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Yosemite over Thanksgiving

USA
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Yosemite over Thanksgiving
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Want to visit Yosemite and staying in Oakhurst (I know its a long drive) over Thanksgiving- looking for recommendations of easy hikes for a good one day or possibly two day itinerary. Plan to do the Cooks Meadow/Lower Falls hike but that should only be a morning? Suggestions for an easy afternoon hike? It seems like Glacier Point is closed. Mariposa Grove doesn't have the shuttle so it entails 4 miles round trip before reaching the trailheads so we will skip that one.

Also, recommendations on best places to park our car? I'm assuming it will be crowded and we won't be able to find parking if we move our car so is there a central place to park?

Recs for good place to eat lunch? Or is it best to pack a lunch and picnic?

Shoes for easy hikes in late November, are sneakers okay or do we need hiking boots?

Lastly, its November and I assume mosquito repellent isn't needed but please correct me if I'm wrong.

Sorry for all the beginner questions, most of us have never been to Yosemite or haven't been in decades....

20 replies to this topic
Long Beach...
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1. Re: Yosemite over Thanksgiving
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Glacier Point is currently open and if weather holds, might be an option.

I would bring a picnic, unless you eat at ‘off’ hours… maybe the Ahwahnee then, eat out on the lawn?

You could park at the Lower Falls parking lot since you want to do that hike..

Cooks Meadow loop is nice. You could make a day of it, one big loop that includes both. Maybe park more central at the Visitor crnter area parking lots or Church Bowl Picnic Area.

Edited: 16 November 2021, 12:34
Little Rock...
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2. Re: Yosemite over Thanksgiving
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I will be there too for a family reunion going back to the 1960's... that inspired from a trip from the 1940's...

It won't be that crowded... you can find a place to park... Likely Overflow at camp Curry... but lines at food places may be long and lodgings will be short...

It can be cold... maybe double socks... for lesser hikes hiking boots are not needed... no misquitos...

Oakhurst is a long way away... make sure you are headed back to get to Oakhurst before dark... there will be deer and other wildlife on the road at sunset. Do be aware that the park has low speed limits and they are enforced....

But enjoy one of the best times of the year in Yosemite...

Randy

Washington State
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3. Re: Yosemite over Thanksgiving
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You could include some of the Valley Loop Trail with your meadow walk.

You could walk up Mirror Lake/Meadow Trail/Road

There are ideas in the Top Questions on the right side of the page, full TripAdvisor website, as well as the NPS website.

Long Beach...
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4. Re: Yosemite over Thanksgiving
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Sorry, I need to proof read before I post (#1, last paragraph)

Mirror Lake/Meadow is nice. You could make a day of it, one big loop that includes both Cooks Loop and Mirror Meadow. Park more central at the Village area parking lots or Church Bowl Picnic Area. (You could keep you picnic lunch in the car.)

https://www.nps.gov/yose/planyourvisit/upload/valleyhikes.pdf

Edited: 16 November 2021, 12:55
USA
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5. Re: Yosemite over Thanksgiving
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Thank you so much for all this info!!

I didn't know Glacier Point Road is open! Thank you for letting me know. I kept reading elsewhere it closes once it snows ---but I looked at the NPS website and it says "Tioga Road is closed but Glacier Point Road reopens November 13"? Forecast doesn't show any snow coming so if we include this--can we do the valley floor Cook Meadow/Lower Falls loop, then lunch and then Glacier Point in one day (or is it better to do Glacier point in the morning -we are coming from Oakhurst if that makes a difference)? Or is Glacier Point better to do on a second day?

We could do Cook Meadow/Lower Falls and Mirror Lake on day one and then Glacier Point on day 2. My google maps is not letting me map Glacier Point so I can't figure out how far apart the valley floor is to the Glacier Point road. How long from one to the other?

This is a last minute trip so we could only find lodging in Oakhurst which I know is a trek. Some in our party are not keen on two days back and forth so I'm trying to figure out the best one day itinerary if possible, but will make it two if that makes more sense.

Thank you for all your help!

Long Beach...
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6. Re: Yosemite over Thanksgiving
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You could Glacier Point in the morning or afternoon, many folks like to go for sunset.

Do visit-

Glacier Point (at beginning or end of day… watch weather forecast)

Tunnel View (at beginning or end or day, maybe both?)

Yosemite Valley of course. Swinging Bridge Picnic Area is a nice spot for a picnic lunch (You can park here or at Yosemite Falls Parking Lot- shortish walk away.)

El Capitan Meadow on the way out of Yosemite Valley

Valley View on the way out

Edited: 17 November 2021, 04:51
USA
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7. Re: Yosemite over Thanksgiving
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I'm reading some of the earlier post that tell us to not drive when dark since Oakhurst is so far- so I'm thinking we will leave the park by 3pm or 4pm to head back to Oakhurst. And reading online that Glacier Point is a one hour drive from the park entrance and/or Yosemite Valley floor, I am wondering if we will need to split this into two days, one day for the valley floor and one day for Glacier Point.

I don't think we will make it into the park before 9am. And I read posts from summer where people had a hard time finding parking between locations (leave the valley floor to drive to Glacier Point or vice versa and no parking ) I am hoping the crowds won't be too bad (per above poster) over Thanksgiving weekend and parking won't be such a challenge but who knows.

If we do this over two days, how is the drive from Oakhurst to Yosemite? Is it easy, windy, hilly, etc? We will bring chains but since its not snowing, I assume we probably won't need? I am using Yosemite Village as the location on my weather app and it is looking like 50ish degree days. Due to elevation and cold nights, is there ice on the roads that require chains even with no snow?

Thanks!

Atlanta area
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8. Re: Yosemite over Thanksgiving
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Glacier Pt Rd does close for the winter. Sometimes, before it reaches the point of closing for the season, there will be a snow that requires the road to be closed temporarily but then can re-open. As the season progresses it gets colder and the snow heavier and reaches the point that the road needs to stay closed. Similar can happen in the Spring, after GP Rd and Tioga Rd are open either/both could be subject to temporary closures from late season storms.

Little Rock...
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9. Re: Yosemite over Thanksgiving
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Carrying chains is a good idea but all the long term weather forecasts say you won't need them. The road from Oakhurst to the Valley is 2 lane, windy and inside the park has a 45 mph speed limit.

In summer arriving later than 9:00 is an issue... at Thanksgiving there will be parking at the Curry overflow lot, and you should be able to find parking at Yosemite Village. If this is your first visit, do the Valley one day and Glacier Point the next day... Glacier Point is especially spectacular at sunset... but that means driving out at night...

Randy

By the way, I really like the South Gate Brewpub in Oakhurst.

Fresno, California
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10. Re: Yosemite over Thanksgiving
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There are some hikes in the Wawona area, too. We like the loop around the meadow across from the hotel. It's an easy walk on what was once a road. You can also go to Chilnualna Falls, and there is another that goes back to a swinging bridge that's behind Wawona. I haven't been on that one but the info on the Alltrails site suggests it's quite easy.

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