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Old 11-29-2011, 06:48 AM   #1
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Grand Canyon and Yosemite planning

We're beginning to plan a trip next year to visit the Grand Canyon and Yosemity. Never have done this before. Would appreciate experiences, suggestions and campground commendations.

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Old 11-29-2011, 07:02 AM   #2
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Hi from Silver Springs. Haven't been to Yosemite yet but when visiting the Grand Canyon it sure was convenient to stay in Williams, AZ. Not only could ya easily take the short day drive up to visit the Canyon and stop at all the various overlooks along the South rim, but from Williams you could also take a short drive down to visit Sedona, AZ, a beautiful place to see.

In Williams, you can take a tour train up to the Grand Canyon and back and although we did do so, we really think driving up on your own (which we also did the next day) allows you a more relaxed visit.

Whatever ya end up doing, it's a great spot to see.

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Old 11-29-2011, 07:07 AM   #3
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We took the Helicopter ride over the canyon. You really get to see it up close and personal. Well worth the money. Plus no lines to wait in.
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Old 11-29-2011, 07:22 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by johnnyringo View Post
We're beginning to plan a trip next year to visit the Grand Canyon and Yosemity. Never have done this before. Would appreciate experiences, suggestions and campground commendations.
We stayed in Williams and took the tour with Marvelous Marv (Google him). It is a day trip on which he picks you up, drives you to the GC, shows you around and brings you back. You don't have to worry about all the traffic or where to park. We enjoyed it although it isn't the same thing as making it a several day trip which it should be to fully enjoy it.

At Yosemite, unless you stay in the park itself, you will have a good 45 minute or so drive to get there. Be sure to arrive early enough in the morning so that traffic is not a problem. We stayed at Pacific Pines RV Park, a family oriented park, while there for several days.

In both places, if you can stay a week - especially Yosemite - you will enjoy them much better than a day or two trip.
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Old 11-29-2011, 08:19 AM   #5
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Here is a link to Reserve America's site for camping in the Yosemite valley and area:

Find Campgrounds - ReserveAmerica
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Old 11-29-2011, 08:54 AM   #6
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Be sure and join a camping discount club. There are several member rv parks along your route that will save you 50%. I just did a trip last June to Durango, Co from Lancaster, Ca.

I had joined CampClubUSA for $40 yr. I came out $40 ahead with the card. CCUSA has JUST merged with Passport America club, so there will be even more member parks to choose from.

Camp Club USA Discount Camping Club - 50% Off Campground Rates

The original 50% Discount Camping Club - Passport America Discount Camping Club

Stay in Williams, lots of nice parks to choose from. The town is a nice day and evening place to have fun in.

Best to stay OUTSIDE of Yosemite. Did you know it is THE most visited park in the world ??

Take a tram all around it. Do Not try and climb to the top of Yosemite Falls and back in one day, trust me on this one !!!

I once 'back-packed' for 3 weeks starting from the valley floor. Climbed Vernal Falls, then headed east. A very memorial experience, to say the least.
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Old 11-29-2011, 09:53 AM   #7
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something to be careful of is the altitude can make some people sick, we were in Vegas in 2010 drove down for a day trip the dw got light headed and sick, she does smoke so that didn't help , so we didn't get to enjoy much of it. it is really spectacular so worth the trip, we are going to try again in April
have her talk to her doctor see what might help. we did fly out that time so that might make a difference just be aware if you are from a lower altitude it is between 6000 and 7000 or so feet if memory serves me right.
enjoy the trip
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Old 11-29-2011, 10:00 AM   #8
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Very few sites in Yosemite that will accomodate large Motorhomes. Reservations can be made 5 months in advance starting on the 15th of the month (for a June stay reserve on Jan 15th) The sites fill up in minutes. I think its best to plan on staying outside the park. To see and enjoy everything you need several days. As mentioned above try to arrive early in the day especially if entering on Hwy 41 from the Oakhurst area as that entry point can be really CROWDED. Bike paths in the valley floor are paved and mostly level.
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Old 11-29-2011, 11:49 AM   #9
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We stayed in Sedona, AZ for a few days then went to the Canyon and stayed within the Grand Canyon National Park at Trailer Village RV Park. It is less than 1/4 mile from the south rim of the canyon and a shuttle picks you up at the RV park to go the the rim and shops, etc.

We did drive through Williams, AZ. It is a nice town and we saw the train depot and all, but decided we wanted to be at the Canyon itself. I am glad we did that. It made it convenient to go back to the RV to rest or eat lunch, etc. I have heard others say that taking the train does not give you enough time at the Canyon. There are numerous observation points and other things to see there.

Can't help you with Yosemite. We left the GC and went around to the North Rim and then saw Zion NP and Bryce Canyon.

