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Stay in Oakhurst or Mariposa?

Los Angeles...
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113 posts
Stay in Oakhurst or Mariposa?
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Planning to travel over the Memorial Day weekend, and trying to decide between staying in Oakhurst and Mariposa. We will be coming in from LA, so understand that Oakhurst is closer. But as we are planning to stay for 3 nights, I am thinking it may be easier in Mariposa to cut down on daily driving back n forth. What do you recommend? Also, what drive to and from the Valley will be more scenic?

Also, what would you recommend for a 2.5 days trip there. I am thinking one day in Valley, perhaps another driving to and from Tuolomne Meadows? What else?

Thanks!

Fresno, California
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1,636 posts
6 reviews
3 helpful votes
1. Re: Stay in Oakhurst or Mariposa?
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Why not stay closer at the Tenaya lodge? Don't know your budget though.

Not sure if Toulumne Meadows will be open yet. That is to be seen with plowing etc. You could do the Mariposa grove, it will be open. Glacier Point will most likely be open. Both are just as accessible from Fish Camp as from Mariposa time wise. Valley would be about an hour away from Fish Camp.

Washington State
Destination Expert
for Yosemite National Park
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196 reviews
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2. Re: Stay in Oakhurst or Mariposa?
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Mariposa is about 1 1/4 hours to the Valley along the Merced River. The road is gently curving & ascending and is scenic for much of the way. You'd enter thru the Arch Rock entrance and Highway 140.

Oakhurst is about 1 1/2 hours to the Valley on a mountain road. Highway 41 is curving, goes up to 5,000' at the South Entrance, down to 4,000' in Wawona, up to 6200' at Chinquapin Station (turn off to Glacier Point), and down to the Valley at 4,000'.

Tioga Pass road & Tuolumne Meadows might not be open by Memorial Day. http://www.nps.gov/yose/planyourvisit/tiogaopen.htm Hopefully the Glacier Point road will be.

Here is a mileage & driving time chart from Yosemite Valley: http://www.nps.gov/yose/planyourvisit/upload/mileages9-2007.pdf

Additional driving estimates (mine, not official!)

Mariposa to Glacier Point: 1 1/2 to 1 3/4 hrs

Oakhurst to GP: 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 hrs

Mariposa to Mariposa Grove of Giant Sequoias: 2 1/4 hr

Oakhurst to Mariposa Grove of Giant Sequoias: 1/2 hr

Mariposa to Tuolumne Meadows: 2 to 2 1/4 hrs

Oakhurst to Tuolumne Meadows: 2 3/4 hrs

I am assuming that you will be driving the speed limit (35 mph most places.)

I don't really have a recommendation for you ~ just information to help you make an informed decision. There are plenty of people who are happy with the lower prices in Mariposa and in Oakhurst, and who don't mind the longer drive to save lodging dollars.

One idea (don't know about finding lodging ~ just an idea)

Day 1 ~ Mariposa Grove in the late afternoon after your long drive, stay in Oakhurst.

Day 2 ~ Glacier Point, then drive to Valley. Stay in Mariposa.

Day 3 ~ back to the Valley or Tuolumne Meadows if open. Stay in Mariposa.

If you're planning to arrive late, I'd suggest staying in Mariposa for the first two nights, then staying in Oakhurst on the last night and going to the Mariposa Grove on your last morning.

Here is the Yosemite Guide page with info: http://www.nps.gov/yose/planyourvisit/guide.htm

Happy Planning

Yosemite / Sierra...
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3. Re: Stay in Oakhurst or Mariposa?
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From the town of Mariposa it is a 35 minute drive to the Arch Rock entrance. From there it is about 6 miles to the start of the Valley and the Valley is 5 miles long. If you are planning on spending most of your time in the Valley (waterfalls), Mariposa would probably be the preferred choice. Although the southern entrance is closer to the Mariposa Giant Sequoia Grove. If you want to hit the high country, that may or may not be accessible due to snow, Mariposa would be closer as well as Groveland. I personally would choose the more central location and that would be Mariposa. FYI, Glacier Point which is a must see is sort of mid way between the southern entrance and the Arch Rock entrance. Wherever you choose to stay you will be driving a lot. And remember, Memorial Day weekend is THE most popular timeframe to visit Yosemite so it will be crowded. I would choose a place outside the Park to avoid the crowds and have a little sanity during the evening hours.

