VIEWS: 2 PAGES: 16 POSTED ON: 11/20/2012
A Travel Guide Yosemite National Park Hotels and Activities 2010 Sunset Travel Guide Experience California’s iconic wilderness 3 | 24 hours of joy: First time to Yosemite? All it takes is a day to fall in love with it 4 | Golden weekend: Enjoy three glorious days in the park in autumn 6 | Yosemite’s top sights: The quintessential landmarks you don’t want to miss 9 | Adventures for all ages: Amazing ways to explore the park— biking, rafting, rock-climbing, and more outdoor fun 11 | Yosemite’s best campsites: Pitch your tent in Ansel Adams country 13 | Food & lodging: The best amenities in and near the park 9 15 | Travel resources cover: DNC Parks & Resorts at Yosemite, Inc.. this page: DNC Parks & Resorts at Yosemite, Inc. (3) 13 6 2 Sunset Travel Guide Sunset Travel Guide views of mountains reflected in still lake Upper Yosemite Fall water are unforgettable. 9 a.m.: Breakfast You may think breakfast in the wilderness must be foil-wrapped and dehydrated. Not in the Ahwahnee Hotel’s baronial dining room ($$; 209/372-1489). Sunday brunch is the famous meal here, but frankly it’s a little overwhelming. We like regular breakfast: specifically the raisin brioche French toast, which will power you through the day. 10 a.m.: High times Get some vicarious thrills. Take the shuttle to El Capitan Picnic Area to see spring’s squad- ron of climbers ascending El Cap, largest gran- ite monolith in the world. If you’re inspired to learn to climb, stop by the Yosemite Moun- taineering School (from $117; 209/372-8344). 11 a.m.: Waterfalls May’s when the park’s waterfalls are at their splashiest, and midday is the time to see Yosemite Falls at their brightest, no longer in the shadow of Lost Arrow Spire. It’s a short stroll to the base of the Lower Fall from shut- tle stop 6; it’s a tougher hike, though, to get your face wet in the mist from Upper. Hike the first steep mile (with 1,000-foot elevation gain) to get to Columbia Rock and the amaz- ing views. Noon: Lunch The park’s fast food options are okay, but we prefer to grab bread, fruit, and cheese at Yosemite Village Store (209/372-1253), then take the shuttle bus to the picnic grounds at Happy Isles, starting point for the next adventure. 1 p.m.: Waterfalls Time for cascades two and three in your 24 hours of joy triple crown of waterfalls. Take the Mist Trail 1.5 miles to Vernal Fall; continue another 1.3 to Nevada Fall. The trail is gorgeous, but occasionally harrowing (those narrow stair- steps carved into granite get our pulse First time to Yosemite? All it takes is a day to fall in love with it racing, anyway). The views are like entering the world of Avatar, with no 3-D glasses needed because you’re in real 3-D. 5 p.m.: Ice cream How much excitement can you pack into one Meadow—but the view is heaven, with the Celebrate your hiking triumph with a double day? In 24 hours, Jack Bauer regularly saves sun’s first rays washing the valley’s granite cone at the Curry Village Ice Cream Corner. the world. In 24 hours, God created light. And walls and the Sierra peaks above them. It’s in 6 p.m.: Photo op you? You can construct the best day of your Yosemite Valley about a mile west of Camp 4. At the west end of Yosemite Valley, the life in Yosemite National Park. We show you 8 a.m.: Hike Tunnel View Overlook (recently restored with how to get the most out of the park. All you If you aren’t a person who gets up at 6 a.m. the help of the Yosemite Fund) is the world’s andrea m. gomez need to know is where to go when, by follow- to run into a meadow, you still need to see best view, especially in late afternoon when ing this hour-by-hour plan. Yosemite Valley in the morning. Take the free sun gilds the scene in golden light. Smile: 6 a.m.: Sunrise park shuttle bus up to the Mirror Lake Junc- Here’s your holiday card for the year. The name may be gory—Slaughterhouse tion: From there it’s an easy walk, and the 3 Sunset Travel Guide Sunset Travel Guide Expansive granite views from Yosemite Valley right The Awahnee dining room awes with 34-foot ceilings ber because of snow, so this month is your last chance to explore the area before spring. Get on granite The short climb to the top of Pothole Dome provides an ideal vantage point for taking in Tuolumne Meadows. From the pullout on the north side of State 120 at the western edge of the meadows, look for a winding