Does anyone have experience/suggestions as to where to stay that's not too far out and isn't overly expensive?
[{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

The Yosemite View Lodge will be the closest option located in the Merced River canyon.  There are also rental homes available in Foresta and Yosemite West which are located inside the park.  I imagine you can google search them.
[a href=\"http://www.yosemite-motels.com/yosemiteviewlodge/]http://www.yosemite-motels.com/yosemiteviewlodge/[/url]

www.yosemitecollection.com
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matt4626
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« Reply #2 on: May 14, 2007, 10:27:09 AM »
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I've never stayed there but The Yosemite View Lodge is the closest hotel to the park. I would recomend staying in the park if you can afford it.
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larryg
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« Reply #3 on: May 14, 2007, 10:42:18 AM »
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I have stayed at the Yosemite View Lodge several times and it is ok.  You don't spend much time there anyway.   Food at night is the challenge.   They do have a restaurant on site (I went in the winter last time and everything closed early)


This is close to the edge of the park
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Lisa Nikodym
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« Reply #4 on: May 14, 2007, 10:59:17 AM »
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You probably won't have a chance of getting reservations in the valley itself unless you call a year in advance (unless you're willing to take a primitive "tent cabin" - I'm not sure how soon those get booked up).  Yosemite View Lodge in El Portal is the closest place outside the park (and you'll have no problem getting reservations for September if you reserve a reasonable time in advance), but it's pretty expensive.  There are less expensive places in El Portal (just a few minutes further), and also in Mariposa & Oakhurst (towns somewhat farther).  Many of the available lodgings outside the park can be found at the following web site:
http://www.yosemite-motels.com/
(Same link as Riverman's, but for all half dozen or so places instead of just the one.)

In September, the highway through the park's high country will almost certainly still be open from the summer season, and there are places to stay outside the park's east boundary at Lee Vining.  However, while they are convenient for the high country, it's a loooong drive to the main valley from there.  If you haven't already spent considerable time in Yosemite before, you really want to see the valley.  However, if you get tired of the crowds there, and can't hike an hour or so up one of the less popular trails to get away from them, the high country is a nice retreat.

I hope you aren't planning to visit over the Labor Day holiday weekend, September 1 through 3!  That's probably the busiest weekend of the year in Yosemite, and they have been known to close the park partway through that weekend due to overcrowding.

Lisa

P.S.  I'm staying at the Yosemite View Lodge this coming weekend.
« Last Edit: May 14, 2007, 11:00:38 AM by nniko » Logged

Jack Flesher
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« Reply #5 on: May 14, 2007, 12:04:33 PM »
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In Groveland, just outside the park along highway 120, there are three possibilities: the Sunset inn, the Berkshire inn and the Buck Meadows lodge.   There are a few good restaurants and a nice grocery store in Groveland proper, which is about 15 - 20 minutes west of these hotels.  FWIW, the 120 entrance gate is about 30 minutes from the valley floor if driving the speed limit in the park.

Cheers,
« Last Edit: May 14, 2007, 12:05:21 PM by Jack Flesher » Logged

msmack
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« Reply #6 on: May 14, 2007, 03:03:52 PM »
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In September I am able to spend a few days in California (I'm UK based) with some friends and intend to visit Yosemite. Does anyone have experience/suggestions as to where to stay that's not too far out and isn't overly expensive?
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=117430\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]


Mono Lake or June Lake, right outside the Park.  Wonderful Photographic locations.

Merrill
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Paul Sumi
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« Reply #7 on: May 14, 2007, 03:43:58 PM »
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Mono Lake or June Lake, right outside the Park. Wonderful Photographic locations.

Merrill
[{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

Mono lake with its tufa is a terrific photographic location.  However, if you are staying anywhere close to Yosemite VALLEY, Mono is a long drive over Tioga Pass road to the Owens Valley/eastern Sierra where Mono is located.

June Lake loop is also in the eastern Sierra/Owens Valley and is a long drive.  But depending when in September you are visiting, June Lake can be a good area to photograph the fall foliage.

