Going to Yosemite for the first time

Leaving on April 27 with a tour bus group–fortunately the bus will not be crowded–and getting back on the 29th. We will be seeing all the sights, taking the valley floor tram tour, and will even visit a casino on the way back home.

Hoping for good weather. I hear the falls are especially nice in the spring. It is the first time visiting this area for my friend and me too.

Have you been there? Is it as spectacular as we have been told?

One of God’s most stunning creations. But you will see that for yourself. I go every couple of years. If you are in decent shape you can walk the valley floor during the day and it is even better. Lunch at the Awahnee Hotel dining room.

I wasn’t quite five years old when I first saw Yosemite. I remember it still. You will never, ever, forget it.

I just went there for the first time this past Christmas. I’ve been to a lot of beautiful places around the world … Yosemite tops them all. It’s the most beautiful place I’ve ever seen.

I would take binoculars, or a camera with a zoom lens. You can try to spot the climbers on El Capitan. (Not sure if there’ll be climbers this time of year.)

Do you get much time out of the bus? Or out of the Valley? If you are allowed excursions away from the bus you will get a much better feel for the park by hiking as far as you can away from the roads. Especially outside the Valley. Hopefully they will take you up to Tuolumne Meadows where you can see some of the other side of the park. Presumably they’ll be going to one of the redwood groves, right?

I’ve been going to Yosemite since I was a little kid and I make a point of at visiting the park at least once a year. I’m not sure it it has the “natural beauty crown” over the our other national scenic wonderlands, but I still get a shiver when I round the bend in the road(s) and see the valley spread out before me.

I doubt the OP will get a chance to see the high country as Tioga Road won’t be open, but Glacier Point Road is open. The view of Half Dome and the valley from Glacier Point is a highlight of any trip to Yosemite. Being on a bus tour may have drawbacks, with a set itinerary and limited time at any of the stops, but on the other hand you don’t have to worry about keeping your eyes on the road or having to find a parking place.

Me too!

Here is a rundown of what we’re doing: http://www.traveltimetours.com/files/PDF/apr/Yosemite_SHILO_Spring_04-27-12_TTT.pdf

It is not nearly as detailed as the itinerary that we got in the mail.
We will have some time on our own.

Sounds like you will be based in the valley. This is good if you only have a weekend. You can ride the free shuttle busses around the valley floor to most of the major destinations. When not with your tour group, I suggest renting bikes and just tooling around on the paved bike trails. You can also circle the valley on the paved road loop if you are up for it - I recommend this in the morning as everything is fresh and uncrowded, and the traffic is light.

There are many quiet parts of the valley if you are willing to walk away from the parking lots and developed areas on the many trails. Mirror Lake (meadow) is one such place only accessible by bike or foot, and has a great view of the face of half dome. A hike up the mist trail to view Vernal Fall is also worth it.

As stated, if you can get to Glacier point you will not be disappointed.

Let us know how it goes!

I got some terrific shots, even though it’s almost impossible to take a poor photograph there. Half Dome with wispy clouds, a tree shrouded in fog, a coyote that just trotted out into the field in front of us, pointed his nose skyward and commenced to howl. Lovely place; this from a view-jaded Alaskan.

If you’re staying in Oakhurst, there’s a souvenir/antiques place called the 41 Trading Post. They have all the usual tourist crap in the front of the store, but check out their “back yard”-- you can find some really cool “junk” back there. Todd’s Cookhouse has some pretty decent BBQ if you’re looking for a place to eat.

Thanks for the tips. My friend and I are very excited to be going. We’re also glad that the bus we’re going on is not full. More room to move around and not as much time waiting for everyone, assuming they watch the clock.

We were across the street from the post but had no time to get there, and they close early. We tried to get to Todd’s but they closed at 8pm and we had been erroneously told 9pm.

Ah, but we had some good chow otherwise, and I took many great shots and videos. Yes, you really cannot take bad photos there!
Here I am with El Capitan beyond…

And another shot of it with the Cathedral, formerly known as 3 sisters:

And a waterfall: