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Itinerary for 10-day backpacking trip in July

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

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Itinerary for 10-day backpacking trip in July

Postby jeffblaylock » Thu Feb 21, 2008 10:22 am

Greetings all!

I am finally getting out to Yosemite in July, and I am planning a 10-day backpacking route. I would appreciate this community's thoughts on my tentative itinerary. What would you do differently? What would you skip, and where would you linger (shorter mileage day, dayhikes, etc.)? Where would you camp? What would you add?

I know I'll have other questions -- many others, natch -- but we'll start with the rough plan. Thanks in advance for the advice!

SAT JUL 5. Fly to Fresno.

SUN JUL 6. Take train/bus to Yosemite Valley. Exlore valley floor. Reservation for tent cabin in Curry Village.

MON JUL 7. Take shuttle to Glacier Point. Hike back to valley via Panorama Trail, Nevada Fall, and Happy Isles. Reservation for tent cabin in Curry Village.

TUE JUL 8. Take hiker's shuttle bound for Tioga Pass. Begin backpack at Porcupine Creek TH. Hike to North Dome, top of Yosemite Fall, then turn north along Yosemite Creek. Camp near Yosemite Creek above junction of trail to El Capitan (~11 miles).

WED JUL 9. Continue up Yosemite Creek/Ten Lake trail beyond Tioga Pass Road to Ten Lakes Basin. Camp in Ten Lakes Basin (~13 miles).

THU JUL 10. Retrace path out of Ten Lakes Basin, heading toward White Wolf. Resupply? Or skip White Wolf? Begin descent into Grand Canyon of the Tuolumne. Camp near Morrison Creek (~14 miles).

FRI JUL 11. Descend into Grand Canyon of the Tuolumne via Pate Valley. Hike upstream toward Tuolumne Meadows. Camp in the canyon (~10 miles).

SAT JUL 12. Continue upstream in Grand Canyon of the Tuolumne. Camp between California Falls and Glen Aulin (~10 miles).

SUN JUL 13. Hike to Tuolumne Meadows. Resupply. Hike to Rafferty Creek Trail. Camp alomg Rafferty Creek (~12 miles).

MON JUL 14. Hike to Vogelsang. Follow Lewis Creek Trail toward Merced Lake. Camp before reaching Merced Lake (~9 miles).

TUE JUL 15. Follow Merced River through Echo Valley to Little Yosemite Valley. Camp near the Muir Trail/Clouds Rest junction or near Quarter Domes (~11 miles)

WED JUL 16. Dayhike to Clouds Rest. Explore Quarter Domes (~10 miles)

THU JUL 17. Early morning summit of Half Dome. Descend to Happy Isles via John Muir Trail. Reservation at Yosemite Lodge (~12 miles).

FRI JUL 18. Depart Yosemite via bus/trail/bus to San Francisco. Night in San Francisco.

SAT JUL 19. San Francisco.

SUN JUL 20. Fly home to Austin.

As you can tell from the descriptions, I will not be renting a car, so I will be able to go only where my feet and public transportation will take me.

Any thoughts on what I should do differently? Thanks, and I can't wait to hit the trail!
Jeff Blaylock
Austin, Texas
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Joined: Thu Feb 21, 2008 9:34 am
Location: Austin, Texas

Postby Grzldvt » Fri Feb 22, 2008 12:03 am

Have you taken into consideration your elevation gains? You have some hefty climbs in this trip. Once you get past Regulation Creek in the Grand Canyon you are on a pretty stiff uphill to Glen Aulin, with little camping in between. The climb up to Ten Lakes is not all that easy either.