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Old 11-29-2011, 01:02 PM   #10
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Before you try Reserve America, use a site like www.rvparkreviews.com to see what campers feel about the parks they use. I do not recommend RA ulness you have no other choice.
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Old 11-29-2011, 03:42 PM   #11
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Last summer we stayed in Lee Vining on hwy. 395 at Mono Vista RV. It's less than a mile from hwy 120 which leads you into Yosemite. This is what all RV cgs should be like...the place is beautiful. The drive into the park is a real treat as is the park itself. We stayed a week and still could not see all we wanted. We spent four days in the park and the rest exploring the area. The whole area around the park is awesome, especially if you have a four wheel drive vehicle or one with a little more ground clearance. Bodie's ghost town is close by and a must see. It's a FWDer's paradise(not the park)...they even have a magazine for directions to the 'off road' attractions(you can get a copy anywhere in Lee Vining). Mono Lake is spectacular and there's a lot of history at every turn. Wish we'd stayed longer but we were making our loop back home coming from Alaska...a little road weary.

If you have the time, King's Canyon is just 'unbelievable' and is best seen via toad and it's an all day adventure...pack a lunch and lots of water - that goes for Yosemite as well. Both are jaw droppers!

Summer before last, we visited the Grand Canyon. We came in from the north side after visiting the five NPs to the north. We stayed in Jacob Lake at Kaibab RV Village(nice park BTW, full HUs) for a couple of days and drove south into the park via hwy. 67. Beautiful drive and I was very surprised at the topography close in to the park...thought I was in the hills of WVA - very lush and CURVY. I'll also have to say we liked the North Rim better than the South...less people and we were able to stop at every pull off to have a look see. Another jaw dropper and if not careful, you find yourself spending too much time in one magnificent over look after another just watching the changes that take place due to passing clouds and the angle of the sun. What a place!

We then drove around the north-east side on hwy 89alt. to hwy 89, south to I-40, right into Williams. We stayed at Canyon Gateway RV Park as a base to the South Rim. Buy your gas in town, not at the station closest to the CG - fuel was over $.50 a gallon more. With a forty footer, use caution on your choice of stations. Some are harder to get into than others. You can 'loop' the town easily for that purpose. The drive north on 64 takes about an hour, with traffic it can take longer. The south side is just as awe-striking...just gobs (that should be GOBS!) more people. You just can't do the wrong thing here. I'd also recommend a trip to the top of Bill Williams Mountain(9255 ft.)if you have high ground clearance - all dirt and some rock. There are some off roads as well but one NEEDS a 4WD for those. We loved the place and Williams has some fun places to visit. We will return some day, but first the credit cards will have to stop smoking! Also did some of the old RT. 66 while there. Very cool. Have fun. Bob
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Old 11-29-2011, 03:57 PM   #12
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I'll second the idea of staying in Lee Vining to see Yosemite, at least if 120 is open when you are there. I made two stops in the Lee Vining area, early May & early June this year - both times 120 was still snowed in. Some photos of my visit to Bodie Ghost Town and Mono Lake.

Did get to Yosemite, but had to take the long way around. All were well worth the visits.
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Old 11-30-2011, 12:45 AM   #13
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I will triple the Lee Vining recommendation. And the Mono Vista RV park is very nice....just be sure you make your reservations early since they are about the only nice RV facility in town anywhere near the east entrance to Yosemite. The pull-throughs are your best bet. We just stayed there in August....were going to initially stay in June, but Rt 120 was REALLY late opening this year due to the record snows in the Sierra's. I understand that it was not open until the last week in June.

I assume you are coming from Florida. The eastern entrance on Rt 120 is your best access, although you can also come in from the south. The eastern entrance is my pick because of the incredible scenery on the east side of the Sierra's. Like others have said, Bodie and nearby (in Lee Vining) Mono Lake are unique sites to see....especially Bodie. An amazing piece of history. And don't forget Mammoth Lakes....kinda' like a mini-mini Yosemite. Can be a bit crowded, but worth the time. There is a very nice, but pricey, RV park in Mammoth that has full hook-ups and can easily accomodate big RV's.

In Lee Vining, remember, you are still about 2 to 2 1/2 hours from the Yosemite Valley floor. But that drive along Rt. 120 will blow you away. And save time to see Glacier Point....absolutely incredible views of the valley. Best to take the tram/bus rides up there. Also, just my opinion, but I wouldn't take a 40' DP into Yosemite on a bet. A friend of mine did 7 years ago....and he still breaks out in a cold sweat talking about it! Park the RV in Lee Vining and enjoy the ride into Yosemite in your toad. You might also want to spend a night at one of the facilities in the park....a bit pricey, but a lost closer than returning to Lee Vining every day.

In any event, Yosemite is one of the most amazing places one can visit. One day just won't do it IMHO. Have a great trip!
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Old 12-01-2011, 10:54 AM   #14
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Thank to all. We're working on route planning. What is the best time of the year to visit these spots?

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