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Yosemite Route Suggestions
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Wesley Witt

Locale: Northwest
Yosemite Route Suggestions on 10/09/2009 14:01:49 MDT Print View

I'm considering a trek into Yosemite in summer 2010 and am looking for suggested routes. I've looked at a few books but they all seem to focus on hikes that start and end from a parking lot. I want to do a 1 week trip in Yosemite Valley. Does others have routes that they've taken as suggestions?


Tom Clark
(TomClark) - MLife

Locale: East Coast
Re: Yosemite Route Suggestions on 10/09/2009 22:24:15 MDT Print View

I'm not the an expert on Yosemite, but have been there 3 times, so I'm not sure what you mean by "1 week trip in Yosemite Valley" since the Valley proper is fairly small for something like that.

There are enough trails that you could carve out anything. The tough thing is getting backcountry permits, convenient parking, and campsite/lodging for the nights before and after the hike during summer. You might want to consider staying away from the valley to make scheduling easier.

Bruce Tolley

Locale: San Francisco Bay Area
One Week Trip In the Valley on 10/10/2009 12:01:09 MDT Print View

Like the commenter above, it is not clear what you mean by in the valley.

There have been posts on this site on the North Rim Hike and the Old Big Oak Flat Road hike which you can start and end from the Valley floor by taking the shuttle, east to west or west to east.

You could also manage a circumnavigation of the Valley by combining hikes on the North Rim and South Rim with some shuttle trips. With the recent fire, Tamarack Flat and the Tamarack TH is "closed" but presumably you could still hike up or down the El Cap trail from the Valley floor or from the Foresta turn out.

If you study a good map, many options will become apparent. Usually it is possible to make permit reservations for the less popular trailheads like Tamarack, Yosemite Creek, and Porcupine Flat.

Piper S.
(sbhikes) - F

Locale: Santa Barbara (Name: Diane)
Get a map on 10/11/2009 08:45:56 MDT Print View

Get a map. Then create a route that you think you'll enjoy. I think you're going to have to start from a parking lot no matter what you do, unless you can get helicoptered in. But if you mean you won't have a car, there are buses you can take to various starting points.

I recommend the Grand Canyon of the Tuolumne.

Greg Mihalik
(greg23) - M

Locale: Colorado
Re: Get a map on 10/11/2009 09:06:40 MDT Print View

How many days in the park?
How many miles per day?

And look Here for answers to generic questions.

Edited by greg23 on 10/11/2009 09:18:00 MDT.

Lori P
(lori999) - F

Locale: Central Valley
re: Yosemite on 10/11/2009 10:14:19 MDT Print View

How are you with crowds? Do you want to see major points like Half Dome, or do you care? Are you more interested in staying away from busloads of tourists, or handfuls of noob backpackers?

You won't overnight in the valley outside an established campground, and the trails that start in the valley have steep elevation gains in the first day. Your first opportunity to camp legally from Happy Isles would be Little Yosemite Valley; most other trailheads you are expected to be a minimum of four miles from any road or trailhead.

Welcome to the adventure of planning a trip in the most heavily regulated wilderness area in California. Spending time examining the wilderness regulations on the park website is your first step. If you want to start at Sunrise, Cathedral, or Happy Isles, and you have no flexibility in dates, plan on faxing your permit application at 12:01 am the first day you possibly can - there is a chart on the website that will help you figure this out. NO JOKE. Follow the food storage rules to the letter. A friend was escorted out from Red Peak Pass by a ranger for having an Ursack.

Edited by lori999 on 10/11/2009 10:19:15 MDT.

Anthony Weston
(anthonyweston) - MLife

Locale: Southern CA
Yosemite on 10/11/2009 11:17:05 MDT Print View

It sounds like you want to day hike the Valley so this is day hike advise not backpacking advise.

First of all come out in late spring, early summer not july or August, less people and more water. In August it can get to be 100 degrees in the Valley and the waterfalls have mostly shut off to a trickle.

1) hike from glacier point down the Panorama trail past illouette to Nevada falls and down to Happy Isles. The shuttle bus will drop you off at glacier point. Expect alot of people at the bottom but it's still the best hike in the valley.

