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hitch hike the Tioga road in November to a trailhead

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hitch hike the Tioga road in November to a trailhead

Postby cheryl99 » Tue Nov 12, 2019 12:15 pm

HI everyone, If the Tioga road is open over thanksgiving 4 day weekend do people just thru drive it? The Yosemite website says no over night parking on Tioga road. We want to come down and backpack to clouds rest. I know we can go from the valley up to it, I thought it would be cool if we could park somewere near crane flats for 2 days and hitchhike to sunrise lakes trailhead and go in that way and return via the valley trail out. Or even park in the valley and find a ride somehow to crane flat area or thru tioga road. We plan to drive down thursday and are looking to get our backpack trip started on friday the 29th! Thank you everyone for any input
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Re: hitch hike the Tioga road in November to a trailhead

Postby balzaccom » Tue Nov 12, 2019 2:18 pm

Hi Cheryl

This would be easy in the summer...but it's really hard to predict traffic over Tioga Road now that they have closed it to overnight parking. So the only real advice I can give you is that you can give a try. If you had an extra member of your party, you could assign that person to driving duty. As it is, you might find the right combination of someone driving over the road with room in their car for you...

If not, you might find Tenaya lake frozen over---and that's always worth a trip up there, even if you can't hike to Cloud's Rest.

Of course, you could just hike to CR from the Sunrise trailhead, leaving at the crack of dawn, and maybe leaving a note on the windshield that explains when you'll be back. Normally the rules say no parking after dark...but they are really worried about your car getting stuck there if there's a storm. If you are leaving by 7 p.m. you might be OK with the ranger/enforcement
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Re: hitch hike the Tioga road in November to a trailhead

Postby AlmostThere » Tue Nov 12, 2019 4:22 pm

Crane Flat is closed up for the winter and parking there overnight would probably get you a ticket. The nearest trailhead parking will be the one near the Foresta turnoff. If there's a place that I would not be tempted to color outside the lines, it's Yosemite....

Traffic is inconsistent in winter, weekdays will be less traffic than weekends. I would day hike it and camp in the valley. It's a great time for that. One day to hike to Clouds Rest, another day to day hike other destinations such as North Dome, Little Yosemite Valley, Panorama trail, etc. That would get you to more Big Name Destinations than backpacking.
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Re: hitch hike the Tioga road in November to a trailhead

Postby cheryl99 » Tue Nov 12, 2019 7:26 pm

Thank you both, I do want to follow the rules! We have camped in the valley and little yosemite valley camp, climbed half dome, done the whole panorama trail. We are planning to camp at clouds rest, starting from the valley which is long and hard lol. Yeah it's probably not as east to find a ride as it would be in the summer.
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Re: hitch hike the Tioga road in November to a trailhead

Postby Phil » Wed Nov 13, 2019 6:16 am

Another thought on this might be to park at the Big Oak Flat entrance station in the wilderness office parking lot or wherever you can along the road. Put your thumb out, give it a couple hours, and if it doesn't pan out, head down to the Valley and see what you can do from down there. The thinking here is that it's primarily tourists coming out of the Valley, with whatever seasonal limitations that entails, but Hwy 120 (Tioga Rd) is, after all, a relatively major thoroughfare for west/east traffic, and you might have better luck tapping into that volume.

At the end, from the Valley, hitch back up to the car, again, because you should hopefully be able to tap into the volume of people leaving for home. Hitchhiking is the product of time and number of cars, and with it, increasing the odds of that one person that's willing to hook you up passing your way. Mo' always be betta.

Aside from trail conditions that may ensue, just keep in mind that once the snow falls on Tioga Rd, if it doesn't melt on it's own, that road is CLOSED for the rest of the season, and there will not be a plow on it anywhere until Spring. So just make sure that you check the forecast, and don't get caught out with either your logistics of the transportation or the hike itself.

Have fun! Bring hats and warm sleeping bags.
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Re: hitch hike the Tioga road in November to a trailhead

Postby AlmostThere » Wed Nov 13, 2019 6:33 am

If you plan to camp on Clouds, you might want to rethink it. Nowhere to stake out the tent, a long way to fall, narrow and one gust of wind later you may be watching your tent containing sleeping gear doing a great impression of a kite. And nowhere to stash the bear can safely.
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Re: hitch hike the Tioga road in November to a trailhead

Postby balzaccom » Wed Nov 13, 2019 7:32 am

Yes--actually camping ON Clouds Rest is prohibited, as I recall. Best spots are below in the trees.
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Re: hitch hike the Tioga road in November to a trailhead

Postby AlmostThere » Wed Nov 13, 2019 7:40 am

balzaccom wrote:Yes--actually camping ON Clouds Rest is prohibited, as I recall. Best spots are below in the trees.


