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water on tuolumne to yosemite valley

PostPosted: Wed Oct 05, 2016 8:25 am
by Tim
Im planning a first trip to yosemite and we are a pretty fresh faced group of backpackers. Hoping to trek Tuolumne meadow to Yosemite valley on a four day, and maybe take a day hike in the middle to Half Dome. I am wondering what the water situation is on this hike? Is there water easily accessible for a filter or are there water stations on the trail?

Re: water on tuolumne to yosemite valley

PostPosted: Wed Oct 05, 2016 9:14 am
by AlmostThere
"water stations?" :lol: I see you don't do a lot of wilderness hiking. Don't expect anything like that. There are pit toilets on the most heavily used part of the trail, the Mist Trail, to prevent the ongoing stench of urine everywhere, but that's about it.

There are, depending on the time of year, creeks and small tarns and lakes, depending on the route you take. Plus the Merced River. A filter is a must -- the river tests positive for e coli on a semi-regular basis. Too many people in the area for it to be pristine.

Don't forget to tick the box on the wilderness permit form, to get the permit for Half Dome. There's a nice fine if you don't have that and go up the dome.

Re: water on tuolumne to yosemite valley

PostPosted: Wed Oct 05, 2016 9:17 am
by Tim
Thanks. And yeah, I have done zero backpacking. Im as noob as it gets. Just starting on all this and trying to figure it all out. In some other places I read about bringing 2 and 3 liter collapsible bladders (?). I was really wondering if on that particular trail we would need to bring our own water and try to carry a ton of water or if filtering along the way is possible.

Re: water on tuolumne to yosemite valley

PostPosted: Wed Oct 05, 2016 9:21 am
by AlmostThere
Oh, you'll be fine with a couple liters for drinking while you hike, and campsites can be found near water along the way.

You're going to need packs big enough for bear canisters, too. If you rent by mail from Wild Ideas instead of waiting til you get to the park to rent canisters, you'll have time at home to pack and repack them and figure that out. Here is a website on packing a can: It's about food choices really, things that stand up to being stuffed into odd shaped spaces, instead of taking things like bread, crackers, bananas, etc. Think banana chips, trail mix, rice or couscous based meals... check out for lots of ideas instead of paying a ton for premade meals.

You can also rent gear instead of buying if you aren't sure you ever want to backpack again. Websites like can help.

Re: water on tuolumne to yosemite valley

PostPosted: Wed Oct 05, 2016 3:15 pm
by balzaccom
Hi Tim

There are few different routes from Tuolumne Meadows to Yosemite Valley---including via Cathedral Lakes or over Tuolumne Pass and down either Lewis or Fletcher Creeks. As you might imagine, those lakes and creeks will have water. Most people filter their water, so you'll need to take along a filter and know how to use it. Most backpackers prefer to carry relatively little water (a liter or two) and re-fill their bottles/bladders at lunch time or along the hike, rather than carrying a whole day's worth of water when they start in the morning.

That's a great hike you are planning, with lots of amazing things to see.

You'll find a lot more basic information about backpacking the website in my signature line...

Re: water on tuolumne to yosemite valley

PostPosted: Thu Oct 06, 2016 10:09 am
by Phil
I'm assuming your plan is to start from the Cathedral Lakes trailhead, and that you're planning on doing it soon? This is how I would break it down.

From the trailhead at Tuolumne to Upper Cathedral Lake- 1 liter per person

From Upper Cathedral, depending on where you're planning on camping- 2 liters per person...the water spigot at the Sunrise HSC is shut down for the season. You might find some pumpable water in Long Meadow Creek immediately prior to the HSC, but don't count on it. Ask the ranger for the current report on that. If he/she gives you a definite "yes" cut back to 1 liter per person. If not, either head over to Sunrise Lakes for more water or for the night, or use that 2 lpp conservatively. If you're planning on spending the night at the backpacker's camp at the Sunrise HSC, add to your hiking supply with enough for dinner and breakfast. You'll need to make it down to Sunrise Creek for your next source, and you have a little climbing to do before that.

From Sunrise- just carry whatever you need to stay adequately hydrated for a couple hours or so until you get down to the Merced at LYV. But if you're going up HD, plan on 2 lpp for the day.

From LYV to the Valley, at most, a liter per person.

This time of year, aside from potential weather considerations, the biggest part of trip planning is about water sources. You have to find that balance between where it is and being able to reasonably and realistically make it there, and not carrying too much in between at 2.2 lbs per liter. It adds up fast when you like to drink and eat. Push a little harder and further if you can, but also, don't be afraid to fall short of what you might otherwise be able to do if you need to. Dry hiking and camping is horrible.

What's your present itinerary?

Re: water on tuolumne to yosemite valley

PostPosted: Thu Oct 06, 2016 10:44 am
by MadDiver
You didn't mention dates. But starting Oct. 15th overnight parking is banned along Tioga Road including lots, campgrounds and your intended trailhead whichever it may be, so be sure to factor that into your plan.