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Yosemite Trip Planning
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Anthony Viera

Locale: Orange County
Yosemite Trip Planning on 08/11/2013 17:29:10 MDT Print View

My friends and I will be spending a few days (4-5) in Yosemite next month. This will probably be their only visit to the park and so we want to get as well-rounded an experience as we can. The problem is coordinating everything within that time frame. If someone who has backpacked through the park before can give us some advice we would greatly appreciate it!

A few things we want to see:
Yosemite Valley
Mariposa Grove
Glacier Point
Tuolumne Meadows
Cathedral Lakes

We want to get a wilderness permit but we aren't sure how to go about it. I understand that the permit is for the first night's camp only, but can we then drive to another part of the park the next day and use the same permit? Also, if anyone has any suggestions for specific scenic trails (for the aforementioned sites or otherwise) that would help us narrow down our options as well. Any trail that is both scenic and less popular with the summer crowds is a plus. We have all backpacked before, though I am still new to it. My friends are in better shape for it than I am, but I just did Mount Baldy so I am up for a more demanding hike if certain portions of our trip require it.

Edited by joydivisi0n on 08/11/2013 17:31:59 MDT.

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

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: Yosemite Trip Planning on 08/11/2013 17:46:13 MDT Print View

In Yosemite, you get one wilderness permit from a permit office, and you enter the wilderness at a designated place mentioned on that permit. Note that many trails have trailhead quotas. The most popular trails may have the quota filled up before you get there. So, for a high priority trip, you may seek to pay a few bucks for a wilderness permit reservation. You can telephone the permit office and do all of this in advance, but it helps an awful lot of you know exactly where you are going. Once you exit from that, the permit is finished. You would need to get another permit for another destination.

So, if you have five destinations in mind, you may seek to tie all of those together into one trip (hence, one permit). Your five destinations are kind of scattered out, so one trip may be impractical. You could go from Yosemite Valley to Glacier Point to Cathedral Lakes to Tuolumne Meadows in one trip of two days. The Mariposa Grove is out of the way from there, and it is the sort of place where you can drive in, see what you want in a couple of hours, and then you are done.

First, study the park map and note where the places are and where the trails are. Second, contact the permit station for a reservation.

Also, keep in mind that virtually everyplace will require bear canisters for food storage. Often times, the permit station can rent you one or more when you actually pick up your permit. More bucks.

EDIT: Let me add that Yosemite Valley is not wilderness. It is a starting point, or maybe just a place to take photos while you are amongst thousands of your closest fellow tourists. Well, for that matter, Glacier Point isn't either. It is a great place to go to do some photography from just prior to sunrise until about 9 a.m., and then the tour buses will arrive, spewing diesel exhaust.


Edited by --B.G.-- on 08/11/2013 17:51:06 MDT.

Anthony Viera

Locale: Orange County
Re: Yosemite Trip Planning on 08/11/2013 18:13:34 MDT Print View

Thanks for clearing up the permitting process. The Glacier Point > Yosemite Valley trailhead is just about full, so unless we get a permit for the 8th we will probably try to use the shuttles to our advantage to get it done in less than a day. I think we all prefer to hike the less traveled routes, but Yosemite Valley and Glacier Point seem worth experiencing once for the photo op as you mentioned.

I own a bear canister and my friends plan on renting theirs. I will be looking into trails and hopefully faxing in my permit request tomorrow. Thank you for your help!

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

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: Re: Yosemite Trip Planning on 08/11/2013 18:25:54 MDT Print View

"I own a bear canister and my friends plan on renting theirs."

If you own one, then you already know about how much or how little it will hold.

At the last time that I checked, the permit stations were renting only Garcia canisters (since they are virtually indestructible). Those are OK, but that was state of the art from about 14 years ago. Since this is BPL, and if you get serious about equipment weight, then you may look to purchase or rent some other brands that are much lighter for a given volume.


Anthony Viera

Locale: Orange County
Re: Re: Re: Yosemite Trip Planning on 08/11/2013 18:50:35 MDT Print View

My friends are actually visiting from the Czech Republic where bears aren't an issue, so it won't be practical for them to buy. I think they will be okay with the weight, but I will let them know.

Katy Anderson
(KatyAnderson) - F
Simple 4-5 day itinerary on 08/12/2013 21:44:40 MDT Print View

Day 1
Enter the park through the Highway 41 entrance and visit the Mariposa Grove of Giant Sequoas which is right at that entrance. Continue on to Yosemite Valley where you spend the night.

Day 2
Take the tour bus up to Glacier Point and hike back down to Yosemite Valley. It's about a 8 mile hike and goes along the Panorama trail and then along Nevada and Vernal Falls, one of the most popular hikes in the park.

Day 3
Drive to Tuolomne Meadows and spend the day exploring: climb Lembert Dome, walk around the meadows, see some of Lyell Canyon, drink the water from Soda Springs, jump in the Tuolomne River, hike to Dog Lake etc.

Day 4
Backpack an easy four miles to Cathedral Lakes and camp there.

Day 5
Hike back out and drive home.

I think that covered all of your highlights. It is also a nice itinerary for anybody visiting Yosemite. Enjoy!