With Memorial Day fast approaching you might want to rethink your plans to visit the park if you haven’t already scored the elusive campsite or hotel reservation.
Traffic is expected to be at an all time high as visitation has been up the last few months as people have been searching for “pocket-book friendly” vacations. Already campgrounds are almost full with only a couple first-come, first-served spaces left and those are expected to fill up as the weekend approaches.
If you’re really determined to visit Yosemite have a look at some of the surrounding communities for lodging and campgrounds but with the Strawberry Music Festival at Camp Mather and the big holiday weekend everyone I’ve contacted is booked up already.
I’ve got a couple calls out still for rooms so if I hear anything I’ll get it up. Not looking good though.
If you are entering the park expect short delays at entrance stations. Remember to obey all speed limits. Traffic laws are strictly enforced and you WILL be cited.
Parking at the most popular spots (Glacier Point, Yosemite Village, Bridalveil Fall, Curry Village and Tunnel View) fill up quickly. Ride the free shuttle or a bike instead of driving. You’ll find you not only get around quicker, but you enjoy not having the headache of a car.
The Merced River and all streams in the park are flowing with snowmelt. That means they’re extremely cold. Stay out of the water. it only takes a few minutes to become hypothermic. Stay safe, stay out of the water.
Seems like most visitors to Yosemite have one thought in mind, climb Half Dome. That said you can bet Memorial Day Weekend is a bad weekend to choose to hike to the top of Half Dome. The line can be VERY long and sometimes take HOURS to get to the top once you reach the cables. If you’re going to be spending a few days after the weekend in the park try going up Thursday prior or Tuesday-Friday after Memorial Day. You’ll find the line significantly less. Don’t forget to bring your own gloves. Memorial Day weekend gloves disappear quickly and the cables suck when they’re hot and you don’t have gloves.
The trail to Upper Yosemite Falls is usually crowded on Memorial Day weekend but not nearly as bad as the Mist Trail and the trail leading up to Half Dome.
If you really want some spectacular views try the trail to Sentinel Dome or Taft Point. Artists Point is another great hike. For directions stop at the visitors center or ask the concierge of your hotel. Don’t forget to get a good map and take LOTS of water.
Outside the Park
Go to Bodie. No. Really. Once termed “hell on Earth” Bodie is a ghost town held in suspended animation. It’s fun, historic and kids love it. You can also bring your dog on a leash if they’re well behaved.
With a little snow on the Sierra sunrise at Mono Lake is awesome. The first rays of the sun catching the rugged peaks of the Eastern Sierra and tufa, man how can you pass that up.
Both Bodie and Mono Lake are a short drive outside the eastern entrance of Yosemite on the Tioga Road (Highway 120) and make for added adventure. If all you’re plans were to stay in the Valley I recommend really checking out these two gems. So worth it.