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]

first time backpacking

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

Moderators: Wickett, dan

first time backpacking

Postby damu21 » Thu Jul 07, 2016 6:18 pm

I am visiting Yosemite sept 26- ocotber 2nd by myself. I want to backpack around the whole time. Is this a good idea alone? or should I just bounce around between the first come first served camps, try to make friends and drive to my hikes every morning? I wanted to wake up in the middle of nowhere each morning to enjoy a sunrise at my camp..

also, how the permits work? I want to hike trails from Yosemite valley, glacier point, and the tioga pass/Tuolumne area.
Do I need a separate permit for each trailhead I will be sepnding the night on?
how do I figure out which trailheads would be best for the trails I want to hike?
Is that too broad? should I focus on only 1 or two areas?

I will have a rental car. where do I park for the week?

thanks! lots of questions, I know. trying to figure out the whole backpacking thing :D
damu21
Frequent poster
Frequent poster
 
Posts: 26
Joined: Thu Jul 07, 2016 6:08 pm

Re: first time backpacking

Postby Phil » Thu Jul 07, 2016 6:41 pm

For your first time out, bring someone with experience. Don't go alone. Be realistic and safe. Focus on smaller and better hikes. Also, as far as high country and the end of October, it's shoulder season...you can be blessed with nothing but bluebird days, or you can get caught in a blizzard.

You also need to be aware that, because of the season and possibility of snow, you can't even park overnight along Tioga Rd or Tuolumne Meadows...they'll tow you before morning. Shuttle/Bus service up to and from Tuolumne are also either limited or long since shut down for the season by then. Most of the first-come, first-served campground outside of the Valley will be closed for the season in September, too.

If you want to test yourself, see how you do, learn the drill...you should get a permit for the North Rim of Yosemite Valley: hike up Yosemite Falls, go over to North Dome, then head down to Snow Creek and exit back in the Valley at Mirror Lake. Bite sized, lower elevations, you can bail out if you need to, some good places to camp, and some incredible views.

It's fantastic that you want to get into backpacking, but you want to make sure it's a success, and that you want to (and are able) to do it again. Doing it safely, smartly, well , and having fun doing it, entails a lot more than throwing on a pack and walking.
Phil
Veteran-poster
Veteran-poster
 
Posts: 899
Joined: Mon Jun 08, 2015 5:02 am
Location: Healdsburg, Ca

Re: first time backpacking

Postby damu21 » Thu Jul 07, 2016 6:57 pm

thanks. yea, starting off smaller is smart. however, I know nobody with experience so I will for sure be alone. maybe i will use camp 4 as my base and do some hiking from there to get my feet wet. I wanted to do about 10-12 miles of hiking a day
damu21
Frequent poster
Frequent poster
 
Posts: 26
Joined: Thu Jul 07, 2016 6:08 pm

Re: first time backpacking

Postby WanderingJim » Thu Jul 07, 2016 10:18 pm

Is this your first time backpacking at all or first time backpacking in Yosemite? A little history of your experience would help us guide you.

You probably want to stick to some of the more traveled routes if you go alone, so you can call for help if needed. There is some cell coverage in various parts of the wilderness, but don't rely on it.

The North Rim route Phil described is a good choice. Great views everywhere you go. You can also go west to El Capitan from the top to Yosemite falls and then east to North Dome. I did it in three days last year. Camp right beside the top of North Dome and see the sunrise and sunset from the top of North Dome. Spectacular! (although there are a lot of places in Yosemite that you can say that of :) ).
WanderingJim
Very frequent poster
Very frequent poster
 
Posts: 66
Joined: Sun May 22, 2016 1:42 pm

Re: first time backpacking

Postby Phil » Fri Jul 08, 2016 7:30 am

Sorry, misread your trip dates. Anyhow, the shuttle/bus schedules, and Tuolumne services/campgrounds usually close down no later than Sept 15th. Tioga Rd closes to overnight parking on Oct 15th. But, even in late September, the weather can turn. Just keep that in mind.