Water may be an issue by the Quarter Domes. Even though you are going fairly early, the creeks can be very seasonal, read that as they dry up very quickly. You could be without water in that area. Dan suggested camping near the intersection of Clouds Rest and the JMT, I would seriously take his advice.
You will have to go up Rafferty, I think at least 4 miles to legally camp, although it might be 3 miles. If it was me I would go all the way to Vogelsang and camp. Rafferty is OK and camping can be tough. Vogelsang is just a lot better.
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Postby mozierfamily » Sun Mar 09, 2008 9:35 pm

It sounds like you've hit a number of the best hikes in Yosemite. As long as you're in shape for it, you should have a superb time. Be prepared for tons of people in the Yosemite Valley/Curry Village portions of your trip, but to enjoy some quieter stretches in the Grand Canyon of the Tuolumne and between Vogelsang and Merced Lake.
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Postby jeffblaylock » Mon Mar 10, 2008 10:50 pm

Thanks everyone for the advice. I've rerouted myself a bit based on feedback I've gotten and some further research. The revised plan, with some lingering questions, is:

JUL 5-7 - travel and dayhike starting from Glacier Point

TUE JUL 8 - begin at Porcupine Creek, hike to North Dome and the top of Yosemite Falls. Camp as far up the Yosemite Creek Trail as possible (goal: near the trail split where one fork goes to the campground and the other to White Wolf).

WED JUL 9 - hike toward White Wolf but bypass it to the east, finding a campsite near Morrison Creek partway down the trail to Pate Valley. If especially energetic, get to Pate Valley.

THU JUL 10 - hike up the Grand Canyon of the Tuolumne, finding a campsite at around 5,600 feet elevation, roughly 2km east of Register Creek. QUESTION: Most of the trailguides I've read don't really discuss camping options between Pate Valley and just west of Glen Aulin. Will I find a suitable site in the area I'm aiming for?

FRI JUL 11 - continue hike up the Grand Canyon of the Tuolumne, finding a campsite between California Falls and Glen Aulin.

SAT JUL 12 - finish hike up the Grand Canyon of the Tuolumne, refueling, recharging batteries, and resupplying at Tuolumne Meadows. Continue up Lyell Canyon to the junction with the trail to Vogelsang and Ireland Lake and camp there. QUESTION: What are the odds of snagging a site at TM camp (or backpacker camp if there is one) on a Saturday if I decide refueling, recharging, and resupplying might take awhile?

SUN JUL 13 - hike up to Vogelsang, camp in its vicinity

MON JUL 14 - hike over the pass and take the Lewis Creek Trail past Merced Lake and camp in Echo Valley or near the junction of the Echo Creek and High Trails.

TUE JUL 15 - hike the Echo Creek Trail to Sunrise and camp at the Sunrise lakes.

WED JUL 16 - hike to Clouds Rest, set up what I expect will be a dry camp somewhere near the Quarter Domes. Dayhike down to LYV for water. QUESTION: Has anyone camped here? My thought process is, camp as high as possible to shorten the following morning's ascent of Half Dome, which brings me to

THU JUL 17 - summit Half Dome, hike down to Happy Isles and embrace the loving arms of a shower and a bed.

JUL 18-20 - travel via the City by the Bay

So I've essentially cut out the Ten Lakes Basin and rerouted my approach to Clouds Rest. I haven't re-added the mileage, so I'm guessing these changes lead to a net reduction of about 6-8 miles and eliminate a significant up and down. It also shifts the LONG day from Day 3 to Day 5. It also allows a little more time to make the long climb up the Grand Canyon.

Any additional guidance y'all have would be fantastic and much appreciated!
Jeff Blaylock
Austin, Texas
Posts: 2
Joined: Thu Feb 21, 2008 9:34 am
Location: Austin, Texas

Staying over at Tuolumne

Postby adrianhoff » Wed Mar 12, 2008 8:27 am

Arriving late on Saturday, there won't be an open tent cabin at the so-called Lodge, or an open campsite in the campground. Technically, the backpackers camp (next to the campground) is for day-before / day-after (not middle of) your hike. In past years they’ve been pretty loose about that. Or you can look for someone at the campground who’s willing to share their space. I take the bus to Lee Vinning for a mid-hike night in a real bed. The bus leaves Tuolumne Meadows around 6:30 p.m. There are three hotels. Rooms around $80.00. There’s a coin-op laundry mat, a restaurant, and small market loaded with camp food. You can walk to everything. Downtown is four blocks long. The bus picks you next morning at around 8:30 a.m. and drops you off at whichever trailhead you choose.
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