Home A - Z FAQ Bookstore Art Prints Online Library Discussion Forum Muir Weather Maps Lodging About Search
CalHotels.US--online reservations now CalHotels.US Lowest Hotel Rates Guaranteed. Click Here For Yours!
Hotel photos, maps, reviews, & discount rates.

U.S. Hotels in California (Yosemite, L. A., San Francisco ), AL, AK, AR, AS, AZ, CA, CO, CT, DC, DE, FL, FM, GA, GU, HI, ID, IL, IN, IA, KS, KY, LA, ME, MD, MA, MI, MN, MS, MO, MT, NE, NH, NJ, NY, OK, NV, MH, MP, NM, NC, ND, OH, OR, PA, PR, PW, RI, SC, SD, TN, TX, UT, VT, VA, VI WA, WV, WI, WY

[Yosemite]

Grand Canyon to the valley

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

Moderators: Wickett, dan

Grand Canyon to the valley

Postby damu21 » Fri Jan 24, 2020 12:37 pm

Hey all

Planning a route for July and taking a buddy who’s never been. I wanted to see a little bit of everything. So here’s my route.

Lukens Lake TH north then East towards the Grand Canyon of the tuolumne. Follow the GC to Glen Aulin. South on cathedral lakes to clouds rest and half dome. Take the panorama trail to glacier point and then pohono trail down into the valley. Shuttle back to the car at lukens.

According to Gaia it’s about 80ish miles. We plan on taking 7 or 8 days.

How’s hiking along through the canyon?
damu21
Frequent poster
Frequent poster
 
Posts: 45
Joined: Thu Jul 07, 2016 6:08 pm

Re: Grand Canyon to the valley

Postby AlmostThere » Fri Jan 24, 2020 7:08 pm

It depends on whether the bridge across the river gets fixed before you go -- they started working on it last year, but there were delays. Also depends upon the snow levels which influences the water levels during May-June -- loads and loads of snow means it may be melting through July and August, leading to impassible streams and rivers. And it's still snowing once in a while, though in between storms it's warm enough to start melting here and there. No way to tell how it will look in May until April.

"Pohono trail down to the valley" won't be possible as it doesn't go to the valley floor. The far end of it drops to Tunnel View, from which it's a hazardous road walk down to the valley on a very very very busy part of the road. Four Mile trail or the tour bus from Glacier Point to the valley are the better options. There are significant "no camping" zones along the route you describe, but those are pointed out by rangers when you get the permit -- it may result in uneven mileage days.
AlmostThere
Veteran-poster
Veteran-poster
 
Posts: 1935
Joined: Fri May 15, 2009 6:57 pm
Location: Central Valley California

Re: Grand Canyon to the valley

Postby Phil » Fri Jan 24, 2020 8:17 pm

My thoughts are roughly along the same lines as AT's, but with the added consideration of this being your friend's first time. That's not only a lot of backpacking, with a lot of uphill and a lot of altitude change, but a lot of logistical nuances in route dissection, with manageable pack weight, probable food drops, and almost certainly, beyond mileages that take into consideration no-camping zones, etc, where you're even more likely to have to give your friend a rest day or two.

With just the consideration of where you can and can't camp, or even delays and/or layovers that might void your permit, if you or your buddy hit a wall in the wrong place, you might well find yourselves having no choices but to push on, get a new permit, or maybe even fail. Your route is big, just be realistic, mindful, and plan for contingencies up front.
Phil
Veteran-poster
Veteran-poster
 
Posts: 1211
Joined: Mon Jun 08, 2015 5:02 am
Location: Healdsburg, Ca

Re: Grand Canyon to the valley

Postby balzaccom » Fri Jan 24, 2020 8:35 pm

Yeah...that's not a route I would select. Too much hiking at lower elevations, and missing most of the high country, other than right around Cathedral Lakes.

To address Phil's point, you could just as easily bail at Glacier Point or simply head downhill from Half Dome and cut out substantial mileage, which is good if you start getting behind or tired. You could also cut a few miles by starting at White Wolf instead of Lukens Lake.

