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October Hiking/Backpacking

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

Moderators: Wickett, dan

October Hiking/Backpacking

Postby kelley12 » Mon Jul 29, 2019 11:28 am

I will be in the Yosemite area the week of October 14th and was wondering what trails are good that time of year and if a one or two night overnight trip is doable. I would be with one other person and both of us are in good shape but looking for some great views and spots for wildlife and science photography. Trying to avoid the crazy crowds but i think that time of year will help with that.

Any tips would be a huge help and do we need permits at all?

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Re: October Hiking/Backpacking

Postby AlmostThere » Mon Jul 29, 2019 1:07 pm

There is a website devoted to permits and obtaining them.


Permits are self registration walk-ins from November thru April. The rest of the year, you compete with others for space in the trailhead quotas. You will also need a bear canister, one of the types on the list at the Yosemite website, in which all your food, trash, and hygiene items must fit every single night you are out. (Bears are active year round. No bears actually hibernate - the ones in California often get up and wander around, and some of them never bother to nap in winter at all, given the abundance of trash that people leave around.) These can be rented when you pick up the permit, which you are required to do in person. Applications for reserved permits are done online (link on page above).

Since you will be unable to park overnight on Tioga Pass after mid-October, trailheads in the valley and on the southern end of the park will be your options, unless you can time your start date with the weekend YARTS bus and be dropped off. You should also be well prepared for below-freezing temps at night, some winter weather (it can snow any time of the year at higher elevations, but it's far more likely late September - April) and be aware of elevation sickness symptoms and understand how to mitigate those/when to depart instead of "toughing it out."
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Re: October Hiking/Backpacking

Postby balzaccom » Mon Jul 29, 2019 9:36 pm

That said, your trip will depend on the weather to a huge extent. We've had absolutely wonderful trips into late October, but we've also cancelled trips because the weather report called for storms. Pay attention, as an October storm in the Sierra can dump a good amount of snow on the trails, often obliterating your route. if you're not prepared for that, it is somewhere between no fun at all and downright deadly.

If that's the case, I would aim for day hikes, as you often have many of the trail almost to yourself.
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