Enjoy your visit!

Los Angeles...
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113 posts
4. Re: Stay in Oakhurst or Mariposa?
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Thanks all! Very useful info from all!

Tenaya is out of my budget - I am aiming to stay at around $150 per night, and I don't mind driving a bit for that.

Yeah I read that the Tuolumne may not be open by then. That would be such a bummer - I haven't been able to make it up there in my last 2 trips.

I am leaning towards Mariposa for now. Last time (6 yrs back) I stayed in Oakhurst and somehow remember the drive to be longer and not as scenic as when I had stayed in Coulterville 8 yrs back. But I also seem to remember that the Arch Rock entrance took much longer to get in while the South entrance was quicker. Is that true, or could it have been just because of the timing in the day or the season?! I know it is better to get in early as I can, but what would be a good to get in by to avoid huge lines at the gate and inside?

I also like the idea of staying in Mariposa for first 2 nights (as I will be arriving late Thursday night) and then last night in Oakhurst to get to mariposa grove quickly.

Puerto Rico
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84 reviews
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5. Re: Stay in Oakhurst or Mariposa?
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Good morning Sarge,

I was going to suggest just about what you wrote in your last post. Perhaps stay your first night in the South and spend the other half of that first driving day from LA in the mariposa grove area, wawona and so on and in the morning check out and head into the valley, catching Glacier Point on the way in. You could also do this as your last day on the head-out.

Have a fantastic trip!

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6. Re: Stay in Oakhurst or Mariposa?
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We were in Mariposa this past Feb. after a stay at the Pines Resort in Bass Lake, it's a charming town. If you like Mexican food, go to Castillo's in Mariposa, I have a review of our time there. Savoury's is also supposed to be excellent. The Comfort Inn looked like a nice place to stay in Mariposa. We had fun walking through the town and browsing through the antique shops in Mariposa. Go to the Visitor's Center when you get to town, the little lady in there is so helpful and loves to chat about Mariposa, the Courthouse is interesting there with lots of history. Enjoy your trip! :)

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7. Re: Stay in Oakhurst or Mariposa?
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One more thought, if you like to wine taste, check out Butterfly Creek Winery, there is a pretty little chapel there set in the midst of the vineyards that is fun to photograph. In Oakhurst, there is a Best Western and a Shilo Inn there. El Cid is a great restaurant for a Mexican meal in Oakhurst. Hope this helps! :)

Los Angeles...
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113 posts
8. Re: Stay in Oakhurst or Mariposa?
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Thanks for the suggestions! Yes, as I will be coming in late night, I will stay in mariposa the first 2 nights. For the last night, I will keep a reservation in both places, so even if Tuolumne opens up the last day I can still do it from Mariposa, and if not I will stay in Oakhurst. I had visited mariposa grove last time, and honestly I wished I had spent more time in the valley. So I wont mind if I end up skipping that. I anyway plan to visit the Sequoia/Kings NP in June perhaps.

Will keep the restaurant suggestions in mind - thanks! I am staying at the Comfort Inn in Mariposa, so good to hear from you that it looked like a decent place to stay. We are not into wine tasting though, and having a 6-month pregnant wife does not help things either :), but thats a good rec for others who may enjoy it.

One more question - is there a good place for my wife and 5 yr old son to stay and spend time in the valley for a few hours while I hike to the top of Vernal falls and back? Some place where they dont have to walk a lot? Vernal falls is my ABOSLUTE best hike - hopefully I will be able to make it back there this time. How long do you think it takes for the RT?

Puerto Rico
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84 reviews
339 helpful votes
9. Re: Stay in Oakhurst or Mariposa?
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Maybe there is a junior ranger program going on that they could enjoy during the time of yoru hike. The Yosemite Guide has a listing of ranger lead programs, usually with several options for kids.

Have a fantastic trip!

Yosemite / Sierra...
Level Contributor
560 posts
7 reviews
19 helpful votes
10. Re: Stay in Oakhurst or Mariposa?
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The Comfort Inn is Mariposa gets mixed reviews so might not be the best choice. Frankly I have heard less than desirable things said about this motel. I would opt for Mariposa Lodge, which usually gets high marks.

And Savoury's is a GREAT restaurant and one of the best in the area.

Enjoy your visit!

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