Yosemite/Mammoth Lakes Itinerary

Novatrix

Dreamfinder-in-Training
Joined
Oct 17, 2017
Hi,

I'm looking for advice on my early September itinerary. Solo travel, not particularly interested in cities, more active than the average person although I'm no athlete. The way I put it is, I'm fit enough that I could run a marathon on a week's notice, but I'm not going to qualify for Boston and I'll be sore for a couple of days afterwards. :)

Nothing is booked yet, but I've gotten a rough itinerary together and wanted some advice.

I would be flying from the east coast on a Thursday night, returning the next Sunday so it would be 9 full days.

I was thinking fly into LAX, have 3 full days at Disneyland, then fly to Fresno on the Monday and pick up a rental car and then loop back to Fresno to fly out on the Sunday.

Questions
1. Is there some reason I'm missing that midsize pickup trucks are the cheapest category of vehicle to rent? Are they too wide for some of the roads, is it due to the price of gas in CA, or does the hippy mafia stick flowers in the tailpipe of every truck they see?

2. I was originally thinking to spend the Monday night in Wawona, then the next 3 nights in the valley floor to explore Yosemite. If I want to explore as much of Yosemite as possible, would I be better off 1 night Wawona, 1 night Valley and then 2 nights near Touloumes Meadow?

3. If my best option is to stay 2 nights near Touloumes Meadow, would it be terribly far/hard to drive to Touloumes Meadow from Lee Vining for the two days? I could camp, but with night temperatures in the 30s and without all my gear I feel like I'd be a lot more comfortable in a motel room.

4. Friday I'd drive from Yosemite to Mammoth Lakes stay two nights, then drive back to Fresno Sunday morning for a mid-day flight. Doable?

5. Any must do physically active and/or unique experiences you'd recommend?

Thank you in advance for your input!:worship:
 

bcla

On our rugged Eastern foothills.....
Joined
Nov 28, 2012
If you're looking for Yosemite Valley, the closest lodging outside the park Yosemite View Lodge or Cedar Lodge just outside the Arch Rock entrance. Other than that, there's Yosemite Bug, which has basic accommodations including tent cabins, private dorm style rooms, and shared hostel rooms.


I'm not sure where you're getting an idea that anyone would care what you drive. My neighbors have full sized pickups and nobody bats an eye. They're extremely common as personal or business vehicles in all parts of California. I've seen fifth wheels, large RVs, 60-passenger tour buses, and even fuel tankers driven on these roads. A pickup truck should have no problem with the bridge setup around the Ferguson rock slide.

Mammoth Lakes to Fresno is going to be a long drive though. You would need to either go back through Yosemite or make an even longer drive around the Sierra Nevada. There's really no way around the Sierra Nevada.

The one thing that could mess up everything would be if there's a freak September snowstorm, especially since your plans include the higher elevations.

My only thing would be that the water levels can be really low in September. The waterfalls can sometimes stop flowing. When they stop there are even a few climbers who climb up the dry waterfalls, although there's the risk of a sudden storm ruining their plans. However, even with low water levels, Vernal Fall still looks pretty good. It gets a steady source of water unlike Yosemite Creek, which feeds Yosemite Falls.
 


Novatrix

Dreamfinder-in-Training
Joined
Oct 17, 2017
If you're looking for Yosemite Valley, the closest lodging outside the park Yosemite View Lodge or Cedar Lodge just outside the Arch Rock entrance. Other than that, there's Yosemite Bug, which has basic accommodations including tent cabins, private dorm style rooms, and shared

I'm not sure where you're getting an idea that anyone would care what you drive. My neighbors have full sized pickups and nobody bats an eye. They're extremely common as personal or business vehicles in all parts of California. I've seen fifth wheels, large RVs, 60-passenger tour buses, and even fuel tankers driven on these roads. A pickup truck should have no problem with the bridge setup around the Ferguson rock slide.

Mammoth Lakes to Fresno is going to be a long drive though. You would need to either go back through Yosemite or make an even longer drive around the Sierra Nevada. There's really no way around the Sierra Nevada.

The one thing that could mess up everything would be if there's a freak September snowstorm, especially since your plans include the higher elevations.

My only thing would be that the water levels can be really low in September. The waterfalls can sometimes stop flowing. When they stop there are even a few climbers who climb up the dry waterfalls, although there's the risk of a sudden storm ruining their plans. However, even with low water levels, Vernal Fall still looks pretty good. It gets a steady source of water unlike Yosemite Creek, which feeds Yosemite Falls.
Thanks for your reply.

Thank you for your suggestions, however I would only be looking at housing outside the park if I should be closer to Tuolumne Meadows for better hikes. Yosemite valley shows ups 1.5 hours drive away and Lee Vining is only 0.5 hours away, unless there's some reason it's more difficult to drive there from the Lee Vining side?

I don't think anyone would particularly care what I drive, I thought the use of the phrase "hippy mafia" would make it clear that I was joking. I'm just surprised that pick-up trucks are the cheapest option to rent, that is not the case in most locations. So there is no particular reason that would make them unattractive to rent in California?

Is there usually a couple days warning with the snowstorms or are they a genuinely freak occurence?
 

bcla

On our rugged Eastern foothills.....
Joined
Nov 28, 2012
Thanks for your reply.

Thank you for your suggestions, however I would only be looking at housing outside the park if I should be closer to Tuolumne Meadows for better hikes. Yosemite valley shows ups 1.5 hours drive away and Lee Vining is only 0.5 hours away, unless there's some reason it's more difficult to drive there from the Lee Vining side?

I don't think anyone would particularly care what I drive, I thought the use of the phrase "hippy mafia" would make it clear that I was joking. I'm just surprised that pick-up trucks are the cheapest option to rent, that is not the case in most locations. So there is no particular reason that would make them unattractive to rent in California?

Is there usually a couple days warning with the snowstorms or are they a genuinely freak occurence?
Yeah - I get the stereotype of Californian driving Priuses and Teslas. That being said, one of my neighbors has a full-size Toyota Tundra TRD pickup and a plug-in hybrid. But it's not like anyone would really give a rude comment about anyone driving a pickup. Even throwback hippies drive pickups if they use them for hauling things.

It is further away, but Tuolumne Meadows isn't going to have as many amenities as Yosemite Valley. Once the regular season ends, they'll close shop at the TM Store. I remember arriving once from the the east side when they were open for less than a week, and they were setting up the TM Store. It's got a canvas roof and they tear it down before winter so that the snow doesn't damage it.



I don't really know why pickups would be cheaper. Whenever I've rented, economy cars were always the cheapest, although I'd typically select an "intermediate" (which are really compacts) for a maybe a few dollars a day more. I would suggest checking the prices again, especially if you haven't left a credit card for prepayment. Most car rentals can be abandoned without penalty. I remember once I was going to be late (taking a bus to the destination) and tried to cancel and was told it didn't really matter if just didn't show up.

Especially at higher elevation you can see snowfall - even in the summer. And you can't necessarily rely on any kind of forecast. I remember driving once leaving Yosemite. All of a sudden I started seeing rain. Then I hit a higher elevation and that was turning into snow. It's just kind of the way it happens when you're dealing with high altitude weather.
 

China Expat

Mouseketeer
Joined
Oct 29, 2014
I think three nights on the Yosemite Valley floor is too long...If you will be in Lee Vining/Mammoth area, be sure to check out Devil's Postpone in Mammoth and Convict Lake a bit down 395. Going north from Mammoth on 395, be sure to visit the amazing tufa formations on Mono Lake-amazing.
 

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