What is the best way to see the main Yosemite attractions in fall ? Im not opposed to taking a tent. I was thinking of Yosemite Valley or Village. The Housekeeping Camp was suggested by friends as a very cool spot to wake up and see nature.
Besides it being extremely & bitter cold at Yosemite at night in the Fall, I would not recommend staying in the campgrounds. Just this year they have had a couple of branches fall on campers and kill them in their tents. In the past, they have had the hauntavirus outbreaks from deer mice, and now they are in the news again - this time with a plague outbreak (rodents transmitting plague virus to fleas) and they have just closed one of the campgrounds this week.
Our family loves Yosemite, but we choose our sleeping accomodations very carefully since the hauntavirus outbreak. We feel strongly that it is worth paying extra to have enclosed accomodations that (as much as possible) keep you from inhaling urine/feces from tiny deer mice, rodents, or squirrels. For us that means either a wood cabin or hotel room on the valley floor. The least expensive options would be the wood-sided cabins or hotel rooms @ Curry Village or Yosemite Lodge. For those with more to spend -- the Awanahee is pretty deluxe.
The units in housekeeping camp are too open to critters and meandering bears. We stayed there once, and my husband had to make a midnight run to the john. While he was out we heard a bear growling and going through the camp. I was huddled in a corner, because one wall is just a canvas tarp with no way to secure it. Then, we heard someone shooting a gun after the bear. Everything is wide open and my husband is pretty shaken because of course there are no real doors at the bathrooms either, a bear could just walk right in. Finally, it quieted down enough that my husband returned and went right back to sleep, but I was wide awake for the rest of the night tossing and turning and imaging strange noises. The next morning we asked the rangers about it, and apparently someone in the camp had food in a cooler, not in their metal bear-box, where you are supposed to store your food. So, the bear had enjoyed a tasty feast, and the rangers used rubber bullets to chase him out that night. It appears the bears do not really want people (there were kids were sleeping outside under the trees in cots and on the ground in sleeping bags), but apparently the Yosemite bears are like Yogi and have a real affection for people-food.
As for the waterfalls, when we were there June 15/16 the falls were still going, but not very strong. Maybe a couple of weeks of life left in them, but there had been a late snow in May. I finally got to take a rafting trip on the Merced River which runs through the Valley, but the river only knee-deep and hardly moving at all. We got great exercise just using our paddles trying to move down a non-moving river, still the scenery was breathtaking! First time we have ever seen a deer standing in the river eating leaves off a bush. Also, we were there mid-week and the park was not crowded at all. Weekends are the worst for crowds because alot of people will do a Fri-Sat-Sunday trip to Yosemite.
Yosemite campground closing after 2 squirrels die of plague
Posted 2:57 pm, August 15, 2015, by AssociatedPress
"YOSEMITE NATIONAL PARK, Calif.— Officials at Yosemite National Park say they are temporarily shutting down a popular campsite after two squirrels died of plague in the area.
Park officials said Friday that Tuolumne Meadows Campground will close from noon Monday through noon Friday so authorities can treat the area with a flea-killing insecticide.
Plague is carried by rodents and is spread by fleas. Transmission of plague between people is rare, and state health officials say the risk to human health is low.
An unidentified child fell ill with the plague after camping with his family at Yosemite’s Crane Flat Campground in mid-July. The park reopened Crane Flat on Friday after treating that campground for four days with an insecticide. The child is recovering in a hospital."