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[Yosemite]

Backpacking (1 night) in early May

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

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Backpacking (1 night) in early May

Postby kosvines » Fri Apr 01, 2016 12:20 am

I'm planning to visit Yosemite in early May. It's a part of a much longer trip elsewhere, so I figure 1 night is what I have.

My first plan was to hike the Pohono Trail from Wawoma Tunnel to Glacier Point. But my application was denied since the road would be closed due to there still being snow in early May. I could enter and exit the Wawoma Tunnel, but I would not be able to exit by Glacier Point.

It is my first time in Yosemite, so I need a little help with suggestions here. It seems like many trails in the high country will be closed during this time, making it difficult to google options. I will be travelling alone, so either a loop or a trail where I would be able to use the shuttle to get back. I know 1 night is not much to see much, but I would like to get some amazing views during my hike. Elevation gain is not a problem, on the contrary.
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Re: Backpacking (1 night) in early May

Postby Phil » Fri Apr 01, 2016 6:31 am

Yes, trail and road closures are going to be problematic and the norm in early May. I would recommend either the top of Yosemite Falls, camping legally a ways back from the rim, Snow Creek, or maybe the easiest and best, Little Yosemite Valley, which I usually suggest you avoid, but that should be okay without the large crowds you would find later in the season.

Outside the Valley, you might also consider Hetch Hetchy. Basically, any trails that allow you to stay below 6000-7000 feet, max. The falls will all be at their peak flows, so any of the hikes above will give you a great chance to enjoy them. Loops are going to be hard to come by, especially with only one night, so plan on in-and-outs. Except for the shuttles between trailheads within the Valley, the rest won't be up and running yet, and aren't going to be necessary.
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Re: Backpacking (1 night) in early May

Postby kosvines » Sat Apr 02, 2016 6:21 am

Thanks. There do seem to be a lot of closed trails during this time. Am I right in assuming that it will not be possible to hike beyond the Snow Creek trail towards Porcupine Creek and from there down to Yosemite Falls? I guess it might be too far for a 2 day-hike anyway, especially if there's snow on the trails.
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Re: Backpacking (1 night) in early May

Postby Phil » Sat Apr 02, 2016 9:11 am

You could easily do it if you're a strong and reasonably fast hiker, but whether you would want to is the question. If you go up Snow Creek, the best camping and views are at the top, adjacent to the falls. The trail from the Valley is short but steep. To get to Yosemite Falls you would head toward Porcupine Creek, but then drop down along Lehamite Creek at the junction, then over to the top of the Falls Trail. Ending up anywhere along Tioga Rd would be pointless from the standpoint of having to backtrack anyhow as the road is going to still be closed. For reference: from where you begin walking at Mirror Lake back to the base of Yosemite Falls is about 15+ miles. When the snow melts, that side or the valley rim is going to be some of the first to go, but a lot of it is heavily shaded, so at least some part of it will likely have some amount of snow cover, whether that's intermittent patches or a few longer stretches is something you're going to have to be there to determine. I wouldn't expect to be post-holing the entire way though.
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Re: Backpacking (1 night) in early May

Postby Grzldvt » Wed Apr 06, 2016 12:12 am

Do Hetch Hetchy to Rancheria Falls. Hiking along the reservoir is amazing and at that time of year the waterfalls will be awesome, up close, personal and roaring. Wildflowers should be close to prime and along the trail are incredible.
Np snow to battle with, and generally great weather.
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Re: Backpacking (1 night) in early May

Postby kosvines » Sat Apr 09, 2016 11:44 am

Thanks again. IF I decide to hike Snow Creek to Yosemite Falls, would you recommend snow shoes? It seems like a given that there will be a lot of snow around the Indian Rock area. And is there some way to check current conditions (like a few days before arriving)?
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Re: Backpacking (1 night) in early May

Postby AlmostThere » Sat Apr 09, 2016 3:15 pm

kosvines wrote:Thanks again. IF I decide to hike Snow Creek to Yosemite Falls, would you recommend snow shoes? It seems like a given that there will be a lot of snow around the Indian Rock area. And is there some way to check current conditions (like a few days before arriving)?


Do you know there are webcams?

I generally don't recommend Snow Creek to anyone. That way I don't get dirty looks.

I recommend doing something that isn't Snow Creek.
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Re: Backpacking (1 night) in early May

Postby Grzldvt » Sun Apr 10, 2016 1:37 am

AlmostThere wrote:
kosvines wrote:Thanks again. IF I decide to hike Snow Creek to Yosemite Falls, would you recommend snow shoes? It seems like a given that there will be a lot of snow around the Indian Rock area. And is there some way to check current conditions (like a few days before arriving)?


Do you know there are webcams?

I generally don't recommend Snow Creek to anyone. That way I don't get dirty looks.

I recommend doing something that isn't Snow Creek.


Totally agree!!!
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Re: Backpacking (1 night) in early May

Postby Phil » Sun Apr 10, 2016 7:24 am

Since you're only going to be out for a night, can afford the extra weight, and might need them, at least have the snowshoes in the car. Here's the webcam link AT is talking about:

https://www.nps.gov/yose/learn/photosmu ... ebcams.htm

I assume AT and Steve don't recommend Snow Creek because it's steep, very steep. It is, and it hurts. I feel the same way that they do about the Falls Trail, but with many more people making it all the worse. Climbing out of the Valley is never any fun. If you do Snow Creek, look at your map contours and get as much info on it as you can so you know what you're getting into before you commit. It's not for the weak or faint of heart. You'll probably feel at least a little beat up the next day, if not closer to trashed, and it's a great trail if you firmly believe that pain builds character.

For an overnight, as much as I don't like LYV either, it's easier, shouldn't be too crowded early next month, and you'll get to enjoy the Merced River with Vernal and Nevada Falls at peak flows.
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Re: Backpacking (1 night) in early May

Postby AlmostThere » Sun Apr 10, 2016 8:39 am

Snow Creek is hard. Snow creek followed by snow and snow and ice and snow... You might make it to Yosemite Falls, or you might run out of daylight and get stuck doing a bivoac in the middle of the trail.

If snowshoeing you can count on cutting your daily miles in half. It is a LOT more work and you can end up postholing WITH the shoes. It is a long way to Yosemite Falls once you reach the top of Snow Creek. Add a backpack full of gear and you will sink even more.

I recommend Little Yosemite Valley, via the JMT. Unless you have more than two days, it's much more reasonable.
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