View Full Version : Anaheim to Yosemite / Traffic?

01-18-2007, 01:58 PM

My DH and I are planning a 10 day California trip this July. We would like to fly into LAX and spend 3 nights at DL, then drive to Yosemite for 2 nights finally spending the last 5 nights in San Francisco / Napa area (fly out of SFO). I'm interested in knowing how long we can expect the drive from Anaheim to Yosemite to be. We would be staying in Oakhurst that night. I'm concerned about the traffic out of Anaheim. We're leaving on a Tuesday morning. What would be the best time to get on the road?

Thanks for your help!

01-18-2007, 09:26 PM
Leaving Anaheim in the morning should be no problem if you wait for the morning commuters to get out of your way.

It will take you about 7-8 hours to get into Oakhurst depending on how you drive, stops you make, etc.

It is a pretty straight shot. I would stay off of I-5 and take Ball Road to the 57 N to 210 N and go up over the grapevine that way. We find traffic to be lighter. Unless you want a glimpse of Downtown LA's skyline. Then I-5 is your only option really.

Enjoy your trip! Sounds fabulous.

On your way from Yosemite to the bay area when you get to Tracy, CA give a wave!!

02-21-2007, 11:21 AM
Hmm...We can make it to Oakhurst from San Diego in about 6.5-7 hours (minimal stops for gas and food), so I think it would be 1-1.5 hours shorter than that from Anaheim. Of course traffic is always a factor. Still, as the other poster said, if you leave after the morning commute, say 9:00, you shouldn't have much in the way of traffic problems.

You'll have at least an hour's drive from Oakhurst to the Valley floor, and longer if you stop along the way...and I would recommend that on your way in you visit the Mariposa Sequoia Grove, maybe stop at the Wawona Hotel (it's a nice place to have lunch!), and of course stop at the tunnel viewpoint.

We frequently take the 57-210 route that tinkryansmom recommended...but if you do, there's a couple of gotchas - at one point you have to exit the main freeway to stay on 57, and then you also have to exit the main freeway in Pasadena to stay on 210. The first one isn't so bad, but with the second there's very little warning, and if you're cruising in the fast lane (or carpool lane) it's easy to miss it. It IS shorter to take I5, but you never know what traffic is going to be like, and it gets really narrow and ugly when you get into downtown LA.

Hope that helps.

Mary Jo
02-21-2007, 01:16 PM
Here's my experience.

It usually takes me about 7 hours or so to get to Yosemite.

Figure on
- 2 hours to get to Bakersfield
- 2 hours to get to Fresno from Bakersfield (where you will get on the 41 North - there are signs to Yosemite on the freeway)
- 1 hour or so to get to Oakhurst (where you can stock up on food at the Vons supermarket there - very nice Vons) -- Note that Oakhurst is a small town and you won't find a K/Wal-mart or Target there

The entrance to Yosemite from Oakhurst is 19 miles. If you go to the right, you'll hit the Mariposa Grove in 2 miles. If you go to the left, you'll hit Yosemite Valley in 45 minutes. (Wawona is 15 minutes from the entrance, & Glacier Point is also 45 minutes from the entrance)

Have a wonderful time. Yosemite is my favorite place in the world.

03-19-2007, 10:01 PM
Mary Jo, you seem to be the Yosemite guru! :cool1:

What would you suggest for an extended trip - I'll have lots of time to look around, but will have a 4 year old in tow most of the time so major hikes would be out.

03-20-2007, 01:44 PM
I'm not Mary Jo...but I know a bit about Yosemite, also. :-)

Where are you staying - will you actually be in the Valley or will you have to drive in from somewhere outside? Most of the things I talk about below can be accessed from the Yosemite Valley shuttle, which is free, so if you're coming in from outside of the Valley you can park in Day Use parking and catch the shuttle from there, and of course the shuttle services all of the various lodging and campground areas in the Valley, so you're already set if you're staying there.

When are you going to be there? During the summer? (Summer in the northern hemisphere, that is!) Late spring? Fall?

How much walking is the four-year-old able to do? My idea of a "major hike" might be rather different than yours. :-)

One thing that we've enjoyed doing when the river is high enough is renting rafts at Curry Village and floating down the Merced River. It takes a couple of hours - they pick you up where you get out and transport you back to Curry Village in a bus.

Visit one of the sequoia groves - if you go to the Mariposa Grove there's a tram tour you can take (so less walking for the 4-year-old), whereas the Tuolumne Grove is less crowded, but it's a mile+ walk each way - and it's uphill all the way back.

If you're actually staying in the Valley, make sure you see some of the nighttime "ranger" programs - there will be a schedule in the newspaper you get when you enter the park. Sometimes they show movies, sometimes slides, sometimes they talk about animals, etc. There are also programs during the day that are geared towards kids, which might work out well for you.

