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Yosemite/Mariposa Grove advice needed

Discussion in 'California & the West' started by danacath, Jul 2, 2011.

  1. danacath

    danacath <font color=navy>I think DH was starting to questi

    DH and I are taking a group of 44 youth/adults into Yosemite for 4-5 hours next week. We already have reservations for the 11 AM Valley Floor tour, and are trying to figure out if we can squeeze in a short hike to Yosemite Falls and still have time for a photo stop at Mariposa Grove when we are leaving the park. (DH thought he read somewhere that you need to allow at least an hour at Mariposa Grove. Does that sound accurate?)

    Wish our schedule wasn't so tight, but we're just trying to make the most of it by letting the group see as much as possible in the time that we do have.

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  3. disneyfaninaz

    disneyfaninaz It takes faith, trust & pixie dust!

    It really depends on what you want to accomplish at Mariposa Grove. If you just want to see these huge trees, you certainly don't have to go far into the grove. If you want to see the more popular trees you would need to take the tour or hike a bit into the grove.
  4. danacath

    danacath <font color=navy>I think DH was starting to questi

    I think the goal is to just let the kids see some giant sequoias, since many of them have never seen one. If we did end up having time, what would be the closest "famous" one to the parking lot? If it wasn't TOO far, it would be fun to get a group photo by one. I guess my "bottom line" is: What's the least amount of time we can get away with for this stop and still have the stop be worthwhile?

    Also, we'll be on a charter bus. Is it true that a charter bus can only enter the Mariposa Grove area during certain hours?

    Thanks a bunch! :)
  5. hsmamato2

    hsmamato2 <font color=magenta>Tink in Training-Good Girl,Bad

    I know this sounds dumb but are the trees in Mariposa grove the same type of tree in Sequoia natl park? or are they 2 diff. types of big tree? would they mimic each experience,doing both?
  6. AndyR

    AndyR New Member

    It all depends on when your 4-5hrs starts.

    The Valley Floor tour is 2hrs long it should cover all the highlights.

    The good Falls viewing areas are under 2miles from the Village - but parking will be the issue unless you walk the whole way. This could eat 2+ hrs.

    Add in some time for refreshments/potty breaks.

    It's then a 1+ Hr drive from Yosemite Village to the Mariposa Grove (assuming the parking lot is available). If the parking lot is full and the road closed, you'll need to take the Wawona-Mariposa shuttle.

    I'm assuming the valley will be very busy next week and driving times will be longer.
  7. woody73

    woody73 <font color=darkorange>Enjoyed the Pumpkinmen<br><

    We were at Yosemite last week. By 11:00, the one-way road into the Yosemite Valley was very congested and took much longer than normal.


  8. disneyfaninaz

    disneyfaninaz It takes faith, trust & pixie dust!

    If you're goal is to see a Sequoia, you will be fine near the parking lot.

    Yes, they are the same trees at Sequoia National Park.
  9. danacath

    danacath <font color=navy>I think DH was starting to questi

    Thanks for the replies, everyone.

    AndyR, our 4-5 hours will start around 10:30 when we check in for the Valley Floor tour. Our group will check out of a Fresno hotel at 7:30 AM, so hopefully 3 hours by charter bus is ample travel time to the Valley (?) We're trying to save time by having the kids bring a sack lunch to eat whenever they have a chance. (Not sure if they allow food on the Floor tour, though.) DH and I have done the Floor tour before and loved it, but we didn't recall seeing any Sequoias on it. (That's why we'd like to fit in a stop at Mariposa Grove if we can.) Since we'll have a charter bus at our disposal, I'm hoping the driver can drop us off wherever we need to be and then go find parking elsewhere. Or will they not let the bus through to unload us if the lot is full, even if he doesn't intend to park there?

    I guess we'll just have to wait and see how things play out when we're there, and then be prepared to be flexible. Since the Falls are spectacular this year and we'll be there on a Sunday, I'm sure it's bound to be crazy crowded! :crazy2:

    disneyfaninaz, thanks for telling me that we can see Sequoias near the parking lot.

    Still have questions about the hours that a charter bus can go in Mariposa Grove, the closest famous tree to the parking lot and how long of a hike it would be to get to it. Also, how long the Yosemite Falls hike takes. Anyone know the answers?

    Thanks everyone! :disrocks:
  10. woody73

    woody73 <font color=darkorange>Enjoyed the Pumpkinmen<br><

    Food is allowed on the Valley Floor.

    The Valley Floor Tour begins at the Yosemite Lodge. There is a bus drop off area right in front of the lodge. A bus parking lot is nearby.

    From the Yosemite Lodge, it is an easy 20-30 minute walk to the Lower Yosemite Falls. Record snowmelt has created breathtaking waterfalls, and very heavy mist. I would bring a waterproof windbreaker with hood in my backpack, in case it's needed. I would also put my cell phone into a Zip Lock bag before visiting the falls.

  11. danacath

    danacath <font color=navy>I think DH was starting to questi

    Thanks for the tips, Woody. Good idea to bring a ziploc for the phone. Is the Lower Falls hike more slippery this year too, like some of the others?

    It's probably going to be a bit tight to fit in both the Yosemite Falls hike and the stop at Mariposa Grove with a group of 44. Tough choices on a tight schedule! :sad2: Anyone have any other info to offer on Mariposa Grove? Otherwise I'll probably call Yosemite and see if they have any suggestions for making the most of our time.
  12. woody73

    woody73 <font color=darkorange>Enjoyed the Pumpkinmen<br><

    The Lower Falls trail (difficulty level: "easy") is paved and generally flat, with some wooden bridges. Some areas may be wet, but we did not find it slippery.

    We also hiked to the top of Vernal Falls on the Mist Trail (difficulty level: "strenuous, 1,000 foot gain"). That was slippery. Just imagine climbing hundreds of uneven cut stone steps in a downpour.

  13. danacath

    danacath <font color=navy>I think DH was starting to questi

    OP here-- Just thought I'd give an update on how our trip went. We made good time and arrived at the Valley by 10:15 AM. Found out that food is NOT allowed on the Valley Floor tour, so kids ate their sack lunches while we waited for the tram. Had an excellent guide on our tram-- wish I could remember his name! The weather was beautiful-- sunny and low 80's. One thing I'd recommend is sunscreen for the 2-hour tour. DH got sunburned knees where he forgot to apply sunscreen.

    Hiked to the Lower Falls-- very breezy and misty, but amazing! We also walked over to the museum/art gallery and kids were able to shop in the gift shop.

    As for the Mariposa Grove, our driver said that our bus was okay by length, but was way over the weight limit for that area. (He showed me the chart that listed the regulations.) At that point, the group was pretty worn out anyway, so we hit the road.

    Thanks again for all of the tips, everyone. I really appreciated the feedback!
  14. woody73

    woody73 <font color=darkorange>Enjoyed the Pumpkinmen<br><

    Glad to hear you had a nice time. Yosemite is particularly amazing this year with the heavy snowmelt and increased falls.

  15. AndyR

    AndyR New Member

    Glad you had a good time. The falls are always spectacular in high snow melt years.


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