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Reaching Hetch Hetchy?

Travelling to and visiting Yosemite National Park. How to get there, what to see or do, and other Yosemite trip advice.

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Reaching Hetch Hetchy?

Postby pcopp93 » Wed Apr 01, 2015 5:47 am

So my girlfriend and I are backpacking around Yosemite for about 2 weeks in late May. We hope to begin our journey out of Hetch Hetchy, with Smith Peak being our first stop. We are from Upstate New York, have never been out West before, and are pretty unfamiliar with how things work in the park. My research tells me that there's no public transportation in/around Hetch Hetchy, which means that starting from there without a vehicle could be tough. Does anyone have any ideas about how we could reach Hetch Hetchy? I've been thinking that taking a bus into the Valley and hitch hiking from there is a possibility, but I'm not sure how reliable of a plan that is.

Our plan is to start in Hetch Hetchy, hike south and resupply in the Valley, and continue south to Wawona. If anyone has ideas on another starting point that would be easier to reach but follows a similar route I'd love to hear them.
I'm beyond excited for this trip, please help a new guy out!
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Re: Reaching Hetch Hetchy?

Postby AlmostThere » Wed Apr 01, 2015 11:03 am

That's an interesting route.

Have you backpacked before? Hiked at elevations 5000+ with a loaded pack? with a bear canister?

The simplest solution would be to ride the YARTS to White Wolf, go out to Smith Peak from there, return to White Wolf, then hike down to Yosemite Valley from there. However - the wrinkle in this plan would be that White Wolf resort is going to be closed this year for renovations. I recommend calling the park and asking what will become of the YARTS stop at White Wolf if you're interested in doing this. Another idea might be to YARTS into the valley, pick up permits and bear cans (you need to do that in person at a wilderness office), spend the night in the backpacker campground, and take the hiker bus from the lodge up to the trailhead you are starting from. The hiker bus will stop on request at the various trailheads along the way.

You may need two wilderness permits, since the valley itself is not considered wilderness; When you exit the wilderness you need another permit to re-enter it. There are also some restrictions on where you can camp as you leave the valley (I am guessing here you intend to descend via Upper Yosemite Falls trail and cross the valley to Happy Isles or the Four Mile Trail - there is no camping between Happy Isles and Glacier Point. You'd have to go off trail up Ilillouette Creek for a couple of miles, and continue hiking to connect with the trail system in the southeastern part of the park bypassing Glacier Point altogether. There's also nowhere to camp along the Four Mile Trail, and you'll have to be quite a distance along the Pohono to legally camp there.

If this is your first time to the park, you might consider spending the time in the valley, at Tuolumne Meadows, and do the many day hikes available instead of spending so much time hiking through viewless forests. California is in the middle of the worst drought we've had in a hundred years, and so the many creeks will be dry, making water supplies along the way a challenge to plan.
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Re: Reaching Hetch Hetchy?

Postby JFK1965 » Fri May 15, 2015 5:19 pm

When are you looking to hit the trail at Hetch Hetchy and where are you looking for transportation from?
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