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Does this plan make sense?

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York, Pennsylvania
posts: 141
Does this plan make sense?

Hi,

Planning a California trip for June 2013. 2 adults, 1 child (age 9) coming from the East Coast. This is what I've got so far:

June 15: Fly into LAS, drive to Death Valley, overnight Death Valley

June 16: Drive north, overnight Mammoth Lakes or Lee Vining

June 17: Enter Yosemite via Tioga Pass, spend the day exploring high country along Tioga Road, drive to Wawona, overnight Wawona Hotel

June 18: Yosemite Valley, overnight Wawona

June 19: Mariposa Grove & Glacier Point, overnight Wawona

June 20: Unscheduled (still in YNP), overnight Wawona

June 21: Check-out Wawona Hotel, drive to Monterey, overnight Monterey

June 22: Monterey Bay, overnight Monterey

June 23: Drive to SFO, fly home

Okay, so here are the questions:

1. Any recommendations on where to stay in Mammoth Lakes or Lee Vining? Hoping for about $150/night. Clean, family-friendly, quiet.

2. Do I have to book accommodations in advance for Mammoth Lakes or Lee Vining? My concern is that if Tioga Pass/Road isn't open yet, we'll have to change routes. Is it possible to find lodging somewhere between Mammoth Lakes and Lee Vining without reservations?

3. My back-up plan in case Tioga Pass/Rd is closed is to simply swing from Death Valley south around the Sierras, and stay overnight somewhere between Bakersfield and Fresno. Again--recommendations? And are we likely to find day-of lodging somewhere in this stretch if needed?

Any other thoughts are also of course appreciated. Oh, we do have the lodging at Wawona Hotel booked already. And yes, I wanted something in the Valley, but the Lodge at the Falls was booked already. We are okay being in Wawona, figure it will be quieter anyway.

Thanks!

Edited: 4:19 pm, October 26, 2012
Washington State
Destination Expert
for Yosemite National Park
posts: 39,525
reviews: 74
1. Re: Does this plan make sense?

Continue checking the official lodging website for accommodations in the Valley for the first night or two, if you want.

No interest in a condo or cabin? That would be a quieter choice, but you'd be on your own for meals.

Most lodging providers seem to be okay with a cancellable reservation for folks (near Tioga Pass.) They understand that if the Pass isn't open, folks don't want to stay nearby. Some of the options are listed in the Top Questions in the upper right.

Your back up plan to swing south of the Sierra is fine. I don't think a reservation is needed ... lots of options on Hwy 99.

York, Pennsylvania
posts: 141
2. Re: Does this plan make sense?

Thank you so much, PacificNW. I will keep checking on Valley accommodations. We're sort of picky, we want a private bath (and can't afford Awahnee) which limits us.

I'd checked out Yosemite West and Foresta possibilities and hadn't found anything that jumped out at me then, but maybe will revisit. Sorta like the idea of staying in the historic Wawona. :) It's grown on me now that it's booked. The hour drive to the Valley doesn't really bother us. So we'll see.

Glad to hear about cancellable reservations near Tioga Pass, maybe I'll book something and as it gets closer, if Tioga Road isn't open yet, cancel.

Thank you for your help!

Edited: 6:12 pm, October 26, 2012
Redlands, California
posts: 3,272
reviews: 30
3. Re: Does this plan make sense?

Take a look at the Gull Lake Lodge in June Lake--they have one-bedroom suites with futon beds in the sitting area, also kitchens. VERY quiet but you can walk to places to eat. Nothing fancy but clean and comfortable. They do book up early for fishing season but you can monitor availability on their website, and I believe they have a reasonable cancellation window too.

With my mania for the high country I'd even consider switching out one Wawona day so that you could spend one full day exploring and doing short hikes along the Tuolomne Meadows road, but in mid-June there is a definite risk of enough snow and squelch to make that risky.

York, Pennsylvania
posts: 141
4. Re: Does this plan make sense?

Oh my. Death Valley was a just-today brainstorm, trying to squeeze some desert scenery into the trip... and the more I look at what's there, the more I want to stay longer! Might put yet another wrench in the trip.

However I'll ask on the Death Valley forum about any questions there, and at least now I know the situation re: lodging enroute from DV to Yosemite. Thanks again.

York, Pennsylvania
posts: 141
5. Re: Does this plan make sense?

vnrose, thanks for your thoughts and the recommendation re: June Lake accommodations. Sounds absolutely perfect for us.

It is sooo hard trying to squeeze this all into 8 or 9 days! Just so much beautiful country to see in California.

San Francisco...
posts: 3,178
reviews: 109
6. Re: Does this plan make sense?

Some random thoughts -- having done this with my family:

1. Mammoth Lakes has a lot of cheap ski condos in the off-season. So lots of good choices available. You shouldn't have to pay much more than $100 if you go in the summer.

2. Consider staying 2 nights at Mammoth Lakes and taking a full day to explore the Eastern Sierras (Devil's Postpile National Monument/Rainbow Falls/Mono Lake). It is well worth it. You can check tripadvisor.com/Travel-g28926-c182361/Califo… for an overview of options.

3. I assume you got the Wawona Hotel room without bath? My favorite Wawona bathroom is on the ground floor of the annex. it's beautifully redone and large. Much nicer than the smaller one in the Main building -- plus the rooms in the Main building get noisy from the activities in the lobby.

4. On summer Saturdays, Wawona Hotel has an old fashioned BBQ in the large front lawn. Fun event.

5. Packing will be interesting. From the 100+ degree heat in DV to potential fog in Monterey.

6. Buy Monterey Aquarium tickets ahead of time to avoid long lines. Tickets purchased from hotels are 2 days for the price of 1 so good value. Plus you don't have to squeeze everything in one day. But even if you spend one day -- skipping the lines make it worthwhile. montereybayaquarium.org/vi/…hotels.aspx

7. At Glacier Point, take 10 minutes to walk partway down the 4-mile trail. The view from that perspective is breathtaking and reminds me of the Pandora -- where the Na'vi live in Avatar. You can then just walk back up to Glacier Point.

Enjoy!

York, Pennsylvania
posts: 141
7. Re: Does this plan make sense?

Thanks ALTippet... some great food for thought. We have a room with private bath at Wawina which is why we're reluctant to give it up at this point. Definitely plan to check out some hiking along Glacier Rd. Will checkI out yourof recs for easternthe Sierta. Packing will indeed be interesting--lots of climates to cover!

York, Pennsylvania
posts: 141
8. Re: Does this plan make sense?

Thanks ALTippet... some great food for thought. We have a room with private bath at Wawina which is why we're reluctant to give it up at this point. Definitely plan to check out some hiking along Glacier Rd. Will checkI out yourof recs for easternthe Sierta. Packing will indeed be interesting--lots of climates to cover!

(Sheesh sorry for typos. Phone touchscreen.)

Washington State
Destination Expert
for Yosemite National Park
posts: 39,525
reviews: 74
9. Re: Does this plan make sense?

It is highly likely that the trails in the high country (Tuolumne Meadows & along Glacier Point Road) will be slushy. There could even be some snow in shady areas. Be prepared.

If you like to hike, Upper Chilnualna Fall in Wawona is a good one for early summer.

Camp Sherman, Oregon
posts: 515
10. Re: Does this plan make sense?

I'm glad you are considering staying in Death Valley for at least one night. Often that time of year the park seems to get overlooked as just a drive through due to the heat.

Take a look on the DV forum for all the posts that will give you good guidance on what and how to see places best in the summer. Not everyone is attracted to DV but for many it is a fantastic place to experience.

Sounds like a great trip!