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Guide to Tuolumne Meadows Trails (1960) by Allan Shields


X. VOGELSANG PASS AND HIGH SIERRA CAMP

(5-very strenuous all-day, climb 1800 ft. to High Sierra Camp, 15 miles. For Vogelsang Pass, add 2 miles, and an additional climb of 400 ft.).

Both of these places leave little to be desired in the way of what one thinks a high mountain camp and pass should be. Situated over 10,000 ft. in the sky, the High Sierra Camp looks temporary enough not to mar the rugged beauty of its setting, but permanent enough to provide shelter. The pass itself offers one of the grandest views in the Park of the Clark Range, Bernice Lake, Mt. Florence, and neighboring peaks. Vogelsang Peak and Fletcher Peak form a golden setting for that gem, Vogelsang Lake. Some seasons of heavy snow fall may prevent this trip in part or whole until early in August or even later. Consult the Ranger regarding conditions.

Directions: Walk along the river road to the very back of the camp ground where the John Muir Trail begins. (Or begin at the Tuolumne High Sierra Camp, saving 2 miles hiking distance in the round trip.) Proceed about one mile to the Rafferty Creek trail junction, where you turn right up the slope. At first the trail is steep, but flattens soon to a gradual climb all the way to the High Sierra Camp. From the camp, find the trail to Vogelsang Lake and the Pass (marked by signs). Return

On windswept slopes at high elevations,
whitebark pines grow to heights of only 18
to 24 inches.
    McCrary, NPS
[click to enlarge]
On windswept slopes at high elevations, whitebark pines grow to heights of only 18 to 24 inches. McCrary, NPS
by the same trail, since alternate routes are considerably longer.

Special Features: As you climb higher and higher on the Rafferty Creek Trail, turn to see Mt. Dana, White Mountain, and other prominences coming into view. Lembert Dome, that ubiquitous landmark of Tuolumne, will be in view for awhile. Rafferty, Vogelsang, and Fletcher Peaks are probably the most important mountains you will learn on this trip.

Lakes abound in this region, and a number of them are feasible to visit on even a one-day trip. Vogelsang, Evelyn, and Booth Lakes are especially near at hand, though you may want to hike to Vogelsang and Evelyn and simply look down into Booth Lake.

Golden eagles (1, p. 90) have been seen in this area, as well as mountain lions (12, p. 94). On the way from Vogelsang Lake to the Pass watch for some of the many marmots that live there (12, p. 66).

The High Sierra Camp will serve meals only if you have made advance reservations through the Tuolumne Lodge or some other branch of the Yosemite Park and Curry Company. Coffee or light refreshments do not require such reservations. In any event, visit the camp for its own sake.



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