granite path that leads first into a grove of pines and then up the gently curving rock face. The 0.5-mile trip to the top takes less than 20 minutes and is easy all the way. River walk The Lyell Fork of the Tuolumne River is on the other side of State 120 from the meadows. A meander along the river, really more like a gentle stream this late in the year, reveals quaking aspens and tall, golden grasses. Trails extend for more than 8 miles up the canyon; make an out-and-back hike of any distance. Follow the sun On the drive back to Yosemite Valley, you’ll pass several well-known land- marks, including Tenaya Lake (an easy, 2-mile out-and-back hike begins at the south end of the sandy beach and runs along the south side Golden weekend of the lake) and Olmsted Point, where Half Dome feels so close you can almost reach out and touch it. For dinner, the Yosemite Lodge at the Falls Food Court ($$; 209/372-1265) has burgers, pizza, and spaghetti, and it generally Enjoy three glorious days in the park in autumn remains open until 8 p.m. Saturday: Yosemite Valley There’s no need for a car; rented bikes and After the under-18 set heads back to school perfect chunk of time to explore the park’s the valley’s free shuttle will get you every- and the swarm of summer visitors slows, three main areas: Tuolumne Meadows, where you need to go. Find a shuttle map in Yosemite National Park welcomes some of Yosemite Valley, and Wawona. Stay in the the free Yosemite Today newspaper, available the most comfortable weather of the year. valley—it’s central to everything, and reserva- at all park entrances. Aspens and cottonwoods turn from green to tions are easier to come by at this time of year. Grand hotel breakfast The Ahwahnee gold, meadows are dotted with milkweed dining room (see Food & lodging, page 13) pods spilling their silvery strands, and a Friday: Tuolumne Meadows serves the valley’s best breakfast. Afterward, david zaitz (2) peaceful splendor invites you to relax. Spend the afternoon at a cool 8,600 feet an stop by the concierge desk to inquire about Before winter comes, take a long weekend hour and a half north of Yosemite Valley. Tioga free history tours of the hotel, usually offered to see the best of the park. Three days are a Road/State 120 usually closes by early Novem- at least once a day on weekends. 4 Sunset Travel Guide Sunset Travel Guide Hike to majestic Mirror Lake right Rent bikes for a self- powered tour of golden meadows (see Food & lodging, page 13), just steps from the lounge, is an elegant choice for dinner. Spot climbers October is usually a prime month for big-wall climbers on El Capitan (stop at pullouts along the Valley Loop Dr. at the southwest end of the valley). Watch them in action during the day (bring binoculars), or spot the twinkle of climbers’ headlamps on granite by night. Sunday: Wawona Spend a few early-morning hours in the valley, then drive south to this section of the park. Lazy or adventurous? Splurge on the Ahwahnee’s Sunday brunch buffet (Sun only, reservations recommended; see Food & lodging, page 13), then decide whether you’re in the mood for a hike or a rest. The trailhead for a 3-mile out-and-back hike to Mirror Lake is behind the hotel. Or pick up the Sunday paper at the Ahwahnee Sweet Shop and settle down by the fire in the Great Lounge (nonguests are welcome in all public spaces at the Ahwahnee). Road-trip to the big trees Leave the valley Famous footsteps Reserve three days ahead Two wheels, good to go Exploring the valley by late morning to get to Wawona and the for a photographer’s walk of Cooks Meadow, by bike is a rite of fall. You can rent comfy Mariposa Grove of Giant Sequoias. At the along the Merced River, offered through the SoCal-style cruiser bikes in Curry Village grove, you have two choices for exploring: a Ansel Adams Gallery (tours start at 9 a.m. ($25.50 per day; 209/372-8319; bike rentals also narrated, open-air tram tour ($25 per person; Mon, Tue, Thu, Sat; free; www.anseladams.com available at Yosemite Lodge, 209/372-1208). 