In advance of the Yosemite trip

The weekend of Friday, Jan. 31 – depart Sunday Feb. 2, 2025 will be the THIRTY-FIFTH ANNUAL Yosemite Valley winter trip.

We recommend some things to do in advance
(some of them should be done well in advance)
of our winter trip to Yosemite National Park

I will update this webpage closer to the next trip, but things from the 2024 trip will likely not change that much for the 2025 trip.



The Outdoor Club started signups for the 2024 trip to Yosemite in December 2023, and we soon had people signed up who have been on the trip before and who are experienced enough to lead the major hike, and others signed up who can teach people to ice skate. Some of these people will be camping, some have hotel room type reservations.



cropped long narrow photo of part of the milky way

Overnight Accommodations

The club will not make reservations for any overnight accommodations, individual students do that.
And the best accommodations sell out before the mediocre ones.

Even if you have not made a complete decision to go on the trip,
deciding if your budget can afford a cabin or a campsite is important.

You have a number of choices of where you stay overnight and who you share a campsite with / have as a roommate
(or you could come up just for the day Saturday – but people rarely do).

You can stay in the (campground,

a heated-or-not wood floored canvas roofed/sided tent cabin,
wood walled cabin

or a hotel room with a bathroom

– see lots of details about these below.

Trip members often make reservations for one of the tent cabins, cabins or hotel rooms
well in advance, so they have more choices of where they will stay,
and make a big note on their calendar of the deadline to cancel without paying any cancellation fee. (usually Seven days????)

Some people make reservations for more than one kind/price range of place to stay in Yosemite valley that will fit 2 or 3 or 4 people.

(Some do so weeks before we have even started signups.)

Then they look for roommates. And they often find that people are more likely to say they want to go on the trip if there is already a place reserved for them to stay in.

We do not recommend staying overnight outside of Yosemite valley for this trip, even if it looks like you can get a really nice place to stay for a low price. Please talk to us about any you are considering as the webpages advertising them do not always show what they truly look like. (One, for example, shows a nice rental unit with space and forest around it next to a picturesque pond, but ALL the rest of the units are right-next-to-each-other, and with no nearby parking. If you made a decision to stay there based on that one photo at their webpage, you would be truly disappointed.)


– – – the lowest cost overnight accommodation is camping

overnight in either Camp Four, without a reservation and with no parking space at your campsite,


in Upper Pines Campground,
(the only campground open in the winter with individual campsites with parking spaces).
Each Upper Pines campsite ($36 per night, as of mid 2023)
holds a maximum six people and two vehicles.

(From the park website: “Camping or sleeping in vehicles is permitted only in designated campsites.
Sleeping in vehicles is not permitted anywhere else in Yosemite.”)

An Upper Pines campsite from the 2022 trip:
space cleared in snow with tents pitched

Having campsites near to or next to each other in the same campground loop is more fun.

(Especially when we can get some of the best campsites by having people make reservations as early as possible.)

The “Outdoor Club” does not get campsites.
Students on the trip get them and share them as they want to.
If you get a campsite you do not use, and no one wants to take over,
you will need to be willing to spend the usually $10 to cancel, but people have done this regularly for many years.
(Please do keep track of the last day to cancel with only a $10 (or other small) fee.)


In early September, club members got four large campsites in a row in Upper Pines (the only campground open in the winter that you can park at your campsite) for the Friday, Feb. 2 – depart Sunday Feb. 4, 2024, which they intend to share, but other people could still get their own. If you want to get your own campsite, please do come to a club meeting, talk about it and get advice on how to do it.

Since we know which campsites are better, students got some of them.


We also know which campsites are more likely to flood, so we did not get this one pictured below,
This shows a flooded and iced over parking space at Upper Pines campground site #4
which we advise no one should get, even if weather looks like it will be good.

icy pond in a campsite

And any time of the year, a campsite like Upper Pines #1 is not agreeable, because it is on the end of a row of sites, with a main campground road on one side of it, (to the left side in the photo below) and with large dumpsters that will create noise all times of the day and night:

campsite and dumpsters

We wondered why those dumpsters would need to have a sign on them that says

Do Not Play On Or Around

sign that says do not play on or around




Instead of camping,
renting a tent cabin could be less expensive
than renting proper winter camping gear / tent.