But to me, the very best parts of Yosemite are those above 10,000 feet, and you barely touch those. And the JMT from Cathedral Lakes Trailhead to the Valley is probably the single busiest trail in the backcountry. Why not spend at least a couple of days farther from the crowds?
Check out our website and blog at: https://www.backpackthesierra.com/home
balzaccom
Veteran-poster
Veteran-poster
 
Posts: 1393
Joined: Sat Nov 22, 2008 7:51 am
Location: Napa CA

Re: Grand Canyon to the valley

Postby damu21 » Sat Jan 25, 2020 5:15 pm

Hmm yea that all makes sense.

My other idea was to start at ten lakes, up and over to May lake then down sunrise to cr and HD, then East towards Merced lake and some kind of route back up to 120 through vogelsgang.
damu21
Frequent poster
Frequent poster
 
Posts: 45
Joined: Thu Jul 07, 2016 6:08 pm

Re: Grand Canyon to the valley

Postby AlmostThere » Sat Jan 25, 2020 6:03 pm

"Some kind of route"? You really do not have choices in that matter other than backtracking.

For a beginner I would map out something less ambitious.
Say, something like this: https://caltopo.com/m/1JHR

Take the tour bus toward Glacier Point and be dropped off at Ostrander/Lost Bear Trailhead. Hike to Ostrander for the first night. From there, follow the base of Horse Ridge to the Buena Vista Trail, follow it over to Little Yosemite Valley, go up to Cathedral Lakes. Return via JMT to Little Yosemite and exit via Mist Trail at Happy Isles. Take shuttle or walk back to trailhead parking where you left the car.

This is about 51 miles. The no camping zones will be Little Yosemite Valley outside the designated sites, the lower lakes at Cathedral. There are points where staying the night and laying over would give your newbie a break and a day hike - Clouds Rest from Sunrise Creek for example, or leaving camp set up at Merced Lake and hiking to Washburn. There is a little alpine and a few lakes, and plenty of water. For a treat see if you can reserve dinner at Merced High Sierra Camp, or even spend a night in the tent cabins and take showers, if the camps are open that early. You can attempt a Half Dome permit to be added to the wilderness permit but you'll be fine if you don't get it - the view from Clouds is great, arguably better than HD. And you can bail down to Happy Isles from Little Yosemite when you go through it the first time, instead of continuing into the wilderness farther, if your newbie is Just Not Feeling It. The route has no grueling passes featuring a thousand switchbacks and you get a variety of scenery.

Being flexible, scheduling moderate to easy days, and keeping it low key are the way to make a newbie happy. You'll also need to make sure everything - food, trash, hygiene items - is in that bear can, you'll each need a larger one, and ensure the newbie understands the importance of never leaving food unattended. These popular places have some motivated bears and carelessness with interesting smelling items can result in those habituated bears getting a treat and you getting a hefty fine for allowing it.
AlmostThere
Veteran-poster
Veteran-poster
 
Posts: 1935
Joined: Fri May 15, 2009 6:57 pm
Location: Central Valley California

Re: Grand Canyon to the valley

Postby gdbartz » Mon Jan 27, 2020 8:30 pm

FWIW, I was a first timer last year and took my 18 yr old daughter (albeit who's very athletic). We did JMT from Tuolomne then up over Vogelsang Pass and down to Merced Lake, then out at Happy Isles. Only 36 miles and 4 nights but you can add on Sunrise loop or Half Dome too.

To earlier point, the high elevations and the views south from Vogelsang Pass in particular were incredible. Think we were lucky the HSCs were closed and no crowds whatsoever. Highly recommend hitting some of the higher elevations! You won't regret it.
gdbartz
Newbie
Newbie
 
