Home A - Z FAQ Bookstore Art Prints Online Library Discussion Forum Muir Weather Maps Lodging About Search

First vist-need backpacking advice

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

Moderators: Wickett, dan

First vist-need backpacking advice

Postby ryan72 » Fri Feb 12, 2010 9:54 am

This will be our first visit to Yosemite. There will be 4 of us in our group. We have alot of experience on Isle Royale in Michgan and have hiked just about every trail. Our longest trip was 11 nights, over 135 miles, without resupply. While Isle Royale has beautiful remote trails, the elevation changes a minimal compared to Yosemite. We realize that what is an accepatble number of mile to plan per day on Isle Royal will not be the same for Yosemite.

I have many questions about Yosemite that I am hoping I can draw upon your experience for answers to.

We are looking at speding a week to 10 nights backpacking and would like to spend the majority of the time away from crowds as much as possible. We are looking a mid to late July for our trip.

I have spent alot of time reading about rules and regulations and I think I understand most of them.

any help you can provide would be much appreciated

1.Is there a shuttle or bus to Hetch Hetchy? We are thinking of possibly starting there and ending up back in Yosemite Valley. We only have 1 car and would need a ride back to it. From what I've read it seems more likley to be granted wilderness permits from the Hetch Hetchy area since we may be departing on a weekend day.

2. With a wilderness permit we only have to register and be approved for the point of departure, correct? So if we spend the next 10 nights out we can set up camp wherever we want so long as we follow the guidelines (4 trail miles from some areas)?

3.Can we set up camp where ever we like along the trails? Isle Royale has designated wilderness campsites but from what I gathered there are only a few "backpackers camps" in Yosemite. If we do start at Hetch Hetchy we'd stay at the backpacker camp the first night then hit the trail in the early in the morning.

4.Does anyone have a link to a site with trail mileage and elevation changes for the trails in Yosemite?

5.Will 7-10 nights out be enough time to get from Hetch Hetchy to Tuloumne Meadows and then down to Half Dome finiishing up in Yosemite Valley?

6.Can we resupply with food and fuel at Tuloumne Meadows?

Im sure I will think of more!
ryan72
Frequent poster
Frequent poster
 
Posts: 31
Joined: Fri Feb 12, 2010 9:06 am
Location: SE Michigan

Postby AlmostThere » Fri Feb 12, 2010 12:32 pm

1. No shuttle or bus to Hetch Hetchy.

2. You are required to put your first night destination on the application and it shows up on your permit. You can camp anywhere (following guidelines) except in specific high traffic regions where the rangers will want you to use the existing camp sites/fire rings - Rancheria Falls and Little Yosemite Valley are two of these. And you can't camp on Half Dome.

3. There are several kinds of backpacker camps in Yosemite. The ones at the High Sierra Camps, the ones listed above, and the backpacker camps that are located in car campgrounds. The ones you mention are for the night before and/or the night after your backpacking outing, it's five dollars per person, and each backpacker campground requires you to have a wilderness permit in hand to stay there. From Hetch Hetchy you won't be able to camp until Rancheria Falls.

Try Yosemitehikes.com for a short list of trail distances. There are also many guidebooks that will describe many trails in the park.

5. I'm not sure if that's enough time for you to get from Hetch Hetchy to TM to the valley. That would depend on your pacing. But you will be going uphill all the way to Tioga Road, and then mostly downhill going to the valley, except for side trips to Clouds Rest and Half Dome (CR is a better view and fewer people, IMO). It would take me a day of hiking to go from the trailhead at Tenaya Lake to Happy Isles, but that would be me, and I wouldn't bother with Half Dome. Five days from Tioga Pass to Glen Aulin to Grand Canyon of the Tuolumne to Hetch Hetchy would be pushing it, and that would be downhill.

You might consider the north rim trail - can pick it up at one of several trailheads, the trail terminates at Big Oak Flat Road which is the road out of the valley to Crane Flat/Tioga Road - to TM to Half Dome to the valley. North rim will provide short side trips to the top of El Capitan, Yosemite Falls/Point, North Dome (excellent view of Half Dome), the Indian Arch on the way, and if you find yourself running short on time you can head out to the road and hop on the shuttle to Tuolumne Meadows.

