My wife and I recently hiked the North Rim of Yosemite during the Memorial Day weekend.
-4 day point to point
-Total mileage:~31 miles
-Elevation Gain/Loss: Oh ya..!
- Map Used: Tom Harrison, Yosemite High
Country Trail Map.
Old Big Oak Flat Road (OBOFRT), sometimes called "rockslides" to Cascade Creek.
Cascade creek to Yosemite Falls.
Yosemite Falls to Snow Creek Trail at the North rim/Snow Creek Falls area.
Snow Creek Falls to the valley floor.
We followed the excellent tips from a recent article describing this trip in Backpacker Magazine.
Day one tips:
I can't say enough about the OBOFRT trail. You leave the craziness of the valley immediately and have some of the best views in the park all to yourself. The OBOFRT is not hard to follow but do pay attention to the cairns when crossing the rock slides (non technical scrambles). Make sure you keep your camp clean at Cascade creek, we had bear activity during the night.
Day Two tips:
We did encounter some snow on day two around the ribbon meadow area that required some route finding. The trail is flagged with red metal tags on trees for routing across snow but there is some distance between them. No big deal but expect to slow down in that area. Of course it's melting fast so I'm sure things are different already. We really enjoyed climbing down a little ways from the top of El Cap to were it breaks off and peering over the abyss. Two climbers came over the edge while we were there, five days on the rock! Excellent campsites above Yosemite Falls along Yosemite Creek for night number two.
Day three tips:
We chose to follow Lehamite Creek instead of taking the scenic route via North Dome, in retrospect we regretted it. The Lehamite Creek portion of the trail is nice (and steep) but North Dome looks much more spectacular. A good spot for a dip in Snow Creek is approx .2 miles before you reach the North Rim, just past the bridge. We had the BEST campsite I have ever had in my 20 years of backpacking. Why? The view of Half Dome is amazing.
Its elevator shaft steep to Mirror Lake and you're home. We hopped the shuttle back to trail head parking and before we knew it, were taking showers in Curry Village. The easiest way to return bear cans is by parking in the Yosemite Village Store lot and walking through the store to the Wilderness Center.
Begining of the OBOFRT.
First view of Bridalveil Falls, 15 minutes into the hike!
The first of many rock slides to scramble over, El Cap in the background.
Snow around the Ribbon Medows area.
Trail markers to follow thru Ribbon Medows area.
Top of El Cap.
Awesome camp above Yosemite Falls on Yosemite creek.
Campsite with amazing view of Half Dome.
Apline glow shot from the tent, truly amazing spot to pitch a tent, did I mention...no mosquitos!
My attempt to go lighter, we are using freezer bag cooking now. What a great system.
Gear issues, worked/did not work.
We choose to wear boots thinking we would encounter much more snow than we did. Although handy for the portion we did encounter snow, trail runners would have been sufficient.
New to our camping gear is Aqua Mira and freezer bag cooking. Thank you BPL community! Both are a leap forward in making our packs lighter.
*Alert to husbands* I ditched the tarp and we brought a tent. I also dropped the 3/4 length Thermareast Prolight pads for insulated air core pads w/ 2 1/2 of comfort. Neither of these are ultralight by any means but my wife was much more comfortable. She is already asking when are we going on our next trip! Something must be working...
If you have any questions about this hike please feel free to ask.