Parks are more and more articulating that camping on peaks is verboten - I was heading up to Alta Peak (Sequoia NP) and informed, though it is posted nowhere, that it's illegal... I can understand that. Not wanting to turn these places into fields of poop piles with illegal campfire rings either. We were carrying our backpacks because we were going down the other side, off trail, to Pear Lake.

I believe most folks camp at the junction of the trail below Clouds, at Sunrise Creek. It's not a long hike after sunset to get there, so you can still enjoy the best of both worlds.
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Re: hitch hike the Tioga road in November to a trailhead

Postby cheryl99 » Wed Nov 13, 2019 9:40 am

Yes I plan to camp below the tree line at clouds rest, I read there is a few spots, I do not intent to camp on top. Sorry I just had said clouds rest and didnt specify the summit or near by area. I cant stand seeing poop out anywere when I go backpack. If you cant deal with picking it up in a blue bag then you dont belong out there! Thank you
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Re: hitch hike the Tioga road in November to a trailhead

Postby dgilman » Wed Nov 13, 2019 3:33 pm

AlmostThere wrote:
balzaccom wrote:Yes--actually camping ON Clouds Rest is prohibited, as I recall. Best spots are below in the trees.


I believe most folks camp at the junction of the trail below Clouds, at Sunrise Creek. It's not a long hike after sunset to get there, so you can still enjoy the best of both worlds.


I'd recommend camping much closer to CR thank the junction of the trail - between the big patch of green and the edge of the rim -

https://goo.gl/maps/jZeaq3dCh6m6APmk6

Just load up on water at the Creek, because there's not any until you get down the other side.

David
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Re: hitch hike the Tioga road in November to a trailhead

Postby Phil » Sat Nov 16, 2019 7:25 am

Yeah, assuming you guys can get yourselves up there, you're definitely going to need to grab your water at that creek you pass in between the pond on your right and the trail junction. You'll see it on your map. Past the junction, you begin a mild climb to your right, up toward CR. Within a couple hundred yards you're going to come to a short flat area where you can first see the trail narrow down between the brush and begin to climb toward the summit. At that point you'll want to dodge to the tree line out to your right in the direction of the rim of Tenaya Canyon (W/NW). That's where you'll find the sites you're going to want.

And with shit, it's not so much the sight (nasty though), it's the smell. You also don't have to pick it up, just bury it in the appropriate depth cat-hole, in the appropriate type of soil, and at the appropriate distance from the trail, water, and campsites. It's the TP you need to bag up and pack out. Or I guess bagging it all up works too, if you're so inclined. :)
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Re: hitch hike the Tioga road in November to a trailhead

Postby cheryl99 » Mon Nov 18, 2019 12:15 pm

If we end of coming in from the valley side, does anyone know were some campspots are? Closer to CR than Little Yosemite Valley, thank you
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Re: hitch hike the Tioga road in November to a trailhead

Postby AlmostThere » Mon Nov 18, 2019 12:37 pm

You can't camp within 2 miles of Little Yosemite Valley, or anywhere between Happy Isles and Little Yosemite Valley. There are signs on the trail toward Merced Lake and toward Sunrise Creek that mark the boundaries of the area within the camping ban. That's how folks end up at Sunrise Creek.

There are maps in the superintendent's compendium marking the no camping zones. https://www.nps.gov/yose/learn/manageme ... licies.htm
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Re: hitch hike the Tioga road in November to a trailhead

Postby balzaccom » Mon Nov 18, 2019 10:23 pm

Note that there is a winter storm warning for the next few days, calling for up to a foot of snow in the Sierra..albeit the heaviest snowfall is further south. Make sure you check the weather and are comfortable with the conditions before you start out!
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Re: hitch hike the Tioga road in November to a trailhead

Postby MikeP » Wed Nov 20, 2019 3:36 pm

You can call the front desk of the Ahwahnee hotel. They can get you connected with some of the local staff in the Valley. The locals frequently offer shuttle rides to hikers and backpackers. I've done it. Not sure about off season but they might ask for $150 depending on the trail head, it is usually 100 miles round trip for them. This is an option if you want to have more of a sure thing compared to hitchhiking.
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