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You have 3 full days in yosemite...what do you do?
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Devin Karch

Locale: NYC
You have 3 full days in yosemite...what do you do? on 05/14/2013 17:13:50 MDT Print View

The itinerary:

San fran to Yosemite: approx 4 hours: early morning thursday. Will have a decent amount of daylight to hike for that thursday. Friday, saturday, and sunday are full hiking days. Monday we need to be heading home early in the morning.

What would you do? Time is Early June. What should i expect weather wise in the valley and up at 10k ft like cathedral peak?

I would like to this possible?

Bob Gross
(--B.G.--) - F

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: You have 3 full days in yosemite...what do you do? on 05/14/2013 17:30:10 MDT Print View

It sounds like you want to backpack, and not just day hike. That's fine, except that you will need to get a wilderness permit. For days like Thursday through Sunday, there is the maximum demand for permits. You might be able to get a walk-up permit, but a permit reservation is slightly more foolproof, even if it costs a few bucks. Your time is valuable. Online at the Yosemite site there is a map of the park that shows which trails are managed by which permit stations, but the permit reservation office covers everything.

It also sounds like you don't intend to have any real lodging in the park. That's fine, and you won't be limited to any specific areas of the park.

What are your limits or preferences? Do you want to do five miles per day, or twenty miles per day?

This has been a fairly dry winter, so there isn't so much snow up high. OTOH, this is still a bit early, and the trail clearing parties haven't covered too much. So, once you get a few ideas, you can contact the permit reservation office. Often they can see the trail reports and warn you of a bad situation.

Also, you probably won't get anybody to commit to long-range weather predictions. Even though the scant snow has melted, it may not be to full summer weather yet. You need to prepare for an afternoon thundershower every day.

You will need to have a bear canister. Most of the time, the permit stations can rent you one, but that means that you have to return it to the same station afterwards. Yosemite black bears are thought to be pretty crafty.


Marko Botsaris
(millonas) - F - MLife

Locale: Santa Cruz Mountains, CA
Re: You have 3 full days in yosemite...what do you do? on 05/14/2013 18:23:48 MDT Print View

Is this your first time in Yosemite, and is your goal to see Yosemite valley? If so there is one answer, and I probably includes skipping the backpacking and doing some epic day hikes - if you drive in an want to try to hit the "touristy" easy access backpacking spots near (5-10 miles from)the valley, it may either be very difficult (as the previous poster mentioned) or even impossible. You will probably see more with less bureaucratic craziness if you just do some full day hikes in and around the valley - and by all means stay away from the thundering heard.

If you are more interested in doing some actual backpacking in Yosemite NP" then the answer might be a bit different. One perfect longish weekend trip (June is perfect for this one) with a lot of pay off bang for the buck is to drive straight to Tuolumne meadows and get a permit for the area along the Tuolumne river below Glen Aulin. After you get past the glen Aulin trail camp you can camp where you like,and will leave most of the day hikers behind. You will be going by fall after scenic fall on the Toulumne river. There are half a dozen named ones of these the next 10 miles down the valley. One of John Muir's most dramatic adventures he wrote about in "First Summer" was in this area. He entered it straight down the canyon wall from above (not recommended) but if you avoid this it should be a fairly relaxing trip. You will just want to stop and gawk in astonishment every few hundred yards is the "problem". Glen Aulin translates I believe as "Eden Valley", so that is a clue.

This is one of the first places I think of to take friends that are visiting and only have a long weekend. Depending on the kind of scenery you are going for I can think of many others, but none of the backpacking ones would start (for a long weekend trip at least) anywhere near Yosemite valley. The answer might also depend on how far you would like to walk per day. Hope this helps a bit.

