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My planned routes into the valley, any advice?

PostPosted: Thu Mar 29, 2007 2:54 pm
by dmede
So I?m putting together this 3-4 day backpacking trip from Tuolumne Meadows into Yosemite Valley for early June. It?s 4 guys all in decent shape but none of us backpack regularly. We are looking to do what would be considered a 3 day trail and take about 4 days to ease through it. Both JMT (via Sunrise or Echo Creek) and the Rafferty Creek (via Fletcher Creek) trails look about right (22-28 miles).

Are those trails doable in 3 days? Is one much better than the others? Or much harder? Any general descriptions of these routes? Or tips on this plan overall?


PostPosted: Thu Mar 29, 2007 4:23 pm
by dan
Yeah--you can do that in 3 days if you're in reasonable shape.

I'd prefer the Rafferty Creek route--you get more views of the Tuolumne high country and country around Vogelsang. You can make it to the Vogelsang area the first day (lots of uphill toward the end). It's slightly longer and harder, but also less crowded than the JMT.

The area around Merced Lake is a zoo fully of screaming kids once the High Sierra Camp is open, but that is usually not open by early June. I really like the domes and rocks between Merced Lake and Little Yosemite Valley (LYV)--don't go too fast through that area.

On the other hand, the Sunrise Lakes area is pretty. The JMT is higher above LYV, so makes it a relatively easy day hike to Half Dome.

The LYV campground is popular (crowded) and popular with bears--but you'll meet lots of backpackers there.

PostPosted: Thu Mar 29, 2007 4:43 pm
by dmede
Thanks Dan, thats the kind of info I'm looking for.

Once we're in the back country, can you camp pretty much anywhere (follwoing the wilderness rules of course) or do you have to stay more or less on the trails? Do hikers tend to bunch up at certain spots at the end of the day, or can we find our own spots out there?

PostPosted: Fri Mar 30, 2007 9:57 pm
by dan
In Yosemite Wilderness you can camp anywhere you want, with few exceptions.

The exceptions are:
1) next to the trail
2) next to a lake or stream
(I don't remember how many feet, but it's on your permit)
3) anywhere posted no camping (very few places are like this in the wilderness. I can't think of any offhand in Yosemite Wilderness).

Of course, just because you can camp somewhere doesn't mean you would want to. Also, using established firerings and camping on bare ground practices low-impact camping.