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Vogelsang and merced Questions

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

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Vogelsang and merced Questions

Postby rgt333 » Wed Aug 06, 2008 8:24 am

I am starting a Toulomne to vogelsang to merced and then back on Sunday. We will be hiking four days overall. We wont be sleeping at the high sierra camps and that brings me to my questions. Past Vogelsang what are the best sites to overnight and how far past Vogelsang is it? Is there a good spot near Merced but not in the high Sierra Camp? Finally, as we head back to Toulomne is there a good third night spot?

Any help/suggestions are appreciated.
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Postby bill-e-g » Wed Aug 06, 2008 9:48 am

I don't know if your main goal is to get to Merced Lake or not...
You cannot camp at the outlet of the Merced Lake and from the Ranger
Station to the HSC it is pretty much all woods which isn't too exciting camping IMO.
I would actually recommend this:
Day 1) Tuolumne to Emerick Lake (10 miles) .. Rafferty Ck.
BUT ... you do not go thru Vog HSC and after Tuolumne Pass
it is pretty much all downhill.
Emerick Lake is nice b/c the HSC hikers typically don't stop
by there and it may be too far for the casual bp'er.
There is GREAT camping on the dome East of the Lake and
all along the Western Egde. The wife and I camped above the
Lake and there are great views (my no. 1 criteria for a campsite)
Day 2) Forgo Merced Lake and Hike down Fletcher Ck (Great Domes)
and back up Lewis to Bernice Lake. The wife and I LOVE this
lake. Again, since it is off the beaten path (and up a bit) the
HSC hikers typ don't stop here either. You can hike over to
Gallison easily and check it out. Or hike up to some other little
lakes as your heart desires. Emerick to Bernice is approx 7 miles)
Day 3) Go from Bernice to Townsley. it's pretty close... this lake
may be busier but again, there are alot of other lakes to
dayhike and check out (Hanging Basket)...
The views from Townsley are spectacular.
You can also go over to Ireland and stay there and then
hike out Lyell Canyon.

If you really want to go to Lake Merced there is nice camping after the
outlet near the river. IMO though the other Lakes are more picturesque.

Regardless what you do you will really enjoy it! Have fun!
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Tuolumne to Vogelsang to Merced Lake and back

Postby adrianhoff » Thu Aug 07, 2008 9:50 am

What route? The Merced Lake to Vogelsang trail splits two miles above the High Sierra camp. Not much difference in length, but the outer (Lewis Creek) trail is steeper. If you do a loop — down one and up the other — stopping points will depend on the direction of your loop.

The previous post makes sense. Merced Lake’s shoreline is a great place to explore with a camera. But you can’t camp there. And, unless you’re strong hikers, Tuolumne to Vogelsang to Merced Lake and back in four days doesn’t leave much time for wandering around the lake. Just catching a quick glimpse of it from the trail before heading back probably isn’t worth the effort — especially if you’re doing a loop, Turning around at the Lewis Creek / Fletcher Creek trail junction eliminates a very steep one-mile trek to and from the flat, forested area around Merced Lake.

I do this hike as part of a longer loop. If Merced Lake is my stopping point I stay in the backpacker’s area next to the High Sierra Camp. Otherwise I stop mid-way between Little Yosemite Valley and Merced Lake, and then about mid-way between Merced Lake and Vogelsang. I’ve not looked into restrictions on camping near the HSC. There are plenty of flat places with access to water in the forested area between the lake and the steep ascent going back towards Vogelsang. But the whole area is within one mile of the HSC and may be restricted.

Once you hit that steep ascent, probably the first decent campsite with water on the Fletcher Creek trail will be at the Babcock Lake cutoff. On the Lewis Creek trail you’ll start seeing places you could pitch a tent (with water access) about a mile past the split with the Fletcher Creek trail. There’s a nice spot near your first major creek crossing (outflow from Florence Lake) with a giant cascade nearby.

Beyond that, there are several places you could stop before reaching Vogelsang lake. Likewise, on the other trail there are adequate campsites between Babcock Lake and Vogelsang. If you plan to maximize mileage and stop when tired or when darkness approaches, you aren't limited to the above mentioned sites.
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