AND it will not matter how late you leave town,
as you will not need to pitch a tent in the dark out in the potential weather,
you just move right into your tent cabin.

If you have no experience camping in the winter, previous winter Yosemite trip participants recommend you NOT make your first camping trip in the winter with potential wet weather (rain, snow, lots of rain, lots of snow, unexpectedly huge amounts of rain, unexpectedly ginormous amounts of snow). Hmmmm, yes, it could be sunny during the trip and people will be rollerblading in Yosemite valley and go to the snow at a higher elevation.


Curry Village is walking distance from the campground.
(or a free daytime shuttle bus ride).

It is the closest overnight accommodation to the ice rink.

All the Curry Village listings below have access to a lounge with (usually) free guest WiFi,

but none at Curry Village listed below have phones/TV/fridge.

There is also a large main shower house.


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Curry Village tent cabins:
– – – people without cold weather camping gear (or who just want to be more comfortable)

can get a wood-floored, canvas roofed/sided tent cabin,
(optionally heated, but bring a reeeealy good sleeping bag or even two)
with various double bed and single bed combinations, electric lighting, restroom/showers nearby

Curry canvas tent cabins as of a price survey for our 2024 weekend trip dates we did in
May and July 2023: $159 (unheated) $183 (heated) (plus taxes/fees)

(Canvas tent cabins with one double bed are often the same price as canvas tent cabins with two single (twin) beds or one double bed and two single (twin) beds. Most people on this trip have chosen the ones with more beds, even if they do not need them.)

Lots of details to make your stay in a Curry Village (briefly named Half Dome Village) tent cabin more fun and comfortable are at:
Yosemite valley tent cabins tips and tricks


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Curry Village cabin without a bath (but with a restroom / bathhouse a short walk away) 2 dble beds, price for 2 adults
as of a price survey for our 2024 weekend trip dates we did in May and July 2023: $190 (plus taxes/fees).

(Only some them have the front porches you see in the photo below. And there is not always a picnic table in the vicinity.)

cabins and picnic table

Unfortunately, some of the cabins have a parking area close to them, with potential noise and headlights all night:
cabin with parking area next to it

end of bed chest of drawers

beds in cabin

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Curry Village wood-walled cabin with a bath (one dble bed or one dbl bed and one single bed ) as of a price survey for our 2024 weekend trip dates we did in May and July 2023: $265 (plus taxes/fees).

Note that at many of the lower cost units there is no room between at least one of the double beds and the wall.

hotel room with two double beds, one right next to the wall with no space to walk by

bed and dresser

Google street view of cabins with a bath

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All the Curry Village Stoneman hotel rooms, as of a price survey for our 2024 weekend trip dates we did in May and July 2023: $261 (2 adults).

Most of the Stoneman building rooms have two double beds.

Four of the Stoneman rooms (# 6, 8, 9 and 11, these sell out early) have two double beds downstairs and another double bed in an upstairs loft,
$261 (2 adults), if you book one, please note the extra cost for more than 2 adults. They are listed at the reservations page as “Stoneman Standard 3 Double Beds”

downstairs as seen from above:

two beds, door, windows

looking up the stairs from the lower level:

bathroom door, stairs

and the upstairs loft double bed:

bed and loft wall, edge of stairs

If you stuff the maximum number of people in one of these units, sharing the shower could be difficult, but the main shower house is a short walk away


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The Curry Village possibilities are only open for the weekend (move in Friday, depart Sunday) of our trip, so if you want to stay longer than just the weekend, you will need to camp or get a Lodge room, see below

(or stay at the Ahwahnee, but that is a bit out of the price range of most of us.
(For example, a standard hotel room with a “limited view” or no view at all for $536
and various suites with views and a fireplace and/or a balcony for $1,184 to $1,236 or $1,262 a night).

