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Old 01-10-2010, 11:14 AM   #1
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Sequoia, Kings Canyon, and Yosemite in the spring

We're planning a trip to Sequoia and Kings Canyon starting on June 3rd but we're undecided on if we should include Yosemite. We've been to Yosemite once several years ago prior to our Airstream days and have never camped there. We've never been to Sequoia or Kings Canyon.
In all we'll be able to stay for a total of 8 nights after with an additional 4 nights of travel time. Is there enough to Sequoia and Kings Canyon to justify staying this long an leave Yosemite out? I'm leaning toward a 4 night stay in Kings Canyon and a 4 night stay in Yosemite. We've decided on the Lodgepoll campground in Kings Canyon. Does anyone have a campground recommendation for Yosemite? We prefer a non hookup wooded campground. How crowded would Yosemite be during the first week of June? I don't know if school is out in California yet at that time. If we book Yosemite we have to do it by the 15th. of Jan.
Any info would be greatly appreciated.
Thanks: Charlie
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Old 01-10-2010, 11:32 AM   #2
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Originally Posted by Pacerized View Post
We're planning a trip to Sequoia and Kings Canyon starting on June 3rd but we're undecided on if we should include Yosemite. We've been to Yosemite once several years ago prior to our Airstream days and have never camped there. We've never been to Sequoia or Kings Canyon.
In all we'll be able to stay for a total of 8 nights after with an additional 4 nights of travel time. Is there enough to Sequoia and Kings Canyon to justify staying this long an leave Yosemite out? I'm leaning toward a 4 night stay in Kings Canyon and a 4 night stay in Yosemite. We've decided on the Lodgepoll campground in Kings Canyon. Does anyone have a campground recommendation for Yosemite? We prefer a non hookup wooded campground. How crowded would Yosemite be during the first week of June? I don't know if school is out in California yet at that time. If we book Yosemite we have to do it by the 15th. of Jan.
Any info would be greatly appreciated.
Thanks: Charlie
Charlie,

California K-12 schools are out the middle to end of June. JC and Universities on the semester system are out Memorial Day, quarter system the middle of June. All campgrounds in the Yosemite Valley are non hookup wooded. If you have time, and it is open, a trip to Tuolumne Meadows is well worth it.

Bill
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Old 01-10-2010, 08:52 PM   #3
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Please check the www.nps.gov Website for info on Yosemite. A couple of years ago, we went there on Memorial Day weekend, and a photo on the message board in the parking lot showed that about a week before, there had been over six feet of snow where we were currently parked. The first week in June is pretty early in the season, so the weather might be unpredictable.

You are wise to check on early reservations, because Yosemite is always packed. I suspect that the odds are high that you may have to stay outside of the park, if you don't have reservations.

The best entrance for RVs and trailers headed into Yosemite is from the west. You should be aware that if you are coming from the south (i.e., Sequoia and Kings Canyon), the southern entrance to the park is really narrow and winding. Also, I think there is a 40 foot restriction on total vehicle length, and they may discourage you from using this entrance. There is a campground a few miles from the southern entrance, but you would have to drop your trailer there and take day trips to the rest of the park. It's a pretty drive, but it might be easier to just enter from the west and avoid the extra drive everyday. Also, that campground is relatively low in elevation, and warmer in case the rest of the park still has snow.

One note, the water falls have more volume in the spring, from snow runoff, so June is ideal for sightseeing.

Again, the National Park Website has lots of information on all of these parks, so you can make an informed decision.
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Old 01-11-2010, 10:27 AM   #4
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Hi Charlie, i hope you and your family are doing great. We went to Sequoia NP on may 26-30th of 08, it was my favorite park, we did all the big ones out west. It won't be everyone's favorite, but i just loved those tree's,lol. Redwoods are nice but certainly no Sequoia,JMO. I'm not sure i'd take Yosemite out of the picture to stay 8 days. Yosemite has some of the best hiking there is and i know you and your family are big time hikers. There is plenty to see in SNP, it's a big park, that will take quite a bit of driving to see it. It also has many hiking trips for the day.