Visit Lower Yosemite Falls - that's a short walk, though there's a little bit of a climb. It's a loop that goes into the woods a little bit. Probably 1/2 mile total.

Take the short walk to the base of Bridalveil Falls.

Visit Mirror Lake - that's a longer walk, up a steeper hill. But that's a good place to go for a picnic - there's some nice sandy beaches along the "lake". (The lake is turning into a meadow.)

Rent a bike and ride on the 7+ miles of bike paths. It's a great way to get around the Valley. I believe you can rent a kid trailer to pull behind the bike.

Visit the Nature Center at Happy Isles - it's a short walk from the tram stop to the Nature Center, and you can also take a short walk onto the islands in the middle of the river. There's also a walk through the fen on a boardwalk. IF the 4-year-old is up for it, take the trail from Happy Isles to the Vernal Falls bridge - it's about .8 miles, but the trail, though it's paved, is rather steep. You get a very nice view of Vernal Falls from there.

There's several things to do at the Visitor Center - I suggest seeing the movie about Yosemite, which is very well done. There's also a museum and the Indian Village there.

Hope that helps!

03-21-2007, 09:51 PM
Thanks Scooter, I've c&p'd that info into my trip document! :)

We're going at Easter - April 9th to April 17th, and we're actually staying at Bass Lake (Pines Resort). It's difficult to guage what is going to be open at that time. All the advice I've seen is that weather can be really cold or really hot, some things might be opened etc. All seems too confusing :confused3

I have taken DS on a few minor hikes (2 hours max, but with a stop in the middle for a swim or picnic or just playing), and he did ok. Anything longer than 2 hours would be a stretch.

He'd love to do a bike ride though!

03-22-2007, 11:42 AM
Bass Lake - that's a fair distance to Yosemite Valley! It's about an hour from Oakhurst to Yosemite Valley (you pass through Oakhurst just before you turn right to go to Bass Lake), and I'm not sure how long it'll take to get from Bass Lake back to the main Yosemite road...I'd guess at least 20 minutes, though. I don't think it's very far, but none of the roads there are freeways, so you can't go that fast.

Early April...it's not likely to be too warm then, and it could be very cool, but yes, some things will be closed. Here's a page from the National Park Service's Yosemite site that might be helpful: http://www.nps.gov/yose/planyourvisit/spring.htm

In fact, you can get a lot of info on what's open/closed in Yosemite from the NPS web site: http://www.nps.gov/yose

The road to the Mariposa grove may or may not be open by then - but that road is just inside the entrance station, so you'll easily be able to tell. You can walk up the road to the grove, but it might be further than you want to do with your son. Even if the road is open, the tram service in the grove will not yet be operating. There are a fair number of trees to see very close to the parking area, though.

You will not be able to drive to Glacier Point, unfortunately. But you can still do Bridalveil Falls and Yosemite Falls, and a bike ride in the Valley (you can rent bikes at Curry Village, if I didn't mention that before - one of the shuttle stops is at the bike rental barn), Mirror Lake, Happy Isles, Visitor's Center, and things like that. The trail to Vernal Falls bridge will be open (unless they've had recent snow and it's icy), but probably closed not far beyond the bridge. If your son has been able to do two hour hikes, then I think he should be ok for Vernal Falls - it's short, but a bit steep. No rafting at that time of year - not that anyone would want to - it would be COLD! The Badger Pass ski area closes on April 1, but you can probably still drive up there and play in the snow.

I'm sure there's things to do in the Bass Lake area too, but I've never been there. Oh, on the road into the Valley, just past Wawona, is the Pioneer History Center - a good-sized area with barns and houses and examples of how people lived in Yosemite in the early days. That's free.

There's some chance they could get some new snow in early April, so you need to be prepared for that possibility. Chains could be required to drive into the valley, so if you do get snow, I would suggest waiting until the storm ends and the road is clear before driving in.

03-22-2007, 08:52 PM
Thanks Scooter, that's great info!! :thumbsup2

My son will be so excited if he can see snow, we don't get any here.:yay: He might think it's christmas though! :rotfl:

Mary Jo
03-23-2007, 02:05 AM
What ScooterL said. :)

Also, you'll pass a tiny town called Fish Camp that is 2 miles from the Yosemite entrance. There is a train there & you can take a train ride. That would probably be a nice outing for your 4-year old.

Last year we went camping w/my sis-in-law & her family with her then 6 & 4 year olds. We did simple walks with the 4 year old & he had a blast. I especially second that you read the newspaper that you get at the entrance kiosk that lists activities in the park. The river will be going strong & so will the waterfalls, so it's going to be gorgeous when you go.