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Yosemite Lodge is at the other end of Yosemite valley, across the road from the trailhead for the start of the hike to the top of Yosemite Fall. It has a bus stop for the free bus to the ski area for downhill and cross-country skiing / lessons and the showshoe walk with a Ranger Naturalist.

All rooms at Yosemite Lodge have a private bathroom, a TV (some with DVD player), phone, mini-refrigerator, writing table/coffee table, some coffee makers, most in two story buildings without elevators, many, but not all, with either a private balcony or private patio, as well as free Wi-Fi, restaurants, a tour desk (and a swimming pool/bike rentals in the summer).


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AS OF 11/17/2023, they have a winter offer at the Yosemite Valley Lodge of
buy two nights, get one free, including during the time we are there.

As of January 2024, the website said: “you must book by January 31, 2024” to get the third night free.  No, this does not apply to anything at Curry Village.


even if you did not intend to stay the third night, it would make it much easier to move out of you room the last morning. You could go to the pot-luck breakfast we put together, go back and get a nap / shower, then pack up and drive home. (Or decide to stay the Sunday night after all.)

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As of a price survey for our 2024 weekend trip dates we did in May and July 2023:
Yosemite Lodge standard room king, queen or 2 dbl beds, $297 (plus taxes/fees) 2 adults (more for four adults).

Four people could share 2 double beds . . .
but this next option, which costs a little more, has more comfortable sleeping choices.
(A queen-sized bed is easier to share between two people than a double bed. A bunkbed allows two people more comfort than sharing a double bed.)

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As of a price survey for our 2024 weekend trip dates we did in May and July 2023: Yosemite Lodge bunkbed rooms with a bath $319 2 adults (plus taxes/fees (more for three or four adults) – 1 Queen Bed and 1 Bunk Bed with an upper twin / lower double bed and a dining table. This means you can stuff more people in (you are allowed a maximum five people, but your comfort level could be strained with more than 4 people) and save money, or just have more space off the floor for your piles of luggage.

Some of the buildings with bunkbeds rooms, with either balconies or ground level patios,
have public walkways beside them
but have the privacy of a tree that also blocks the view,
or a clear line of sight out towards the cliffs,


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Housekeeping Camp is not open during our winter trips.

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raindrops on ends of spruce needles

Making a reservation

TO LOOK AT THE current availability of cabins/hotel rooms/tent cabins,

check current prices and make a reservation, go to

At the top right corner click on the dark blue square CHECK RATES ,
and the box where it says “Plan Your Trip Now” choose “All Yosemite Lodging”

Unless you are sure you have more than 2 people staying in whatever lodging, leave it set for 2 adults to get a better list of options, but realize there may be an additional small charge per person for more than 2 adults at some of the lodgings.

(IF your lodging choice allows more then two adults, you can pay whatever-extra-fee-per-person-per-night when you check in.)

then enter a Check-in date of 2/2/24 and a check-out date of 2/4/24.

Then click the dark blue rectangle CHECK AVAILABILITY .

Note that the prices say “average per night” and are not the total price for the two nights you entered. When you make the reservation you will get a total with taxes /fees and any extra charge for the number of people over 2 (if you put in the total number of people when you make the reservation). You can change the total number of people when you get there, (and pay more) BUT you can not put more people than the maximum in any overnight accommodation, including campsites.

If you want to stay at Yosemite Lodge, and take advantage of the winter offer of buy two nights, get one free, including during the time we are there, start at:
and please note that, as of Nov. 2023, the website said:
you “Must book by December 18, 2023” to get the third night free.

If there is no word in the space for a PROMO CODE, type in: 3RDFREE

Some years they have a “Winter Fun pass” (usually one free pass per room / cabin, NOT one free per person) which might include the following: ” Lift ticket/gear rental at Badger Pass Ski Area. Ice skating pass/skate rental for Curry Village Ice Rink. Rental for cross-country ski gear at Badger Pass Ski Area. Rental for snowshoes at Badger Pass Ski Area. Two-hour Valley Floor Tour – guest will need to reserve tickets for tour time of their choice. Additional Winter Fun passes can be purchased.” The room price will be much higher and you will likely not have time to do all the things mentioned in two nights stay, especially if you decide the hike would be more fun than skiing once you see who is going on the hike.