2) Walk the valley floor, few people do this these days but it's a rewarding loop. Take the shuttle to Bridal Veil and then hike the old wagon trail towards Curry Village, going up the 4 mile trail which is along the way is strenuous but provides some great views of El Cap or you can get the same views by taking the shuttle to the south rim and visiting Taft Point.

3) Take the shuttle bus to Tuolumne meadows and hike down the Indian Ridge trail to North dome and view Half Dome from the North Rim. Come down the trail at Yosemite falls.

4) Hike around Hetch Hetchy to Ranchiera Falls (June not July or it's too hot). There is a great slide of water there worth seeing.

5) Take a loop around the Redwoods, still snow there in June. If the road has not been plowed skip it.

Also the falls at the bottom of the trail to Chilnualna Falls is one of my favorite places to visit, like a giant Japanese water garden. I'm not recommending the 4 mile hile up to Chilnualna Falls just visiting the falls at the bottom, a short 1/4 mile hike from road about the redwood cabins up the road from Wawona.

You can't go wrong, anywhere you hike it's Yosemite.

Lori P
(lori999) - F

Locale: Central Valley
postscript on shuttles on 10/11/2009 11:33:47 MDT Print View

The free shuttles will take you to Mariposa Grove, Wawona and anywhere in the valley. The tour/hiker bus (fees vary based on destination and one way/round trip) will take you to Tioga Pass. The Glacier Point tour bus (twenty dollars per adult) will take you to Glacier Point, there are no free shuttles that go there.

YARTS has a very set schedule but if you are flying into Merced it's a great way to get into the park, and can also be used to get from the valley to Tioga Pass. Details at

Roleigh Martin
(marti124) - MLife

Locale: Moderator-JohnMuirTrail Yahoo Group
Re: Yosemite Route Suggestions on 10/11/2009 17:51:21 MDT Print View

Wesley, you could hike from Yosemite Valley (Happy Isles) to Red's Meadow, a distance of 69 miles, and from there, take the Yarts bus back to Yosemite Valley; this way you'll do the starting 69 miles of the John Muir Trail.

Bruce Tolley

Locale: San Francisco Bay Area
Yosemite Route - YARTS? on 10/24/2009 11:43:46 MDT Print View


I was not aware YARTs ran all the way to Reds Meadows. Do you not mean the Reds Meadows shuttle (run by Eastern Sierra Transit) to Mammoth and then Mammoth to Yosemite on the Yarts "highway 120" service?

Frank Deland

Locale: On the AT in VA
Yes YARTS from Mammoth on 10/30/2009 13:27:30 MDT Print View

A nice hike would be from Tuolumne Meadows to Red Meadows or Mammoth Springs. Yarts leaves around 7:30 AM from the Mommoth Lakes Inn back to Tuolumne and Happy Valley, Yosemite.
There are opportunities to lengthen your hike by going sideways of ther AT, but not adding many miles top your distance from Reds.

This is a beautiful hike along the JMT and you could add a hike up to Minaret Lake and easily get back to Red Meadows. Minaret Lake has several great tentsites and is well worth the effort. The first day's hike out of Tuolumne is through a georgeous meadow most of the day. There is a free bus that runs frequently from the JMT at Red meadows to get you into the village of Mammoth Lakes.
Minaret Lakelake Minaret

Edited by rambler on 10/30/2009 14:45:29 MDT.

Frank Deland

Locale: On the AT in VA
a week in Yosemite on 10/30/2009 14:57:58 MDT Print View

Here is a five day 46 mile route from a magazine: (Backpacker June 2009, p. 15)
Day 1, Bus to Tuolumne
Day 2 Hike from Tuolumne, JMT and Rafferty Creek Trail to camp near Rafferty's headwater 7 miles
Day 3: pass Vogelsang Lake (for sunrise), follow Lewis Creek Trail to camp at Echo Valley 10.5 miles
Day 4: 7 miles to Sunrise Camp at Long Meadow, pass Sunrise Lakes and across Clouds Rest. Camp by Sunrise Creek near JMT jct.
Day 5 Climb Half Dome early before the crowds, to Happy Isle and the MIst Trail and shuttle to the Lodge.: