JMT - getting there & away
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Susan Papuga
(veganaloha) - M

Locale: USA
JMT - getting there & away on 03/09/2012 21:25:44 MST Print View

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.

Edited by veganaloha on 03/09/2012 21:26:39 MST.

Bob Gross
(--B.G.--) - F

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: JMT - getting there & away on 03/09/2012 21:43:40 MST Print View

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.--

Kent C.
(kent) - M

Locale: High Sierra
JMT - getting there & away on 03/09/2012 23:21:53 MST Print View

Veganaloha,

On the chance you don't already have these:

http://easternsierratransitauthority.com/wb/

http://climber.org/data/shuttles.html

Have a great trip!

Spencer Goodwine
(spencewine) - F
an option to consider on 03/10/2012 10:08:19 MST Print View

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.

Bob Bankhead
(wandering_bob) - MLife

Locale: Oregon, USA
Re: JMT - getting there & away on 03/10/2012 10:15:33 MST Print View

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.

see http://yarts.com

Route 120E/395

Susan Papuga
(veganaloha) - M

Locale: USA
JMT - getting there & away on 03/10/2012 15:48:36 MST Print View

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?

Bob Gross
(--B.G.--) - F

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: JMT - getting there & away on 03/10/2012 15:59:57 MST Print View

"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.--

Bob Bankhead
(wandering_bob) - MLife

Locale: Oregon, USA
JMT - getting there & away on 03/10/2012 18:13:05 MST Print View

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).

Edited by wandering_bob on 03/10/2012 18:15:50 MST.

Susan Papuga
(veganaloha) - M

Locale: USA
Thanks, Bob & Bob! on 03/10/2012 18:54:42 MST Print View

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.

mahalo,
Susan

Bob Gross
(--B.G.--) - F

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: Thanks, Bob & Bob! on 03/10/2012 19:18:07 MST Print View

"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.--

Don Amundson
(amrowinc) - M

Locale: Southern California
JMT on 03/11/2012 03:26:35 MDT Print View

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.

Jack H.
(Found) - F

Locale: Sacramento, CA
Re: JMT - getting there & away on 03/11/2012 09:03:19 MDT Print View

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?

Edited by Found on 03/11/2012 09:06:58 MDT.

Hobbes W
(Hobbesatronic) - F

Locale: SoCal
Cheapest motel in Lone Pine? on 03/11/2012 10:29:52 MDT Print View

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.

Edited by Hobbesatronic on 03/11/2012 10:42:09 MDT.

Don Amundson
(amrowinc) - M

Locale: Southern California
JMT Motel on 03/11/2012 11:08:17 MDT Print View

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.

Jack H.
(Found) - F

Locale: Sacramento, CA
Re: JMT Motel on 03/11/2012 17:37:17 MDT Print View

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?

Edited by Found on 03/11/2012 17:39:09 MDT.

Susan Papuga
(veganaloha) - M

Locale: USA
JMT travel on 03/17/2012 01:22:00 MDT Print View

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?

Susan Papuga
(veganaloha) - M

Locale: USA
accomodations in Lone Pine and mammoth Lakes or camping? on 03/17/2012 01:28:37 MDT Print View

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.

Mahalos,
susan

Jim Fitzgerald
(jimfitz12000) - M

Locale: Southern California
JMT flights, Lone Pine/Mammoth camping on 03/17/2012 23:19:53 MDT Print View

Susan,

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.

Susan Papuga
(veganaloha) - M

Locale: USA
JMT plans on 03/18/2012 03:06:10 MDT Print View

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.

Susan Papuga
(veganaloha) - M

Locale: USA
JMT - getting there & away on 05/23/2012 03:13:39 MDT Print View

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!