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JMT plans CHEAP!
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Allen Butts
(butts0989) - F - MLife

Locale: Northern Rockies
JMT plans CHEAP! on 03/02/2012 10:00:44 MST Print View

I am looking for the cheapest possible way to do this trip. I will be starting in Yosemite and ending on Whitney. I live in CO and was thinking about driving down to Lone Pine to start, leaving my car there and then getting a shuttle to yosemite. Otherwise i will be flying. I am having a hard time finding cheap fairs to get to the trailheads from airports though. Can anybody help me out?

David Thomas
(DavidinKenai) - MLife

Locale: North Woods. Far North.
Re: JMT plans CHEAP! on 03/02/2012 10:25:47 MST Print View

Here's a previous on this topic (and also for someone from CO):

Yes, flights into those secondary airports are going to be expensive.

I saw in one thread about a need to overnight in Mammoth for a shuttle trip. Potentially, that overnight could be avoided if you parked in Mammoth? You'd need to check the specific departure times on the shuttles.

Chris Wheeler
(ChrisW) - MLife

Locale: Stratford, Ontario
Re: JMT plans CHEAP! on 03/02/2012 11:05:12 MST Print View

Drive to Yosemite and leave your car here.
Walk south to Whitney Portal and hitch a ride into Lone Pine.
Next mourning catch the 6:15AM ESTA Shuttle to Mammoth Lakes.
Spend the day at Mammoth Lakes and camp the night at Old Shady Rest.
Next mourning catch the 8:00 AM, YARTS shuttle into Yosemite.

The hitch from the Portal into Lone Pine is easy, lots of cars all going your way.
You will need to spend a night in Mammoth, as the shuttle into Yosemite only
runs once a day.

Allen Butts
(butts0989) - F - MLife

Locale: Northern Rockies
Re: Re: JMT plans CHEAP! on 03/02/2012 11:27:17 MST Print View

So here is what I have lined up so far. Please let me know if this does not seem logical.

1. Park car at Whitney Portal (i would like to end and have the car right there.)
2. Hitch into Lone pine
3. Take the 6:15AM ESTA bus to Mammoth
4. Quickly hop on the 8:30 YARTS bus to yosemite visitor center
5. Walk to Happy Isles...?

Jim W.
(jimqpublic) - MLife

Locale: So-Cal
Re: Re: JMT plans CHEAP! on 03/02/2012 11:37:29 MST Print View

I agree on Mammoth being a good transportation hub.

YARTS Bus North to Yosemite every morning at 8:00. From Lone Pine Eastern Sierra Transit Authority "Crest" bus North to Mammoth every morning at 6:15 (Lone Pine-Reno route) or 5:00 in the afternoon (Lancaster-Mammoth route). $30 for the two buses.

Flying vs. driving depends on how much your time is worth, fuel mileage/prices, etc. Just a quick check on Expedia gives DEN-MMH round trip at $376 vs. $240 to LAX. You can overnight in the campground in Mammoth. If you need to overnight in LA it would cost a lot more. From Mammoth base the bus to Yosemite and Lone Pine are $15 each for $406 total. From LAX-Yosemite Flyaway+Amtrak is $60 and Lone Pine-LAX Crest+Metrolink+Flyaway is about $45 for $345 total, but close to an extra day burned.

It's about 2000 miles round trip from Denver. I'd say if you are going solo flying is way cheaper than driving (not knowing how far you are from Denver airport or whether you would have to pay for shuttle or parking)

Allen Butts
(butts0989) - F - MLife

Locale: Northern Rockies
Re: Re: Re: JMT plans CHEAP! on 03/02/2012 11:56:22 MST Print View

I just looked online and it said that the Yarts bus doesnt leave the Shilo Inn in Mammoth until 8:30AM. Do you think that it is possible to make the quick hop over from the ESTA bus that is supposed to get to the Mcdonalds right across the street at 8:20AM?

Jim W.
(jimqpublic) - MLife

Locale: So-Cal
Bus connections... on 03/02/2012 12:19:52 MST Print View

I think you're going to have to wait until the summer YARTS bus is running then contact YARTS dispatch to see if they wait for ESTA.

If not, take the afternoon ESTA bus and camp out at Shady Rest campground.

EDIT: Note that the published YARTS schedule is for 2011 so there's no guarantee that the 2012 schedule will be the same. Don't worry, it will work out.

Also- Common suggestions are to fly to Reno. Expedia is actually showing Reno being a couple bucks more than flying to Mammoth. Greyhound is $89 each way Denver to Reno so that's the cheapest option. Since you asked for cheap... Driving looks like the most expensive option but if you fly, you pay now to get a good price. Driving you pay later.

Edited by jimqpublic on 03/02/2012 12:30:26 MST.

Allen Butts
(butts0989) - F - MLife

Locale: Northern Rockies
Re: Bus connections... on 03/02/2012 12:41:59 MST Print View

Ya i figured that the bus schedule might change a little bit. I am going with someone with a good car so it looks like its only going to be about $100 each way for each of us. Ill pay a little extra to have the convenience of a car. Thanks so much for your help Jim I have a much better understanding now.

Bob Bankhead
(wandering_bob) - MLife

Locale: Oregon, USA
JMT plans CHEAP!" on 03/02/2012 15:29:03 MST Print View

YARTS starts from (and ends at) Mammoth Mountain Resort, making 3 stops in Mammoth Lakes - one of which is at the Mcdonalds - enroute to and from Yosemite Valley.

Jim Fitzgerald
(jimfitz12000) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Mammoth bus change on 03/02/2012 18:51:19 MST Print View


Shilo Inn and Mammoth McDonalds are maybe 50/75 feet apart, share an open parking lot and ESTA and YARTS busses park in same location. My guess is the arriving ESTA bus and departing YARTS bus "connect." If ESTA is running a few minutes late, my sense is the ESTA driver would call the Shilo front desk, who in turn would tell the YARTS driver there is a slight delay, or possibly call the YARTS driver directly. If bringing a cell phone, program the Shilo Inn phone number, YARTS, ESTA, etc. It is a small community and my guess is they are more than willing to cooperate. If you miss the YARTS bus, just make a handheld sign with Yosemite printed on it and hitchkike. You should be able to find a ride to Yosemite; once in the park, can use the Yosemite shuttle bus.