6. There are grocery and gear stores at Tuolumne Meadows, and in Yosemite Village and Curry Village in the valley. There are no services at Hetch Hetchy but there is a small store in Camp Mather on the road down to it, no clue if they have fuel for stoves, have never stopped there myself.
AlmostThere
Veteran-poster
Veteran-poster
 
Posts: 1805
Joined: Fri May 15, 2009 6:57 pm
Location: Central Valley California

Postby balzaccom » Fri Feb 12, 2010 8:39 pm

Good answers from Almosthere...I agree with just about everything he said. But I think you could probably hike this whole trip in 10 days. Day one is rancheria Falls, and another day to get up and over Rancheria Mt. Then take three days to get up the GCT to Tuolumne Meadows...and from there is it an easy four day hike down to the Valley...In fact, I'd go over to Vogelsang and then down...that's a lovely hike.

Having said that, you're not giving yourself much in the way of a day off, and if I take a ten day trip, I want to have a rest day somewhere in the middle--in your case either by Glen Aulin and falls, or maybe out Lyell Canyon?

But since you don't have a second car, I'd strongly suggest that you start at White Wolf and go down into the GCT from there. It would cut one day off your trip, and it would also allow you to catch a shuttle from the valley back out to your car.

And you could have a rest day!
balzaccom
Veteran-poster
Veteran-poster
 
Posts: 1246
Joined: Sat Nov 22, 2008 7:51 am
Location: Napa CA

Postby AlmostThere » Fri Feb 12, 2010 8:57 pm

The other route I didn't mention, though I thought of it, was the south rim - the Pohono trailhead is at the Wawona tunnel and accessible by shuttle from the valley, I think. That would let you park in the valley, ride, hike up and then along the south rim with stops at all the points overlooking the valley, Yosemite Falls, etc. You can camp at Bridalveil Creek and then hike on to Glacier Point to view the busloads of tourists, as well as that stunning and classic Glacier Point view of Vernal and Nevada Falls and Half Dome in profile. Grab an ice cream at the snack bar and head down into Ilillouette where you can hike off trail up the creek and camp, or continue onward on the Panorama trail to join the JMT and cross the Merced River above Nevada Falls, of which you will have excellent views as you approach it. The next allowed campsite is Little Yosemite Valley, and from there you can hit Half Dome and move up the trail to campsites at the junction to Clouds Rest, allowing you to see the sunset from it if you like, and then onward and upward to Sunset or Cathedral Lakes and then Tioga Road, where you can shuttle to whatever point you want to go - the stores in Tuolumne Meadows, the next trailhead, etc.

This could be combined with either a Grand Canyon of the Tuolumne trip or a north rim trip to provide you with a really grand tour of the iconic views of Yosemite. There would still be the trouble of finding your way back to the valley from Hetch Hetchy, but nothing says you won't be able to find a ride. Heck, if I'm still unemployed, I'd do it for fifty bucks, it would give me another excuse to use the park pass and spend the rest of the day on a hike in Yosemite. 8)
AlmostThere
Veteran-poster
Veteran-poster
 
Posts: 1805
Joined: Fri May 15, 2009 6:57 pm
Location: Central Valley California

Postby ryan72 » Sat Feb 13, 2010 11:15 am

thanks for the great feedback. I just dug out my NG topo CDs and was able to get some more detail on the tails. I'm going to take your suggestions into consideration and set up a few more specific routes and I'll run them buy you.

Can we park at White wolf?

$50 would definetly be worth it for the ride back from Hetch Hetchy. I may just need to take you up on that offer.
ryan72
Frequent poster
Frequent poster
 
Posts: 31
Joined: Fri Feb 12, 2010 9:06 am
Location: SE Michigan

Postby AlmostThere » Sat Feb 13, 2010 7:13 pm

White Wolf is a resort, campground and a trailhead, there will be parking for the trailhead. There is also a backpacker campground at the back of the main campground.
AlmostThere
Veteran-poster
Veteran-poster
 
Posts: 1805
Joined: Fri May 15, 2009 6:57 pm
Location: Central Valley California

Postby ryan72 » Mon Feb 15, 2010 3:13 pm

Working on route possibilities...

if we were to camp where the John Muir Trail and Clouds Rest Trail intersect, we be close enough to half dome to make an early day hike to the top, return to camp, then head into Yosemite Valley. But we'd need to camp there in order to catch a ride back to white wolf so we could take the last 2 days back to Hetch Hetchy.

are we allowed to camp somewhere in yosemite valley with our wilderness permits? Or do we have to make other special arrangements?
ryan72
Frequent poster
Frequent poster
 
Posts: 31
Joined: Fri Feb 12, 2010 9:06 am
Location: SE Michigan

Backpackers Campground, Yosemite valley

Postby dan » Mon Feb 15, 2010 4:21 pm

You can camp in the Backpackers Campground in Yosemite Valley for 1 night before and 1 night after your Wilderness Permit dates. The Backpackers Campground is not on any map (perhaps to keep out non-backpackers from crashing the campground?). It's located just north of North Pines Campground. To get there, head to North Pines Campground, walk to the far north end, and cross Tenaya Creek at a foot bridge. The Backpackers Campground is located on the north shore of Tenaya Creek.

