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[Yosemite]

Alternatives to Glen Aulin Trail?

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

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Alternatives to Glen Aulin Trail?

Postby Celo626 » Sun Jun 18, 2017 1:11 pm

I, too, have been looking forward to a trip to Yosemite and getting up into some high peaks. I had my sights set on the Glen Aulin trail at about 10 miles for a day hike on the 4th of July week. Considering the snow and potential lack of crossings, it doesn't seem feasible (or smart) to attempt this, especially with my wife along. We hope to enter from the Lee Vining side on the East, and not sit in hours of traffic. Are there any more specific day hikes that could be suggested? We hope to stay out of the snow for the most part, but I really don't want to hop on and off the busses to do 1-2 mile hikes where it becomes more about transit and logistics than about enjoying the park.

We also planned on driving through the park East to West on our last day as we head towards Napa. Assuming Tioga pass opens, is this even an option?

We roughly have three days in Yosemite, and would like to make the most of our time there (I.e. Not sitting in traffic).thanks in advance for any tips, suggestions or ideas!
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Re: Alternatives to Glen Aulin Trail?

Postby AlmostThere » Sun Jun 18, 2017 1:40 pm

There's no guarantee you'll hike anywhere along Tioga Road even if the pass opens -- the meadows, if they lack snow, will be flooded with snowmelt which in turn breeds mosquitos. There are often bridges over the river, but some of those are broken under the snow load of last winter as well. The best thing would be to call the wilderness office to check on status of any trails you might want to hike.

If you don't want to be in snow, think about hikes such as Porcupine Flat heading out to North Dome, or going to Mt Watkins, or for a real challenge head on over to Eagle Peak and El Capitan.

Driving through the park east to west would be driving Tioga Rd to Crane Flat and leaving the park without seeing the valley itself, or Glacier Point, or Wawona. Sounds like you need to look through the website a little more and decide what's important to you.
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Re: Alternatives to Glen Aulin Trail?

Postby Vegasbackpacker » Sun Jun 18, 2017 9:55 pm

The high Sierra camps are closed indefinitely. I had permits to glen Aulin over July 4th and switched that permit to glacier point to Merced lake and up half dome instead.
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Re: Alternatives to Glen Aulin Trail?

Postby Vegasbackpacker » Sun Jun 18, 2017 9:58 pm

Get a backcountry permit for anywhere which enables you to stay in the valley the night before and after your backpack trip. Once I realized two weeks ago that glen Aulin was not worth my life , I called ranger permit station and they went above and beyond to rearrange my backpack trip for me.
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Re: Alternatives to Glen Aulin Trail?

Postby AlmostThere » Sun Jun 18, 2017 9:59 pm

He's wanting day hikes, not overnight trips...
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Re: Alternatives to Glen Aulin Trail?

Postby Vegasbackpacker » Sun Jun 18, 2017 10:00 pm

That Echo Valley is supposed to be something else too. We're doing glacier point to half dome to echo valley.
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Re: Alternatives to Glen Aulin Trail?

Postby Vegasbackpacker » Sun Jun 18, 2017 10:01 pm

Echo Valley !!! Heck of a day hike.
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Re: Alternatives to Glen Aulin Trail?

Postby AlmostThere » Sun Jun 18, 2017 10:14 pm

I've day hiked to Bunnell Cascade -- 22 mile round trip from Happy Isles. Gorgeous hike.
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Re: Alternatives to Glen Aulin Trail?

Postby Phil » Sun Jun 18, 2017 10:18 pm

I'll echo Almost There's recommendation for Porcupine Creek (aka the North Rim of Yosemite Valley). For safe, snow-free, in-and-out day hiking opportunities, it's likely the best bet.

The higher peaks will still be hard/impossible to get to, but if you call the park for a conditions report prior to committing, you could see how things are at and beyond Glen Aulin, skip the camp itself, which is where the bridge is actually out, and head on down to the area of Waterwheel Falls for an incredible display of water. If it's doable without risk, but maybe a little extra work and inconvenience, it's something that you may never have the opportunity to see again. If the trail is open, that means that the rangers have established that it's generally safe. Some reports are accurate, some are exaggerated and just plain wrong. I wouldn't kill a trip (especially something as simple as a day hike) until I had first hand intel directly from the source on what's really happening. Call the park when the time comes, but have a Plan B and adjust if necessary.
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Re: Alternatives to Glen Aulin Trail?

Postby Phil » Sun Jun 18, 2017 10:25 pm

Vegasbackpacker wrote:That Echo Valley is supposed to be something else too. We're doing glacier point to half dome to echo valley.