209/372-1240) or a meandering, self-guided or 209/372-4413). Get tips on taking better Heading north and west from Curry Village, hike. Unless you’re completely pooped, the pictures, and find out where Ansel Adams set ride along 12 miles of paved bike paths, past hiking option is a more intimate experience. up his tripod to snap some of the valley’s the Merced River and Swinging Bridge, taking The massive, 209-foot-tall Grizzly Giant is an famous views. Or follow the path of such in the dry, golden meadows and craggy black easy 0.8-mile hike from the parking area, and Yosemite heroes as Royal Robbins with a oaks. The valley’s famous waterfalls have the Fallen Wawona Tunnel Tree is a moderate beginning rock-climbing class from the slowed to a trickle or disappeared entirely by 1.5-mile hike past the Giant. Yosemite Mountaineering School (from $117, now, but you can see black streaks of lichen on Victorian spirit Four miles from the Mari- reservations recommended; in Curry Village; the granite where the rush comes in spring. posa Grove is the cheerful white-clapboard www.yosemitepark.com or 209/372-8344). “When the falls go dry, we like to say Yosemite Wawona Hotel. Check out the circa-1918 golf Picnic among the aspens Sentinel Beach, Falls becomes Yosemite Walls,” jokes the course (free to stroll, $21.50 to play nine holes; andrea m. gomez, david zaitz just off the Valley Loop Drive at the south park’s Interpretive Operations chief. 209/375-6572), the oldest in the Sierra. Have side of the valley, is one of the prettiest spots Dessert before dinner As the afternoon trout for dinner in the hotel’s pleasingly retro for a picnic and a great place for wading in fades, ride over to the Mountain Room main dining room (see Food & lodging, page the Merced River. Pick up lunch at Degnan’s Lounge at Yosemite Lodge to roast your own 13), followed by gooey pine nut pie. Deli (see Food & lodging, page 13), in the heart s’mores on their indoor firepit (s’mores kits $3 of Yosemite Village. at the bar). The Mountain Room Restaurant 5 Sunset Travel Guide Sunset Travel Guide Bridalveil Fall and Leaning Tower below Cooks Meadow, with a view of Half Dome in the background Yosemite’s top park memorabilia such as ski equipment used at Badger Pass in the 1920s (see Food & sights lodging, page 13). Bridalveil Fall from Tunnel View. One of the West’s most memorable cascades, Bridalveil Fall can be seen throughout Yosemite Valley. Take in sweeping views of Yosemite Valley, The quintessential landmarks you don’t want to miss Half Dome, and Bridalveil Fall from Tunnel View. Ahwahnee Hotel. Built in 1927 in a pristine Cathedral Rocks and Three Brothers from meadow with panoramic views of Glacier Cook’s Meadow. Stroll the Cook’s Meadow DNC Parks & Resorts at Yosemite, Inc. (2) Point, Half Dome, and Yosemite Falls, this boardwalk, just west of Yosemite Village, for national historic landmark does justice to its a view especially spectacular in winter. Look- setting. Free history tours are conducted ing southwest you’ll see Cathedral Rocks (check with the concierge desk), but you’re (center, wrapped in clouds) and, to the right, welcome to explore on your own anytime. Three Brothers. Among the highlights: the immense dining Cooks Meadow. See where Ansel Adams room; the Great Lounge, with its walk-in fire- snapped some of the valley’s famous views place and Native American-inspired decor; while strolling or biking the Cook’s Meadow and the Winter Club Room, which showcases boardwalk, just west of Yosemite Village. 6 Sunset Travel Guide Sunset Travel Guide Unless you’re completely pooped, the hiking option is a more intimate experience. The massive, 209-foot-tall Grizzly Giant is an easy 0.8-mile hike from the parking area, and the Fallen Wawona Tunnel Tree is a moderate 1.5-mile hike past the Giant. Merced River from Sentinel Bridge. Catch some cool views on Sentinel Bridge looking over Merced River and taking in majestic Half Dome. Autumn colors frame the river in this scene. If you’re planning a visit in summer, lazily catch the views from a rafting trip. Tioga Road & Olmstead Point. Take the 39-mile scenic drive (Highway 120) between Crane Flat and Tuolumne Meadows and stop at turnouts along the way that offer beautiful vistas. Take Tioga Road to the popular Olmsted Point, where Half Dome feels so close you can almost reach out and touch it. The 9,945-foot Tioga Pass usually opens by El Capital reflected in the Merced River RIGHT Half Dome Memorial Day (as does the road to Glacier Point) and stays open until mid-November but call the park switchboard to check (209/372-0209). Tuolumne Meadows. Spend the afternoon at You’ll get fantastic views of Cathedral Rocks the park’s most iconic