We stopped by the Lodge July 6. Here is a review for summer travel to the Lodge, intended for my son and his family with two pre-school daughters, arriving for the Labor Day weekend.
1. Sign up in weeks in advance for night prowl hikes, Friday and Saturday nights 209-372-4FUN (4386). They will be filled by your time of arrival.
2. Sign up in weeks in advance for valley tour -good for people new to the Park with limited time 209-372-4FUN (4386) -an open air towed tram.
3. Bring lots of drinks, 32 ounce max, to fit in the 22" mini refrigerator, as temperatures will be in the 90s and 100s the entire summer, with brief intervals of thunderstorms bringing the temperatures down in the 80s. .
4. Bring snacks, fruits, drinks, fruit cups, anything that isn't perishable, not crushable, and does not require refrigeration -apples $1.25 apiece in the Lodge Food Court!
5. Bring a 5' extension cord for the oscillating desk fan, which does not reach the door opening. You will need to put it on a chair in the balcony door opening.
6. From the Silicon Valley go by the northern route 120 rather than the central route 140, due to long backups at the western Yosemite Park entrance on weekends. Also there are now 14 traffic lights in Los Banos, so go by way of Livermore.
7 I stop by the Oakdale Subway before gassing up at the next door Arco station near the final exit out of Oakdale for lunch. No gas stations in Yosemite Valley, and those in the Park are very expensive. Places to eat in Groveland and Buck Meadows on 120, and in Mariposa on 140.
8. Get to the park as early as you can. Over the July 4th weekend, we saw an electronic sign: " Delays 2 hours Yosemite", warning of exceptionally heavy traffic in Yosemite Valley.
9. Entry to the park costs $20, good for 7 days, credit cards preferred over cash. Keep your receipt, as you will have to show it when leaving the Park, that you are within the 7 day period!
10. This was our 5th visit to the Park in 12 months, so we get an annual Yosemite Park pass for $40. And next time I go to the Park, we will get the $10 lifetime National Park Pass for guests 62+ years of age- hey we only have so many good years left!
11. When the Falls are running, March through June, parking at the Lodge will be very difficult on Saturday afternoons, due to thousands of daytime visitors to the Falls, next door. However, now there are no falls running, but visitor levels peaking in August..
12 If all other parking is filled, park in the 10 minute visitor check in area, or the adjacent bus loading area, as soon as you get your check in parking permit -which can be hours before your room is ready.
13 If you are arriving in the summer, expect temperatures consistently in the 90s through early September. When we were here July 4, temperatures hit 104 degrees! Temperatures drop during thunderstorms in the vicinity, but they close the pool during those times!
14 Check in is not till 5pm, but show your reservation, and the front desk will give you a free swim pass for that day, that will let you use the changing facilities, and clean towels at the swimming pool.
15 The swimming pool open Memorial Day through Labor Day 11am to 6pm with adult only lap swimming 11-12, 5-6pm.
16 There are bathrooms in lobby for those waiting for their rooms to be ready.
17 Ice machines not accessible until you get your room key.
18. Occasionally if you get there early, not only will your room be ready, but you may have a choice of rooms -in which case if you are with kids, get the room closest to the pool.
19 As soon as you get to your room, check that the overhead ceiling fan is working, and that the room comes with an oscillating desk fan -there is no AC, and there are no screens on the sliding balcony doors. The only lodging with AC in the Valley is the Ahwahnee Hotel, at $500 a night! Massive Yosemite View Lodge in El Portal just outside the western entrance to the park, 15 miles away, has AC.
20 A media statement on April 1 announced the completion of renovations of all Lodge rooms over the past 3 winters. All rooms have been repainted -often in a lime yellow - with 36" flat screen TVs replacing the old 17" CRT TVs, new mattresses, new bedding, new carpets, and new bathrooms, with granite counters. OK some of the carpets maybe dirty -they haven't been cleaned in 3 years, and are used 365 days a year!
21 Rooms come with basic cable TV (no ESPN), slow wifi access (userid is room number, and password is guest last name), 22" refrigerator, land line phone, and micro keyed safe, which can store an 11" notebook.
22 No Cell phone coverage in the Valley, and no microwaves and no cooking in the rooms. The Food Court has a microwave in the area beyond the cashiers.
23 You get 1 coffee voucher per adult per day, as there are no coffee makers in the rooms. The voucher is good at the Food Court.
24 3 places to eat on the premises: The Food Court cafeteria, The Mountain Room Lounge (sports bar with sandwiches), and the upscale Mountain Room Restaurant (open 5-9pm).
25. You can get prepacked $8 lunch sandwiches and $10 salads from the Food Court, besides hot meals. And there is an expensive general store which sells fruits, snacks, candy, refrigerated drinks, and beer. $2.25 for a 15 ounce bottle of ocean spray grapefruit drink.
26. There is an outdoor stage where films and lectures are presented on aspects of the Park during the summer evenings. It was from here that I saw in the firefalls off of Glacier Point in the 1960s as a kid, when my parents brought me to the Lodge.
27 Due to difficult parking, it is best to leave your car parked, once you get a spot, and use the free valley bus shuttle.
28 The free bus shuttle has stops by the Lodge, Yosemite Village, Curry village, Housekeeping Camp, Happy Isles, Mirror Lake(dried up), the horse stable, the Ahwahnee Hotel, Lower Yosemite Falls (dried up), and Camp 4, but not Bridalveil Falls (dried up). It runs every 15 minutes in the summer from 6am to 10pm.
29 The visitor center in Yosemite Village has a number of exhibits for children, including hands on three dimensional topographic map of the valley, and an American Indian museum, complete with a replica of an American Indian village.
30 Hikes for pre-school children include Happy Isles, Mirror Lake (dried up), Lower Yosemite Falls (dried up), and the Cook Meadows hike over to Swinging Bridge. I've seen strollers on Lower Mist Trail after Happy Isles.
31. Bring insect repellent when hiking near standing bodies of water, as the Merced River near the Mist trail and in the meadows, will be only a trickle by summer. June is the height of mosquito season.
32 The Lodge has a bike rental area, with cruiser bikes renting out at $31 a day. There are also bikes with toddler seats, and bikes with baby trailers (about $50 a day), for which you should make reservations. Bring suitable padded bike pants.
33 There is a Lodge ice cream stand next to the sun umbrella covered picnic tables, adjacent to the swimming pool, open in the summer.
34 When going home, go by hwy 140, as hwy 120 has logging operations on weekdays with very slow logging trucks going westbound to clean up Rim Fire logs. There are delays due to one way road operations on 120.
35 If you have time, visit Glacier Point on the way out, stopping by the Tunnel View, before going through the 4300 foot Wawona tunnel, the longest highway tunnel in the state!
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Tuesday August 27, 2013 With the exception of White Wolf Lodge, all lodging and services are available in Yosemite National Park. Yosemite Valley and Wawona are largely unaffected by the Rim Fire and air quality is good. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Yosemite Hotel National Park
- Yosemite Lodge Falls
- Yosemite Ca
- Yosemite View Lodge
- Yosemite Hotel At The Falls
- Lodge Reservation Yosemite
- Lodge Yosemite
- Yosemite Lodge Hotel
- Yosemite Falls Lodge