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[Yosemite]

Pate Valley to Toulumne Meadows

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

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Pate Valley to Toulumne Meadows

Postby PowayBri » Fri Aug 28, 2015 10:59 am

Hey all, Im getting ready to head out in a few weeks. My trip is starting at White Wolf, down to Pate Valley, then follow the Toulumne River up past Glen Aulin and exit by the meadows. This will be my first trip (north of hwy 120). Any and all advice ( cool camp spots, animal activity, water sources ect,,) is greatly appreciated.

Miles of Smiles

Thanks.
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Re: Pate Valley to Toulumne Meadows

Postby balzaccom » Fri Aug 28, 2015 1:37 pm

That trip will be quite warm this time of year, and the river and waterfalls rather subdued. Pate Valley is about 4,000 feet, so expect temperatures to be a LOT warmer than in White Wolf. And then the hike is a steady climb up to Glen Aulin. There are usually bear sightings in Pate Valley, as well as rattlesnakes. Don't be worried, just be aware. It's a great trip, and you should have the place to yourself. And take your fishing gear if you like that sort of thing...
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Re: Pate Valley to Toulumne Meadows

Postby Phil » Sat Aug 29, 2015 6:20 am

You didn't say how many days you were planning for the trip, so I'm not exactly sure where to suggest camping for each night. Pate Valley is likely your first night unless you want to hold up at the ledges at the top of Morrison Creek and enjoy an incredible view of Hetch Hetchy. Before Pate, the first remote sites you'll find are going to be down in the trees toward the river on your left as you go down what's basically a long stretch that parallels the river (keep a close eye out) before you hit the valley, or, once you get to the valley, just before you cross the first bridge, or, even better still, crossing the river and finding some of the best sites across the second bridge or on the opposite bank of the river by hiking back west toward Hetch Hetchy less than 100 yards or so past the Rogers Canyon trail junction. After the descent from White Wolf, trust me, you'll be ready to call it a day. I haven't been down there this year, but your generally reliable water sources are going to be the top of Morrison Creek before you start heading down the switchbacks, when you physically cross Morrison Creek about 1/3 of the way down, a small stream that may be dry this year about half way down, (skip the tarn beyond that, if it even exists this year...it's foul and warm), then finally down at the river and camp. The switchbacks are largely exposed and hot, and the Valley/Gorge really traps the heat, so do stay hydrated. You'll be able to hike right not far to the river for most of the trip, so you should have no issues with water from then on, but do load up at least a liter when you ascend over and around Muir Gorge. You should be able to do that at Register Creek before you begin your climb. If you do feel like stopping to camp for some reason, there's also a passable trailside site there, but you're best to keep going and then again duck out right toward the river for night two somewhere along the area of Return Creek/Virginia Canyon just past the bridge (trailside) or on the climb up past Waterwheel/La Conte Falls. Obvious, nice, established, more private campsites are surprisingly less prevalent than you might think, and most of the trail is tight and narrow to the cross slope and river bank, but if you look closely, you'll find them tucked in here and there(it should get fairly obvious where to start looking when the terrain opens up enough). If you're planning on doing a third night and don't want to hike out just yet, I would imagine you'll stay at the backpacker's camp at Glen Aulin. If that's the case, head up the hill toward the back for the best spots.

As Balazcomm says, there are lots of rattlesnakes along the trail, and they appear seemingly out of nowhere. Stay alert, but don't get too worried. As for bears: still nothing to worry about if your food is tight, but I would consider the Pate Valley bears as some of the more tenacious in the park. It's usually a pretty high concentration of them in a small area, so don't be surprised to see them doing their thing or sizing you up. Just be generally aware, leave you pack wide open at night, and make a little noise on the trail when you think it might be prudent in some of the denser areas past Pate, that's all.

And yeah, it's gonna be hot, but it's an incredible route!!
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Re: Pate Valley to Toulumne Meadows

Postby JdBSound » Sat Aug 29, 2015 12:11 pm

hey all so i am doing almost this same rout although the other direction......any reason i should reconsider and do it this direction?
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Re: Pate Valley to Toulumne Meadows

Postby Phil » Sat Aug 29, 2015 12:47 pm

Hey,

A lot of people want to avoid the big climb up from Pate Valley to White Wolf. It's about 3700 feet in all and switchbacks galore (not necessarily tight, just long and largely exposed and hot), and once you leave the valley, you don't have the option of stopping for the night until you get up about I guess a 1/4 mile or so beyond and off to your right above that crossing of Morrison Creek I was talking about. You'll see it pretty clearly. Unless you're some kind of masochistic animal, you will want to camp somewhere in Pate and start the climb early to beat the heat. Really, seriously, if you're tired or it's getting late (mid afternoon-ish), give it up for the day in Pate Valley. Besides, it's too nice to pass up, IMO. Next really good place to camp is the top of Morrison Creek- there's a great site along the creek to the left just after you pass a prominent 20' or so wall once you get above the switchbacks where the trail starts to noticeably level out, or to the right at the gap above the same. Head up and over a couple hundred feet or so for some amazing and private ledge sites that overlook Hetch Hetchy and the canyon. Next day, exit out either up toward White Wolf on the main trail to the left (longer and harder) at the next junction, or to the right toward Harden Lake. Carry plenty of water for either way because it's not likely you'll find anything worth pumping from beyond where you camped until you get up close to White Wolf itself. Harden Lake is probably close to or dry by now, so don't count on it.

No compass required...
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