landmarks. Half Dome a cool 8,600 feet in Tuolumne Meadows, an and Three Brothers and if lucky, spot a mule can be seen throughout much of eastern hour and a half north of Yosemite Valley. The deer or black bear that depend on the Yosemite Valley. Take in the view on a 2-mile short climb to the top of Pothole Dome meadow habitat. round-trip hike to Mirror Lake. For diehards: provides an ideal vantage point for taking in El Capitan. El Capitan, a favorite with climb- Hike 14- to 16-miles to the top of the 5,000- Tuolumne Meadows. From the pullout on the ers, is one of Yosemite Valley’s many awe- foot granite formation traversing the last 400 north side of State 120 at the western edge of inspiring granite sentinels. The granite face, feet on metal cables. The reward is expansive the meadows, look for a winding granite path formed by glaciers eons ago, rises more than views of Yosemite Valley from 8,800 feet that leads first into a grove of pines and then 3,000 feet. To watch climbers in action (bring above sea level. (For a Half Dome hiking guide, up the gently curving rock face. The 0.5-mile binoculars), stop at pullouts along the Valley visit nps.gov/yose.) trip to the top takes less than 20 minutes and Loop Dr. at the southwest end of the valley. Hetch Hetchy. Hang a left before the Big Oak is easy all the way. Glacier Point. Hop in the care for a one-hour Flat entrance to Yosemite, and you’re en Vernal and Nevada Falls. Vernal and Nevada DNC Parks & Resorts at Yosemite, Inc. (2) drive to Glacier Point from Yosemite Valley. route to Hetch Hetchy, the park’s hidden Falls, can be seen close up on the popular Gaze out over one of the earth’s greatest jewel, where looming granite walls and three (and strenuous) 1.5-mile Mist Trail. The trails panoramas: Half Dome, Basket Dome, and waterfalls wrap an 8-mile-long reservoir. will be crowded in spring to mid-summer Liberty Cap. For die-hards: Take the hikers’ Mariposa Grove of Giant Sequoias. Walk when flows are at their peak, however the bus up to Glacier Point, then hike Four Mile among giants in Wawona at the Mariposa waterfall views are some of the West’s most Trail back to Yosemite Valley. Grove of Giant Sequoias. At the grove, you memorable. (Note: Be prepared to get wet. Half Dome. Visiting Yosemite without seeing have two choices for exploring: a narrated, The spray from the falls can be more than Half Dome is like heading to Paris and not open-air tram tour ($25 per person; 209/372- “mist” during spring and early summer.) taking a picture of the Eiffel Tower. It’s one of 1240) or a meandering, self-guided hike. Wapama Fall. Leave the throngs of summer 7 Sunset Travel Guide Sunset Travel Guide Park 101 History The National Park was born here. On June 30, 1864—with the nation still fighting the Civil War— President Lincoln signed a bill estab- lishing a preserve in California’s Yosemite Valley and Mariposa Grove of Giant Sequoias. For the first time in human history, a natural landscape was set aside so that a nation’s citizens could explore it, have adventures in it, and revel in its beauty. Take one look at Yosemite Valley—say, the classic first glimpse from Tunnel View Overlook— and you understand why Lincoln did what he did. There’s no more spectacu- lar scene in the world than this glorious wonderland in the Sierra Nevada. Getting there Yosemite lies 195 miles east of San Francisco, 175 southeast of Sacramento, and 90 miles northeast of Fresno. The main gateway towns to Yosemite are El Portal, on California 140 just west of the park; Mariposa, also on 140 30 miles southwest from El Portal; Groveland, on California 120 west of the park; and Oakhurst, on California 41 south of the park. The entrance fee is $20 per vehicle. When to go Yosemite is a four-seasons park. Summer is the busiest time, with highs in the 80s and occasional thun- derstorms. Fall offers warm days, cool nights and fall color. Winter brings lows in the 20s, considerable snow at higher elevations and lesser quantities in the valley. Spring is gorgeous, with blos- clockwise from top: kDNC Parks & Resorts at Yosemite, Inc. (2), Alaskan Dude (on Flickr Creative Commons) soming dogwoods, splashing waterfalls and highs in the 60s. The park’s influence Yosemite has Tuolumne Meadows above Merced River human history fully as fascinating as and the north face of Half Dome left Mari- its natural history. It has