What part of Echo Valley? If you're skirting it and headed up to the JMT, it's fine, but no big deal for views or much of anything. The last real view is from the bridge at the top of the gorge. Now, if you're headed over toward Merced Lake, Echo Valley sucks. This time of year, and with the runoff we're having, you'll be a mile of knee-deep water and mud. If you're not going up, I would stop and find a site down by the bridges above Bunnell. That area is gorgeous, but that distance is going to be a killer for most people day hiking an in-and-out from the Valley.
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Re: Alternatives to Glen Aulin Trail?

Postby Phil » Sun Jun 18, 2017 10:43 pm

Vegasbackpacker-

I really wouldn't bother with Merced Lake. It's a non-event. A glorified campground that most of us that know it use to rest or stage for bigger and better. Here's how I would break that trip down:

Night one- as required, camp along Illilouette Creek up from GP, wihin the legal bounds shown on the trail map.
https://www.nps.gov/yose/planyourvisit/ ... lheads.pdf

Night two- bypass LYV and head up to Sunrise Creek just above the HD spur

Day three- "summit" Half Dome...return to camp at Sunrise for night three.

Day four- go up the JMT to the cut off to Echo Valley, skirt it, spend night four at the bridges above Bunnell.

Day five- exit back up at GP

...if you don't have five days, skip Half Dome. Lots of bears all over everywhere you're going, so act accordingly because they're quick and know how to be pushy.
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Re: Alternatives to Glen Aulin Trail?

Postby Celo626 » Mon Jun 19, 2017 9:37 am

Thank you for all the ideas and suggestions. I'll look into Porcupine & El Cap. Much appreciated.
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Re: Alternatives to Glen Aulin Trail?

Postby Dave_Ayers » Mon Jun 19, 2017 11:13 am

If you are into Flora, the Harden Gardens area downhill from Harden Lake should be fantastic in early July this year. You can loop around too. But the hike to and fro is just a forest walk.

I wouldn't give up on the Glen Aulin idea. If you come over from the east, you'll get a clear view of TM. If there is still a lot of snow and you don't want to walk on it, skip it. If not, you could go for it. Consider taking the use trail starting at Pothole Dome. That way skips a couple creek hops and is shorter, saving more energy for seeing the falls further downstream.
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Re: Alternatives to Glen Aulin Trail?

Postby Celo626 » Mon Jun 19, 2017 6:31 pm

So, let's say I decide to go for Glen Aulin... are we talking snow shoes, or crampons, or just boots and gaiters?
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Re: Alternatives to Glen Aulin Trail?

Postby Phil » Mon Jun 19, 2017 7:40 pm

Boots and gaiters is all. Maybe a couple his and hers pairs of neoprene kayak socks. You might have a few wet areas that shouldn't be too bad out by the meadow, plenty of mosquitoes, and a couple really simple crossings of Delaney and Dingley Creeks where you probably won't even get your feet wet. Once you get out to just above Glen Aulin, you'll have a timber bridge above Tuolumne Falls and another short steel bridge at the pond below White Cascade right as you enter Glen Aulin itself. By then hundreds of people will have figured it out and come before you. You'll want to keep apprised of conditions, but you're not going to be blazing trails all alone. If it's closed, simple, you don't go. If it's open, have at it without any serious concerns as long as you stay cautious around the river and the slick rock at the edges of the falls.

If you want to go down to Waterwheel and that area, you'll undoubtedly have some trail flooding about a mile or so beyond the HSC, but you can usually either pick your way through it or go up right to find higher ground, but again, know before you go with a timely trail report.

One last thing to keep in mind is what Dave Ayers mentioned about coming in from behind Pothole Dome. The end of the meadow will be flooded badly, again with abundant hungry mosquitoes, but the trail is pretty well worn and easy to follow, skirting the hillside to keep you out of the muck. You'll save yourselves about 3 or so miles of hiking and come out just the other side of that first timber bridge I mentioned. It's the way the HSC workers go, the way the rangers go, and the way people that know about it and want to save time go. For all conditions, either call, or better still, take 15 minutes and stop by the wilderness permit station at Tuolumne and ask the friendly and helpful ranger folk what's going on. If they don't know themselves, they've undoubtedly talked to someone that's been there very recently.

***I should add: the bridge that collapsed is the span to the right as you cross Conness Creek and walk toward where the tent cabins would normally be situated. Unless you're camping, you really don't have any need to go across it and into the camp. But if there's a will, rest assured that plenty of people have found a way and created a new trail up the hill to get to the backpacker's area by the time you get there. If you're heading downriver, the trail is left at that point, over the rise and down. Can't miss it.
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