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El Portal

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Revision as of 20:49, 25 June 2006 by Cjensen (Talk | contribs)

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Travel Warning WARNING: State Route 140 is closed west of El Portal due to a landslide, and may take months to reopen. The only way to get to El Portal at this time is by travelling to Yosemite, then travelling west on State Route 140.

El Portal is in California next to Yosemite National Park.

Understand

El Portal is a small community along the Merced River which is mostly notable for providing good lodging options for visitors to Yosemite National Park. Being outside of the National Park, El Portal is not subject to strict Park limitations on development, so a number of large motels have been constructed.

Yosemite Valley is a 20 minute drive from El Portal along a relatively flat road, which makes El Portal convenient while providing cheaper lodging than the Park itself. Visitors looking for even cheaper lodging could drive further to Mariposa. Those looking to save a might drive as far as Merced, but this would be considered quite a distance for visiting Yosemite.

Get in

By car

From Mariposa, Merced, and other points west, take State Route 140 east. El Portal is about 30 miles east of Mariposa.

From Yosemite, take State Route 140 west from Yosemite Valley. El Portal begins immediately after leave the Park.

By bus

YART bus system connects El Portal to Merced, Mariposa, and Yosemite.

By train

The nearest Amtrak station is in Merced where you can catch a YART bus to El Portal.

Get around

See

El Portal is in the narrow Merced River canyon.

See the famous California Poppies in late Spring. They surround the mountain walls up and down the Merced River Canyon.

From April through August, wildflowers bloom in Yosemite National Park, providing for a five-month spring of wildflower blooming.

One of the best wildflower trails in California is the Hite Cove Trail, leading from Savage's Trading Post on State Route 140 five miles beside the south fork of the Merced River to the remains of a gold mine and town.

Fifty to sixty varieties of wildflowers grow along the trail. As the trail climbs and descends, the emerald hillside is decorated with blazing splashes of orange California poppies, magenta Owl's Clover, and cadmium yellow Goldfields.

Such displays are found all along the trail, though the best are found beneath the shade of foothill oaks where colorful communities of Indian pinks, baby-blue eyes and globe lilies live. The observant will find monkey flowers, shooting stars, fiesta flowers and waterfall buttercups in seeps and little creeks that flow to the Merced River.

Do

Spring white-water rafting offers Class II through Class IV, depending on the snow melt and part of the season.

Hike Hites Cove, starting at Savage's Trading Post in the open (non-fire) season.

Fishing (permits available at the El Portal Market) • Park Boundary to Foresta Bridge, 2-trout limit, min. fish 12 inches, open all year • Foresta Bridge to Bagby, 5-trout limit, open last Sat. in April through Nov. 15

Whitewater Rafting • Red Bud to Suspension, 8 mi., Class III and IV (difficult) • Suspension to Split Rock, 8 mi., Class II and III (medium) • Split Rock to Bagby, 12 mi., Class III, IV and V (very difficult)

Whitewater Outfitters • Ahwahnee Whitewater • American River Recreation • ARTA • California Rafting Adventures • Mariah Wilderness Expeditions • Whitewater Voyages

Buy

The larger motels have gift shops in case you forgot to get something while in Yosemite. They also sell the usual stuff that travellers often forget to pack.

Eat

Yosemite View Lodge offers two restaurants and a bar, along with a large convience store, selling a variety of packaged foods. There is a pizza and pasta place, as well as an American (Steak and Fish) dining room.

Yosemite Cedar Lodge offers two restaurants (but one is closed during the off season), and a bar. The bar is 50's themed.

Drink

There are bars at both Yosemite View Lodge and Cedar Lodge.

Sleep

  • Yosemite View Lodge, 11136 Highway 140, (209) 379-2681. A large motel complex next to the Merced River a few hundred feet from the Yosemite National Park boundary. This is the closest accommodation to Yosemite Valley, sharing a boundary with Yosemite National Park and sited along the scenic Merced River. Yosemite View Lodge offers luxury rooms and suites, two restaurants, a gift shop and convenience store, ATM and laundry facilities. There are scenic views of the river, mountains, and the west entry into YNP. http://www.yosemite-motels.com/yosemiteviewlodge/index.htm
  • Cedar Lodge, 9966 Highway 140, (209) 379-2612. 8 miles from Yosemite's west entrance on the All Year Hwy (CA 140). Featuring family friendly rooms and suites, an indoor and outdoor pool, a restaurant and lounge. There is a large confernece and reception site available with a huge fireplace. http://www.yosemite-motels.com/cedarlodge/index.htm

Get out

  • Yosemite National Park. All major motels in El Portal have bus stops for the YART buses which can take you directly into Yosemite Valley. This is a good way of avoiding the summertime parking hassles in the valley.
  • Mariposa




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