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[Yosemite]

Four nights in Yosemite in late Sept - thoughts?

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

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Four nights in Yosemite in late Sept - thoughts?

Postby levyj414 » Tue Aug 25, 2020 8:47 pm

Hi. Thanks to all the excellent info I've found on this forum so far!

I'm bringing my daughter (she's 23, I'm 53) Sept. 21-25 from San Francisco. I camped at Cathedral Lakes in 1988 and the shoulder of Half Dome in 1991, but haven't been back since. She's never been.

I've researched the permits (plenty of wilderness permits are left) and trails, elevation gains, etc. I'm a weekend warrior backpacker/hiker, and she has a few nights out under her belt, starting a year ago. I'm mostly wondering whether what I've found actually matches what I think after all this reading.

Sept. 21: Pohono Trail from Taft Point, camp at Dewey Point. Seems like a solid first day, esp. driving in that morning. I know we have to pass Bridalveil Creek to camp. Is there camping between there and Dewey Point itself, in case the elevation gets to us? Is there any water near Dewey Point, or do we need to fill up at Bridalveil Creek?

Sept. 22 hike out, then drive down to the valley and wander the sights, staying at the backpacker's campground there.
Hiking out, we might hike clockwise around and over Sentinel Dome on the way back. I've read not to leave food in cars; does that apply during the day, too? I'm wondering about not hauling our full packs up the dome, instead heading back to the car, dropping our gear, then doing the day hike up it.

Sept. 23-25: Hike to Ten Lakes and back, then drive back to SF. Will mosquitoes have stopped swarming by then? It seems so from other discussions on this board. BTW, Phil, in case you see this, I've read your terrific, detailed description of camping along the lakes on another thread, so thanks!

I think we'll spend the 24th just hanging out, maybe doing a day hike. This is where I'm really curious about a few things:
1) From photos, it looks like it's wide open granite and you can walk pretty much anywhere you feel comfortable. Is that accurate?
2) I've read about the scenic trail to the left to see the Grand Canyon of the Tuolumne. Is that before you drop into the lake basin?
3) Is it possible to get up to the top of Grand Mountain or Colby Mountain? Is it worth the effort?
4) Is hiking over to Grant Lakes for the day different from Ten Lakes?
5) Are there any other hidden gems we should find?

One other possibility I'm considering for the 23-25 is going up to Polly Dome Lakes for the 23rd, then over to May Lake and up Mount Hoffman on the 24th, and back out to Tenaya Lake the 25th. Even with enough wilderness permits, is that likely to be crowded? Is there a way to walk along Tioga Road back to the Murphy Creek trailhead?

Thanks in advance!
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Re: Four nights in Yosemite in late Sept - thoughts?

Postby balzaccom » Wed Aug 26, 2020 7:45 am

Sounds like you have a good plan. Bear in mind that it might be a lot colder in September---I've had temps down to the teens for sure,

The Pohono Trail down to Dewey Point is cakewalk--we've done that as an eleven mile day hike. As I recall, Bridalvail Creek is your only water--but it doesn't have anything like the views you get at Dewey Point. Adding Sentinel Dome to that hike, either before or after, is very easy. And the Dome is not steep--you don't need to worry.

But you do need to worry about leaving food in your car. There are bear boxes at just about every trailhead in Yosemite. Use them, even for food during the day while you are off hiking.

You won't see many mosquitoes in September.

I'll let you explore Ten Lakes on your own. It's not bare granite. There are trees. But it's easy enough to navigate around there, and there are use trails to most places you might want to go.
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Re: Four nights in Yosemite in late Sept - thoughts?

Postby AlmostThere » Wed Aug 26, 2020 9:15 am

The problem is, you can't camp at Dewey Point. You have to go all the way to Bridalveil Creek. It's literally a no-camping zone near the point, unless it's winter with snow on the ground.
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Re: Four nights in Yosemite in late Sept - thoughts?

Postby balzaccom » Wed Aug 26, 2020 2:45 pm

Ah! I've only been there during the off season....
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Re: Four nights in Yosemite in late Sept - thoughts?

Postby levyj414 » Wed Aug 26, 2020 4:50 pm

AlmostThere wrote:The problem is, you can't camp at Dewey Point. You have to go all the way to Bridalveil Creek. It's literally a no-camping zone near the point, unless it's winter with snow on the ground.


