Mar 9, 2012 at 8:25 pm #1286890
I'm reviewing options to get to Happy Isles TH to start JMT and exit at Whitney Portal. I'm reviewing the AMTRAK connector bus option between the park and Merced. The connector bus goes between Merced and the park visitor center fairly regularly. However, how easy is it to get from Whitney, back to the Yosemite Visitors Center to get the AMTRAK bus connection back to Merced? Do I need to hitch into Lone Pine and get a shuttle, or is it easy to hitch back to the YVC?
Recommendations? Mahalo in advance.Mar 9, 2012 at 8:43 pm #1851475
It should not be hard to hitch a ride downhill to Lone Pine. From there, scheduled bus service can take you north to Mammoth. From there, scheduled bus service can take you to Yosemite Valley.
–B.G.–Mar 9, 2012 at 10:21 pm #1851520
@kentLocale: High SierraMar 10, 2012 at 9:08 am #1851616
Having an open-ended flight is another option. You might be better off planning on flying into San Fran and out of Reno. The logistics to get from Lone Pine back to the Valley seem to be much more time consuming (i.e. I think you will end up waiting a day because Eastern Sierra Tranist drops off in Mammoth at 8:20am, but the Yarts is in Mammoth 20 minutes earlier around 8am). But if you have the time, I imagine there could be worse places to wait than Mammoth.Mar 10, 2012 at 9:15 am #1851623
YARTS runs one bus a day on Hwy 120 from Mammoth Lakes (4 stops including the McDonalds next to the Shilo Inn at 8:30 am) to Yosemite Valley Visitor Center at 12:05 pm and back.
Route 120E/395Mar 10, 2012 at 2:48 pm #1851718
Thanks all! The idea about flying out of Reno instead of the Bay area may make send, I have to run the costs and schedules. It seems like I could get to Lone Pine the same day I come off trail, but have to RON there, go to Mammoth the next day, RON there and get YARTS to Yosemite VC the next morning and hopefully connect through Merced back to Oakland the next day, RON and fly out the following morning. That's a lot of time consumed with return travel due to the bus schedules.
To cut it down a bit, is it possible, by that I mean reasonable, to expect I could get a hitch from Whitney Portal directly to Mammoth or better yet, back to Yosemite VC the same day I come off trail?Mar 10, 2012 at 2:59 pm #1851726
"To cut it down a bit, is it possible, by that I mean reasonable, to expect I could get a hitch from Whitney Portal directly to Mammoth or better yet, back to Yosemite VC the same day I come off trail?"
I would say that anything is possible, but this is not likely.
One year I was on the summit of Whitney around 10 a.m. and was chatting with a fellow who was then finishing the JMT (tenth day out of Happy Isles). He followed up and figured out that I was driving from Whitney Portal back to the SF Bay Area later that very day, and he was trying to get to Oakland. So, I gave him a ride most of the way, and he called ahead and arranged a ride for the last 40 miles by some relative. But, you can't really count on that happening.
–B.G.–Mar 10, 2012 at 5:13 pm #1851758
Yes, you can get to Lone Pine from Reno the same day. I've done it.
But why would you want to? That bus also stops in Mammoth Lakes. You'll still have to RON but the next morning, catch the 8:30 am YARTS bus to Yosemite Valley at 12:05 pm. Eat lunch in the valley, ride the free Valley shuttle to Happy Isle, and be on the trail by 1:30 pm. Camp overnight at Little Yosemite Valley (be sure your permit allows that).Mar 10, 2012 at 5:54 pm #1851780
I was actually asking about my return trip. ie. finish JMT at Whitney and quickly get back to YVC to catch the bus to Merced and travel on to Oakland. Checking flights, it's several hundred dollars cheaper for me (from Honolulu) to fly in and out of either SFO or OAK than to come and go through Reno. which is why I would need to get back to YVC at the end.
but, thanks, I think now I'll just have to watch the bus schedules to see how I can do this efficiently and time my JMT finish accordingly. Time versus money, as usual.
SusanMar 10, 2012 at 6:18 pm #1851793
"time my JMT finish accordingly"
For some hikers, that is a problem. Some who are southbound will spend one night near Guitar Lake, then go up to the summit and down the main Whitney Trail to the bottom, then try to hitch a ride to Lone Pine before dark. But, that may be a very long day.
Others will leave Guitar Lake, go up to the summit and down the main Whitney Trail only part-way, spend a night at Trail Camp, Outpost Camp, or Lone Pine Lake, and then finish early the following day.
–B.G.–Mar 11, 2012 at 1:26 am #1851893
@amrowincLocale: Southern California
You can get to Oakland/San Francisco from Lone Pine in one long day. The Crest bus to Mammoth now arrives in time to catch the YARTS bus to Yosemite Valley. From there catch the Merced bus arriving at about 6:00pm. You then catch the Amtrak train into Emeryville where you can catch another bus to Oakland or San Francisco reportedly arriving in SF around 10pm. I!ve never done the Merced and beyond part of this route but know of others who have.
Frankly, if I were going to Honolulu I would consider catching a plane into LAX from the Mammoth Airport and to Honolulu from there. I'm surprised more people don't consider the Mammoth airport. You can also catch the Crest bus from Lone Pine to Lancaster, then the Metro train to LA Union Station. There is an LAX flyaway bus leaving from there getting you to LAX around 5pm. And another alternative would be getting off the Metro train at the Burbank Airport and flying from there.Mar 11, 2012 at 8:03 am #1851910
@foundLocale: Sacramento, CA
Likely the easiest way to get from Lone Pine to San Francisco is to take the bus all the way to Reno. There, you have the option of linking up to Greyhound or Amtrak for a same-day ride to SF.
I plan to do this in early September. I'll leave Lone Pine around 6am and be in Sacramento before 4pm (if all goes well!)
On a related matter, what's the cheapest motel in Lone Pine? Is there anywhere to just grab a shower and camp?Mar 11, 2012 at 9:29 am #1851933
Oddly enough, there aren't any cheap hotels in Lone Pine. In fact, the whole place is pretty darn pricey. The reason? Death Valley, baby. Now who's goin' to DV in the summer? Mad dogs & Englishmen? Pretty close – Euro tourists.
My brother, who like BG lives in the SV, spends most of his time in the Sierra up in the Yosemite area. Last year, he joined me on one of my typical (fishing) trips out of Horseshoe. After we got back around 4pm, we drove down to LP to take a shower (Whitney portal hostel) and grab some eats (Mt Whitney, 'natch – ok food, better beer).
As we're cruising around, I asked him if he noticed anything unusual. Other than the other scruffy hikers, there was a veritable sea of young families with kids, along with older couples & groups, all dressed in weird shorts & socks/sandles. Not only that, but they were suspiciously clean and all speaking in tongues.
I, of course, knew what was going on, but he had no clue. After I told him, he still couldn't believe anyone would want to go to DV that badly. I assured him they were all tourists and not only were they going to DV (or had just returned), but would be mildly disappointed if it wasn't over 120F.
In response to the OP, I always try & have my car at the exit TH. I'd rather deal with logistics in the front-end rather than @ the end. Someone else suggested LAX – that's how I would do it. Drive up to LP, park the car, then deal with getting to the start of the JMT in the Valley.Mar 11, 2012 at 10:08 am #1851948
@amrowincLocale: Southern California
i suppose it's all relative but Lone Pine has about the cheapest accomodations to be found unless you don't mind bed bugs.
The Dow Villa has rooms for around $60 (w/o private bath) more for complete plumbing in the room. They also have a newer section thar's has regular motel style rooms. You can lounge in the pool or soak in the spa with a view of Mt. Whitney. I highly recommend it as a fitting place to decompress after a long hike.
Even cheaper is the Whitney Hostel next door to the Dow. You can get a bunk for about $30 or a room comparably priced to the Dow.
I would plan on making reservations if you can plan that far in advance. I've been able to get a room at the Dow without a reservation but it's dicey.Mar 11, 2012 at 4:37 pm #1852111
@foundLocale: Sacramento, CA
Good advice gentlemen. Thanks.
I'm aiming for the hostel and will make a reservation. It shouldn't be much of a problem since it will be September.
Is it summer yet?Mar 17, 2012 at 12:22 am #1855089
thanks all. you've given me more options to research.
I will consider the Mammoth Lakes Airport, but when I searched flights in or out, they were very expensive hops to any major airport like reno, oakland, sfo or lax, but will look again.
Good news about the bus connections between Lone Pine, Mammoth & Yosemite Valley linking up. i I fly in and out (especially out) of OAK, that's the route i have to take back thru Merced and onto OAK.
Also, thanks for loding insigth for LP, any suggestions for Mammoth lakes in case i have to RON there?Mar 17, 2012 at 12:28 am #1855091
is there camping sites available in either LP or MML? or do I need to get a motel/hostel in eiter place? I think making reservations may be tough since I kind if want to hav a few days leewy on my JMT itiniary, so i wouldn't be sure what days i would need a reservation for in any town stops.
susanMar 17, 2012 at 10:19 pm #1855401
@jimfitz12000Locale: Southern California
Lone Pine is often around 100 degrees in summer during the day; lower temps at night. There are campgrounds in the Sierra foothills near Lone Pine, but none I am aware of within walking distance of Lone Pine. There are probably close to ten motels in Lone Pine, the biggest of which is Dow Villa. Check Lone Pine web sites for additional information. Many/most backpackers stay at the hostel.
+1 on how easy it is to hitchhike from Whitney Portal to Lone Pine.
For a required overnight, especially at the beginning, I prefer Mammoth, which is at the 8,000 ft. level. Shady Rest Campground in Mammoth is an easy walk to town, not far from the Shilo Inn where ESTA and YARTS busses arrive/depart. If Mammoth at beginning of your trip and if you use an alcohol stove, Mammoth Mountaineering sells alcohol in small quantities. Can leave a resupply at Mammoth Post office for pick up by Red's Meadow Pack Station – have to pay postage. Post office not open Sat. or Sun. and closes at 4:00 PM weekdays.
+ 1 on Mammoth Airport suggestion, which might not be any more expensive than ground transportation and could same considerable time (subject to airport connection time).
Have you checked on two sets (separate) airline tickets? One set for HNL to LAX, SFO, OAK or wherever and a second set for LAX, etc. to/from Mammoth Airport.Mar 18, 2012 at 2:06 am #1855426
Thanks! great info on camping, accomodations.
yes I'm checking on flight options now. If it's remotely the same cost wise adn saves a lot of time and hassle, then I will plan to fly out of mammoth lakes for my return trip.May 23, 2012 at 2:13 am #1880327
Reinvigorating this thread…
I posted my GL for JMT 2012 and created a new thread in the "Gear List" forum with specific issues (ie "red' items in my list). (sorry for cross post!) Would love some advice…..
Thanks!Jul 10, 2012 at 1:52 am #1893604
Reinvigorating this thread….
I've decided to fly in and out of Mammoth Lakes. So I will need lodging the first night I arrive since my connecting flight from LAX doesn't arrive in Mammoth until 1700. So I guess my options are the campground, Shilo Lodge (where YARTS and ESTA bus pick up/drop off, right?) or I saw the Davidson Street Hostel online.
Are these the best places to stay, by that I mean, good price, convenient location to airport, town, bus stops, etc, clean, bed bug free, etc? or can anybody make another recommendation.
SusanJul 10, 2012 at 8:00 am #1893633
The Shilo Inn next door to McDonald's – where ESTA and YARTS both stop – is a modern, very nice albeit expensive, motel within walking distance of much of Mammoth Lakes' best restaurants. I've stayed there several times.
However, if you're taking a cab from the airport anyway, why not stay closer to Reds Meadow and the JMT? My family and I stayed at Mammoth Mountain Inn, where the YARTS bus starts and stops. Catch the Reds Meadow shuttle from there down to the JMT. The MMI is clean but expensive, however restaurant options are slim in the area. There is one wants-to-be upper scale restaurant (overly expensive) and a breakfast/lunch deli operation within easy walking distance. If you need fresh foodstuffs or stove fuel, make a stop to get it before leaving Mammoth Lakes.Jul 10, 2012 at 1:19 pm #1893721
You have to be careful in Mammoth Lakes. There are lots of places that want to sell you a bottle of Pepsi for $3 or more. I was there on Saturday, and it was hot.
–B.G.–Jul 11, 2012 at 1:17 am #1893876
Thanks Bob and Bob!
My flight doesn't get into Mammoth until 5pm, so I have to RON to get the bus in the morning. I was hoping for a cheap, convenient place.Jul 11, 2012 at 2:03 am #1893877
The good news is that the mandatory Reds Meadow shuttle bus runs fairly often now that we are into the heart of the tourist season, and it doesn't take long for those few miles. The other day I didn't have to wait long. The bus had all seats filled, and then the driver announced that there was room for one more for standing, so there I was.
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