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Clark Range Loop in Yosemite
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Paul Maguire
Clark Range Loop in Yosemite on 07/24/2013 08:26:25 MDT Print View

I am looking into doing the Clark Range loop in Yosemite in late Sept., starting at the Quartz Mt. trailhead. Looks like an epic 4-5 day trip, and I am wondering if any of you have done it? More specifically, I was wondering what the access to the actual trail head is like, and how long I should expect it to take driving there from Bass Lake. I cannot find much info on this online.


Marko Botsaris
(millonas) - F - MLife

Locale: Santa Cruz Mountains, CA
Re: Clark Range Loop in Yosemite on 07/24/2013 17:15:10 MDT Print View

I met some folks near Donahue pass one time that were planning on connecting to the Clark range area and loop over Red Peak pass, but by going over Donahue going south, and somewhere south of Donahue pass they planned to go back into Yosemite proper via bushwhacking somewhere between Mt Lyell and Mt Ritter. Now THAT would be epic. I never got out the topos and looked to see what the hell they were talking about, but some day I probably will.

Anyway that area is on my list. If you can, put up a trip report when you are done.

Edited by millonas on 07/24/2013 17:17:23 MDT.

Lisa Frugoli
(alfresco) - MLife

Locale: San Francisco Bay Area
Clark Range Loop on 07/24/2013 18:44:28 MDT Print View

Several years go, i went in at the Chiquito Trailhead. The road gets very rutted & I was glad we had a high clearance pick-up. Went over Chiquito Pass, Merced Pass, Red Peak Pass, Post Peak Pass. Don't miss Lower Ottoway Lake @ sunset. Everything turns orange! It's a beautiful trip!

Ryan Teale
(monstertruck) - F

Locale: Almost Yosemite
Clark Range Loop in Yosemite on 07/25/2013 00:31:14 MDT Print View

Hi Paul,

I just moved away from Oakhurst about a month ago so I can give you some driving beta. You can reach Quartz Mt via the Beasore Rd from Bass Lake or via Road 632 which is also known as Sky Ranch Road.

If you are spending the night at Bass Lake then the Beasore Rd route will be the most direct and will be about 50% on pavement. If you are starting out from HWY 41 then Rd 632/Sky Ranch is more direct but you will spend more time off pavement. I did the drive in a Honda CRV via Rd 632 which was fine. My drive time from Oakhurst to the trailhead was about 1hr 15min. If you are in a vehicle without much clearance you should take the Beasore Route from Bass Lake. You can get a permit right in Oakhurst at the visitor center and they will give you a hand drawn map of the route.

A friend and I did a trip from Quartz Mt. to Red Peak Pass and back on the first weekend of June this year. We were hoping to do a loop via Merced Pass, Red Peak Pass, Isberg/Post Peak, and Fernandez Pass back to Chiquito pass. Our early season pace and the snow on either side of Red Peak Pass caused us to re think our plans and we turned back from the top of Red Peak Pass.

It is a lovely area and I hope to see your trip report posted up here. I would guess the mosquitoes will still be decently thick until Lower Ottoway Lake is reached. Have fun!


Paul Maguire
Clark Range on 07/25/2013 18:00:13 MDT Print View

Thanks for the feedback guys... Ryan, really appreciate the beta for getting into the trailhead.. Oakhurst brings back lots of memories of when I was a kid, spending our annual summers in Wawona... Stopping at the grocery store and stocking up for a summer of fun in southern Yosemite!

I was also curious about where most folks are trying to make it for the first night... Seems like the majority of the people I have talked too really recommend staying at Lower Ottowa Lake, but I am trying to figure out if thats going to be too much of a hike in on the first day, coming in from sea level.. Any suggestions on the first nights destination?

Paul Wagner
(balzaccom) - F

Locale: Wine Country
Clark Range on 07/26/2013 13:24:45 MDT Print View

We've done parts of this trip from both directions. If you start in Yosemite, I think it's better to start at Mono Meadows. You save a few miles, and some climbing, by doing that. But you have to pick up your permit, then drive the Glacier POint road. It's hard to get on the trail before about 11 a.m.

I think Lower Ottoway is a long stretch if you start that late. We camped along Illilouette Creek the first day, and then went to Lower Ottoway on the second day--one of our favorite places in the Sierra.

We also took the southern route, starting at Granite Creek trailhead out of Bass Lake, and hiking up to Isberg Pass, then back over Post Peak Pass. Wonderful stuff. We camped the first night at Sadler Lake, which is maybe 9 miles from the trailhead?

Either way you go, it will be stunning.

WE've got reports on both trips on our website: