Trip Advice - Western Yosemite Park | High Sierra Topix  

Trip Advice - Western Yosemite Park

If you've been searching for the best source of information and stimulating discussion related to Spring/Summer/Fall backpacking, hiking and camping in the Sierra Nevada...look no further!
User avatar

Trip Advice - Western Yosemite Park

Postby Pietro257 » Mon Feb 15, 2016 12:28 pm

Sorry that this is so vague, but I'd like to try hiking in Western Yosemite National Park and I'm wondering if anyone could help with a trip recommendation.

I've traipsed all around the Ansel Adams cross-country and otherwise (you could drop me blindfolded in the AA and I'd find my way out). I've also been all around the east side of Yosemite National Park, the Emigrant Wilderness, and Inyo.

I'd like to try the west side of Yosemite, three to five days, ideally a loop so we could start and finish the same place. I've always avoided Yosemite because it seems so crowded, but it occurs to me I ought to explore the place before I get too old.

Thanks in advance for considering this admittedly vague request...



User avatar
Pietro257
Topix Acquainted
 
Posts: 68
Joined: Sat Jan 29, 2011 5:03 pm
Experience: N/A

User avatar

Re: Trip Advice - Western Yosemite Park

Postby AlmostThere » Mon Feb 15, 2016 1:11 pm

Not sure what you intend to do in "western" Yosemite Park. Yosemite Valley proper is not backpacker territory -- it's not wilderness. You can do the south rim (Pohono trail, from tunnel view to Glacier Point) or the north rim (from OBOFRT to Snow Creek and down to the valley floor), or you can do a couple of loops (one shorter, one longer) in the wilderness area accessible by trailheads in Wawona or along Glacier Point Road. Look for Buena Vista loop trip reports for info on that area.

Some loops that include things like Cathedral or Sunrise Lakes, or Red Peak Pass/Clark Range, may have been part of your more easterly expeditions, and since you are crowd-averse and that area is quite crowded -- lousy with day hikers as well -- I'll just give them a mention as a possibility.
User avatar
AlmostThere
Topix Fanatic
 
Posts: 1759
Joined: Wed Jun 24, 2009 4:38 pm
Experience: N/A

User avatar

Re: Trip Advice - Western Yosemite Park

Postby maverick » Mon Feb 15, 2016 1:38 pm

Are you referring to Yosemite Valley or areas out of Hetch Hetchy Pietro, be more specific? Also, when are you planning to do this trip?
HST= Wilderness Adventurer who knows no bounds, except for their own imagination.

Have a safer backcountry experience by using the HST ReConn Form 2.0, named after Larry Conn, a HST member: http://reconn.org
User avatar
maverick
Forums Moderator
Forums Moderator
 
Posts: 8034
Joined: Thu Apr 06, 2006 5:54 pm
Experience: Level 4 Explorer

User avatar

Re: Trip Advice - Western Yosemite Park

Postby AlmostThere » Mon Feb 15, 2016 1:40 pm

I suppose Hetch Hetchy is also western. It's right next door to the Emigrant, however, and so I was guessing it might have been someplace he'd been already.

Functional definitions are wiggly things...
User avatar
AlmostThere
Topix Fanatic
 
Posts: 1759
Joined: Wed Jun 24, 2009 4:38 pm
Experience: N/A

User avatar

Re: Trip Advice - Western Yosemite Park

Postby Wandering Daisy » Mon Feb 15, 2016 3:01 pm

Trails in western Yosemite have trail quotas, just like the JMT. The "crowdedness" is more when you get within range of day-hikers. Back in the wilderness, out of range of day-hikers, it is no more crowded than Ansel Adams Wilderness. Two loops I have done. There are actually more Alpine loops if you stay near the Crest but I thought you meant other hikes more to the west.

Fernandez trailhead is on FS land south of Yosemite. Not crowded at all. Lillian Lake and lakes in upper cirque. Off-trail to Breeze and Chain Lakes (you can also go back to Lillian Lake and take the Fernandez Trail over Fernandez Pass). Merced Pass to Ottoway Lakes. Red Peak Pass to Red Devil, Edna, Turner Lake. Lakes on bench between Iseberg Pass and Harriet Lake. Over Iseberg to Saddler and Mc Clure, over Post Peak Pass to Porphory Lake. Off-trail traverse to Post, Slab, Rutherford Lks. Trail back to Fernandez.

