"I'm only visiting the park for one day. How should I spend my time?"and the ranger answers,
"If I only had one day in Yosemite, I would sit right down and have myself a good cry."We're planning a trip to Yosemite and thankfully we are planning for more than a one-day visit. We've made reservations at four different campgrounds in and around Yosemite. We were warned that getting through to the National Park Reservations line would be a challenge. It was like we were trying to get concert tickets - we were on the internet, we were hitting redial on our phone and we were getting busy signals and 'page' errors for almost an hour before finally reaching an operator.
We tried to be prepared. For a week or so prior to the June reservations opening, we picked up some books and started reading about the park, camping limitations, looked up diagrams of the campgrounds, etc, so that we would know which campgrounds we wanted and which campsites we thought would be most desirable. Our choices were limited because we were trying to go in early June to avoid the crowds but not all of the campgrounds take reservations that early because they can't guarantee they'll be free of snow, and not all campsites can fit a 30' RV. And Yosemite is now restricting campers to 14 days in the park between May-Sept, and no more than 7 days in either the Valley or Wawona.
But, Tioga Pass and Glacier Point Roads may not even be open yet (because of snow) and we didn't really want to miss out on the attractions and hikes in those sections so we shifted our dates slightly. The day we called was the first day reservations were made available for the May 15th - June 15th time period. We're booked in both USFS campsites and NPS campsites so far, and will have to leave some of our trip open to fate (for the first-come, first-serve sites) since we can't confirm when Tioga Pass will open for us to cross over the Sierra Nevada range to the Eastern Sierra area to explore. We've left ourselves with a week to possibly camp within the NPS at Tuolumne Meadows which is high up on Tioga Pass.
The good news: we got our preferred campsites! Andy checked online at the end of the day to check on availability, and.....no sites were left that our RV could fit into. Wow! Good thing we took the time and effort first thing or we might've missed out. Normally we don't make reservations when we travel, unless it's a holiday or something. But since Yosemite sees 3-4 million visitors - mostly in June-Sept - we realized it was imperative to make reservations if we wanted to stay within the park.
Our plan is to leave Florida in March and start heading that way. We plan on visiting Death Valley, Kings Canyon, Sequoia, and Devils Postpile. All of which are right there in that area. Perhaps afterward we can wander up to Lake Tahoe. These will all be new stops for us. Does anyone have any recommendations for us? Any place that you consider a "must-do"? Let us know. We haven't formulated a route yet.