How to do Yosemite in May

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Wandering Daisy
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Re: How to do Yosemite in May

Post by Wandering Daisy » Tue Mar 05, 2019 9:40 pm

I forgot to answer the question on where to camp if starting at Tunnel View. I have camped on Stanford Point using a small stream to the east for water. The regulations say 4 "trail miles" from Yosemite Valley to the Rim before you can legally camp. A bit ambiguous for Stanford Point. It is 3.7 miles from Tunnel View but well over 4 miles from Bridalveil Falls parking, which IS in the Valley. Crocker or Dewey also work IF you can find a nearby water source, which will depend on snow melt trickles. Bridalveil Creek is can be a bit soggy early season and has no view but the creek is pretty. I have previously camped on Taft Point but that was before Glacier Point Road opened. Once the road opens it is not legal.

From Glacier Point (when road is open), Illouette Creek bridge is not a legal campsite although you will see old campsites. If the 4 mile rule applies, then about at the trail junction (trail to Star King) would be legal. I usually go up the Star King trail to the saddle (about a quarter mile). There is a creek in the gully coming from that saddle.

The "4 trail mile" rule would require you to camp about 0.4 miles past the top of Yosemite Falls. From the Snow Creek side, the buttress at the top of the switchbacks are legal for distance, but currently is closed due to bear problems. I think a bit past the upstream bridge is legal.

From Happy Isles, LYV camp is the only legal camping WITH a LYV permit. For a pass-through permit, no camping until Bunnell Falls. There is a sign there that says when camping is legal.

Distance wise, just above the junction of the JMT and Clouds Rest trail is legal. I have camped there before, along with others. Not sure if rules have changed with this.








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Re: How to do Yosemite in May

Post by maiathebee » Tue Mar 05, 2019 10:13 pm

Thanks WD!
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Re: How to do Yosemite in May

Post by mckee80 » Wed Mar 06, 2019 12:44 pm

Thanks for the help!

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Re: How to do Yosemite in May

Post by calarn » Tue Apr 02, 2019 11:20 pm

Hopefully I'll have time to post a proper TR, but long story short, I just did 1 night out and back on the Yosemite Falls Trail. It was a great first solo winter backpacking experience and this post was invaluable in figuring out what was reasonable to do from the valley.

However, I just wanted to make 1 update to the winter permit rules. Unfortunately, it seems you can no longer self-register for wilderness permits for trails leaving the valley at the Oak Flat entrance. The self-registration at that entrance is now only valid for trails in the Oak Flat area, and you must pick up a wilderness permit at the Valley Visitor Center during normal business hours to backpack any of the trails out of the valley, even during winter. This logistical change put a kink in my plan to get out on the trail at first light since the Valley Visitor Center doesn't open until 9am.

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Re: How to do Yosemite in May

Post by Wandering Daisy » Wed Apr 03, 2019 8:56 am

Thanks for that warning. How sad. :crybaby:

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Re: How to do Yosemite in May

Post by maiathebee » Sun May 05, 2019 4:05 pm

Wandering Daisy wrote:
Tue Mar 05, 2019 9:40 pm
I have previously camped on Taft Point but that was before Glacier Point Road opened. Once the road opens it is not legal.
Is it still legal? Seasonality isn't mentioned on the the wilderness rules page:
You must camp at least four trail miles from Tuolumne Meadows, Yosemite Valley, Glacier Point, Hetch Hetchy, and Wawona, and at least one air mile from any road.
I'm going to call tomorrow to ask for clarification. I'm planning to hike the Pohono Trail round to Happy Isles, and to be out for two nights, would be great to be able to camp at Taft and then maybe LYV or farther up the Merced Canyon.
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Re: How to do Yosemite in May

Post by AlmostThere » Sun May 05, 2019 5:55 pm

It's true -- in winter, on snow, there are places you can camp that are forbidden camping when there's no snow. Mariposa Grove (upper grove only), Dewey Point, Taft Point, Glacier Point - all fair game when there is snow, off limits after it's melted. The legal camping along the Pohono will be made clear when you pick up the permit.

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Re: How to do Yosemite in May

Post by maiathebee » Thu May 09, 2019 10:12 am

Welp, they just posted that Glacier Point road will open on 5/10 and my trip starts on 5/12, so I guess the point is moot. :crybaby:
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Re: How to do Yosemite in May

Post by Wandering Daisy » Thu May 09, 2019 4:10 pm

Not 100% sure, but I think you can camp on Bridalveil Creek after GP is open. If you are going in a few days, the Friday opening is "depending on conditions" and snow is forecast over the weekend, so perhaps the opening will be delayed. Be aware that 4-mile trail is NOT open.

GP road is being plowed earlier than it used to be (given similar snowpack years). I think this is because they want to do it earlier so the snowplows are then free to join the Tioga Pass plowing. I was actually surprised to see it opening this early.

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Re: How to do Yosemite in May

Post by mckee80 » Thu May 09, 2019 5:49 pm

Just wanted to say thanks again for posting this. I planned a trip from this and some of your other TR’s. I’m going 4 nights starting next weekend. GP -> LYV. Day trips (or as far as we get) to Clouds Rest and Merced Lake. Then a day going down the JMT and up the Mist Trail. We might end up camping 2 miles past LYV in some direction, though. We’ll see what it’s like.

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