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Topic: East Coaster planning 1st trip to Yosemite, 4-5 Days in Yosemite< Next Oldest | Next Newest >
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PostIcon Posted on: Feb. 06 2013, 9:50 pm  Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

I am hoping to do a 4-5 day backpacking trip to Yosemite 3rd week of June. I am hoping to see some of the highlights:  Half Dome, Yosemite Falls, Valley, Glacier Point, but would also like to see some of the not so popular areas. Can you recommend an itenerary that would do the most in the least amount of time. Oh, and I also would like to squeeze in a little trout fishing too. I realize the possibility of now still exists, and I am willing to accept that. Any suggeations would be great.
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PostIcon Posted on: Feb. 06 2013, 11:57 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Grand Canyon of the Tuolumne is great then. The high snowmelt as the high country sheds all those feet of snow really energizes the water features on the river.

35 or so miles. From maybe 4000 to 9k at Tuolumne. The YARTS system would drop you at White Wolf and return you from Tuolumne.

http://www.yarts.com/

Once they start plowing on April 15 they keep an update of the progress of opening the Tioga road here: they aim for Memorisl Day and often make it except in very heavy snow years.
http://www.nps.gov/yose/planyourvisit/tioga.htm
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PostIcon Posted on: Feb. 07 2013, 3:50 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Per usual, HSF offers great advice on this area.

Just a note: If YARTS follows what they did last year, their busses only run on the weekends in June.  So plan accordingly.  The YARTS is a great option that I have used on many occasions for one-way hikes.
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PostIcon Posted on: Feb. 07 2013, 6:16 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Pah, good catch hbfa I keep forgetting to include that glitch in their schedule, my blind spot since I really like the shoulder seasons even though TPTB don't.

SO a plan "B" would be a loop out of Hetch Hetchy: that could include an upclose and personal view of Wapama Falls that is rather outrageous around that same time: but optional as there are routes that would at least be lollipops or an out and back  out from the dam. But have the same lower-ish elevation advantages of the Grand Canyon of the Tuolumne  route. With more of that open alpine grandeur than the canyon would offer.

There's a "backpackers" campground where you can stay reservation-free for $5 with presentation of your next day Wilderness Permit right near the start which would solve both your day before and night after the trip lodgings if desired.
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PostIcon Posted on: Feb. 07 2013, 10:32 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

I know this is a backpacking forum, and you want to get into the backcountry. But if this is your first trip to YNP, consider being--gasp--a tourist.
Last summer I toured my nephew from Kentucky around YNP for 2-3 days, and we had a blast.

We scored a reservation in the Curry Village ghetto and Half Dome cable ladder permits at the last minute. Day 1, we got there and checked into Curry Village, rode our bikes around the Valley floor, showed him El Cap Meadow, the Ahwahnee and Ansel Adams' piano, Camp 4 (climbers' camp) and the famous "Midnight Lightening" boulder problem, the Raffi Bedayn/10th Mountain Division Memorial, Mirror Lake, Bridal Veil Falls, Yosemite Chapel, etc. Drove up to Glacier Point and the Diving Board, and then over to the Mariposa Grove where he had almost a religious conversion checking out the Big Trees. Got back to the ghetto at 9:30 PM and choked down some MREs and beers. Got up by 4:00 and hit he trail for the 17 mile round trip (approx 5000 ft elevation gain) up the Mist Trail to the summit of Half Dome via the infamous cables. (We're both climbers, so no big deal). Next day, drove up to check out Tuolumne to show him the high country before heading back to the Central Valley so he could catch his flight in Sacramento back to Lexington.
It was a perfect first trip to Yosemite--of course, my local knowledge was key but you could do this, too.
The hard part is scoring the Half Dome permits and the Curry Village reservations.
The folks in the ranger station are really helpful. YNP is phone-tree Hell, but keep dialing this direct # to the ranger station: 209-372-0740 and you'll get through to a person and they'll help you out.
You generally have to be aggressive about planning 6 months in advance for any resies or permits, and you're already past that window for June. I just scored a backcountry permit for late July.
PM me if you want for other details or alternatives. YNP is one-of-a-kind but it's more crowded than DisneyLand in the summer, and you just have to accept that as the price of admission, or choose another location. California has lots of other stuff to offer.


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PostIcon Posted on: Feb. 08 2013, 9:18 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(waterdog @ Feb. 07 2013, 10:32 pm)
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You generally have to be aggressive about planning 6 months in advance for any resies or permits, and you're already past that window for June.

+1. You're well past the date to get a permit for some popular trailheads. You may have to select another or try your luck with a walk-up. You'll also have trouble getting a Half Dome since those have been reduced this year and those trailheads that would reasonably include passing HD are the popular ones. You can try walk-up again but those are for specific days unlike one obtained with a wilderness permit.