Quadruple check and mark your calendar with your last date to get a refund,
especially if you decide to get more than one type of overnight accommodation
and then look for roommates.

One student going on a Yosemite trip
made the mistake of using a third party reservation system.

His reservation said, in part,

“(Brand XXX Reservations) has charged an additional ten percent non-refundable fee in the amount of $119.35 to your credit card, as described on our website and phone message.”

This extra, non-refundable fee is beyond what it would have cost to book directly through the official Yosemite National Park hotel concessionaire. Third party reservation systems can not get anyone a lower price for a room/cabin/tent cabin in Yosemite National Park than they can get by booking directly at the hotel link we recommend using:

When you book your room(s) through the hotel website you can request (at the last section of the reservation form), a specific room, specific adjoining rooms in specific building(s), upstairs or downstairs, which the hotel can try to get you (but can’t guarantee they will). Some third party booking agencies will tell you that you have the specific room(s) choices you want, but when you arrive at the hotel, it turns out that they did not even pass on your request to the hotel.


And again, lots of details to make your stay in a Curry Village tent cabin (or even a cabin without a bath) more fun are at:
Yosemite valley tent cabins tips and tricks


View of just after sunset looking down at the Lodge lights, from Columbia Rock,
on the trail to upper Yosemite Falls (photo by Aaron Genovia):

looking down on Yosemite valley

On this hike sometimes people decide to stay out on the trail late to see the sunset from Columbia Rock.
This is just one of the reasons everyone must have
their own flashlight that they carry with them ALL the time
and waterproof rain gear that they carry with them ALL the time.

row of rocks carved into brick shapes

Also on your list for doing ahead of time:

The last time you used your camera, and took out the memory card / chip
to look at your photos on a laptop, did you remember to put the memory chip back in?
Where is the charger for your digital camera?

Mend things before the trip,
that tiny tear in the rain pants
will be easier to fix at home than it will be in the campsite when it becomes a big rip
and it is raining heavily.

Are your boot laces about worn out? Your hiking boots do still have tread left on them, correct?
Take a close look. People have not noticed separating soles – which increases your risk of trips.


Have you been washing / rinsing / drying clothes with a favorite scented product?
Scented attracts mosquitos and other unpleasant insects,
so for the wash just before the trip you might want to switch to unscented.

Don’t bring clothes camping that have been rinsed or dried with mosquito-attracting scented softeners (plus, dryer sheets can make a greasy stain on clothes if they get stuck to them, and the softeners can decrease the lofting and wicking of garments).

You might also consider choosing clothes that are not black, orange or red as they may attract mosquitos. Lighter colors instead of darker could be a good idea, too. reported that “the US military changed its dress shirts from dark blue to light blue in part to mitigate mosquito biting.”

And you could go through your toiletries, shampoo, body soap, lotion, suntan lotion, deodorant etc. and only pack unscented since that great floral scent in the shampoo will attract mosquitos and other annoying bugs.

If you have your own water purifying pump, it will be much easier to back-wash it and/or take it apart and clean the exterior of the filter cartridge at home before the trip, than waiting until the trip when it starts to not work well. (Follow the manufacturers instructions, which you kept a copy of when you bought the pump, yes?)

Water purifying tablets are not advised because some brands are not effective on Giardia AND Cryptosporidium and we prefer to use a water purifying pump because it is easier and faster.

If you decide to do without a water-purifying pump, please note:

From National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine “Diarrhea is the most common illness limiting long-distance hikers. Hikers should purify water routinely, avoiding using untreated surface water. The risk of gastrointestinal illness can also be reduced by maintaining personal hygiene practices and cleaning cookware.” Preferably use a water purifying pump, but bring chemical means should the pump die. Be sure the chemical method you choose will work against cryptosporidium and giardia and note how long (four hours??) the water must be treated for the treatment to be effective. Note also that iodine tablets are not effective against cryptosporidium / giardia and some people are allergic to iodine.