Grand Canyon of Tuolumne and Ten Lakes loop. From Lukens Lake TH. Lukens Lake - trail north and intersect trail from Harden Lake. Drop to Pate Valley, up Tuolumne, Mc Gee Lake, Cathedral Creek, north of Poly Dome Lakes, unnamed pass to SF Cathedral Creek, Ten Lakes, Lukens Lake. I did this in 5 days, but it was too fast. Better for a week trip.

I wrote up trip reports on both of these.
User avatar
Wandering Daisy
Topix Junkie
 
Posts: 2607
Joined: Sun Jan 24, 2010 8:19 pm
Location: Fair Oaks CA (Sacramento area)
Experience: N/A

User avatar

Re: Trip Advice - Western Yosemite Park

Postby balzaccom » Mon Feb 15, 2016 7:09 pm

If you really want to explore the western part of Yosemite, look at Boundary Lake or Jack Main Canyon. Those trails leave from Hetch-hetchy or Cherry Lake...and get you into some wonderful country. If you enter through Cherry Lake there are no trail quotas, but you get your permit from the Stanislaus National Forest office in Groveland. We have trip reports on a number of these hikes on the website in our signature.

How far West do you want to hike? And do you want to stay on the trail? We took a delightful hike last year from TM to Glen Aulin, then off trail up Conness Creek to Roosevelt Lake, then across to Young Lakes, and back to TM. Four pretty leisurely days....and we saw nobody between Glen Aulin and Young Lakes...

And getting a pass through permit for Glen Aulin is not hard. Not a popular trail choice, I think,
Balzaccom

check out our website: http://www.backpackthesierra.com/
User avatar
balzaccom
Topix Fanatic
 
Posts: 1290
Joined: Wed Dec 17, 2008 9:22 pm
Experience: N/A

User avatar

Re: Trip Advice - Western Yosemite Park

Postby Pietro257 » Sun Feb 21, 2016 9:35 pm

Thanks very much for your advice. After I got out the maps this afternoon, I realized "west Yosemite Nat'l Park" really is vague.

And after looking around at the maps, I came up with this loop: Hetch Hetchy to to Laurel Lake to Vernon Lake to Rancheria Falls and back to Hetch Hetchy.

It seems like I should do this one in September when it's a little cooler, as I get the impression these trails can get pretty hot. Is Rancheria Falls a crowded campsite? It seems like it would be as it's so close to civilization.

Let me know what you think of this hike and if you have tip or advice.

Thanks in advance...
User avatar
Pietro257
Topix Acquainted
 
Posts: 68
Joined: Sat Jan 29, 2011 5:03 pm
Experience: N/A

User avatar

Re: Trip Advice - Western Yosemite Park

Postby AlmostThere » Mon Feb 22, 2016 10:07 am

Rancheria is a zoo, and the rangers will ask you to stay in the overused sites right next to the river. There are some scattered flat areas farther down the river, and some places higher up, if socializing isn't your thing.

Laurel is gorgeous. Vernon is better fishing I think. The higher and farther out you go, the higher the elevation - when planning in this area, I arrive midafternoon the day before I want to hike, pick up the permit at the gate, and get down to the backpacker camp. A pre-dawn start to climb the switchbacks up Beehive gets us into milder temps for daytime hiking pretty quickly. The road closes at dusk so plan to be there after 8 am or before sundown. I find the trail along the lake is the freeway of the area -- all the day hikers go to Wapama Falls and back, and all the single-nighters go to Rancheria Falls. Beyond that you will enjoy relative solitude.

A fire burnt out a lot of the trees lower down, in the Miguel Meadow area. The last time i was at Laurel a few years ago there were tons of downed trees -- the wind event of 2011 reduced the number of campsites overall in forested areas -- but we found a good spot on the south end of the lake.
User avatar
AlmostThere
Topix Fanatic
 
Posts: 1759
Joined: Wed Jun 24, 2009 4:38 pm
Experience: N/A

User avatar

Re: Trip Advice - Western Yosemite Park

Postby maverick » Mon Feb 22, 2016 1:12 pm

Would recommend doing his hike in the early season (depending on snow levels), waterfalls/cascades will be gorgeous, you will have less folks, especially at Laurel and Vernon, Rancheria will still be crowded and bears will be an issue. Far eastern end of the Vernon Lake basin is really pretty, especially if Branigan Creek is booming, use the use trail on the eastern side of the lake. Also the no name lakes chain leading south of Middle Branigan onto the bench above Lake Vernon is really pretty, you can hike down to Vernon from the last lake, makes for a great day hike.