Hmm. That really caught me off guard, because when I called the Yosemite backcountry number yesterday (before I found this forum) and explained my thinking to a ranger to be sure I understood the whole permit process, he said it sounded great.

I called back today, and the ranger said you can't camp literally at the point, but 100 feet away and out of sight is fine. I asked whether you had to go all the way back to Bridalveil Creek and he said no, you can camp very close to Dewey Point.

So now I'm confused. Can you elaborate on your saying you have to go all the way back to Bridalveil Creek?
Last edited by levyj414 on Wed Aug 26, 2020 4:53 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Four nights in Yosemite in late Sept - thoughts?

Postby levyj414 » Wed Aug 26, 2020 4:52 pm

balzaccom wrote:Sounds like you have a good plan. Bear in mind that it might be a lot colder in September---I've had temps down to the teens for sure,

Thanks for that and all the other info!

I think I need to buy my daughter a warmer sleeping bag between now and then.
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Re: Four nights in Yosemite in late Sept - thoughts?

Postby AlmostThere » Wed Aug 26, 2020 4:58 pm

levyj414 wrote:
AlmostThere wrote:The problem is, you can't camp at Dewey Point. You have to go all the way to Bridalveil Creek. It's literally a no-camping zone near the point, unless it's winter with snow on the ground.


Hmm. That really caught me off guard, because when I called the Yosemite backcountry number yesterday (before I found this forum) and explained my thinking to a ranger to be sure I understood the whole permit process, he said it sounded great.

I called back today, and the ranger said you can't camp literally at the point, but 100 feet away and out of sight is fine. I asked whether you had to go all the way back to Bridalveil Creek and he said no, you can camp very close to Dewey Point.

So now I'm confused. Can you elaborate on your saying you have to go all the way back to Bridalveil Creek?


Maybe they changed the regulations, or maybe the guy on the phone is wrong. But I distinctly remember being told that you can't camp there... and for anyone who likes privacy it's not what you could call remote. I counted 60+ snowshoers the last time I was there, and when there isn't snow, you'll get lots of day hikers. If the ranger says it's a go, so be it. But yes, you'll have to pack in all your water.
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Re: Four nights in Yosemite in late Sept - thoughts?

Postby levyj414 » Wed Aug 26, 2020 6:45 pm

Yep, I'm sure there will be lots of day hikers. We won't even start until mid-afternoon, though, since we have to drive out from SF.

It's ok; the point is to get good views and be able to sleep out at elevation. And waking up there will be spectacular.

Thanks again!
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Re: Four nights in Yosemite in late Sept - thoughts?

Postby Phil » Wed Aug 26, 2020 9:09 pm

Here's the link to the trailheads map that will show restricted camping areas with colored lines and arrows for your viewing info and entertainment:

https://www.nps.gov/yose/planyourvisit/ ... lheads.pdf

When you get permission from the wilderness office, a volunteer, or any source wherein what you want to do or what they say you can do is in the least bit questionable, you want it to be clearly stated that you have permission/authorization to do it on your permit. Just good policy. Interpretation can vary wildly between someone in an office, you, and the wilderness ranger with a ticket book that doesn't mind walking you out.

And yes, you should get your daughter a warmer bag for late September. I would be hauling my 0 degree if headed up much over 8k.
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Re: Four nights in Yosemite in late Sept - thoughts?

Postby balzaccom » Thu Aug 27, 2020 6:42 am

Phil--from that map. it looks liek you can camp over a long section of the Pohono Trail---well before Dewey Point on the West End, and before Bridalveil Creek on the East end...
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Re: Four nights in Yosemite in late Sept - thoughts?

Postby levyj414 » Thu Aug 27, 2020 11:05 pm

Phil wrote:Here's the link to the trailheads map that will show restricted camping areas with colored lines and arrows for your viewing info and entertainment:

https://www.nps.gov/yose/planyourvisit/ ... lheads.pdf

...

And yes, you should get your daughter a warmer bag for late September. I would be hauling my 0 degree if headed up much over 8k.


Yep, that’s the map I used to plan the whole trip even before I posted. It shows you can camp at Dewey Point; that’s well past the arrows. I’m still lost as to what says we can’t? I mean, I’ve seen several trip reports where people specifically talk about it (meaning 100’ away from the actual point); not camping there wasn’t even a question in my mind until this discussion. Do you have a source for not being allowed to?

And I appreciate your temp rating recommendation. I’m going to rent a 0 degree bag and an insulated pad for her.

Meanwhile, good news: got my permits today!
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