We took 180, we stopped in Fresno to have the brakes checked and to get food. Before that we took the back road from Sequoia N Monument, we stayed there for one night, it was a very nice under rated stop. That whole area is awesome, IMO, not sure what back roads we took but i thought i was in heaven.

We drove to Yosemite, entering from 140, absolutely beautiful area. We stayed right outside of the park, the campgrounds in the park were full. There was a lot of construction on the roads when we got there, some places it looked like NYC traffic. I'm hoping to get out that way again in Sept, we want to do this hike, i'd imagine your family would love this one. There is also a video on you tube. Yosemite Half Dome Photo Gallery - YOSEMITE LODGING

Have fun,,,,, George
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Old 01-12-2010, 08:44 AM   #5
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Thanks for the feedback, I'm glad to hear that school isn't out yet at that time. Hopefully this will cut back on the crowds a little. While we've been to Yosemite we've never camped in the park. The reservation system is strange in that it's different from all the other national parks. Reservations are opened on the 15th. of each month for a 30 day window 5 months out, and you can't book a specific site only a specific campground. I think we've decided to stay only 4 nights in Kings Canyon, then book for 4 nights in Yosemite. I hope we'll be able to get in by jumping on the computer this Friday morning. At that time of year I think we'll try to stay at a campground below 7,000 '. Any further suggestions on a specific campground from anyone who's stayed there would be appreciated.

George: It's great to here from you and I'm glad to see you're still exploring the West in your Airstream. Thanks for the suggestion, that looks like a great hike.
Charlie
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Old 01-17-2010, 10:15 AM   #6
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We decided to stay in Kings Canyon for the 4 nights, and then booked 4 nights in Yosemite at Wawona campground. The process for Yosemite is insane. My wife was home so she jumped on the computer right at 8 a.m. when the window opened, and every campsite was gone within minutes in the valley, and that was for the first week of June before the real rush hits. I'm not into the crowds but to really check out the park it's still much better to start your morning off already in the park. At least we'll experience some tranquility in Kings Canyon first, and we just couldn't pass on Yosemite since we make it there so seldom.

Charlie
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Old 05-30-2010, 09:53 AM   #7
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We'll be taking off this Thursday P.M. for our first big trip this year heading to Kings Canyon. We've only briefly visited Yosemite in the past and that was prior to our Airstream days. Any recommendations on hikes, and side trips between the 3 parks would be appreciated. I also like to find some place special for dinner while we're out if it's possible. Our preference is to grill over the campfire by the Airstream but it's nice to eat out just one time if we can find the right place. We had Black Barts near Flagstaff recommended on our route 66 trip last year and it was perfect.

Charlie
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Old 05-30-2010, 10:34 AM   #8
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Charlie,

If you want a great hike do Vernal Falls in Yosemite. If the water is high you'll get wet with the spray right near the bottom of the trail and it will keep you cool all the way up (you end up at the top of the fall).

I've stayed many times in Lodgepole. If you haven't reserved your site yet try to get toward the back or end of the main loop. There is a trail up the river nearby. Really nice.

Have a great time!

Oh wait. That was tent camping. I think this area is pretty good but if I recall correctly most of this area was a little dry. 5+ years ago.
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Old 05-30-2010, 10:54 AM   #9
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Our absolute favorite place to camp is Cedar Grove (Sheep Creek campground) in Kings Canyon NP. Cedar Grove is at the end of the road, about an hour's drive from the Grant Grove area of Kings Canyon NP, and well worth the drive. The King's River valley at Cedar Grove is similar to Yosemite Valley, but with out the spectacular waterfalls and the crowds. We've been camping there for over 30 years, and it's still our favorite place to spend a week in the summer.
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Old 05-30-2010, 12:53 PM   #10
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Charlie,

Vernal Falls is a great hike with amazing views from every turn.

Please consider taking advantage of the ranger led tours through out the park. We believe most begin at 10am. Dr. Julia Parker leads The First People of Yosemite tour, which takes place on Mondays in front of the Yosemite Museum. It's a great talk, providing insight to the Ahwahneechee's history and traditions.