- See more at: http://www.highsierratopix.com/high-sie ... btiRf.dpuf
HST= Wilderness Adventurer who knows no bounds, except for their own imagination.

Have a safer backcountry experience by using the HST ReConn Form 2.0, named after Larry Conn, a HST member: http://reconn.org
User avatar
maverick
Forums Moderator
Forums Moderator
 
Posts: 8034
Joined: Thu Apr 06, 2006 5:54 pm
Experience: Level 4 Explorer

User avatar

Re: Trip Advice - Western Yosemite Park

Postby Pietro257 » Wed Feb 24, 2016 5:09 pm

Unfortunately early season isn’t an option for me (I’m hiking the San Jacinto Mountains in the early season).

Can I reasonably expect the backpacker camp at Hetch Hetchy to have room for my party if I arrive in the afternoon? How quickly does it fill up? We’ll probably be there on a Tuesday or Wednesday.

Another question: What is the name of this trailhead? I couldn’t find anything at the Yosemite permit webpage that seems to be it.

Maverick—Your dayhike suggestion out of Lake Vernon sounds very nice. You’re saying to follow the inlet creek from Lake Vernon up to Branigan Lake, then hike south beside the no name long lake and short lake, and then go due west back to Vernon?
User avatar
Pietro257
Topix Acquainted
 
Posts: 68
Joined: Sat Jan 29, 2011 5:03 pm
Experience: N/A

User avatar

Re: Trip Advice - Western Yosemite Park

Postby maverick » Wed Feb 24, 2016 6:43 pm

Maverick—Your dayhike suggestion out of Lake Vernon sounds very nice. You’re saying to follow the inlet creek from Lake Vernon up to Branigan Lake, then hike south beside the no name long lake and short lake, and then go due west back to Vernon?


Yes, the route can be a little steep down to the Vernon Lake Basin if you do not choose the correct route down from the bench down to the basin (class 2).



Another question: What is the name of this trailhead? I couldn’t find anything at the Yosemite permit webpage that seems to be it.


http://www.nps.gov/yose/planyourvisit/trailheads.htm Scroll down to the Hetch Hetchy section, click on "View trail descriptions and mileages for this area", your trail is the Beehive Meadows Trail.


Can I reasonably expect the backpacker camp at Hetch Hetchy to have room for my party if I arrive in the afternoon? How quickly does it fill up? We’ll probably be there on a Tuesday or Wednesday.


You should be fine on a weekday.

Be aware, if you go in the late season water from Lake Vernon down to Tiltill is very sparse, so load up at the lake before your party descends.
HST= Wilderness Adventurer who knows no bounds, except for their own imagination.

Have a safer backcountry experience by using the HST ReConn Form 2.0, named after Larry Conn, a HST member: http://reconn.org
User avatar
maverick
Forums Moderator
Forums Moderator
 
Posts: 8034
Joined: Thu Apr 06, 2006 5:54 pm
Experience: Level 4 Explorer

User avatar

Re: Trip Advice - Western Yosemite Park

Postby Pietro257 » Wed Feb 24, 2016 11:03 pm

Thanks Maverick! I appreciate this. Some more questions:
1. Should I just come back the way I came in rather than go to Tiltill and Rancheria Falls? Is that area interesting? I’m only hearing bad things about it (no water, crowded, steep).
2. Where are the good campsites at Lake Vernon?
3. I’m thinking of camping at Branigan Lake. Are there campsites there?
4. I asked about trailheads because this “full trailheads” site doesn’t mention Hetch Hetchy: http://www.nps.gov/yose/planyourvisit/upload/fulltrailheads.pdf It does list a Rancheria Falls trail head. I’m assuming this is the one I’m interested in (it seems to have a low use).
Sorry for bending your ear like this, but one doesn't get to drink at the font of wisdom very often.
User avatar
Pietro257
Topix Acquainted
 
Posts: 68
Joined: Sat Jan 29, 2011 5:03 pm
Experience: N/A

Next

Return to Backpacking / Hiking / Camping



Who is online

Users browsing this forum: jorrflv, Yahoo [Bot] and 12 guests