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Wilderness permit question

Hiking, backpacking, running, biking, climbing, rafting, and other human-powered activities in Yosemite National Park

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Wilderness permit question

Postby hopeyeu » Mon Apr 30, 2018 12:48 pm

My son and I are going to backpack the High Sierra loop this July and I'm wondering if I made a mistake with the permit. I asked for and received a permit for an entry at Glen Aulin, exit at Lyell Canyon 6 days later, figuring we'd do the typical counter-clockwise circuit. Given that this route takes us out to May Lake and then comes back out of the wilderness to cross Tioga Rd over to the Sunrise trailhead, should I have gotten two permits, the second one entering the wilderness again at Sunrise?

It seems like our entry/exit trailheads imply we had to be leaving the wilderness, otherwise we wouldn't be ending along Lyell Canyon, so it seems to me they gave tacit approval of me doing this on one permit, but maybe I'm mistaken...
Last edited by hopeyeu on Wed May 16, 2018 10:01 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Wilderness permit question

Postby AlmostThere » Mon Apr 30, 2018 2:03 pm

The rule as explained to me is, if you cross the road and keep hiking into the wilderness, you are still on the same permit and are fine. If you reach the road, turn down it either direction, and start to travel (by whatever means) down it outside the wilderness (roads are by definition not wilderness) you have exited the wilderness and require another permit to continue backpacking in the wilderness.
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Re: Wilderness permit question

Postby Phil » Mon Apr 30, 2018 8:45 pm

No worries. You're golden.

AT has it right as usual, you cross the road down from May Lake at about 0.6 miles from the Sunrise trailhead, then continue back into the wilderness. Classic HSC route. There's even a painted crosswalk. The saving grace under one permit is crossing the road only, not walking along it for any great distance. Any wilderness rangers that you happen to run into will know what's going on, and that it's a perfectly legit permit for the entire loop.
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