During any long hike
To truly be able to leave no trace and follow backcountry rules digging your personal latrine hole the proper distance from water, etc.,
you will need to know how far 100 or 200 feet is.

Lay out a tape measure at home and walk it and count your paces.

How to poop in the woods.

stones in a row on a wall
Are you sure the tent you are borrowing has all its parts? Was it put away after the most recent trip without fully drying it, and now it has mold? (Yup, you might guess that happened on a previous weekend trip and the guy did not discover it until he was on the trip. – They slept in the car.)

We advise people to bring tents to a pre-trip meeting and pitch them, as some turn out to not be adequate for use in rain, but might be with an additional huge tarp over them.

There are crucial things wrong with each of these tents.

Don’t buy a cheap tent has reasons why and more examples of tents to NOT bring.

The campsites students usually get for the winter Yosemite trip will not be comfortable for people with a truck tent or SUV tailgate tent because the snow is rarely cleared at the back and side edges of the parking spaces and can be many feet tall and too difficult to shovel away.  And a second vehicle would not fit in the parking pad.
car with a tent protruding from back door

row of rocks carved into brick shapes

Consult with your doctor, Blue Cross/Blue Shield, Kaiser Permanente,
to see if you are up to date on your Tetanus vaccination.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends a Tetanus vaccination every ten years for adults.
One of these:
• Tetanus and diphtheria (Td) vaccine
• Tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis (Tdap) vaccine

Is it time to see the dentist about that tiny ache?

You should plan to bring an adequate supply of your prescriptions for a longer-than-you-anticipated road trip, so checking in advance if you have enough or need to do refills is wise.

Also check over-the-counter remedies (and check their expiration dates) for any ailment you get that could spoil your trip, possibly including:
Benadryl (diphenhydramine)
aspirin, Ibuprofen, acetaminophen, Naproxen Sodium,
athlete’s foot, anti-itch hydrocortisone,
cold and cough syrups and lozenges, allergy tablets / eye relief / sinus relief, stomach ache, Breathe Right, Imodium, calamine lotion.

The faculty advisor and spouse are not allowed to share any over-the-counter remedies, yes, even just aspirin, with students.

The biggest grocery in Yosemite valley often has a wide selection of over-the-counter remedies, but sometimes has shortages:
partially empty store shelves

so bringing what you might need could keep you much happier.

Over-the-counter medications can be ineffective if not used as directed on the label, or can even cause potentially long-lasting or even life-threatening consequences. “Oooops, was I supposed to take one of this tablet every six hours or two every four hours?” Don’t expect that you will remember, even if it is something you take regularly. If you re-pack them into small containers be sure to copy and pack the instructions (and expiration date) with them.

pine tree branch ends

When you are at home you can usually quickly get issues with your vehicle resolved at a nearby mechanic or dealer of your make/model, so many people don’t regularly check their vehicle’s fluid levels, tire pressure, brake wear, etc.

People on a budget often put up with not-essential-for-safe-driving problems with their cars.

But deferred repairs and maintenance can spoil a road trip

and be much more expensive and/or difficult to fix when you are on the road.

The Road trip vehicle prep and recommended service webpage includes things people can do without paying a mechanic.

Where did you store the tire snow chains?
If you do not have them, the Rangers can refuse to let you in the park.

Make sure they are the proper size for your tires and are in working condition.
This is best done at home, on a dry day, in your driveway, before it snows.
It can be wise to practice putting chains or cables on before the trip if it has been awhile since you last used them, or if it was always some other person who uses the vehicle you will be driving who put the chains/cables on in the past. I suggest you practice while wearing the pair of warm gloves you will pack with the chains. Even a pair of first aid gloves could help keep your hands dry and a bit less cold. And packing a pad to kneel on when you are putting the chains on is also suggested (or do you already have individual knee pads for gardening / construction?). The kneeling pad could also be used as a mini seat cushion (insulated from the cold a little) in your pop-up camping chair or on a picnic table bench.

