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3 Day Loop Suggestions

PostPosted: Wed Jul 19, 2017 3:44 pm
by schneidguy1
My brother and I (both 30 yr old experienced hikers) are looking for advice on where we should go for a 3 day trip to Yosemite the last weekend of September (28-1st). We'd love to get some advice on best routes to look for to end up at or camp at Cloud's Rest. Our Dad hiked this back in his youth and we'd love to get some photos from this vantage point for his upcoming birthday. We are driving to the park and will need to leave our car somewhere, looking for the groups advice!

I've heard Sunrise Lakes may be a good place to start. Any other suggestions on a loop we should look at?

Re: 3 Day Loop Suggestions

PostPosted: Wed Jul 19, 2017 6:14 pm
by dan
My favorite is to start at the south end of Tenaya Lake and head to Sunrise Creek and camp there or camp further test at the junction of the Clouds Rest Trail and John Muir Trail. Then you head out to Clouds Rest and then down to Yosemite Valley (ending up at Happy Isles).

An alternate is a round trip from Happy Isles and camp at Little Yosemite Valley. I consider that campground a zoo, but you do meet a lot of people there for campfire discussions.

Re: 3 Day Loop Suggestions

PostPosted: Wed Jul 19, 2017 9:17 pm
by Phil
Since Cloud's Rest is your primary objective, Dan is right, Sunrise trailhead makes the most sense in terms of proximity. The two other logical entry points for a 3-day loop would be Cathedral Lakes or Happy Isles. Unfortunately, advance reservations are still fully impacted for your dates at all three trailheads: ... lheads.htm

However, you can still try to go in with a walk-up permit. From Sunrise, here's what I think would make for a nice, easy itinerary:

Day 1- Hike up Sunrise and make camp on the north side of CR. Walk up in the evening without packs and take some photos of the sunset.

Day 2- Short and leisurely day. Back up CR for more photos of the sunrise this time. Return the way you came and spend the second night at one of the three Sunrise lakes.

Day 3- Back to the trail down to Tenaya Lake and to the car.

Re: 3 Day Loop Suggestions

PostPosted: Thu Jul 20, 2017 1:10 pm
by schneidguy1
@dan and @phil - thank you both for the suggestions. We're thinking of coming in on Thursday night and rolling the dice on a walk up permit... do you have experience doing this? Or a better question is, is it likely we can get a walk up or should we have a solid plan B?

Open to other suggestions if you think there's another part of the park worth seeing!

Re: 3 Day Loop Suggestions

PostPosted: Thu Jul 20, 2017 3:37 pm
by ODS
Here's two other possible 3 day routes that get you atop Clouds Rest

Rafferty Creek
Day 1: TM to Vogelsang area - I like Emeric Lake others have recently said good things about Boothe Lake and it's viability as a camp spot. Emeric makes for less miles the next day
Day 2: Down past Merced Lake and catch connector trail up to Sunrise Creek southeast of Clouds Rest. Could make for a long day, looks like ~12 miles. I did Emeric to LYV and friends still don't like me because of it, to SC looks shorter but with some more climbing.
Day 3: Summit Clouds Rest and then exit via Sunrise Lakes Trailhead
Hitch a ride back to TM to your car
Could also exit via Happy Isles and the valley but then need to find a ride back to TM somehow.

Nelson Lake
Advantage: Wide open permits, could easily get a reservation.
Disadvantage: Cross country for much of day 1 and some of day 2. Inquire about creek crossings below Matthes Lake prior to trip (though IMO by end of Sept you should be able to find your way safely)
Day 1: Elizabeth Lake trailhead to Matthes Lake (read up on cross country route)
Day 2: Matthes Lake outlet to Cathedral Fork trail connector then up to JMT and to Sunrise Lakes
Day 3: Summit Clouds Rest as morning day hike, return to camp and then exit via Sunrise Lakes trailhead
You'll see some cool stuff on this route.

Re: 3 Day Loop Suggestions

PostPosted: Thu Jul 20, 2017 4:15 pm
by Phil
I made a reservation......once. I've always gotten to where I wanted to go...usually easy peasy, sometimes having to run to beat nightfall, sometimes waiting a day to get my trailhead opening. Always have a Plan B though. So, yes, I'm an old hand at strategizing with walk-ups. You definitely don't want to come into the park at night. First of all, you won't find a campsite unless you're incredibly lucky (in which case you should stay home, win the lottery, send your dad on a cruise for his birthday), can't sleep in the car, and you don't even have the right to stay at one of the backpackers' camps without that permit in hand (all permit offices close at 5 pm, period). Secondly, the day before is when the smart people are going to line up for permits, ie: they get it for the next day, then they do get to stay the night at one of the camps, then hit it first thing the next morning. For anything out of Tuolumne (including Sunrise), you want to be at that TM permit office no later than 11 am the day before (09/27), that's when the walk-up permits become available for the 28th. Also, heading into weekends are bad times, so if you can schedule mid-week, better chances. Our highest success rates are Tuesdays and Wednesdays, sometimes Thursdays if the season isn't in full-swing.

Re: 3 Day Loop Suggestions

PostPosted: Thu Jul 20, 2017 4:21 pm
by Phil
ODS wrote:I did Emeric to LYV and friends still don't like me because of it

Funny how that works, isn't it. Be happy it wasn't your favoritest girlfriend ever. "Honey, bloody feet are good for you. Don't worry, the last mile to LYV is sandy, so you could even do it on your knees if you have to."