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First time in Yosemite, going over Vogelsang Pass.

PostPosted: Thu Aug 11, 2016 8:07 pm
by bbmq
I haven't been to Yosemite before but I have a 5-day wilderness permit starting on Rafferty Creek and a permit for Half Dome. I'm good for about 12 miles a day and I hear going over Vogelsang Pass is nice but my question is about camping options for the first night. My topo shows what looks like a healthy creek running parallel to the Lewis Creek Trail, does this offer good places to camp? Someone mentioned falls somewhere in the area, how far down is that?

I'm probably going to spend the second night at Sunrise Creek and then do Half Dome in the morning. I was thinking about heading up the Forsythe Trail after, does anybody know the condition of the water in the pond between Cloud's Rest and the junction to Sunrise Lakes?

Thanks in advance for all your help.

Re: First time in Yosemite, going over Vogelsang Pass.

PostPosted: Thu Aug 11, 2016 9:16 pm
by Phil
The pond on the Forsyth will be good, as will the creek before it coming from your direction. The pond is shallow, so the water will be warmer. The creek should be more refreshing.

There is more camping along the Fletcher Creek Trail, so that's another route option when you reach the trail junction at Tuolumne Pass I suppose. This is also where the falls you probably heard about are, but it won't be much this time of year.

The healthy creek you're talking about is Lewis Creek. Best to cut off and head to Bernice Lake for a good site, or there are a few sites at and below the junction over to Foerster Peak/Cony Crags. Beyond that, the terrain becomes steep and rougher, but if you head right and go up the Fletcher Creek trail and go over the bridge, there are a couple sites a little above there as well. If those are taken, unfortunately, you're going at least down to the the valley near the Merced River, if not all the way to the HSC backpacker's camp. If that becomes the case, and if you're willing to walk the extra distance out of your way to and from, Washburn Lake might be something you should consider as well.

Re: First time in Yosemite, going over Vogelsang Pass.

PostPosted: Fri Aug 12, 2016 6:41 am
by balzaccom
There are also nice campsites at Fletcher Lake (North side) and Babcock on the Fletcher Creek side...with less climbing than over Vogelsang Pass

Re: First time in Yosemite, going over Vogelsang Pass.

PostPosted: Fri Aug 12, 2016 7:58 am
by bbmq
Thank you greatly for your responses but I might be talking about the wrong trail, is it Lewis Creek Trail that goes over Vogelsang Pass? That is where I'm heading and there's a creek running along it on my map al the way through that valley, does that offer good campsites?

Re: First time in Yosemite, going over Vogelsang Pass.

PostPosted: Fri Aug 12, 2016 9:34 am
by Phil
bbmq wrote:... is it Lewis Creek Trail that goes over Vogelsang Pass?

Yes, it is indeed. The campsite rundown I gave you in my last post is accurate for that route. Double check your map on the route and topography. No worries except getting there.

It's actually kind of funny, but it's usually Balzaccom that recommends Bernice and me that recommends Babcock. I like Babcock Lake a lot, but it is on the Fletcher Creek Trail. Both Lewis and Fletcher end up in the same spot.

As I said, there are more sites to choose from on the Fletcher, and it does take a lower course by going right at the junction at Tuolumne Pass. Being your first time in Yosemite, and having no idea how you'll be with altitude, I'm wondering if you might find it necessary to shorten the first day up from Rafferty. While Bernice and Babcock Lakes are doable, Balzaccom's suggestion for Fletcher Lake is solid from this standpoint, but it is within the camping area of the HSC. To reach it, go up to Vogelsang, turn left, walk a couple hundred yards. On the right, about 100 ft off the trail, there are a couple designated sites tucked back in the trees that you'll see. They offer good shelter from the wind and close proximity to water. No fires are allowed.

On your route, up and over the pass, there's also a nice site below the falls where you cross Florence Creek that I forgot to mention earlier. This is also where the person that told you about the falls might have been talking about. It's also the last, best, lowest place to make camp unless you're going back up to the sites above the bridge I mentioned above (it's actually bridging Lewis Creek) on the Fletcher Creek Trail. If you get down into this area, not only are the numbers of sites limited by topography, but you have to bear in mind that the Merced>Vogelsang route is extremely popular, and you run the risk of fierce competition for those sites. You can easily get shut out. For this reason alone, I would strongly recommend either staying higher, or opting for the Fletcher Creek Trail with more choices spread out over its length as well as on side trails to various lakes such as Babcock and Emeric.

If you do opt for the lower Fletcher Creek Trail, remember that Boothe Lake is off limits to camping. However, there are a series of accessible, virtually trailside tarns that begin about a mile or so past the junction and offer some of the nicest sites in the area. And even with a few miles tacked on to the second day, you shouldn't have too much problem getting up to Sunrise Creek in order to make your Half Dome permit.