Opened early last month, AutoCamp Yosemite (autocamp.com/guides/location/yosemite/), features 80 custom-built Airstream trailers, nestled on 35 wooded acres, just east of historic Mariposa. The third property under the AutoCamp brand, this location couples the mid-century aesthetics of the nostalgic trailers, with the rustic natural beauty of the California Sierra Nevada Mountains, and offers a luxurious glamping experience for Yosemite (www.nps.gov/yose/index.htm) visitors. And as with the Russian River AutoCamp location, wheelchair-access was taken into account from the get-go at the new property; in fact five wheelchair-accessible units were designed by LA-based M-Rad design studios and custom-built by Airstream. The result is a stylish outdoor hospitality complex, that’s as accessible as it is chic.
A Warm Welcome
To preserve the natural ambiance of the property, vehicles are not allowed to park in front of the Airstreams; however there are plenty of accessible parking spaces in front of the mid-century modern Clubhouse. There’s ramp access on the left side, and a barrier-free pathway over to the lowered front desk. And if you need assistance with your luggage, or even golf cart transportation to your Airstream, the helpful AutoCamp staff can provide that too.
There’s also a small store near the front desk, which is stocked with souvenirs, sundries, firewood, charcoal and the essential s’more kits. And if you want something to nosh on, there’s a large selection of ice cream treats, snack size cheese, and some ready made sandwiches. Wine, beer and soft drinks are also available.
All guests are offered a complimentary welcome drink at the adjacent bar; and a Continental breakfast complete with fresh local pastries is available there each morning.
In keeping with the AutoCamp design that fosters a community experience, a communal fire ring and a number of public spaces are located near the Clubhouse. It’s also a very kid-friendly property; and like all AutoCamp locations this new facility includes an extremely helpful and accommodating staff.
All of the accessible Airstreams — called suites — are located near the Clubhouse, along a level paved pathway dotted with mature oaks and ponderosa pines. There are three accessible X Suites and two accessible Classic Suites, all of which have the same access features and furnishings. The main difference between the two is location, as the X Suites are placed on premium sites that overlook the pond, and have a bit more privacy.
All of the accessible suites feature ramp access up to the front deck, with level access into the unit. Access features include wide doorways, wood floors, lowered environmental controls and lever handles. The bathroom is located on one end of the suite, and the bedroom is on the other, with a galley and living area in between them. Space-saving barn doors on the bedroom and bathroom offer privacy and provide barrier-free access to these areas.
The bedroom includes a 25-inch high queen-sized bed with wheelchair access on the left side (as you face it), a wardrobe with a lowered clothing rod, a night table and some built-in shelving units. The bedroom also features tall windows that surround the bed on two sides, and a skylight above the bed. It’s almost like sleeping outside in the forest; but if you’d prefer less light you can always close the blinds with the remote control.
The bathroom is equipped with a Continental shower, with an overhead showerhead, a hand-held showerhead, grab bars and a fold-down shower seat. The toilet grab bars are located on the back and right walls (as seated), and the bathroom also has a roll-under sink with a lowered mirror. And thanks to a unique accessible hand crank, you can even open the high bathroom window from a wheelchair or scooter.
The living area is furnished with a 15-inch high futon, that can sleep one adult or two small children, a small table and a television. The galley includes a roll-under sink, a two-burner cooktop, a microwave and a small refrigerator. It also includes dishes, utensils, pots, pans and wine glasses. Round out the unit with a few extras, like a coffee press and coffee, a flashlight, a lantern, a bottle of spring water and even a blue tooth sound system, and you have a very luxurious and accessible retreat.
Outside, the deck offers a comfortable place to relax and enjoy the view. It comes outfitted with a table and four chairs and a gas firepit, and it’s a great place to sip a glass of wine, watch the wildlife and cook up some s’mores.
AutoCamp Yosemite also has a wheelchair-accessible Luxury Tent, located near the Clubhouse. There’s barrier-free access to the front porch from the sidewalk, and level access to the tent. There’s plenty of room to maneuver a wheelchair inside, over the wood floor and to both sides of the 23-inch high king-sized bed.
Other furnishings include a futon, a coffee table and a refrigerator. Towels, bath amenities, campfire cookware and utensils are also included; and the tent comes equipped with electrical outlets, a fan and a heater. Add in the requisite lantern, mineral water, plush bathrobes and an electric kettle and you’re good to go. And outside there’s level access to a pair of comfy chairs, a fire ring and a grill.
There’s no bathroom in the tent, but accessible facilities are located in the nearby Clubhouse. The men’s and women’s bathrooms both include an oversize accessible stall, and a private roll-in shower with grab bars, a hand-held showerhead and a fold down shower bench. Add in some roll-under sinks and lowered mirrors, and you have a very accessible setup.
Attractions and Distractions
Located about an hour from Yosemite Valley, AutoCamp makes an excellent home base for a national park visit. Even better, AutoCamp is also a YARTS (yarts.com/) stop, so you can park your car and skip the traffic and parking woes in the valley. Best bet is to drive down to the YARTS stop, as it’s a long downhill walk from the Clubhouse. All YARTS buses are lift equipped, but 48-hours advance notice is required for a guaranteed spot on the bus. And once you get to the valley, there are free lift-equipped shuttle buses that stop at all of the popular attractions and facilities.
On the other hand, if you’d like to take a day to just chill, AutoCamp Yosemite is the perfect place to do that too. The Clubhouse has plenty of comfortable nooks and crannies, with a large lending library of books and games. Or just sit back and relax on your private deck and enjoy the scenery. Even if you don’t have a premium suite, you can still take a stroll over to the pond and sit back and enjoy the view.
There’s lift access from the first floor of the Clubhouse up to the lift-equipped freshwater pool. An ample assortment of lounge chairs are spaced around the deck; and there’s also lift access up to the rooftop BBQ area, which has additional shaded seating.
In the end, there’s no shortage of accessible things to do in and around AutoCamp Yosemite, which makes it an excellent choice for wheelchair-users and slow walkers who want to experience the beauty of the California Sierras.
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