You may not have the time, but another option is to backpack in from outside the park. Easier to get those permits and HD is included if your route is within reasonable range. We're going from Agnew Meadows to Happy Isles (~ 60 miles). We're leaving our car in the valley and taking YARTS back to the start.
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PostIcon Posted on: Feb. 08 2013, 11:41 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Wilderness Permit trailhead reservations "full"?

Not really:
http://www.nps.gov/feature....tes.htm

Now car camping campgrounds are a totally other story...
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PostIcon Posted on: Feb. 08 2013, 12:04 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Agree with the above -- popular trailheads go fast and reservations for those are now rolling out for end of July. Limited number of walk-up permits will be available each day, but it's a gamble.

And being a tourist for first visit to YNP actually is a good idea, but you are way, way late on getting lodging for this June, those probably were booked full by last August. But cancellations do pop up, and there are some private property parts of YNP that are rented VRBO-style.

The places you mentioned -- Half Dome, Yosemite Falls, Valley, Glacier Point -- are all easy to "see" if that is what you want to do. The Valley is the main tourist area of the park, so you almost certainly will be there at some point. In the Valley you absolutely cannot miss Yos Falls and HD, they are dominant features from many parts of the Valley. Technically you won't be able to incorporate the Valley into a BP itinerary except as the start and/or end point, and there is a campground there just for BPers with permits starting next day and/or night of the last day.

If you want to summit Half Dome then yeah, permit and all as others have mentioned, and the challenge of getting one. Glacier Point can be accessed by car or a $$ shuttle bus, and is a trailhead for some great hikes to/from the Valley.

If you really want to summit HD you can construct a backcountry itinerary that would start at a less-popular trailhead that might be easier to get a permit for (getting the HD addition still not guaranteed, though). For example, you might be able to get a permit now for Glen Aulin, from there go to Murphy Creek Trail down to Tenaya Lake to pick up the Cloud's Rest Trail, and that will bring you to Half Dome if you get that permit. Or, you could put in at Budd Creek Trail, camp Echo Lake 1st night, then cross over to the JMT and from there a few options to get to HD. Or, put in at the Snow Creek Trail (just be prepared for a 3,000 foot climb up the steepest trail in YNP), follow that along the north rim of Tenaya Canyon and then at Tenaya Lake pick up the Cloud's Rest Trail.

HSF's suggestions are excellent, they just won't take you to Half Dome, so if you want a fantastic BP experience that doesn't necessarily include summiting HD then definitely consider those as well.

EDIT: HSF saw your post after I submitted mine, that info is a couple of weeks old but still does show a lot of potential.


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PostIcon Posted on: Feb. 08 2013, 12:14 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

The problem with June is the possibility of endless postholing at the higher elevations and it's early days to know how that will play out (and people's idea of "snow" sometimes doesn't quite grasp 5 or 10 feet of the stuff on an 11,000 foot pass....). Which is where my lower elevation routes came from. The shoulder season is a nice time but challenging for all that.

As far as June being long gone? Only for Little Yosemite Valley out of Happy Isles and Glacier Point (and even then there are unfilled dates). Which leaves the entire rest of a park the size of Rhode Island quite open.

ETA: They're usually better at keeping that page up to date.

ETA2: I gave both the NPS and Conservancy FB people a poke about fixing that out of date page: as the time frame moves into the start of the hiking window looking forward is not the time for obsolete information to be sitting there. In another context they mentioned having trouble with their servers, this might be some of that.
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PostIcon Posted on: Feb. 08 2013, 12:38 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Our first to YNP was a five night BP that followed the High Sierra Camp loop.  We didn't stay at the HSC, but at adjacent BP'er campsites.  At the end of the trip, we stayed in the valley for a couple of days to see/experience the area.

It has already been suggested to possibly begin outside of YNP.  On one trip we began at Twin Lakes in the Toiyabe National Forest and hiked the 'Northern Loop' in YNP.  It was fantastic!
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PostIcon Posted on: Feb. 08 2013, 4:43 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

They fixed the full trailheads report.
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PostIcon Posted on: Feb. 08 2013, 5:06 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic.  Ignore posts   QUOTE

"You're well past the date to get a permit for some popular trailheads."

Yes and no.

You are indeed past the date to pre-reserve the most popular trailheads in advance. Yosemite allocates 60% reserved wilderness permits; these are the ones you reserve up to 6 months in advance.
However, 40% are next day only and, add to this all the reserved permit numbers who will invariably bail out the last minute, (BTW, there is no way of cancelling part of the permit) - park rangers find out only at the last minute when the reserved party actually picks up their permits in person...the party of 6 is now only 3 - (Go figure).
Add these up and there are over 50% wilderness permits still available for anywhere in the park the day before, but when you call up, (or go on line), it usually says full.
If you don't mind the un-certainment factor, a smaller party will almost always get their first choice of wilderness permits - when in person, at the desk...just be in line by 10:00 AM, Tuolumne time.


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