Originally Posted by copescobra
Question- want to give my SMB to family visiting from UK that want to see both sites while in Yosemite.
I think it is too late for them to get hotel reservations and wondered if I loaned them my SMB would they be able to see both. My wife thinks it is impossible to drive to them once in the park as she thinks you have to take shuttles from place to place or hike? I have never been so don't know.
Any suggestions of what to do would be great. They are wanting to see it around sept 8-15th if that helps.
You don't need a SMB to see the sites in Yosemite but an SMB could be nice IF they can reserve a campsite. Here is what I'd suggest.
and check the list of campgrounds. There are campgrounds in the Valley (the famous portion of the very large Yosemite National Park that attracts the most visitors). The campgrounds in the Valley fill up rapidly. Those in the Park but not in the Valley (for example, Crane Flat and Hodgdon) tend to not fill up so quickly since visitors want to stay in the Valley). Open a new tab on your computer and log onto the reservation site:
and see if you can find a campsite during that period. I just checked it and there were a few one-night sites at Upper Pines. Unfortunately, you need to search by campground. You can open multiple tabs on the reservation website and check for other campgrounds and maybe you'll find that they can stay one night in one campsite and another one for another night. Having your SMB would make it easy to move from site to site, something tent campers won't want to do.
If you don't find a site in the Valley, check for sites at Crane Flat and then Hodgdon Meadow. It is only 30 minutes from Crane Flat to the middle of the Valley. Camping further east on Highway 120 toward Tuolumne Meadows is also an option although it just takes a little longer to get to the Valley.
The other option is to plan on having them visit the Valley but keep your options open. The dates that you mention are after school starts and attendance drops. But people also change their minds. Check back for camping reservations as the date gets closer. You can also start checking for reservations at either Curry Village or Yosemite Lodge, both in the Valley. Curry Village is VERY rustic...mostly tent cabins but a few cabins. Bringing your own sleeping bag is a good idea (you can rent them at REI if needed). Yosemite Lodge is clean and nice...no TV though! Again, there might not be anything available right now but continue to check back. There will be visitors who have reservations now for sometime in that period but find out that they need to work instead. (We got married in Yosemite 25 years ago, not realizing that we picked Memorial Day weekend. Some of our invited guests actually walked into the Lodge that Saturday morning and got a room!) Something might open up 48 hours before the day that they want to visit the Park since someone doesn't want to incur a cancellation fee. Cedar Lodge on Highway 140 is about 30 minutes from the Valley and is fine...before getting our SMB, we stayed there several times. There are also motels in Mariposa, further west on Highway 140.
Last option...the city of Merced is 2 hours from the Valley. There will be rooms there. Get up early, drive to the Park and spend the entire day and drive back after dinner.
Assuming that they can find a campsite(s) or room in the Valley or nearby...the Park has a free-shuttle so most visitors keep their vehicle at the campsite or elsewhere and just take the shuttle from place to place. I'd suggest they start at the Visitor Center in the Village. There is a 3D map of the Valley which helps orient them along with some history information, etc. Skip going to see Yosemite Falls...it will be dry (if not already). Instead, get some sandwiches at the Deli near the Visitor Center and some bottles of water (take a knapsack) and then take the shuttle to Happy Isles. From the bus stop, follow the signs toward Vernal Falls. This is where the Merced River makes a 317 foot waterfall:
Depending on their abilities and ambition, there are several other very nice hikes.
Half Dome is visible from just about everywhere in the Valley. The shuttle doesn't go west enough to reach El Capitan but one can drive along the Northside Drive and park next to the meadow opposite it and watch rock climbers on the face. There is also a fee-based tour which, I believe, tours the entire Valley and has a guide who points out places of interest.
Two other things to do...either drive or take a bus to see the Giant Sequoias in the Mariposa Grove:
Also, either drive or take a bus to Glacier Point:
PM me if you'll like more information, etc.