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6 days hiking help plan

PostPosted: Mon Jun 20, 2016 12:57 pm
by bru
8) Hi guys,

I'm glad I found this forum. Thanks for keeping it alive, it helps answer most of the questions I had as I 1st timer in the Valley.
I'm an overseas first time solo backpacking, and also 1st time in US NPs. I'll be in Yosemite from September 12-18 and I really need help in order to plan the hikes.

I'll land on SFO and will drive to the park, planning to get there super early (around 5am) in order to find a campsite on Camp 4. I'm planning to spend the first day/night there, and I have only one desire: spend a night in North Dome to enjoy sunset/sunrise.

This is a solo/contemplation trip, so I'm open to your suggestions on how to better spend my 6 days there (backpacking or just hiking roundtrip to Camp 4), and also the tips requirements to do so.

Thanks in advance.
Cheers :)

Re: 6 days hiking help plan

PostPosted: Mon Jun 20, 2016 2:57 pm
by dan
Hi Bru,

Sounds like you've done a lot of research already. Camp 4 is popular, but it's a good place to meet other campers. After Labor Day it should be less crowded in Yosemite as school has started and the weather is cooling. Early Monday or Tuesday or Wednesday are good days to get a spot at Camp 4. You want to find out who is leaving and grab their spot.

I've backpacked several times near North Dome, but never overnight on it, but others have. It could get windy, but there's a great "in your face" view of Half Dome and it's wonderful seeing sunrise too. The easiest way is to backpack in from Porcupine Flat. Park your car there and backpack in and out from there. I usually camp where the North Rim Trail crosses Lehamite Creek (a mile or so west of North Dome).

About 1/2 mile north of North Dome is Natural Arch--it's a natural arch weathered away from the granite. Do not miss it. From the trail just follow the ridge up north from North Dome to the arch. The arch is shown on some maps but not all.

You will need a Wilderness Permit. Half are available by reservation and half are available first-come, first-served--I'm not sure you need to reserve in September as the crowds have gone. You can reserve online at
You also need a Bear Canister, but you can rent one from where you get your wilderness permit. There are bears around North Dome. I saw a mother playing with her cubs once in a meadow near North Dome.

Don't miss the other parts of the park though. I recommend seeing the Wanona Grove, the grove of Giant Sequoia trees at the southern end of the park. Hike up from Yosemite Valley from Happy Isles and see Nevada and Vernal Falls.

Drive to Tuolumne Meadows and hike around there. You can hike down a trail along the Tuolumne River and see falls at Glen Aulin and Waterwheel Falls.

Re: 6 days hiking help plan

PostPosted: Tue Jun 21, 2016 8:20 am
by AlmostThere
Mariposa grove (the one near Wawona) is closed til next year, still, btw.

There are campsites near the dome -- I wouldn't recommend camping on it. There's a patch of trees back from the granite. Probably has fire rings and places to store the canister where the bears won't roll it off the dome into the valley.

It's a gorgeous place to watch sunset/sunrise, and star watch.

Re: 6 days hiking help plan

PostPosted: Tue Jun 21, 2016 9:44 am
by Phil
Camp 4 is foul. With a permit, the backpacker's camp in the Valley at North Pines campground is far superior in atmosphere, and in being among fellow backpackers.

Generally speaking, if you're parking your car anywhere along Tioga Rd to access your entry trailhead, on or about Sept 15th, the shuttles stop running in some cases, and schedules are seriously curtailed with others such as YARTS, so there's a very good chance that you're going to have to get back to it using your own devices. A loop out of the Valley and back is probably a lot better way to plan.

Re: 6 days hiking help plan

PostPosted: Thu Jun 23, 2016 3:07 pm
by MadDiver
You'll need to decide how you want to do your trip but as Phil mentioned a Wilderness Permit grants a very nice perk: You get to spend the night before and after your wilderness trip in the backpackers camp (North Pines, White Wolf, Tuolumne Meadows) no reservation or fee required. This applies to each permit you get. So with a wilderness permit for some trail to N. Dome on the 13th, you could arrive Monday the 12th (you wouldn't need to arrive so early either), tour/day hike the Valley, waterfalls, etc, then stay the night in the backpackers camp. Backpack the next 1, 2, 3 (however many you want) nights, spend a night in the backpackers camp, pull another wilderness permit for where ever you want to go (maybe Glen Aulin, or Vogelsang) for a night or 2 and that should get you to the finish. Or you could of course backpack from day 1, with a night or two in a row at the backpackers camp between two valid permits on two short backpacking trips. Or a 4 nights backpack with a stay at each end. Tons of options but this should get you started. Ask questions, the folks here will get you answers :)

Re: 6 days hiking help plan

PostPosted: Mon Jun 27, 2016 1:21 pm
by bru
MadDiver, Phill, AlmostThere and Dan, thank you for your time and tips.

As you all mentioned, the Wilderness Permit is the base for all the other arrangements, isn't it?
Could you so help me suggesting 6 hikes (one per day) and pointing for which WP I have to apply, or ask when get in the park?

Is it too much to ask? :roll:

Re: 6 days hiking help plan

PostPosted: Tue Jun 28, 2016 2:43 pm
by MadDiver
I like playing with maps and routes so I'll take a stab at this. This is all predicated on you wanting to camp near North Dome and the uncertainty of the shuttles when you'll be there. You could do ND from the Valley but that's some really big ups and downs to start and end your hike. This also uses the backpackers camps so you don't need campground reservations or need to fight for a spot in Camp 4.

Pretrip: Apply for a Porcupine Creek Wilderness Permit for the Sept 13-15 (currently available).
Day 1: Arrive, pickup permit, see all the touristy sights in the Valley, check out the waterfalls, maybe drive up to Glacier Point, spend the night in the backpackers camp (I misspoke before it's $5 not free).
Day 2: Drive to Porcupine Flat (be sure to put all extra food and scented items in the bear lockers, don't leave in your car) and head down the trail to North Dome, check out Indian Rock on the way (1.2 mile detour rt), camp near ND.
Day 3: Hike west along the North Rim, turn north near Yosemite Falls and head up along the Yosemite Falls trail, camp where you wish.
Day 4: Back to your car via the trail to Yosemite Creek campground then over to Porcupine (days 2-4 could be done in the opposite direction). Drive to Tuolumne Meadows, get a permit for the next day***, do some day hiking or tour the meadows if you finished early. Camp in the backpackers camp.
Day 5: Hike into where ever you got a permit for, camp.
Day 6: Hike out. If you have time check out the Tuolumne Sequoia grove on the drive out.

*** Permits out of Tuolumne Meadows could be: Glen Aulin, Young Lakes, Vogelsang, Sunrise, Cathedral, Lyell, etc... lots of choices... being solo you should get something...

Option 1: Day 4: You could also potentially skip the backpackers camp at TM and hike to Glen Aulin ~5 miles (permits are currently available on the 15th), a bit downhill very easy hike, camp. Then either day hike down the river or over to May Lake Day 5, camp).
Option 2: Don't do the touristy stuff in the Valley, start your trip to North Dome Day 1, do a two night instead of 1 night backpack the second half of the trip.

I'm a little confused as you said the 12-18, but you also said 6 if you have another night, add in a backpackers camp somewhere with some day hiking or another night on the trail.