Perks of visiting Yosemite, Bass Lake in the autumn

November 9, 2017

Visit Yosemite Madera County

Fall is a favorite time to visit Yosemite for couples, empty nesters and a couple of friends because of the quietness and less crowds, according to Therese Williams, public relations director for Visit Yosemite Madera County.

OAKHURST — Yosemite National Park and Bass Lake draw visitors any time of year, but fall may be an especially attractive time for couples, whether romantic or not, who want to visit without battling parking, crowds and kids.

“Summer is our busiest time but fall is a favorite time for couples, empty nesters and a couple of friends because of the quietness and less crowds, it really is the perfect time of year and truly something special to visit the mountains at this time of year,” said Therese Williams, public relations director for Visit Yosemite Madera County.

Kids are back in school so the park, restaurants and activities are less crowded, she explained, and prices tend to decline as well in response to fewer visitors.

The average temperature for Yosemite National Park should range from around 59°F at night to 72°F in the daytime in mid-autumn. The higher one goes, the colder and more temperamental the climate gets. The park’s south gate neighborhoods of Oakhurst and Bass Lake likely will have highs in the mid to upper 70s and nightly lows in the 60s.

Visitors can hike to waterfalls, the historic Wawona Swinging Bridge or Wawona Meadow Loop or venture to the valley floor for meadow views of Half Dome and Yosemite Falls.

To get to Yosemite from Madera, Fresno and the San Joaquin Valley, take State Route 41 north to the southern gate of Yosemite National Park. A seven-day pass into Yosemite is $30 per car, $25 per motorcycle or $15 per pedestrian or cyclist age 16 or older. A year-long pass is $60.

Rates for lodging reduce dramatically during the fall, Williams said. She suggested several places at which to stay and play.

— Lakefront suites, mountain cabins, modern amenities and service can be found at The Pines Resort on Bass Lake.
— The Redwoods In Yosemite is in the historic town of Wawona just 6 miles inside the southern entrance of Yosemite. It has over 120 fully equipped vacation homes and a Wedding and Event Center.
— Chukchansi Gold Resort and Casino offers a place to stay and play.

“Yosemite is best explored by foot, park the car and hit the many trails that are designed for all abilities from easy to difficult,” said Williams. Guided tours, bus rides and scenic flights are also available.

After Thanksgiving Day comes a precursor of Christmas, the Pines Village Holiday Bazaar that will be 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Nov. 25-26 at The Pines Resort of Bass Lake.

December brings the Bracebridge Dinner at Yosemite, which has been celebrated annually since 1927. Heraldic horns sound throughout Yosemite National Park’s Majestic Yosemite Hotel, calling guests to enter Bracebridge Hall for a feast by candlelight accompanied by live Christmas music. The menu includes smoked trout mousse, chicories salad, Sonoma duck confit strudel, herb-roasted Angus beef tenderloin and more.

The dinner will be 6 p.m. Dec. 10, 12, 14, 16, 18, 20 and 22. Reservations are required. Unlike past dinners, tickets will not be distributed by lottery. The cost for dinner only is $380.33 per adult or $236.10 for a child age 12 or younger. A dinner and lodging package is also available.


Valley fall fun

Not all of the seasonal excitement is up in the mountains however. Closer to home for Maderans, the Madera Wine Trail’s November Holiday Spirit Weekend will be 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Nov. 11-12 at assorted area wineries. Tickets are $25 in advance or $30 on the days of the wine trail.

Live theater options arise in the fall as well.

Coyote Drama Productions and International Thespian Troupe #8160 at Madera High School will perform William Shakespeare’s “The Comedy of Errors.” The show runs at 7:30 p.m. Nov. 9-11 and 15-18. Admission is $10 for adults and $5 for students and seniors.

Madera South Theatre Company will perform Ken Ludwig’s comedic “Lend Me a Tenor,” which runs 7 p.m. today through Nov. 11. Admission is $10 for adults and $7 for students. Tickets are available online at

For information on adventures and deals in Yosemite National Park, Bass Lake and Madera County this fall, visit or call 683-4636. For information on the Holiday Spirit Weekend, visit


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