Besides the chains, do you also need new wiper blades, deicing fluid for the windshield washer tank, a windshield scraper or deicer? Is it time for new antifreeze or a brake job? Do the defroster and heater actually function? Do you know how to use your jack and is it still in the car?


If you intend to drive a convertible and it has an electric power top, be sure you know how to put the top up manually in case the push-button function stops working. Rain storms can come in quickly and heavily. You should have alternate ways to get around if lightning is forecast, because
you are not safe during lightning in a convertible.
“The only safe place is inside a substantial building or hard-topped vehicle.”

Make spare vehicle keys to have in different places, give to others in your carpool. It is worth investing in a spare vehicle key or two or three, in the pockets / daypacks of various people, since your cell phone does not function everywhere in the park and you could need to take a bit of a hike to get to a hotel front desk to try to use their phone to get an Auto Club locksmith to unlock your car when you lock the keys in it (common while putting on chains). And getting that help to your vehicle can take quite awhile! If you rent a vehicle for the trip, talk to me about where you might be able to find a spare key in that rental.

CSAA or other Auto Association memberships usually give you (or maybe your parent?) free maps.
Paper maps can be easier to use for planning. Yes, you can download maps on your phone, but paper maps can be essential for driving through areas without phone service.

You will want at least the CSAA “Central California – Bay Area to Lake Tahoe” map.

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five national park entrance pass cards

Plan in advance how you will split the park entrance fee.

Each carload will pay their own park vehicle entrance fee. Effective June 1, 2018 (and we expect it to be the same in 2024) the park entrance fee for Yosemite National park will be $35 per vehicle, $30 per motorcycle or $20 per person, and an annual (Yosemite park only) park pass will cost $70.

If you want to go on our August Grand Teton trip (and especially so you also want to visit Yellowstone National Park during that trip, which has it’s own entrance fee) you save money by investing in a $80 National Parks and Federal Recreation Lands annual pass. Then you will get in free to see other national parks on the way to and from Grand Teton and free to visit Muir Woods, etc.

OR better yet, find someone to carpool with who already has a National Parks and Federal Recreation Lands annual pass

OR find someone who is an active duty U.S. military member or dependent and has their ID Card (CAC card or form 1173) and can get a free national parks pass

OR find someone who is 62 or over to get a lifetime seniors pass for $80.

(The passes can’t be transferred/shared so the person who gets the pass needs to be in the vehicle and show a photo ID.)

The pass will get you FREE ENTRANCE (for one full year) to any of the 63 U.S. National Parks (and many more National Historic Reserves, Monuments, Seashores). California has nine U.S. National Parks, Utah has five, and Colorado has four, Washington and Wyoming each have two, Montana and Oregon each have one U.S. National Park.

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If it is necessary for you to attend religious services during the trip you need to plan ahead
by researching where you can attend, and let people in your carpool know of your needs and the dates / times / locations.

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The college does not provide transportation for any Outdoor Club adventure.
The Outdoor Club can’t arrange rides, (students arrange carpools among themselves).

You’ll be bringing a lot of gear, so
4 people should be the limit in a 5-passenger SUV,
3 people should ride in a sedan that seats four,
and some cars really should only have 2 people.

If everyone brought a large container of full-sized toiletries, as in the left of the photo below, they would take up too much space. By bringing travel/sample sized containers of shampoo, lotion, etc. in a smaller bag, as in the example on the right in the photo below, there is room for even a full sized can of spray insect repellent – which you might want even in the winter.

NO!→ toiletries for bear box.jpg: ← Yes!!

Tear off the appropriate size and number of sheets of foil you will need, fold and pack them with a few plastic sandwich bags as needed instead of bringing whole boxes full.

Yes! → foil and plastic bags: ← No


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If you think you can fit five people in a vehicle that seats five AND ALL THEIR GEAR,
need to plan early for how everything will fit
(it likely can’t unless you have a large cartop carrier – see advice at Carpool Faqs).