You can also get there by taking the bike path that follows the north shore of Tenaya Creek, but it's harder to explain the directions. You can also ask for directions when you pick up your Wilderness Permit.

Tuolumne Meadows Campground also has a Backpackers Campground area at the east end of the campground.
User avatar
dan
Veteran-poster
Veteran-poster
 
Posts: 809
Joined: Sat Jan 20, 2007 9:06 pm
Location: California, USA

Postby ryan72 » Mon Feb 15, 2010 5:41 pm

thanks for the info. I was hoping there was a backpackers camp there (and at Tuolumne meadows) but couldn't see it on a map anywhere.

We would need to use Yosemite Valley as our third to last night out. We'll then catch the bus to White Wolf and then take two days back to Hetch Hetchy. Will be be ok useing the Yosemite Valley backpackers campground even though its not the last day of our trip? Ive looked into hiking up to the north rim but those look like killer trails and it would add too many days to our trip as opposed to catching a ride to White Wolf.
ryan72
Frequent poster
Frequent poster
 
Posts: 31
Joined: Fri Feb 12, 2010 9:06 am
Location: SE Michigan

Postby ryan72 » Mon Feb 15, 2010 6:49 pm

after more reading-this forum is great-It appears that staying in Yosemite Valley mid trip may not be allowable. What if we did 2 permits? One starting at Hetch Hetchy and ending in the Valley and another starting at White Wolf and ending at Hetch Hetchy? Will they allow 2 pemits 1 day apart?

If our 1st permite ends in the valley then we should be allowed to stay the night, correct? The next morning we could catch the bus and head to White Wolf.
ryan72
Frequent poster
Frequent poster
 
Posts: 31
Joined: Fri Feb 12, 2010 9:06 am
Location: SE Michigan

Postby bill-e-g » Mon Feb 15, 2010 7:20 pm

These are my recommendations:
- DAY HIKE Hetchy Hetchy (you will probably NOT be happy going up & over Rancheria Mtn.) or just skip it entirely
- Day Hike Valley 1 day
- Go to Glacier Point
- Check out one of the Sequioa Groves (rec. Mariposa)
Backpack this:
White-Wolf -> GCT -> TM -> Rafferty Creek -> Vogelsang Pass -> Merced Lake
-> Little Yosemite Valley -> Day Hike Half Dome -> Yosemite Valley
- Resupply (it will be EXPENSIVE) at the store

Have fun.
User avatar
bill-e-g
Veteran-poster
Veteran-poster
 
Posts: 795
Joined: Tue Jun 24, 2008 5:57 am
Location: Table Lake, YNP

Postby AlmostThere » Mon Feb 15, 2010 9:50 pm

bill-e-g wrote:These are my recommendations:
- DAY HIKE Hetchy Hetchy (you will probably NOT be happy going up & over Rancheria Mtn.) or just skip it entirely
- Day Hike Valley 1 day
- Go to Glacier Point
- Check out one of the Sequioa Groves (rec. Mariposa)
Backpack this:
White-Wolf -> GCT -> TM -> Rafferty Creek -> Vogelsang Pass -> Merced Lake
-> Little Yosemite Valley -> Day Hike Half Dome -> Yosemite Valley
- Resupply (it will be EXPENSIVE) at the store

Have fun.


Good suggestions, too.

Bill, I don't remember if Rancheria Mtn is the trail heading up from Rancheria Falls to Tiltill or the trail heading up to LeConte Point. I thought the trail heading up toward LeConte wasn't half bad, it's a lot of uphill and if that stream is really flowing hard it's probably a pain to cross many times. But the switchbacks were easier for me than the Mist Trail.

I would ask the clerk in the TM store where the hiker box is before you start shopping. Stuff in the box is left behind by hikers for other hikers.
AlmostThere
Veteran-poster
Veteran-poster
 
Posts: 1805
Joined: Fri May 15, 2009 6:57 pm
Location: Central Valley California

Postby bill-e-g » Tue Feb 16, 2010 8:08 am

AlmostThere wrote:Bill, I don't remember if Rancheria Mtn is the trail heading up from Rancheria Falls to Tiltill or the trail heading up to LeConte Point. I thought the trail heading up toward LeConte wasn't half bad, it's a lot of uphill and if that stream is really flowing hard it's probably a pain to cross many times. But the switchbacks were easier for me than the Mist Trail.

Rancheria Mtn is heading towards LeConte. From the Tiltill Crk. Bridge
it's a climb of 4500ft. You cross a stream twice on your way up.
The stream is trivial to cross (always has water though).
The Piute in Pleasant Valley can be roaring early in the year.
That would be the only issue on the route to GCT that way.

The Mist Trail to LYV is only 2100ft. climb and pales in comparison IMO.

I love all of Yose and I've done Rancheria Mtn a number of times....
(there's some nice aspen groves, some great volcanic knobs, and
a great view eat if you continue to the highest pt)
I just think they are gonna enjoy Vogelsang GCT, etc, more.

Plus, they probably are saying "we will come back". But being
so far away it just doesn't happen for years and years and sometimes
life gets in the way. So for sure they should go up Half Dome
even though we think CR is nicer.

Anyway, we both know they will enjoy whatever they do and
whatever pain they go thru will subside over time or become
their badge of courage.

Not sure if anyone said this... but be prepared for Mosquitos...
go later if you can... also.. you can get as many permits as
you like... if you wanted and permits were available you could
continually do back to back N day trips.

White Wolf is the place to start b/c you can car camp there or
use the backpackers camground there... leave your car there...
and when you get to Yose Valley you can decide to take
shuttle back to WW or hike your butt up Yosemite Falls and
up up up all the way to WW.
(hint... dayhike to bottom of lower falls... and take the shuttle)
(by then you've done enough carrying of the pack)

Enjoy!
User avatar
bill-e-g
Veteran-poster
Veteran-poster
 
Posts: 795
Joined: Tue Jun 24, 2008 5:57 am
Location: Table Lake, YNP

Postby orion » Tue Feb 16, 2010 9:52 am

The hike up to Tilltill Mountian and on to Tilden Lake from Rancheria is one you probably want to avoid when your pack is still heavy (no vistas, marshy accomodations,) but it's a great one for hiking down and out from Avonelle (no fish) on your last day, so long as you get to the Hetch Hetchy gate before it closes.
orion
Veteran-poster
Veteran-poster
 
Posts: 171
Joined: Sun Jan 17, 2010 4:02 pm

Postby ryan72 » Fri Feb 19, 2010 12:46 pm

Here is what we plan on trying. Let me know what you think. If there is any info on trail conditions and water I'd appreciate it.
1.Fly and Drive-check out Hetch Hetchy then camp at White Wolf
2.White Wolf to Pate Valley
3.Somewhere along the GCT
4.Somewhere along GCT before Glen Aulin
Resupply at TM
5.Cathedral Lakes
6.Sunrise Lakes
7.Through Clouds Rest and then to the JMT junction
8.Day Hike Half Dome (possibly Nevada falls as well) then through Little Yosemite Valley to Echo Valley
9.Up Lewis Creek to Bernice Lake
10.Day hike up Vogelsang Peak and then end up at Ireland Lake
11.Lyell Canyon back to TM
12.Catch Yarts bus back to White Wolf in the am
Find showers and beer-Drive into the valley and explore then down to Mariposa Grove before heading back to San Jose airport
13.Fly home

We'll be arriving July 9th. We're used to Mosquitoes and will put up with them. How are the black flies? We can't come any later in the year-Im a HS head football coach and later gets too close to the season.

The only thing Im bummed about is not being able to check out 10 lakes. The alternative is to skip Vogelsang and head back north after our half dome hike and possibly head to Tenaya Lake, then 2 days up to 10 Lakes and then hike over to White wolf. What's a better option?

Ive mapped all the routes and eleveation changes and besides the downhill on day 1, it looks like the hike from echo valley up to Bernice Lake will be a tough one-3000 ft up over the 8 or so miles.

What will the temps be like at the higher elevations this time of year?
ryan72
Frequent poster
Frequent poster
 
Posts: 31
Joined: Fri Feb 12, 2010 9:06 am
Location: SE Michigan

Next

Return to Yosemite Hiking & Backpacking

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 10 guests