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]

2-3 night backpacking for relative beginners

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

Moderators: Wickett, dan

2-3 night backpacking for relative beginners

Postby Gkjmas » Mon Dec 21, 2015 7:30 pm

My husband, 16yo son and I plan to backpack in yosemite next late spring or summer. We have flexibility of dates, could be there anytime from mid-may to early august depending on the best time of year for the hike we choose. We have been on 2 overnight hikes, but the trip to yosemite may be our first multi day. We are in moderate shape and would like to plan a leisurely hike...nothing too strenuous and no more than 5 miles per day for 3 days or about 15 miles total. We'd like to see some great scenery, maybe a waterfall and /or mountain lake. Looking for recommendations on hikes that would fit our needs, and best time to go. Thank you!
Gkjmas
Newbie
Newbie
 
Posts: 3
Joined: Mon Dec 21, 2015 7:09 pm

Re: 2-3 night backpacking for relative beginners

Postby balzaccom » Mon Dec 21, 2015 9:01 pm

There are tons of good places to hike in Yosemite that will deliver that kind of experience to you---but I am going to suggest that you aim for later in the summer. In May the snow level is often near the rim of the Valley, and the high country is almost always under a nice thick layer of snow. Wait for July, and it's a whole new experience up there.

We have a lot of hikes in Yosemite that you should check out. They're in the destinations section of our website, in the signature below. If you plan ahead and can get a permit for the hike you want, I would suggest you look at Ten Lake Basin, Young Lakes, or maybe the through hike from Tuolumne Meadows down to the valley via Cathedral Lakes....
Check out our website and blog at: http://sites.google.com/site/backpackthesierra/home
balzaccom
Veteran-poster
Veteran-poster
 
Posts: 1179
Joined: Sat Nov 22, 2008 7:51 am
Location: Napa CA

Re: 2-3 night backpacking for relative beginners

Postby Phil » Tue Dec 22, 2015 8:08 pm

I would tend to agree that Young Lakes for an overnighter would be good. Ten Lakes would also be good, but it's going to be more strenuous and at least a couple nights and 3 days with the daily mileage you want to do. Although you could always backtrack and exit where you started. Another would be Lyell Canyon out of Tuolumne Meadows, first night at Ireland Creek, second night up at Vogelsang backpacker's camp, exit Rafferty Creek and end up where you started on day 3. Another would be to explore the North Rim of the Valley--You could start at the top of Yosemite Creek, stay the first night a couple/few miles upstream from Yosemite Falls, visit the top of the falls on day 2, then head over to Snow Creek via North Dame and camp at the top of the falls there for incredible views of Half Dome and Cloud's Rest, then exit at Mirror Lake back in the Valley on Day 3. With the latter, you also avoid the higher altitudes, the snow and mosquitoes that go with it, and you can go earlier in the season and catch the waterfalls with better flows than later in the season. Weird weather aside, I would also count this trip as a good starter in order to gain experience and as the one to do almost anywhere from mid-late June until the middle of July-ish.

If you can find it in yourselves to do pull off an extra day and another 7 or so miles, you can always do the classic JMT from Cathedral Lakes to the Valley, but it's usually crowded. But, there is a reason it's so popular.
Phil
Veteran-poster
Veteran-poster
 
Posts: 899
Joined: Mon Jun 08, 2015 5:02 am
Location: Healdsburg, Ca

Re: 2-3 night backpacking for relative beginners

Postby Gkjmas » Wed Dec 23, 2015 9:38 am

Thank you for your helpful replies...we appreciate it! We will definitely look into those options.
Gkjmas
Newbie
Newbie
 
Posts: 3
Joined: Mon Dec 21, 2015 7:09 pm

Re: 2-3 night backpacking for relative beginners

Postby weendoggy » Thu Dec 24, 2015 8:19 am

Phil wrote:... Another would be Lyell Canyon out of Tuolumne Meadows, first night at Ireland Creek, second night up at Vogelsang backpacker's camp, exit Rafferty Creek and end up where you started...

If you can find it in yourselves to do pull off an extra day and another 7 or so miles, you can always do the classic JMT from Cathedral Lakes to the Valley, but it's usually crowded. But, there is a reason it's so popular.


If you want to go leisurely, I'd reverse the bolded trip. Hiking up the Lyell fork is nice, but then you'll have a very hardy uphill hike to Ireland. Going opposite will let you climb leisurely and then the decent and last day out is much nicer. imo
weendoggy
Frequent poster
Frequent poster
 
Posts: 38
Joined: Mon Jun 18, 2012 9:35 am

Re: 2-3 night backpacking for relative beginners

Postby Phil » Thu Dec 24, 2015 5:01 pm

I thought about having them go up Rafferty and heading back out through Lyell, but if they go Lyell Canyon first, they get to start out on flat terrain for their 6 or so miles, walk along the river, find a campsite around the trail spur at the bottom of Ireland Creek, rest a little and see how they feel, then tackle the ascent up to Vogelsang on the second day, after they've had a chance to get used to the altitude and stretch their legs a bit. Either direction though, being a short loop, I think it would work out nicely for them in time out and mileage.
Phil
Veteran-poster
Veteran-poster
 
Posts: 899
Joined: Mon Jun 08, 2015 5:02 am
Location: Healdsburg, Ca

Re: 2-3 night backpacking for relative beginners

Postby Justin-T » Mon Jan 04, 2016 10:48 am

Gkjmas wrote:We are in moderate shape and would like to plan a leisurely hike...nothing too strenuous and no more than 5 miles per day for 3 days or about 15 miles total. We'd like to see some great scenery, maybe a waterfall and /or mountain lake.

