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Help before I book lodging

Jersey City, New...
Level Contributor
201 posts
16 reviews
12 helpful votes
Help before I book lodging

My husband and I booked flights to San Francisco and will head to Yosemite NP the next day. April 26-29. We are highly considering booking Yosemite Valley Lodge but it’s so expensive! Much more than we anticipated. I found a few homes in El Portal we were thinking about renting but we read somewhere that once you enter the park, it’s about another hour drive to get to the valley to park and start hiking. Is this true? We do not want to have to drive 3+ hours and wait in traffic for 3 days in a row. Can someone advise because we’re planning on booking tomorrow before it gets booked up? Thanks all!

10 replies to this topic
Washington State
Destination Expert
for Yosemite National Park
Level Contributor
94,275 posts
197 reviews
170 helpful votes
1. Re: Help before I book lodging


Yosemite Valley Lodge has an excellent location.

There are three entrances open in April. If you stay in El Portal, you'll use the Arch Rock Entrance which is "only" 25-30 minutes to a good parking lot in Yosemite Valley.

From the South Entrance / Hwy 41, it's about an hour. From the Big Oak Flat Entrance / Hwy 120, it's about 45 minutes

All drive times assume no traffic, no delay at the entrance gate, no stopping for views. If you choose to stay in El Portal, use Google Maps for a more accurate drive time estimate using the exact property location and something like "Yosemite Valley Lodge" or "Yosemite Village" for the destination (both of those have Visitor Parking nearby. I like the Yosemite Falls parking near Yosemite Valley Lodge, but I don't know which hikes you're choosing.)

The Top Questions on the right has more info that will help with your planning. Full TripAdvisor Website

Fremont, California
Level Contributor
112,531 posts
8,654 reviews
4,135 helpful votes
2. Re: Help before I book lodging

Yosemite prices are expensive, but if your budget can fit it in, book the lodge. Good location - and will make the most of your trip.

Redding, California
Level Contributor
1,898 posts
28 reviews
16 helpful votes
3. Re: Help before I book lodging

Splurge on the lodge. It will give you time in the valley when day visitors aren’t there so you can experience the astounding natural beauty without distraction.

San Francisco...
Level Contributor
4,637 posts
193 reviews
270 helpful votes
4. Re: Help before I book lodging

From El Portal, factor in 30 minutes driving and parking + 10-60+ minutes line at the entrance for rangers to check people in. Are you an early or late riser? The later you leave El Portal, the longer the wait at the entrance.

Edited: 16 January 2022, 09:51
Destination Expert
for Phoenix, Pinetop-Lakeside
Level Contributor
12,679 posts
519 reviews
246 helpful votes
5. Re: Help before I book lodging

Yosemite Valley Lodge has an amazing location. Driving into the park every day would be a nightmare.

Los Angeles...
Level Contributor
251 posts
18 reviews
9 helpful votes
6. Re: Help before I book lodging

Take the Lodge. We stay there every year and it is a wonderful location. No driving. No waiting in traffic. Grab the Lodge now and if you change your mind you can cancel it.

Level Contributor
4,881 posts
7. Re: Help before I book lodging

You want the Lodge.

Hunter Valley...
Level Contributor
3,179 posts
8. Re: Help before I book lodging

Book the lodge. From El Portal it would be 35-45 mins without traffic but as others have said, that can rise dramatically if you get caught at the entrance gates. I’d count on 45 mins to an hour to get to the valley from El Portal if you are happy to get a reasonably early start. Start later, could be well over an hour.

You’re paying for location with the lodge and it’s worth every penny. You’re lucky it’s even available.

Edited: 23 January 2022, 10:17
Fresno, California
Level Contributor
400 posts
17 reviews
19 helpful votes
9. Re: Help before I book lodging

To add to the votes to book the lodge, calculate how much you are spending on the entire trip. Then figure out how much you'd save by booking outside the park. Take a look at that figure and you'll more than likely see that in relation to the entire trip cost, it's not that much more. And then consider that your time is worth something, too.

Santa Clara...
Level Contributor
183 posts
2 reviews
10. Re: Help before I book lodging

Vote for the lodge too. If you want to beat the crowd, enjoy the sunrise or sunset, go for the lodge. I may avoid the lodge for hot summer days because it does not have AC. But for late April, it is a good choice .

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