inspired posa Grove’s massive sequoias magnificent architecture in the Ahwah- nee, among the grandest of the national park hotels, stunning art in the landscapes of painter Albert Bier- stadt, eloquent photography in the tourists in your dust at the 1,240-foot-tall there’s a charming covered bridge (the oldest works of Ansel Adams. It shaped the Wapama Fall at Hetch Hetchy reservoir. The in California) spanning the South Fork of the life of America’s most famous environ- mentalist, John Muir. We’ll let Muir base of the fall is at the turnaround point for Merced River (see Food & lodging, page 13). have the last word on the place he a gorgeous, fairly easy 5-mile round-trip hike. Yosemite Falls from Glacier Point. Give your- loved: “Nowhere will you see the Wawona. On the south side of the park, you self a “Yosemite facial” by standing in the majestic operations of nature more can explore pioneer history and luxuriate by spray along the footbridge at the base of clearly revealed.” the fire at the historic Wawona Hotel. For an 2,425-foot Yosemite Falls for a few minutes. More information National Park Service (www.nps.gov/yose or 209-372- easy hike before lunch, try the 3 1/2-mile The two-tier falls is one of the tallest in the 0200); DNC Parks & Resorts at Yosem- Meadow Loop, starting near the Wawona world. ite (www.yosemitepark.com or Hotel. The cheerful white-clapboard Wawona Yosemite Valley. Quiet hikes and lazy picnics 209/372-1236); Yosemite Association Hotel is four miles from the Mariposa Grove are yours for the taking in Yosemite Valley. (www.yosemite.org); The Ansel Adams and is decorated in period style. Or spend a Soak in the peaceful splendor that invites you Gallery (www.anseladams.com); The Yosemite Fund (www.yosemitefund. relaxing afternoon at the Pioneer Yosemite to relax under expansive granite views. org); The Yosemite Store (www. History Center, a depiction of early pioneer yosemitestore.com) life in Wawona. In addition to relocated buildings dating from the 1850s and ‘60s, 8 Sunset Travel Guide Sunset Travel Guide Climbing is one of the most popular and exhilarating park pursuits below Riding scenic trails on a guided horseback tour Adventures for all ages Amazing ways to explore the park—biking, rafting, rock- www.yosemitepark.com. Raft or kayak the Merced River. You can rent an inflatable raft and drift 3 miles down the Merced River, taking in majestic Half Dome climbing, and more outdoor fun and towering Yosemite Falls. Rafting rentals and permitted locations, www.nps.gov/yose. Spring, summer, fall Rock climb with Yosemite Mountaineering Bike on comfy SoCal-style cruisers available School. Yosemite has been a rock climber’s DNC Parks & Resorts at Yosemite, Inc. (2) for rent in Curry Village. $25.50 per day; haven for a century--you can learn, too, at 209/372-8319; bike rentals also available at daily classes offered by the school. From $117 Yosemite Lodge, 209/372-1208. for a 6- to 7-hour class, reservations recom- Horseback ride to Chilnualna Falls, Mirror mended; in Curry Village; www.yosemitepark. Lake, or in Tuolumne Meadows. Two-hour, com or 209/372-8344. half-day, and full-day rides are available at Hiking, bird-watching, photography—these three locations through DNC Parks & Resorts are just some of the enjoyable courses at Yosemite from spring through fall. From $60 offered by the Yosemite Association. www. for a 2-hour ride, reservations recommended; yosemite.org or 209/379-2324. 9 Sunset Travel Guide Sunset Travel Guide Kayak the river and scenic lakes right Snowshoeing against one of the West’s best backdrops with a fine view of this lovely waterfall. Trailhead: Happy Isles (shuttle stop #16). Distance: 1.6 miles round-trip. Difficulty: easy. Tolumne Meadows Gaylor Lakes This shortish hike climbs to give you incredible High Sierra views. Trailhead: Tioga Pass Entrance Station. Distance: 2 miles. Difficulty: moderate. Pothole Dome This short climb provides an Winter Yosemite Valley ideal vantage point for taking in Tuolumne Ice-skate at the world’s most beautiful Half Dome It’s on a lot of people’s life list of Meadows. From the pullout on the north side outdoor rink. $8, $3 skate rental; at Curry adventures—the demanding hike/climb up of State 120 look for a big meadow that leads Village; 209/372-8319. 