You can find a site at Camp 4, maybe, but if you go ahead and get a permit, you can stay for one night before your trip at the backpacker's camp at North Pines. It's a nicer place, and you'll run across more dedicated backpackers there, too.

For a first time backpacker there's always a tendency to go too heavy on gear, especially if you're by yourself. Resist that urge. Out of the Valley, you do a lot of climbing. Cut your mileage expectations and use where you want to camp instead of how far you think you can go. A pack with three days of food and gear changes things measurably from what you can do with only a day-pack on. You could do a couple shorter trips: Up to LYV, and then another up to and at least a 1/4 mile beyond to camp legally above Yosemite Falls after that. If it all goes well on the latter, keep going. And yeah, the North Rim has cell service the entire way.

Since you will have a car, but knowing that there's not going to be a shuttle, you could also find a few nice in-and-out overnighters (avoid loops) up along Tioga Rd (Hwy 120). May Lake, the North Rim from above at Porcupine Creek, Glen Aulin, maybe Upper Cathedral Lake....
Phil
Veteran-poster
Veteran-poster
 
Posts: 899
Joined: Mon Jun 08, 2015 5:02 am
Location: Healdsburg, Ca

Re: first time backpacking

Postby damu21 » Fri Jul 08, 2016 12:05 pm

WanderingJim wrote:Is this your first time backpacking at all or first time backpacking in Yosemite? A little history of your experience would help us guide you.

You probably want to stick to some of the more traveled routes if you go alone, so you can call for help if needed. There is some cell coverage in various parts of the wilderness, but don't rely on it.

The North Rim route Phil described is a good choice. Great views everywhere you go. You can also go west to El Capitan from the top to Yosemite falls and then east to North Dome. I did it in three days last year. Camp right beside the top of North Dome and see the sunrise and sunset from the top of North Dome. Spectacular! (although there are a lot of places in Yosemite that you can say that of :) ).


thanks... my first time backpacking at all. i was in yosemite for a day this summer as part of a different trip and we stayed in half dome village. Now i want to see everything! the north dome loop sounds good, i will look in to that.
damu21
Frequent poster
Frequent poster
 
Posts: 26
Joined: Thu Jul 07, 2016 6:08 pm

Re: first time backpacking

Postby damu21 » Fri Jul 08, 2016 12:11 pm

Phil wrote:Sorry, misread your trip dates. Anyhow, the shuttle/bus schedules, and Tuolumne services/campgrounds usually close down no later than Sept 15th. Tioga Rd closes to overnight parking on Oct 15th. But, even in late September, the weather can turn. Just keep that in mind.

You can find a site at Camp 4, maybe, but if you go ahead and get a permit, you can stay for one night before your trip at the backpacker's camp at North Pines. It's a nicer place, and you'll run across more dedicated backpackers there, too.

For a first time backpacker there's always a tendency to go too heavy on gear, especially if you're by yourself. Resist that urge. Out of the Valley, you do a lot of climbing. Cut your mileage expectations and use where you want to camp instead of how far you think you can go. A pack with three days of food and gear changes things measurably from what you can do with only a day-pack on. You could do a couple shorter trips: Up to LYV, and then another up to and at least a 1/4 mile beyond to camp legally above Yosemite Falls after that. If it all goes well on the latter, keep going. And yeah, the North Rim has cell service the entire way.

Since you will have a car, but knowing that there's not going to be a shuttle, you could also find a few nice in-and-out overnighters (avoid loops) up along Tioga Rd (Hwy 120). May Lake, the North Rim from above at Porcupine Creek, Glen Aulin, maybe Upper Cathedral Lake....



ok so i get a permit for the north rim for say, tuesday-thursday, then i show up monday at north pines and i can camp there that night?
damu21
Frequent poster
Frequent poster
 
Posts: 26
Joined: Thu Jul 07, 2016 6:08 pm

Re: first time backpacking

Postby Phil » Fri Jul 08, 2016 3:51 pm

Yep, that's the deal. Show up on Monday night (permit in hand), fill out a card from the kiosk outside the bathroom at the backpacker's camp, pop $6 in the little envelope, throw the stub on the post or on your tent, you're good. Same with with the backpacker's camps at White Wolf and Tuolumne Meadows, too (for consideration next time).