Its hard to know what "moderate shape" is, but something to bear in mind is that a 3 day/2 night backpacking trip in Yosemite means you will be in the back-country at elevations mostly 8000' and higher. You don't say where you live, but if its closer to sea-level then you should try to fit in at least 1 day (preferably 2 or 3) of acclimation before you start the backpacking.

Part of a trip I did last summer (early July, wildflowers were excellent, creeks in good shape despite the drought) with my 16-yr old son (and our first backpacking) sounds like it fits your requirements pretty well - an out and back from Tenaya Lake to Clouds Rest via Sunrise Lakes. We actually continued from Clouds Rest and did another 2 nights, going up Half Dome and finishing at Happy Isles in the Valley. This is what I'm suggesting:

Day 1 - hike from Tenaya and camp near one of the Sunrise Lakes (i.e. not at the High Sierra Camp). We picked the middle one, truly a beautiful spot and we were the only ones there July 4th weekend; that's maybe 5 miles hiking, although the middle mile wouldn't be "leisurely" (but just take it slow and take in the amazing scenery).

Day 2 - hike to Clouds Rest, camping about a half mile short of the top (I can explain in more detail if you want). Its about 5 or 6 miles, but not difficult (minimal elevation gain but mostly gentle up and downs). After you've pitched your tent late afternoon you take a daypack and make the short (20 mins) hike up to the top of Clouds Rest and enjoy arguably the best view in the Park - 360 degrees including Half Dome and just about everything else! We went up twice, once before dinner and then later to catch the sunset, stayed up there for over an hour with the top entirely to ourselves. Truly breathtaking.

Day 3 - hike directly back to Tenaya. Its 7 miles, but you are losing almost 2,000 feet, your pack will be much lighter from all the food you've eaten and you will be fully acclimated to the elevation. Despite the distance this would be the easiest day's hiking (honestly).

Some key additional info you need is that there's no water available near the campsite below Clouds Rest, so you should fill up at one of the small ponds/creeks around the midpoint of the day 2 hike. We preceded our backpacking with an easy hike in the Valley (4,000') at Mirror Lake, then an 8-mile hike to North Dome (8000', great views at the end) with daypacks. Let me know if you want more info/specifics.
Justin-T
Very frequent poster
Very frequent poster
 
Posts: 81
Joined: Tue Jun 16, 2015 3:40 pm

Re: 2-3 night backpacking for relative beginners

Postby balzaccom » Mon Jan 04, 2016 3:41 pm

Lots of good ideas here--although Tenaya in June is a bit of a challenge most years, and would include a pretty daunting wade of Tenaya's icy creek...
Check out our website and blog at: http://sites.google.com/site/backpackthesierra/home
balzaccom
Veteran-poster
Veteran-poster
 
Posts: 1179
Joined: Sat Nov 22, 2008 7:51 am
Location: Napa CA

Re: 2-3 night backpacking for relative beginners

Postby Justin-T » Tue Jan 05, 2016 8:37 am

Agreed, optimal time IMHO would be late June to mid-July because the flowers will be at their peak. When we crossed the creek July 4 there was no wading involved, but the drought was still in full swing. Its looking like there will be a closer-to-normal snow pack to melt this time though, so will probably be stronger flow everywhere in spring/early summer of 2016. Tuolumne snow blog: http://www.nps.gov/yose/blogs/tmconditions.htm

Couldn't resist showing you part of the view we had from the top of Clouds Rest (Tenaya Lake is hidden in the shadows in the center, Sunrise Lakes are also hidden among the trees slightly to the center right):
Image
Justin-T
Very frequent poster
Very frequent poster
 
Posts: 81
Joined: Tue Jun 16, 2015 3:40 pm

Re: 2-3 night backpacking for relative beginners

Postby balzaccom » Tue Jan 05, 2016 9:39 am

One of the best views in all of Yosemite.