8,800-foot Half Dome. Allow at least 10 first into a grove of pines and then up the Skiing and tubing at Badger Pass Ski Area is hours, and know that the last 900 feet of trail gently curving rock face. The 0.5-mile trip to ideal for families: No crowds, and beginning is a steep climb up the dome, with you cling- the top takes less than 20 minutes and is and intermediate runs. Lift tickets from $33, ing to cables for the final 400-foot ascent. easy all the way. Trailhead: State 120 at west- rentals from $25.50; tubing $15; www.yosemite. Trailhead: Happy Isles (shuttle stop #16). ern edge of the meadows. Distance: .5 mile. org or 209/372-8430. Distance: 14-16 miles. Difficulty: hard. Difficulty: easy. Snowshoe with outings lead by The Yosemite Lower Yosemite Falls In Yosemite Valley, a Association. From $50, including equipment; short, very pretty hike with a great reward in Wawona and Glacier Point Road DNC Parks & Resorts at Yosemite, Inc. (2) reservations required; www.yosemite.org or the view of the falls. Trailhead: Lower Yosem- The Grizzly Giant In the Mariposa Grove, an 209/379-2321. ite Fall Trailhead (Shuttle Stop #6). easy hike to one of Yosemite’s most impres- Distance: 1 mile loop. Difficulty: easy. sive sequoias. Trailhead: Mariposa Grove Hiking year-round Mirror Lake A two-mile trail leads to this parking lot. Distance: .8 miles. Difficulty: easy. One of the best ways to see Yosemite is by lake and surrounding meadow, particularly Taft Point A mostly flat walk through forest foot. You can find trail descriptions and maps pretty in early morning. Trailhead: Shuttle leads you to this promontory and eye-popping through the National Park Service (www.nps. Stop #17. Distance: 2 miles round-trip. views of the Yosemite Valley. gov/yose).Here are our top picks for Yosemite Difficulty: easy. Trailhead: Taft Point/Sentinel Dome parking hikes by region: Vernal Fall It’s a .8-mile hike to a footbridge area. Distance: 2.2 miles. Difficulty: moderate. 10 Sunset Travel Guide Sunset Travel Guide Saddlebag Lake below Hike from your campsite to views of Yosemite Falls Yosemite’s best campsites Alaskan Dude (on Flickr Creative Commons), DNC Parks & Resorts at Yosemite, Inc. In Yosemite National Park Porcupine Flat, White Wolf, Yosemite Creek (all profiled below), and three additional park Pitch your tent in Ansel Adams country campgrounds—Bridalveil Creek (Jul–early Sep), Camp 4 (year-round), and Tamarack Flat Plunging waterfalls, stark granite, alpine (Jun–late Sep)—are first come, first served. lakes, pristine meadows, giant sequoia trees, Reservations are a must at all others (reserve and meandering rivers lure more than 3 up to five months in advance on the 15th of each million visitors to Yosemite National Park month; reservations.nps.gov or 800/436-7275). each year. And since everyone comes for the Seven-day pass $20 per vehicle. www.nps.gov/ scenery, why spend the night walled off from yose or 209/372-0200. it? Get up close and personal with Yosemite’s Porcupine Flat. Situated 38 miles from grandeur at one of 13 park campgrounds, Yosemite Valley, it’s often the last to fill up on each graced by the starry skies and sweet summer nights, and it’s ideal for exploring mountain air of the majestic Sierra Nevada the high country. 52 sites Jul–mid Oct; $10. No Mountains. running water. 209/372-0200. 11 Sunset Travel Guide Sunset Travel Guide Yosemite camping tips Show up right around checkout (10 a.m. in Yosemite Valley; noon at all other park camps) to get your pick of available sites as campers vacate. Be bear aware. Don’t leave food or any other scented items (cosmetics, toiletries) in your car or tent—store them in your campsite’s bear box. Outside the valley, be as self-suffi- cient as possible—it’s a haul to the nearest store. Sep; $19. Inyo National Forest (see above). ative Commons), im247frogs (on Flickr Creative Commons), DNC Parks & Resorts at Yosemite, Inc. clockwise from top left: Mat Honan (on Flickr Creative Commons), jcookfisher (on Flickr Cre- top left Scenic seclusion right Aspens in Saddlebag Lake. At 10,087 feet, the location’s fall at Big Bend above Ellery Lake left A tent a major entrance point for the 20 Lakes cabin at White Wolf Lodge Basin, a favorite hiking and angling area. And it’s only 5 miles outside Yosemite’s eastern boundary. Sites 16 and 18 have a lake view to die for. 20 sites Jun–mid-Oct; $19. Inyo National White Wolf. Nestled in a lodgepole pine highway via a narrow, pothole-littered