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Suggestions for Yosemite Area Backpack Trip

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Suggestions for Yosemite Area Backpack Trip

Postby eaufdembrink » Sun Jul 21, 2013 8:15 am

3 of us from the Houston Texas area are planning a backpacking trip to the Yosemite area for the week of Sep 2 - Sep 6. We have not hiked in this area but have done hikes such as Grand Canyon Hermit Boucher, Grand Canyon Thunder River, Escalante area in Utah... Any suggestions for a 3 to 4 day trip in the Yosemite area? We like to enjoy the scenery and hence are not out to break any speed records - normally 7-9 miles per day of course depending on hiking difficulty. Also any info on permits would be appreciated.
Experience Level: Level 3
Terrain: Class 2 no climbing
Interest:Lakes, Big mountain scenery and photography
Thanks!!!
Last edited by eaufdembrink on Sun Jul 21, 2013 5:07 pm, edited 1 time in total.



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Re: Suggestions for Yosemite Area Backpack Trip

Postby maverick » Sun Jul 21, 2013 12:41 pm

Hi Eaufdembrink,

Welcome to HST! Please read: viewtopic.php?f=1&t=4205
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
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Re: Suggestions for Yosemite Area Backpack Trip

Postby MattL » Mon Jul 22, 2013 7:29 am

I suggest going south from any of the Tuolumne Meadows/Tenaya Lake/Cathedral Lake trailheads that are on Tioga Road and doing a loop based on features of the area that are most interesting to you. With a map of the area, you can chart out a number of trips that have some great views and don't require much or any backtraking. Nice thing about September trips is that there aren't as many people, even in Yosemite.
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Re: Suggestions for Yosemite Area Backpack Trip

Postby Talimon » Thu Jul 25, 2013 1:04 am

If you aren't married to Yosemite proper, the wilderness areas just east and south (around Mammoth Lakes) are a great alternative with stunning scenery and considerably less crowds. The whole Agnew Meadows trailhead area is great for 20-30 miles, and has some of the most stunning scenery in the Sierra. Different variations of going to Thousand Island lake can be done. I highly recommend Ediza as well, in that area. You can also approach this area from June Lakes loop.
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Re: Suggestions for Yosemite Area Backpack Trip

Postby AlmostThere » Thu Jul 25, 2013 6:58 am

Agnew trailhead no crowds? Thousand Island no crowds? I'm laughing now... That's some crowded trail.

Anywhere on the JMT/PCT corridor there will be people. The rest of Yosemite, hike a day out from a trailhead and there are no crowds.Walk in and get a permit for some trailhead other than Tuolumne Meadows and you're golden.

20 lakes basin would be nice - it's outside the Tioga gate, all high elevation, and quotas aren't a problem.
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Re: Suggestions for Yosemite Area Backpack Trip

Postby Wandering Daisy » Thu Jul 25, 2013 8:59 am

Early Sept is still quite hot at the lower elevations. The most dramatic scenery is the area around Yosemite Valley. However, Sept is not the ideal time because of hazy conditions and the waterfalls will not be at their peak. There is a bus shuttle that connects Yosemite Valley to Tuolumne and IF you really are set on the Valley, start at Tuolumne and go downhill to the valley.

I suggest you stay higher. If it is long miles on trails you are after, then read the recent trip report posted about a loop up Lyell Canyon, over Donahue Pass, perhaps side trip to Marie Lakes, down to Waugh Lake, up Alger Lakes, over Koip Pass and out - a 35-40 mile loop depending on your side trips.

The suggestion of 20 Lakes is beautiful, ideal if you want short backpack miles and plenty of time to poke around in little nooks and crannies.

If you are experienced and willing to do off-trail travel, there are many more opportunities.

After Labor Day the crowds disappear. Getting a permit on the Labor Day weekend may be difficult.

Which side of the mountains are you driving/flying from? If on the east, the Minarets are really a more spectacular area.

If you like canyons and heat, the Grand Canyon of the Tuolumne is an idea. Start at White Wolf and drop to the river and amble up the river, swimming in every pool. By Sept water is low, water is warmer, and although waterfalls are not as spectacular I did this with my daughter years ago, and she just loved as we took 3 days to swim in every pool. From Tuolumne Meadows you can take a shuttle back to White Wolf.
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Re: Suggestions for Yosemite Area Backpack Trip

Postby SSSdave » Thu Jul 25, 2013 9:27 am

My sister's family lives in the Houston area, welcome to HST. Your first day is Memorial Day September 2 when most backpackers are returning from trip thus you ought to be able to get a permit given trail quotas on all but the most popular trails. Note there will still be a fair number of people with extended holidays out in the backcountry.

In this very droughty year by September, many areas will be rather dry with grasses brown, wildflowers gone, and many usual stream water sources dried up. That is especially the case in many Yosemite areas because the park lies west of the Sierra Crest where lingering snows tend to melt out sooner because of lower altitudes with more sun exposure. Crest areas also tend to stay greener because summer thunderstorms most often form above those highest areas.

In any case you should spend at least one day in Yosemite Valley before doing anything else in the park because there is nothing else in the world that compares. With just 3 or 4 additional days, you would best make use of your time reaching an area one day from a trailhead and then spending a layover day or two there. In Yosemite you might hike from Tuolumne Meadows up the Lyle Fork of the Tuolumne River where the low water would allow crossing many places and you could choose to camp near the river most anywhere. Scenery down in a canyon would be somewhat limited although the river presents pleasant leisurely fun.

For scenery I would suggest an area just out of the park border and in fact was proposed for the park until mining interests gutted their inclusion. The below is 20 Lakes Basin that AT also suggested just off state route 120 east of Tioga Pass. A good place for a 3-day trip. If you actually have a 4th day you should use that to make the easy dayhike from Tuolumne Meadows up to Cathedral Lakes that has Yosemite's finest high country scenery though backpacking quotas are likely filled for:

http://mapper.acme.com/?ll=37.98679,-119.29316&z=15&t=T

It is a very popular location because it has spectacular timberline scenery, arguably the best in that region. A good place to camp away from the loop trail to avoid day hikers is about the south shores of Shamrock Lake. Nice swimming and fishing there too. There are many locations to day hike to from that base camp area, for instance up to the Mount Conness Glacier. The basin has an abundance of small ponds to explore for reflections of surrounding peaks and in early September turf high arctic willow turns red presenting many fine foregrounds around ponds.

http://www.davidsenesac.com/images/print_06-gg9-3.html

http://www.davidsenesac.com/Gallery_B/06-GG8-4.jpg
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Re: Suggestions for Yosemite Area Backpack Trip

Postby ndwoods » Thu Jul 25, 2013 11:53 pm

I second Wandering Daisy's suggestion:

I suggest you stay higher. If it is long miles on trails you are after, then read the recent trip report posted about a loop up Lyell Canyon, over Donahue Pass, perhaps side trip to Marie Lakes, down to Waugh Lake, up Alger Lakes, over Koip Pass and out - a 35-40 mile loop depending on your side trips.


Dee
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Re: Suggestions for Yosemite Area Backpack Trip

Postby eaufdembrink » Mon Oct 28, 2013 1:40 pm

Thanks for all the suggestions. We had been concerned about fire conditions (Rim fire) but we were able to do a hike in the Hoover Wilderness from Twin Lakes up Robinson Creek to Crown Lake, Snow Lake and then through a short corner of Yosemite over the Peeler Lake and then out. It was a bit hazy at times but all in all it was a great hike. I enjoyed Peeler Lake most of all.
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