Posts: 7
Joined: Mon Jun 17, 2019 9:15 pm

Re: Grand Canyon to the valley

Postby markskor » Tue Jan 28, 2020 4:50 pm

Damu,
Wish I had a bit more info on you but...thoughts.
When you say you're "taking a buddy who has never been..." Is this a good ol' dirt-bag, experienced, with good gear and have previously backpacked with "hiking buddy"? If so, have fun and enjoy.
If you mean someone new to backpacking, this may be a bit ambitious...maybe trying to do too much in one trip. Even at that, experienced or not, 80 miles in 7 hiking days does not seem too bad, if at lower elevations and in hiking shape, (however now at - 9,000+), but, if dead set still on this, shortening the route and having a layover day (or two) somewhere along the route suits my wilderness style better. BTW, Do you fish?
Speaking of your intended route - meh. Like balzaccom above, not the route I would have chosen to show off Yosemite's best.
Come July, YARTS (the local park bus system) runs a weekends only Yosemite Valley to Mammoth Lakes (Aug and Sept daily)...stops in Tuolumne Meadows along the way too. Another bus runs up from the Valley to Glacier Point, You can leave your car in the Valley, take a bus up high somewhere, and do a circuitous trip back down to your car. Better logistics, easier on the knees too?
Anyway, IMHO, the Yosemite area south of 120 is where you really want to be - the high open granite always seems nicer than slogging through miles of lower Lodgepole forests - even with the waterfalls...(maybe that's just me? I would skip the Grand Canyon segment. You can always come back.)
If I had 7 - 8 hiking days to see Yosemite, and not with great Sierra hiking legs yet, (I would park the car low and use the buses to get a high start):
- Mammoth Lakes to Yosemite Valley via Voglesang - Possible HD too.
- Tuolumne Meadows, Bernice, maybe Florence, high trail to TPF, Washburn, HD, Valley.
- Mono Meadows, Ottoway, RPP, Washburn, Valley
- Elizabeth - Nelson - Voglesang ---- Valley
All these suggestions have plenty of side options, make use good use of the buses, mostly are downhill, are ~50 miles long or so, stop at scenic lakes, and allow at least one zero day in the middle.
just my 2¢
markskor
Frequent poster
Frequent poster
 
Posts: 26
Joined: Sat Jan 28, 2017 5:35 pm

Re: Grand Canyon to the valley

Postby Phil » Wed Jan 29, 2020 7:41 pm

My thoughts on a good alternate route would be to come in at the Cathedral Lakes TH if you can secure your permit....get him up high in a short distance and be sort of in the thick of things. Stay the night at upper Cathedral. It might even give him an added boost. Head on up to Sunrise/Long Meadow and cut off down Cathedral Fork. You could camp the second night by the footbridge along the creek, or if you're feeling good and have enough confidence in following some more or less off-trail routes, go on up to Nelson Lake. Either way, you can come back down along Cathedral Creek to Echo Valley. If he's fried, drop down the Merced to LYV and then out Happy Isles. If you're good to go, go upriver past the Merced Lake HSC and spend the next night at Washburn Lake. Then, if Red Peak Pass (RPP) is clear enough, head up the drainage. That area up there has all kinds of nooks and crannies to get into along Triple Fork and the upper Merced. Get over the pass, and make your way to lower Ottoway Lake. From there you can either sort of reverse AT's suggestion of moving up/sideways and hitting Ostrander, or you can go down and camp somewhere along Illilouette Creek, then out at Happy Isles again. Stay at the valley backpacker's camp, shuttle back up to the car the next day. Either that or come in at Mono Meadow TH, up over RPP, back down the drainage to LYV or maybe jump off and hit Cloud's Rest, then back down to the valley.

The only thing about July and the higher elevations is that you have to stay on top of where you might still run into leftover snowpack, and then mosquitoes in some places. For anything higher up, especially any off-trail stuff, you also really want to have a good read on the topography so you don't end up having a destination that looks good in terms of mileage, but where you end up having a bunch of 1000' ascents/descents..... between your Point A and Point B. With somebody new to it and/or if you might get into something unexpected (weather, snow...), or maybe even over your head in the way of your own stamina or ability, or that of the weakest member of your party, as many possible bailout points you can include that won't necessarily diminish the overall quality of the trip beyond just shortening the overall distance of it, the better.
Phil
Veteran-poster
Veteran-poster
 
Posts: 1211
Joined: Mon Jun 08, 2015 5:02 am
Location: Healdsburg, Ca

Re: Grand Canyon to the valley

Postby damu21 » Thu Jan 30, 2020 9:35 am

thanks for the replies/tips

i backpacked with him in the tetons for 5 days doing close to 10 miles a day and he was fine.

i think we are going to start at ten lakes and head up and over towards glen aulin, then down through cathedral or vogelsang to merced lake, CR, HD and then out. we actually will have closer to 8 or 9 days. this way we have some out early options if were not feeling it(out through may lake after ten lakes, or tioga road after glen aulin) or rest days, or side trips if we are feeling good. and most days are only 10miles-ish or less, or if we feel like doing 15 one day we can have a rest day if we need it.
damu21
Frequent poster
Frequent poster
 
Posts: 45
Joined: Thu Jul 07, 2016 6:08 pm


Return to Yosemite Hiking & Backpacking

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 18 guests