You might even want to get together a few days in advance of the trip, with the bags people want to bring, and try packing.

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Start looking around for downloads and links to info
to put on your smart-enough-phone to be able to access info more easily,

including webpages about the trip
such as the driving directions



app on a cell phone

An app for Yosemite National Park info (best downloaded before you get there when you can find reliable internet), with info about visitor centers, historic places, natural features, and services throughout the park. “Even without cellular service, the app will be able to share your location on the map and bring up all site content.”
Planets Visible in the Night Sky in Yosemite National Park


Weather map: “GeoColor is a multispectral product composed of True Color (using a simulated green component) during the daytime, and an Infrared product that uses bands 7 and 13 at night. During the day, the imagery looks approximately as it would appear when viewed with human eyes from space. At night, the blue colors represent liquid water clouds such as fog and stratus, while gray to white indicate higher ice clouds, and the city lights come from a static database that was derived from the VIIRS Day Night Band.”


For the drive : California roads open


You might still be able download a free copy of this Red Cross first aid textbook to your smart-enough-phone to bring with you, the Red Cross Wilderness and Remote First Aid Emergency Reference Guide and Red Cross Wilderness and Remote First Aid Pocket Guide

And students going on any Outdoor Club trip are invited the take the college class (HLTH57A)
to learn first aid and/or get a Red Cross First Aid Certification, (with no textbook to buy).
Students who attend all of the four class sessions in HLTH57A have a 100% success rate at earning the Red Cross First Aid certificate.

Take a look at, and maybe download, this
guide to common Yosemite Birds:
You will quickly learn to recognize Steller’s Jays (different than Blue Jays you might have at home)
because they are everywhere and are frequently trying to get into your food:

There are many birds in Yosemite all winter.

Some of us who hear them while camping refer to the Raven calls near sunrise
as the Raven Alarm Clock.

and Ravens also want to get into your gear.


bear walking along fallen tree

The Yosemite National Park rangers would like you to call them
if you see a bear in Yosemite,
no matter where it is or what it is doing.

Since 2003 there has been a note in the Yosemite Guide: REPORT ALL BEAR SIGHTINGS! To report bear sightings, improper food storage, trash problems, and other bear-related problems, leave a message for the Bear Management team at: 1 (209) 372-0322. Your call can be made anonymously.”

bear with blue tag on ear
If you can, in all the excitement, try to notice if the bear has a tag (usually on the ear), the color of the tag and if possible, the number on it (the tag is large enough that with a telephoto lens you should be able to read the number).

bear with ear tag

From the Yosemite Daily Report newspaper:
“It is extremely important to remember to yell at bears that are in and around development, even if they are foraging on natural food. Though it is very tempting to get close for a picture, or just to watch these incredible animals, it is important not to give into this urge. Yelling at them if they are in residential areas or near people is critical to keep bears natural fear of humans. Giving bears plenty of space. When bears become too comfortable around people, they will often start causing damage to structures and vehicles, or will even become too bold around people, creating safety concerns.”

And the Yosemite Daily Report also said:
“Scare bears when you see them. . . in developed areas- Yell like you mean it!
Make as much noise as possible, try waving your arms, stomping your feet
or anything to make you look intimidating and to get the bear to run away.
We know it’s fun to see bears and it can feel mean to scare them,
but this is a simple way to truly help save a bear’s life.”

NPS bear tracks: bearlogo: from the Keep Bears Wild program NPS bear tracks:


stones forming a wall

Where were they when they got that great picture in Yosemite?

Where can I take a photo that looks like the one on a Yosemite postcard I just bought?
Places to take photos of Half Dome, Bridalveil Fall, El Capitan, Yosemite Falls and Staircase Falls.

View of Sentinel Rock (top right of photo) from one of the balconies of a lodge bunkbed room:

trees, cliffs

and stars from one of the balconies, with Sentinel Rock towards the left:

starry sky and some lights from building on trees