road. Forest (see above). forest at 8,000 feet, the campground 40 sites Jul–early Sep; $10. No running water. Sawmill. Each campsite has a drop-dead provides a taste of the Yosemite high country 209/372-0200. gorgeous view of the High Sierra—mountain without the drudgery of backpacking. The Outside the park peaks, a sub-alpine meadow bisected by a camping gods are smiling on you if you score Big Bend. Set in a quaking aspen and Jeffrey rushing stream, and scattered whitebark site 28 (our favorite), 22, or 23—the largest pine forest alongside Lee Vining Creek, Big pines. If there’s camping in heaven, this is and most private options. White Wolf offers a Bend is a perennial favorite of Yosemite what it looks like. 12 sites May–Sep; $14. No RVs; few luxuries, including delicious meals at veterans. It’s just 9 miles from the park’s no running water. Inyo National Forest (see neighboring White Wolf Lodge ($$; breakfast, eastern boundary. 17 sites late Apr–Oct 31; $19. above). box lunches, and dinner daily, reservations Inyo National Forest, www.fs.fed.us/r5/inyo or Summerdale. Located 1 1/2 miles from Yosem- required; 209/372-8416). Trails to Lukens and 760/647-3044. ite’s southern entrance, Summerdale is set at Harden Lakes lead from the camp. 74 sites Ellery Lake. The granite-backed lake 5,000 feet in elevation on Big Creek. Many Jul–early Sep; $14. 209/372-0200. surrounded by jagged peaks lies 3 miles west campers spend summer afternoons cooling Yosemite Creek. The campsite provides the of Yosemite’s eastern border at an elevation off in the creek’s deep, clear swimming holes. most seclusion of any car campground in the of 9,500 feet. The best sites are set off from 29 reservable sites mid-May–Sep; $20. www. park, but the price is a 4 3/4 -mile drive off the the main camp by a short walk. 21 sites May– reserveusa.com or 877/444-6777. 12 Sunset Travel Guide Sunset Travel Guide Hotel rate key $ inexpensive under $100 $$ moderate $100-$175 $$$ expensive $175-$250 $$$$ splurge $250 and up Tuolumne Meadows Lodge. Simple cabins (no electricity) gathered around a central dining tent. Summer only. $$. Wawona Hotel. Beautiful 19th century hotel; small rooms, but quiet, pretty setting. $$-$$$. White Wolf Inn. Off Tioga Road; 4 cabins with bath, 24 tent cabins without. $. Yosemite Lodge at the Falls. Modern, motel- style lodge, conveniently located; its Moun- tain Room restaurant is good. $$$. The historic Awahnee right Yosemite Lodge Lodging outside the park at the Falls couldn’t have more apt of a name A Far Meadow. Now you can overnight in the Sierra National Forest on the edge of Yosem- Food & lodging ite where the closest thing to a crowd is a herd of deer. Designers Heinz Legler and Veronique Lievre brought their unusual vision to these four rental cabins, including an A-frame inspired by a ’50s Sunset cover, The best amenities in and near the park but updated with a floating staircase and solar panels. $$, A-frames $$$; three-night mini- mum; 310/728-6158. Best Western Yosemite Gateway Inn. Basic Lodging in the park or Yosemite Falls. The hotel is named for the accommodations, with the added bonus of a DNC Parks & Resorts at Yosemite, Inc. (2) All lodging within Yosemite is handled by the Ahwahneechee, a local band of Native Amer- mountain view or garden setting; many rooms park concessionaire, DNC Parks & Resorts. icans. $$$$. have balconies and patios. In Oakhurst; $$; Reservations can be made by calling 801/559- Curry Village. Rustic lodging in Yosemite www.yosemitegatewayinn.com or 800/545-5462. 5055 or visiting www.yosemitepark.com. Valley: simple motel rooms, cabins and tent Best Western Yosemite Way Station. A full The Ahwahnee. This grand, 80-year-old hotel cabins, some with bath, some without. $. range of amenities, including complimentary is by far the poshest (and most expensive) Housekeeping Camp. In Yosemite Valley, one continental breakfast, an outdoor pool, and lodging in the park. The fabled 1927 hotel has step up from camping: inexpensive concrete tennis courts. In Mariposa; $$; www.yosemite- three wings, each oriented toward a major and canvas lodging; they supply beds but you bestwestern.com or 209/966-7545. feature of the park: Half Dome, Glacier Point, supply the linens. $. Chateau du Sureau. Extremely elegant rooms 13 Sunset Travel Guide Sunset Travel Guide A Far Meadow’s Sunset-inspired A-frame RIGHT