[a href=\"http://www.pbase.com/pauls/yosemite_2006]http://www.pbase.com/pauls/yosemite_2006[/url]

http://www.pbase.com/pauls/eastern_sierra_2006

Paul
« Last Edit: May 14, 2007, 03:50:12 PM by PaulS » Logged

fridayphoto
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« Reply #8 on: May 15, 2007, 06:19:36 AM »
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In September I am able to spend a few days in California (I'm UK based) with some friends and intend to visit Yosemite. Does anyone have experience/suggestions as to where to stay that's not too far out and isn't overly expensive?
[{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

Hi Paul,
I've stayed in and around Yosemite a lot. I always try and stay at Yosemite Lodge. This is in the valley and a good price when you consider the other options. The downside is that it will probably be full in September. However, you can get a cancellation if you keep trying the Delaware North Corporation's website. [a href=\"http://www.yosemitepark.com]Yosemite - Delaware North[/url]
When Yosemite Lodge has been full I've stayed at Curry Camp in both the tents and cabins and at a rented house in Yosemite West. Curry Camp is pretty basic, though the cabins were nice. Yosmite West is a bit of a drive to the valley, I would say 20 minutes to Tunnel View is realistic considering the windy roads. If you stay at Yosemite View Lodge then you will have a long drive if you want to get sunrise photos.
One tip, be careful who you book with. Their are lots of agents that you could use but they'll charge you a booking fee and the deposit is usually non-refundable. If you deal directly with the property owners such as Delaware North then there's no booking fee and the deposit is quite often refundable, if you cancel up to 10 days ahead.
Michael Frye has an excellent book about photographing Yosemite.
Enjoy, in my opinion it is a wonderful place but I go in the winter when it's quiet!
Zeb
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Zeb Friday
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« Reply #9 on: May 16, 2007, 01:21:50 PM »
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Hi Paul:

If you're planning on primarily photographing the Valley, etc.  Yosemite Lodge and Yosemite West (private cabins) rentals are best.

Someone mentioned to book with the property owners-- that is always best.  You can also call Yosemite lodge directly to find availability & prices.

Best regards,

Rich
NGOphotographer
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raptorsys
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« Reply #10 on: May 16, 2007, 03:43:36 PM »
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If you plan on being in the area for moer than a couple days I'd recommend heading towards Mono Lake even though it is a bit of a drive and here's why: first, the drive itself is beautiful offering many great photographic opertunities; second, Mono Lake is one of those places you gotta see if you're near and offers some great, if difficult, photo ops: third, just a bit up the road from Mono Lake is one of the best preserved ghost towns in the USA at Bodie.  Here's what I'd recommend if you do decide to go this way...

Head towards Mono Lake in the afternoon so as to be at Mono Lake in time to book a room in Lee Vining before heading to the lake for late afternoon/sunset shots.  Then, the next morning head back to the lake for sunrise shots before heading north to Bodie.  You could finish this and be on your way back to Yosemite by about noon so as to be at or near Tenaya Lake (on Tioga Pass Road / SR120) for late afternoon/sunset.  

This side trip would thus occupy just over one day of your trip.

Highly advised...


Brian
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Lisa Nikodym
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« Reply #11 on: May 16, 2007, 06:01:15 PM »
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The high country, Mono Lake & Bodie are fine, but if you're only going to have one or two days in Yosemite, you want to spend them in Yosemite Valley (including Glacier Point Road).  If you have four days, you can spend one doing the other things, but the Valley is what everyone comes to see (with good reason).

Lisa
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troyhouse
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« Reply #12 on: May 17, 2007, 12:18:25 AM »
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In Groveland, just outside the park along highway 120, there are three possibilities: the Sunset inn, the Berkshire inn and the Buck Meadows lodge.   There are a few good restaurants and a nice grocery store in Groveland proper, which is about 15 - 20 minutes west of these hotels.  FWIW, the 120 entrance gate is about 30 minutes from the valley floor if driving the speed limit in the park.

Cheers,
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=117486\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

Totally agree with what Jack said about the hotels in Groveland. Also, stop into the Groveland grocery store and buy everything you could possibly need! (disclaimer, my grandparents own the grocery store)
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Paul Kay
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« Reply #13 on: May 17, 2007, 07:11:50 AM »
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Many thanks to everyone who has responded - we are looking into everything that has been posted and it will help no end in our decision making!
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Lisa Nikodym
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« Reply #14 on: May 17, 2007, 10:12:06 AM »
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Just one last note -
Check a map.  There are lodges at El Portal, Groveland, Mariposa and Oakhurst, but they are considerably different distances from Yosemite Valley.  El Portal is the closest by a considerable margin.  The others are fine, just a longer drive.  However, if you're driving in via the 120 or 41 rather than the 140 (which is what El Portal is on), one of the others may be more convenient for you if you aren't staying long.