There are twilight strolls through the Ahwahnee Hotel's grounds. The Ahwahnee is a beautiful place to have a cup of tea after a long day in the valley. The dogwoods were blooming when we were there last weekend.

One of the other highlights for us is a "private" viewing of Ansel Adams' rare original prints. One of the staff photographers from the Ansel Adams Gallery leads the talk and viewing, providing insight to Ansel's life and his creative process. The viewing is complimentary, but is limited to five guests. You may wish to contact them to make reservations (209) 372-4413. We do not recommend this for very young children. The talk is held in a very small room, and guests will be sitting for approximately an hour. We believe the viewing and talk take place on Sundays in the afternoon.

If parking in the valley, from Wawona, you can try and avoid the snarl of traffic in the day use parking lots by parking on Northside Drive. When arriving from 140 or 120, make a left at the first stop sign, onto Sentinel Drive. Drive slowly over Sentinel Bridge (there's no stopping) and look to your right. It might be your first view of Half Dome and it is awe inspiring. Continue forward and make a left on Northside Drive. We usually park next to Cook's Meadow. Try and arrive early and you'll have plenty of space. From here it's a short walk to the base of Lower Yosemite Falls. If you walk in the opposite direction you'll arrive at the Visitors Center, Ansel Adams Gallery, Post Office, Indian Village and Yosemite Museum. A little further and you'll arrive at the Yosemite Store. From this same parking spot you can take a bus to Curry Village, the trailheads to Mirror Lake, Vernal Falls, Nevada Falls and Half Dome.

Whatever you do, dress in layers. It was in the high 70's when we were there the last week of April, but in the 30's last week, with light snow flurries on the valley floor when we were camped at Lower Pines Campground.

You may find Yosemite National Park's website helpful. We've included a link: http://www.nps.gov/yose/planyourvisit/conditions.htm

Happy and safe journeys,
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Old 05-30-2010, 06:39 PM   #11
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My Two Cents...

Gemma and Murray have a lot of ideas that I think are great about Yosemite. One attraction that may or may not be available that early in the year is the Yosemite theater with Lee Stinsen's one man show. He was featured in Ken Burns' documentary about the National Parks on PPS. He has a few different shows where he plays John Muir. They are very good on history and they are entertaining as well. The Yosemite Theater is in the Valley, in Yosemite Village. One more diamond in the rough that I can recommend is if you leave Yosemite to the east over Tuolumne Meadows/Tioga Pass (Hwy 120) is a private campground in Lee Vining on Hwy 395. It is Mono Vista RV Park. There is also a Mobil gas station about a block east of Hwy 395 on Hwy 120 that serves great steaks. It is called the Whoa Nellie Deli.

Have fun, Randy
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Old 05-31-2010, 09:28 AM   #12
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Thanks for the ideas and keep them coming if anyone has more, I'm writing these down as we finish the details of our plans. Our campgrounds are booked but any input as far as hikes, dining, or misc. attractions is greatly appreciated. We haven't done a chuck wagon dinner in a long time, maybe I'll see if there is one offered in one of the parks.

Charlie
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Old 05-31-2010, 11:34 AM   #13
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Chateau du Sureau

Charlie,

Chateau du Sureau, http://www.elderberryhouse.com/cdsMain.html , in Oakhurst, near Yosemite, has a restaurant, Erna's Elderberry House, that serves great food. It's not a chuck wagon dinner, but we would recommend it. It's one of the properties of the Relais & Chateaux. We believe they are also listed in the Michelin Guide and Zagat.

If you get tired of the Airstream, the rooms in the Chateau are luxurious. We stayed there once for Gemma's birthday. We could only afford one night without having to mortgage the house or we would have stayed longer, much longer.

The prices at the restaurant are significantly more affordable, and the proprietress' daughter is a master sommelier.

We hope you enjoy your trip.

Your friends,
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Old 05-31-2010, 11:43 AM   #14
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It is a shameless plug, but my brother sells tickets for the Yosemite Valley tours at the tour desk in the lodge...thats a relaxing way to take in the sites between hikes. I was just in the valley a week ago, and i am of the opinion that there is almost nothing to do in Yosemite that will leave you feeling disappointed.
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