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Overnighter out of Yosemite?

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Overnighter out of Yosemite?

Postby miller_35 » Wed Oct 12, 2011 3:01 pm

I'm kind of embarrassed to ask this but I haven't been to Yosemite since I was a kid and even then just camped with the family at designated campsites. I am getting into backpacking and recently moved back to the Tahoe area and want to get down to the Valley before the snow falls (for good).

I have weekends off so I'm thinking of camping in Tuolumne or in the Valley Friday night, heading out Saturday morning for an overnight trip and driving back to Tahoe Sunday afternoon/evening.

Anyone have ideas for a Yosemite introduction overnighter or something quick that gives me a taste of the beauty?



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Re: Overnighter out of Yosemite?

Postby no2haven » Wed Oct 12, 2011 3:51 pm

Keep in mind that you can't park overnight on 120 (Tioga pass road) [and Glacier Point Rd] starting October 15th (Saturday), so if you want to leave Sunday morning you'll need to base your car in the Valley. I assume this also means you can't park in any of the lots out of Tuolumne Meadows, but I have no idea if they actually check/ticket this.

Not sure how long of a hike you're looking for, but a quick hike up to Little Yosemite Valley (or on up the canyon towards Lake Merced) out of Happy Isles is probably what you're looking for. Nice views of Half Dome, waterfalls, canyons, etc. Low enough that it won't have snow either. If you CAN do a trip out of Tuolumne, Youngs Lakes are a great shorter option (~6 mi each way).
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Re: Overnighter out of Yosemite?

Postby AlmostThere » Wed Oct 12, 2011 3:58 pm

You've missed the opportunity to stay the night anywhere on Tioga Road - no overnight parking, campgrounds are closed, all services are closed. If you want to overnight from anywhere you'll have to go to the valley, either to car camp or to get a wilderness permit.

You can get similar bang for your buck by going to Saddlebag - but it's high elevation and likely quite snowy still.

For a Yosemite overnight with classic scenery, I would suggest heading either up the Merced Canyon (past Vernal and Nevada Falls, past Little Yosemite Valley camp) out past Moraine Dome - there are nice spots along the river two miles out (there is a sign letting you know where the no-camp zone is) and it's not terribly high elevation that there will still be snow. Or, head up toward Clouds Rest and camp at Sunrise Creek, then go up to summit Clouds - it will be a great view.
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Re: Overnighter out of Yosemite?

Postby East Side Hiker » Wed Oct 12, 2011 4:08 pm

This weekend (no later), just take a days walk up the Tuolomne River from Tuolomne Mdws. It'd be beautiful, and an easy walk.
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Re: Overnighter out of Yosemite?

Postby miller_35 » Wed Oct 12, 2011 7:40 pm

Thanks for the replies everyone. I will definitely be calling the park about the closures in Tuolumne, I was mainly thinking about making that a pit stop Friday night as it is quite a bit longer drive into the Valley from the east side (hwy 395) where I'll be coming from.

Sounds like the Merced River trail out of Happy Isles is my best bet. Looks like there are a couple of falls and should be a good, scenic introductory hike in the Valley. Anyone know what the mileage is from Happy Isles to Merced Lake? Any additional info on that trail and camping along that trail/river/lake would be greatly appreciated.

Defintiely looking forward to this trip!
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Re: Overnighter out of Yosemite?

Postby AlmostThere » Wed Oct 12, 2011 8:01 pm

All the way to Merced Lake is possible, but it's a long day for backpacking. You're looking at something around 14 miles.

You can call the park, or check the website - it'll confirm that there is no overnight parking on Tioga or Glacier Point roads after October 15. That's the same closure date every year, no variation. The campground closed in September, as did the store and lodge, as it does every year. White Wolf closed in September, Porcupine Flat and Yosemite Creek campgrounds closed in September... just like it does every year. Doesn't change.

You could still pull a wilderness permit but you'd have to be dropped off and picked up. In winter the permits are self registration.
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Re: Overnighter out of Yosemite?

Postby no2haven » Wed Oct 12, 2011 10:27 pm

The trail up towards Merced lake is fairly strenuous, especially with a pack...you're climbing about 2000 feet out of the Valley to the top of Nevada Falls. I believe the mist trail is still open, so you have two options to get to the. There isn't any camping until you get past the falls and into Little Yosemite Valley, which is nicely forested and flat, so tons of options. There are bear boxes in the backcountry campground a mile or so past the top of Nevada Falls...just follow the trail and you won't miss it - maybe 5ish miles from the trailhead. There's an outhouse too, though I don't know if they lock that up for the season.

From there the trail splits either up towards Half Dome and Clouds Rest, or up the canyon towards Lake Merced. You cant go wrong with either direction, though it's steeper heading towards Clouds Rest.
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Re: Overnighter out of Yosemite?

Postby QITNL » Thu Oct 13, 2011 8:59 pm

Another option you may wish to consider is the north side of the park, the Matterhorn Peak area. It's awesome and will save you some driving, too. Pick up a permit at the ranger station in Bridgeport and head up to Twin Lakes, that road is open all year.

If you arrive late, you can camp around Twin Lakes, at the "resort" for $29/night - http://twinlakeresort.com/cabin-rentals-rv-park/ - or it's a short easy hike up to Barney Lake. From there you have lots of options. A nice loop is around and over Mule Pass, up Burro to Matterhorn and then down Horse Creek canyon. Some pictures of that here: http://www.qitnl.com/v/091110/ - sorry, no labels.

On the wast side of the park is Hetch Hetchy, I was thinking of heading up there before the season ends, but does anyone know when that trailhead closes?
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Re: Overnighter out of Yosemite?

Postby maverick » Fri Oct 14, 2011 4:10 pm

QITNL wrote:
On the wast side of the park is Hetch Hetchy, I was thinking of heading up there
before the season ends, but does anyone know when that trailhead closes?


If you meant the road, trailhead doesn't close, it may be closed temporarily after a
big snow storm during the winter.
Just make it out before closing hours which is 7 pm at the moment!
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Re: Overnighter out of Yosemite?

Postby AlmostThere » Fri Oct 14, 2011 5:03 pm

Technically the trailheads never close. Just campgrounds, facilities, and the snowed-in roads close to cars. You are able to ski or snowshoe up Tioga Rd - they turn one of the buildings at Tuolumne Meadows into a winter cache for winter 'packers. Rangers are stationed there year round.

The road to Hetch Hetchy closes at sunset - right now that's around 7 but it will change. That info is on the yosemite current conditions website.
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Re: Overnighter out of Yosemite?

Postby QITNL » Sat Oct 15, 2011 8:34 pm

Gotcha - thanks for the info.
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