Edit: If you decide to go anywhere near Tuolumne meadows in June, the temps will super comfortable during the day and may dip into the high 20's or thirties at worst at night, with a chance of a few sleety flakes falling on you (ok, there is a *chance* of anything, but nothing too out of control). All and all what I would generally call very nice to perfect backpacking weather. On the other hand ... mosquitoes! The same melt-off that makes the river so spectacular in June also brings them. Use permethrin on your shirt and (long)pants, and just be prepared, and they will not be an issue. Those that forget the repellant are in for it. They will be dormant between late afternoon and late morning usually, because of the temperature, so they will not bug you at night.

There may still be snow up on and near the (lower) peaks, but we had a very light snow year - if you don't mind snow should also be nice. But the flowers will be in blooming in Glen Aulin. Yikes, that last sentence sounds like the title of a sappy Scottish ballad.

Edited by millonas on 05/14/2013 18:42:49 MDT.

Hiking Malto
(gg-man) - F
Grand Canyon on 05/14/2013 19:32:22 MDT Print View

Of the Toulemne. Best time of year. You can do a loop up through ten lakes. Loved that trip.

Marko Botsaris
(millonas) - F - MLife

Locale: Santa Cruz Mountains, CA
Re: Grand Canyon on 05/14/2013 19:44:43 MDT Print View

Yeah, that is a really wonderful loop trip! ++1. With some of everything that makes Yosemite great - even an easy peak bag or two along the way.

That is more of a week longish trip, unless you are very fit. Start at White Wolf and you can dine at a pretty nice restaurant at beginning and end - it IS pretty nice, in spite of the fact it is the ONLY restaurant for miles and miles so it gets an automatic pass. LOL

James Castleberry
This low snow year on 05/14/2013 19:57:45 MDT Print View

This low snow year, I would:
Park in Curry Village lot and catch 8 am hiker bus to Tuolumne Meadows
Hike to Vogelsang
Go over Vogelsang Pass, taking the "high route" (rather than parallel lower route).
Go south, past the cutoff to Merced Lake, and head toward Isberg Peak.
Take the trail cutoff going toward Red Peak Pass. Red Peak Pass is about 11,000. I was at Rae Lakes first weekend in May and the snow level was about 10,500, so I think your chances are decent.
Cross Red Peak Pass and take Illilouette Trail to Ottoway Lake and back down into valley, passing Nevada Falls and Vernal Falls.
Eat pizza at Curry Village.
But it's all good.

Paul Wagner
(balzaccom) - F

Locale: Wine Country
Yosemite on 05/17/2013 06:59:13 MDT Print View

Man, that's a lot of miles, given that he won't get to start until Friday morning, because he's already missed the Thursday shuttle bus. Three days for that? It's more than we like to hike in a day....

If I had only 3-4 days in Yosemite, AND HAD NEVER BEEN THERE BEFORE, I would spend a day in the Valley doing the local hikes--Nevada and Vernal Falls, Mirror Lake-Snow creek Falls, and Yosemite falls. As much/many of those as I could manage.

Day two to Glacier Point, where I would hike SEntinal Dome back down to Dewey Point and the Valley.

Day three to hike Clouds Rest.

Day four: Mt, Hoffman, Gaylor Lakes, and Pothole or Lembeck Dome.

Great views, great hikes, and a real sense of what Yosemite is all about.

Marko Botsaris
(millonas) - F - MLife

Locale: Santa Cruz Mountains, CA
Re: Yosemite on 05/21/2013 23:33:47 MDT Print View

Yeah, James' suggestion is hard core for a long weekend. LOL On the other hand I've always wanted to do a trip over red peak pass - aside from the views I heard there is some beautiful trail crafting/architecture along that route as well.

"Great views, great hikes, and a real sense of what Yosemite is all about."

Everything except what it is like to have a bit of the back country almost to yourself. Those hikes are great day hikes, and the scenery makes up for the crowds a bit, but there is definitely something being missed. Still, as I pointed out in my first post, if you are mainly looking for a highlights/first-time trip to Yosemite that may be the best choice for such a quick trip. When are you ever going to have so many epic day hikes you can fit in over a long weekend.