Hoffman also makes that list, BTW...
Check out our website and blog at: http://sites.google.com/site/backpackthesierra/home
balzaccom
Veteran-poster
Veteran-poster
 
Posts: 1179
Joined: Sat Nov 22, 2008 7:51 am
Location: Napa CA

Re: 2-3 night backpacking for relative beginners

Postby Gkjmas » Wed Jan 06, 2016 8:27 pm

Thank you so much for all the great suggestions! We are interested in the suggestion of starting at yosemite creek, going down to the upper falls and then over to snow creek and out mirror lake. Two questions though... would the starting trailhead be yosemite creek campground? And secondly, what's the best way to get back to our car there? Looking at the shuttle map, it doesn't look like it goes to yosemite creek campground..
Gkjmas
Newbie
Newbie
 
Posts: 3
Joined: Mon Dec 21, 2015 7:09 pm

Re: 2-3 night backpacking for relative beginners

Postby balzaccom » Thu Jan 07, 2016 9:02 am

Just a suggestion: that hike has fewer views than just about any hike in Yosemite. While the views from the top of Yosemite Falls (and North Dome, if you go out to that) are stunning, the rest of that trail is buried in forest and you won't see much else.

If you really want to see more of Yosemite, I would suggest you pick a trail that spends more time out in the open, so you can see what's around you.

Another thing to consider. While you suggest that fives miles is a day's hike for you, I would suggest that you think about a slightly longer day. even if you hike only 1.5 miles an hour, which is slower than most people, you would cover that distance in a morning. My wife and I do not hike fast, be we generally cover six miles in the morning on each day's hike. If we then add an hour or two of hiking in the afternoon, we can add another 3-4 miles...and reach ten miles in a day.

Just a thought.
Check out our website and blog at: http://sites.google.com/site/backpackthesierra/home
balzaccom
Veteran-poster
Veteran-poster
 
Posts: 1179
Joined: Sat Nov 22, 2008 7:51 am
Location: Napa CA

Re: 2-3 night backpacking for relative beginners

Postby Phil » Thu Jan 07, 2016 9:52 am

If it's Yosemite Creek you want to do, no, you don't start at the campground, you park the car and enter the trailhead on Tioga Rd at Yosemite Creek. Or, you can also park and enter at the Luken's Lake trailhead, and obviously, head toward the Valley and not the lake itself. Your maps should clarify direction and route. From either starting point, once you get down to the Valley, the YARTS shuttle can drop you off back at the car easily for a few dollars per person, but know the schedule and plan accordingly.

http://yarts.com/routes-and-schedules/m ... te-valley/

Balzaccom's right about the views for the most part though. Your views won't open up to panoramas until the top of Yosemite Falls, again at North Dome, and then again at the top of Snow Creek Falls (spectacular views of Half Dome, Cloud's Rest, and Tenaya Canyon). It's still a beautiful trail though, and a great trail for beginners that want to experience backpacking with short daily mileage, easy, well established trails, plenty of shade, and ample camping. In fact, to give you a better perspective, it was the first backpacking trip I took my kids on when they were 7 and 9, so that should speak volumes.

If you guys are just starting out, go easy. Get your routines down, see what it takes, don't sweat the little mistakes, enjoy the time together, and leave the big hikes and some of the harder to reach big views for the next time. Go lighter than you think you need to, and yes, even if you're new to this, 5 miles is a lot shorter and easier day than you might realize, so pick a minimum and a maximum based on where you want to spend the night, not on how far you think you should be traveling. This route makes that entirely a possibility.
Phil
Veteran-poster
Veteran-poster
 
Posts: 899
Joined: Mon Jun 08, 2015 5:02 am
Location: Healdsburg, Ca

Re: 2-3 night backpacking for relative beginners

Postby CottGator » Sun Jan 10, 2016 6:01 pm

Great info above, so thanks all. Beyond the expected throngs of people hiking up as we hike down, and need for bug spray, anything negatives I should be aware of? Will bring a filter and water up midway, comfortable with "bear aware" camping, etc.

I'm planning a family backpack trip last week of June 2016. While I would love to do a 2 night trip involving Sunrise Lakes and Clouds Rest and/or Cathedral Lakes, I've concluded that snowpack and or water levels might pose difficulties that time of year. Three boys - youngest is 11 - and this is their first backcountry trip so I scaled back my thinking to 1 night and want to reduce snowpack issues.

So, planning Porcupine Flat TH to North Dome (camp below), then down to Yosemite Valley by way of the Yosemite Falls trails (shuttle or hitch hike to later retrieve the car at TH). Not concerned with sun, altitude, hiking demands, etc. as we are from SLC and spend a lot of time at elevation around SLC and in Telluride, CO

Thanks for any insights. Utah National Parks rock, but very fired up to see Yosemite for the first time.
CottGator
Newbie
Newbie
 
Posts: 4
Joined: Sun Jan 10, 2016 9:14 am

Re: 2-3 night backpacking for relative beginners

Postby CottGator » Sun Jan 10, 2016 6:02 pm

Not sure what happened there, but "Beyond the expected throngs of people hiking up as we hike down, and need for bug spray, anything negatives I should be aware of? Will bring a filter and water up midway, comfortable with "bear aware" camping, etc." should be second to last sentence.
CottGator
Newbie
Newbie
 
Posts: 4
Joined: Sun Jan 10, 2016 9:14 am

Next

Return to Yosemite Hiking & Backpacking

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 6 guests

cron