Somehow I have acquired a bit of a sniffle so I have taken it really easy while I have been in Yosemite. I think it might be the huge change in environment from Denver, it’s not stopping me but has made me rest a while. Sadly this has meant I have not managed to see as much of Yosemite as I would of liked but I can always come back. I have chatted to a few people here and they say that this is a really good time to visit, okay the weather is a bit cooler than you may be expecting but the park is a lot quieter during this time. I have some pieces of advice for anyone who wants to visit Yosemite on a budget.
Assuming you don’t have a car the bus to/from the park runs several times a day and you can see the latest schedule on the YARTS website. Prices are also available on the site and cost a maximum of $25 for a round trip at time of writing so it’s not cheap if you want to go to and from the park a lot. However with careful planning you can make it in, hike one of the big trails and get the bus back, should you miss that bus you will find yourself at the mercy of trying to ask someone for a lift back to your hostel. Luckily this didn’t happen to me.
A roof over your head
At time of writing there were two hostels available on Hostelworld the Oso ($30 USD a night) and the Bug ($23 USD a night). I decided to stay at the Bug, mostly because it was cheaper and actually had a spa attached to it. The Oso is closer to the park but you will still have to get the bus so it might work out cheaper if you are going daily. I can only speak for the Bug but I will say it’s a nice hostel set in a rustic woodland, really easy to get to by the YARTS bus ($6 from Merced) and is generally very peaceful. The spa they have is not extensive but functional and for a small amount of $10 you can take a dip in the hot tub and use the swedish style sauna they have all day if you like. The bug also has a fairly well sign posted train around it’s perimeter which takes about 1.5 hours to walk at an average pace and does encounter some beautiful views. Of course you can tent it but I did not come equipped for that kind of thing so cannot speak as to how good/bad that is.
My advise is take stuff with you, I’m not sure about the Oso Hostel but the Bug Hostel does provide food which ranges between and $5-$10 for breakfast, $7-$15 for lunch and $10-$25 for dinner so it’s not cheap. You can pick up food before you get here, Mariposa (the nearest town) has a pretty good market but to get there you have to use the YARTS bus as previously mentioned so timing is everything. Merced also has everything you need so if your coming in by Amtrak then pick stuff up before you get on the YARTS bus. The food in the Bug Hostel is good don’t get me wrong but it is pricey if you are on a budget.
The park costs $10 to get in for an adult, however if you paid for the YARTS bus then you won’t have to pay this. If arriving by car, you can split the $20 fee that will again let the car in for 7 days. There are a couple of ways that you can get in for free suggested by the Yosemite Hikes website. If your a serious walker I would buy a map before you go to yosemite. None of the maps I have seen have ample scale or orientation, the routes are marked as far as I could see but not sure just how many are not. Again the Yosemite Hikes website has a good list of all the hikes available with the difficulty rating.
I think I need to come back to Yosemite sometime and maybe stay at the closer hostel and be prepared to get up early to get into the park, I would really love to spend a full day out there but it’s just not been possible because of how I have been feeling. There is always next time of course.