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Planning for the next trip, lots of questions

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

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Re: Planning for the next trip, lots of questions

Postby balzaccom » Wed Oct 24, 2018 2:28 am

Yeah, well remember that most of Yosemite outside the Valley itself is over 8000 feet, and in November there's a very good chance of snow. With luck, we'll get a lot of snow. Tioga Road is closed to overnight parking by now...so you don't have that many trailhead options.

I'd suggest the best choice is the North Rim trail...up Yosemite Falls, across the North Rim past North Dome (side trips to hike up North Dome and My. Watkins) and the down Snow Creek. Nice hike, right distance and time, and maybe it's manageable in November.

You can only camp more than four miles from the trailhead...but once there, you can camp anywhere you want as long as you are 100 feet from any trail or water.
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Re: Planning for the next trip, lots of questions

Postby Phil » Wed Oct 24, 2018 4:30 am

As balzaccom mentions, that late in November is going to get sketchy in terms of weather. You're going to be very much dependent on forecasts, and you're going to be coming up against issues like trailhead accessibility and even some closures of both roads and trails themselves. If there is snow on the ground already, as well as any in the forecast during your trip, it's time to either reevaluate your gear, your skill sets, or even the trip itself. It's not just a matter of enjoyment, logistics, and safety, even not far out into the wilderness, it can be a matter of actual survival in the wrong circumstances.

That said, you're pretty much relegated to trailheads based in the Valley. By far, the best choice for multi-day, low altitude is the North Rim. For this, your trailheads will either be Yosemite Falls or Snow Creek, both fierce climbs. In either case, once up, all camping is dispersed, preferably in an existing site, with the only restrictions being that you must be at least 1/4 mile beyond the brink of the falls, and that you may not camp south of the footbridge on Snow Creek.

Aside from that, dependent on conditions, the trailhead at Happy Isles (the JMT), up to little Yosemite Valley, then beyond, either up the Merced River or towards Sunrise Creek is another good bet. The South Rim via the Four-Mile Trail is already likely to be closed for the season by the time you get there.
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Re: Planning for the next trip, lots of questions

Postby AlmostThere » Wed Oct 24, 2018 10:18 am

If you have not backpacked in winter before, consider doing day hikes and staying overnight in the valley. It's a fantastic time for that, since winter is less crowded. November is supposed to be a wet month this year.
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