And this amazing offer doesn't end there! On no! For an unlimited time only, you then get to stay one more night there again for only $6 when you get back from your trip.
Phil
Veteran-poster
Veteran-poster
 
Posts: 899
Joined: Mon Jun 08, 2015 5:02 am
Location: Healdsburg, Ca

Re: first time backpacking

Postby MadDiver » Sat Jul 09, 2016 9:07 am

Solo. Some people do, some won't. My first backpacking trip was solo, and most since as as well. I did have a lot of prior experience camping and hiking in addition to week long Wilderness canoeing trips with others. The most important thing to realize is you are solely reliant on YOU. You need to know how everything works. You need to know first aid. You need to know navigation and fire starting. You can't just carry the 10 essentials - YOU need to know how to use them. Just recently they found the body of a woman who disappeared off the Appalachian Trail in Maine over 2 years ago. She walked off the trail to go to the bathroom and couldn't find it again. Horrible sense of direction and no navigational skills, couldn't read a topo map (not even sure she had one) or use a compass. I'm not saying this to scare you or besmirch her but to emphasize that YOU need to know where you are at all times.

I ran into a young guy at the Merced Lake HSC last year. He ask me if I had seen his buddies - no. He asked if he was on the John Muir Trail - NO. He was supposed to be with his buddies up at the Sunrise HSC, made a wrong trail turn, he didn't have a map and didn't follow the signs and was now over 7miles in the wrong direction (It eventually worked out, one of his buddies showed up). Don't be that guy.

Now that I freaked you out, relax. As suggested by the others, the North Rim is probably ideal for a first backpack solo. You're really just a day hike away from the Valley but you're dropping a tent and sleeping instead of going back down and sleeping - in a tent ;)

Lastly - Watch the weather!
Enjoy!
MadDiver
Very frequent poster
Very frequent poster
 
Posts: 98
Joined: Sun Apr 05, 2015 5:26 pm

Re: first time backpacking

Postby transponster » Mon Jul 11, 2016 2:50 pm

I actually did the previously suggested North Rim hike as my first solo backpacking trip (although I had previous backpacking experience with groups). It is a great trip and the views are amazing. Make sure you get out onto North Dome. That late in the season, be mindful of water sources - I'm guessing some of the seasonal creeks might be dry. Also, you are flirting with shoulder season, so definitely check the weather forecast before you go.

Also, since you have a couple of months before your trip, I would strongly suggest one or two shakedown trips to get your gear in order and see what backpacking is all about.
transponster
Regular
Regular
 
Posts: 17
Joined: Thu Jun 04, 2015 6:54 pm

Re: first time backpacking

Postby Phil » Mon Jul 11, 2016 3:08 pm

transponster wrote:Also, since you have a couple of months before your trip, I would strongly suggest one or two shakedown trips to get your gear in order and see what backpacking is all about.


For sure, absolutely!

Even if you wear your loaded pack to hike around local regional parks on day-hikes to get the feel of it or camp as though you're backpacking at nearby campgrounds, you want to know how everything works ahead of time...even an overnighter or two in the backyard is better than nothing. Too many people take new gear out and have no idea how to set it up or use it until it becomes mission critical, and that's a really dumb way to go about it.
Phil
Veteran-poster
Veteran-poster
 
Posts: 899
Joined: Mon Jun 08, 2015 5:02 am
Location: Healdsburg, Ca


Return to Yosemite Hiking & Backpacking

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 8 guests

cron