Lisa
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ngophotographer
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« Reply #15 on: May 17, 2007, 02:31:37 PM »
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Paul:

I would recommend staying in the park if at all possible.  Yosemite Lodge is the cheapest and closest (its in the Valley).  Yosemite West next, Yosemite View Lodge and El Portal next.

Your could also try Camp Curry or the Pines campgrounds if you want to camp.  Upper Pines still has spots for June, Lower Pines is sold out.

Staying in Oakhurst and Mariposa are both over an 1hr from the valley.  In summer there is a lot more traffic coming in and out of the park.  If you get behind an RV you cannot legally pass in 96% of the places.  Many RV drivers are oblivious that they can pull over in a turnout.  This adds two hours on to a long day if you're doing Sunrise and Sunset shots.

The drive is not fun, especially if you forget something.  Going in and out of the park can be a pain-- lots of cars that haven't paid, don't have cash, credit card denied, etc.  You can sit for 10-15 minutes waiting to get in (after driving an hour from "somewhere close").

Someone recommenced the Frye book-- excellent to plan your days and provide backups when the light conditions aren't good in one place or the other.

Staying closer is much more enjoyable.  I've stayed many times inside and outside of the park.  Staying inside is much more enjoyable if at all possible.  Plus you get two hours more sleep!  

Rich
NGOphotographer
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Lisa Nikodym
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« Reply #16 on: May 17, 2007, 05:14:04 PM »
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Staying closer is much more enjoyable. I've stayed many times inside and outside of the park. Staying inside is much more enjoyable if at all possible.

I agree completely!  For quite a few years now, I just haven't been able to get reservations in the valley (Yosemite Lodge or Awahnee, at least - don't know about the primitive cabins) between May and September without calling about a year in advance.  If you're willing to take your chances and keep checking repeatedly to check for cancellations, you might get lucky, but don't count on it.

Unless you have any tricks you know that I don't...?

Lisa
« Last Edit: May 17, 2007, 05:14:40 PM by nniko » Logged

JeffKohn
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« Reply #17 on: May 18, 2007, 10:42:08 AM »
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I agree with Rich, if you can't stay inside the park at least try to stay in El Portal as it will make a _big_ difference in drive time getting in/out of the park. Yosemite View Lodge is literally 1 mile from the west entrance (which I believe tends to get less congested than the S or NE entrances), and the drive from there to the Valley is not bad at all. You do not want to be driving in from Oakhurst or Groveland everyday; it's a long drive even without traffic and if you get stuck behind somebody slow it can be even more frustrating.

One nice thing about Yosemite View Lodge (El Portal) is that the rooms have a full kitchenette with stove, microwave, and fridge. So pick up some groceries in Oakhurst or Groveland on your way in and that way after a long day of shooting when you realize that all the restaurants are either closed or completely packed, you can fix yourself some dinner in your room.
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danmitchell
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« Reply #18 on: June 02, 2007, 11:57:48 AM »
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If you think of Yosemite as extending beyond the Valley, up into and across the Sierra Nevada crest (and you really should... ;-) then you might consider a visit to the Tuolumne Meadows/Tioga Pass high country and the eastern Sierra around Mono Lake and southwards to Mammoth Lakes.

There can be some great deals on accommodations in September in the Mammoth area, especially after Labor Day weekend - at which time Mammoth is between the end of the summer season and the start of the winter ski season.

Too bad you aren't going a bit later. September is not the most lovely time in Yosemite Valley, especially in a drought year such as 2007. Most of the waterfalls will be dry or nearly so. A few weeks later in early October you could hit some stunning aspen displays in the high country and - especially - the eastern Sierra.

In any case, enjoy your trip.

Dan
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BradSmith
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« Reply #19 on: June 02, 2007, 02:32:12 PM »
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Yosemite West Condominiums - I've stayed many times at a small rental condo development that has only 48 units in the area known as Yosemite West.  It is actually just outside the park but can only be reached from inside the park.  I know, sounds strange.  It is on a small side road, just west of highway 41, just south of the road to Glacier Point. As I remember, it takes about 10-15 minutes (8 miles)  to reach the famous Valley overlook just outside of the tunnel.

No food service there, but there is a studio apartment sized kitchen in each unit.  

It isn't nearly as well known as other accommodations in the area, so usually is easier to get a reservation.

http://www.yosemitewest.com/ywcondos.htm
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