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Advice for a British Yosemite 1st timer - November visit

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

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Advice for a British Yosemite 1st timer - November visit

Postby dan » Sun Mar 18, 2018 1:11 pm

Postby JoeHosty » Mon Mar 12, 2018 11:39 pm
Hi all

I have been reading the messages on here But thought to get some bespoke advice I needed to ask a couple of questions.

Basically, I am visiting Yosemite this November (Arrive 17th November, leave 19th November) as part of a California holiday. I have tried my best to research Yosemite and see what hikes I could do to maximise what I see of Yosemite over the time there (Only one full day to hike). I am fairly young, fit and healthy so any of the trials will be fine.

After doing a large amount of research, I settled on the best approach to be to do the 4 mile hike, followed by the Panoramic hike (Not sure the official name of this loop!) as this seemed to mean I would be able to maximise everything I could see (I know it doesnt cover Half Dome or El Capitan in any great detail but I think it gets the most out of one big hike).

HOWEVER, my problem is after I settled on this, I have started to read how elements of these trails may be closed in November. My questions are

1) Is this a good Hike to see as much of Yosemite as possible

2) When I read that elements are closed in November, what does this mean. Do they shut off the trails so they cant be used, or is it just for the road travel that is shut off

3) When we say they get closed in November, is this a hard and fast rule, or is it going to depend on the level of snow in early November. IE if I am lucky and there isnt much snow could it be that they stay open until the end of November? Historically when do they close?

4) If the worst happens, and this trail is not possible, do you have nay ideas as to how to maximise as much of the Yosemite highlights in one or two long hikes?

Thanks so much for your help, I hope you dont think I have been lazy, I tried to do as much of this research myself, but thought some expert help might be useful!


Postby AlmostThere » Tue Mar 13, 2018 2:29 am
What will happen often in November is snow. Snow closes the roads and ice closes some of the trails, including the middle portion of the Mist Trail and the 4 mile trail. Ice isn't healthy for an unprepared hiker.

Some years the snow is very late, some years it happens right on time - starts to fall in October, and then comes down heavy in Nov - Dec. Some years, like this winter, it waits til March - we are about to get another 5-6 feet of snow this week.

There is no way to literally see "most of Yosemite" in a few days. If you mean seeing the grandest of the grand, you are in luck. The valley itself is open year round. The waterfalls may be trickling, but the river still runs, the granite is still impressive, and on the way in from either the 41 or the 120 entrance, you can stop and see a sequoia grove, with a little hiking.

You should, if roads are closed, plan to spend a day simply walking the loop trail in the valley floor. You will be able to catch a shuttle bus when you are tired of the 20+ miles of walking you can do there. You can hike to Upper Yosemite Falls. You can still visit Vernal Falls and take the winter route around the steps to the top, to get to the top of Nevada Falls. If the roads to Tioga Pass and/or Glacier Point are open, you may want to wander up one or the other and do some hiking in Tuolumne Meadows or to someplace like Taft Point. But don't count on that.

More hikes described at yosemitehikes.com in detail.



Postby Phil » Tue Mar 13, 2018 2:43 am
As you might imagine, November begins to become a variable, sketchy, and subject to whatever weather happens to develop, changing year-to-year.

What you're describing is actually called, the Four-Mile Trail, although it's closer to five miles. Closure is physical via a gate below Union Point, and it'll typically happen sometime between November and December...when there's enough snow cover to make it treacherous, or often with only a single significant snowfall. This trail will take you from the Valley up to Glacier Point, where you can then pick up the Panorama Trail back down to the Valley, passing Nevada and Vernal Falls. A big, almost 14 mile loop. You're also going to have about 3000 ft of ascent. Not for the faint-hearted, the unprepared, or the slow, as your days will be shorter with the season. Gorgeous, and probably the best opportunity to take in Yosemite Valley from above on foot, although just a tiny fraction of what you would see when access to the high country isn't limited by seasonal trail and road closures. As contained and straightforward as it may seem, don't take anything about it or the season lightly; be prepared with the right gear, letting someone know your plans, and a weather forecast. People go hiking up there during the winter, get lost, and they die. With only two days, if there's any question as to the conditions or your ability, you would be surprised at how much you can find to explore that keeps you at lower elevations in the valley that doesn't put you in any jeopardy (there are many miles of trails through the meadows, base of waterfalls, etc). As a matter of fact, if the trail is closed, but Glacier Point road happens to be still open, don't hesitate to just take the easy way, drive up, and get the view you're looking for from above.
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Re: Advice for a British Yosemite 1st timer - November visit

Postby Duane » Sun Mar 25, 2018 12:30 pm

I think of that loop as the panorama loop, and if I have just one day in Yosemite, that is my hike of choice.
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