Wawona Dining Room in an Austrian chateau recreated in the Sierra Yosemite View Lodge. Large modern motel evening outdoor bbq is a must. $$-$$$. Nevada foothills; the adjoining restaurant, near the park’s west entrance. In El Portal; Erna’s Elderberry House, is among the best in $$-$$$; www.yosemite-motels.com/yosemiteview- Dining outside the park California (see right). In Oakhurst; $$$$; www. lodge or 888-742-4371. Castillo’s Mexican Restaurant. Local favorite. elderberryhouse.com or 559/683-6800. In Mariposa; $$; 209/742-4413. Evergreen Lodge. Cluster of historic cabins Dining in the park Erna’s Elderberry House. Austrian-born Erna now nicely restored, including 24 recently For information and reservations, visit www. Kubin-Clanin has brought European haute opened ones with interiors by San Francisco yosemitepark.com. cuisine to the Sierra foothills. In Oakhurst; $$$; designer Charles de Lisle; adjacent tavern Ahwahnee. The hotel’s dining room is www.elderberryhouse.com or 559/683-6800. david fenton, DNC Parks & Resorts at Yosemite, Inc. and restaurant. In Groveland; $$; evergreen- famous for its lavish Sunday brunches, but Groveland Hotel. Handsome dining room in lodge.com or 209/379-2606. regular breakfast is good here, too. Reserva- historic hotel; good wine list. In Groveland; $$$ The Groveland Hotel at Yosemite National tions recommended. “Resort casual” attire— (see Lodging outside the park, above). Park. On Groveland’s attractive Main Street, e.g. no shorts or tank tops. $$$-$$$$. Savoury’s. Ambitious fine dining for a small this historic hotel (portions date back to 1849) Degnan’s Deli. Coffee and sandwiches near town. In Mariposa; $$-$$$; 209/966-7677. is nicely spruced up. Good restaurant too. In the Visitor Center. $. Groveland; $$; www.groveland.com or 800/273- Mountain Room Restaurant. At Yosemite 3314. Lodge at the Falls, not as picturesque as the Tenaya Lodge at Yosemite. Attractive modern Ahwahnee but good steak and wine list. $$$. hotel near the park’s southern entrance. In Wawona Dining Room. Delightfully old-fash- Fish Camp; $$$-$$$$; www.tenayalodge.com or ioned, both in setting and menu: pot roast is 888/514-2167. a favorite here. In summer, the Saturday 14 Sunset Travel Guide Sunset Travel Guide Travel resources Find more inspiration for travel in the West on Sunset.com Explore secret California From lava beds to gushing waterfalls, northeastern California is home to numerous delights. Go fishing, hiking, and road trip- ping through this hidden corner of the Golden State. www.sunset.com/travel/california Visit Yellowstone National Park Yosemite is but one of the West’s dazzling national parks. Yellowstone is not to be missed, and we share tons of info on exploring the park, including where to see geysers, wildlife, and the park’s most stunning landscapes. www.sunset.com/travel/rockies clockwise from left: xanterra parks & resorts, thomas j. story (2) Sunset.com/travel Your ultimate resource for travel in the CA’s best autumn West, Sunset Travel is packed with tips on the best places to go, from National Parks to urban retreats. Get inspired escapes with Sunset’s ideas for fun weekend Yosemite isn’t the only surefire bet for trips or the ultimate Western vacation. an unforgettable fall trip. From perfect www.sunset.com/travel beach weather to vibrant harvest and crush festivals, California shines in autumn. Plan ahead and find fabulous off-season deals. www.sunset.com/travel/california 15 Sunset Travel Guide Sunset Travel Guide Subscribe to Sunset You’re invited to enjoy a FREE PREVIEW of the next 2 issues of Sunset magazine risk-free. No obligation to buy. The If you live in the West, or visit it regularly, you already know Sunset. For more than 110 Western years, Sunset has been the West’s preeminent source for information on home, food, travel, lifestyle is and gardening. Sunset is the leading independent authority on Western living. a journey. What makes Sunset magazine so special? For some of our devoted readers, Sunset both Sunset informs and delights their passions for the scenic beauty of the West and their desire for travel magazine and exploration. For other subscribers, Sunset is about celebrating the newest and best is its road ideas in Western home design and landscaping. 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"Yosemite National Park Hotels and Activities 2010 - Sunset"