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One free day after backpacking trip- What should we do?

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One free day after backpacking trip- What should we do?

Postby rjones787 » Tue Apr 26, 2016 6:20 pm

We're flying out late May and we have one free day after backpacking in Yosemite. What MUST we do to complete the experience?! Can be anywhere remotely Northern California.



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Re: One free day after backpacking trip- What should we do?

Postby AlmostThere » Tue Apr 26, 2016 6:50 pm

No, actually, it can't be anywhere remotely Northern California, since you could spend the entire day in a car driving to a whole lot of Northern California.

You could spend five weeks in Yosemite and still not see everything. If you don't have time before the backpack to see any of front country Yosemite, aka the valley floor, do that. Check out the village, walk the valley floor trail, visit the falls. That would be a MUST DO.
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Re: One free day after backpacking trip- What should we do?

Postby austex » Tue Apr 26, 2016 7:07 pm

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Re: One free day after backpacking trip- What should we do?

Postby markskor » Tue Apr 26, 2016 8:00 pm

Carl Sharsmith was a well-known Ranger-Naturalist in Yosemite for many long years. Like many rangers, he was once asked what he’d do if he only had one day to spend in Yosemite, to which he replied, “Madam, I’d sit by the Merced River and cry.”
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Re: One free day after backpacking trip- What should we do?

Postby AlmostThere » Tue Apr 26, 2016 8:16 pm

I just connected the dots -- if you are doing the Hetch Hetchy trip mentioned in the fishing hole post, then YES, you must do Yosemite Valley. Or you'll miss the BIG STUFF.

Early in the morning, if at all possible. Stay the night in the backpacker camp at Hetch Hetchy and get driving before dawn, get to the valley floor an hour later, soak it all in. Park in the day use area at Yosemite Village - not at "Half Dome Village" which is really Curry Village (that naming change for most things is new and reprehensible) to avoid sitting in traffic for hours (that two mile stretch between the two gets blocked up for hours and hours and hours and hours.... parking at the village gets you in the free and clear). Walk around and take free shuttles. Visit the waterfalls. When things get too busy for your liking go have a good meal at one of the restaurants and return to the car, and head home.
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Re: One free day after backpacking trip- What should we do?

Postby SSSdave » Tue Apr 26, 2016 9:30 pm

With just one day and if you have never visited, totally agree with AT about visiting Yosemite Valley itself.
And her advice on being there EARLY morning is golden because beyond 9am the tourist cars from lodging outside the park really begin to fill the roads. SR120 is likely to be closed this year through May so no high country ideas.

If you are up for a modest hike after your backpacking trip the following is arguably the best in the park, a world classic.
So early morning, one quick 360 on the loop road stopping briefly at views. Then park at Curry Village and take the bus to Happy Isles. Hike up the John Muir Trail early morning to the brink of Nevada Fall . Have lunch. Then take the Mist Trail down the north side beside Liberty Cap that then visits the top of Vernal Fall. From there the Mist Trail gets misty if you continue down especially in May or to stay dry by climbing back up the crossover trail to the John Muir Trail junction.

If you want to take it easy. Take a slower tour around the valley loop road then drive up to Glacier Point while stopping at Tunnel View along the way.
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Re: One free day after backpacking trip- What should we do?

Postby markskor » Wed Apr 27, 2016 7:08 am

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Re: One free day after backpacking trip- What should we do?

Postby Tom_H » Wed Apr 27, 2016 8:30 am

The valley floor. It would take a day to get any other place. Just enjoy what the crowds come to enjoy. Also drive up and see a Giant Sequoia grove in the park.
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Re: One free day after backpacking trip- What should we do?

Postby seanr » Wed Apr 27, 2016 10:08 am

Park at Sentinel Beach Picnic Area or Swinging Bridge. Make a loop of 4-Mile Trail->Glacier Point->Panorama Trail->Mist Trail->Happy Isles. To finish, take a bus between Happy Isles and parking/4-Mile Trail if you want to save a few miles of valley floor walking (https://www.nps.gov/yose/planyourvisit/ ... etrail.htm). The Mist Trail will be refreshing at the end of your hike and is a must see. The ~15 miles and ~4,000 gain of the mentioned loop possibility will be well worth it and is made somewhat easy by the mostly wide, smooth trails. It can be a half day loop hike if motivated and in shape, but there are plenty of exceptional views to enjoy at a more leisurely pace. You can easily travel extremely light as there are bathrooms, water, and snacks available at Glacier Point, Mist Trail, and Happy Isles by late May. http://www.yosemitehikes.com/yosemite-v ... -trail.htm

General hike information here: http://www.yosemitehikes.com/hikes.htm

If you are feeling lazy or have spare time:
With a very early start and finish before the crowds, driving the valley loop and making quick stops would work. Another fun way to see the valley is to rent bikes in the valley. The free shuttle bus provides an additional option for valley sightseeing, but will be crowded most of the day if you are visiting on Memorial Day Weekend.

Anyway, yes, get up early and drive to Yosemite Valley! Generally, a day in late May is prime time at that world class destination. Anything even remotely comparable as a MUST SEE will not make sense with only a day, in late May, and Yosemite Valley so close.
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Re: One free day after backpacking trip- What should we do?

Postby maverick » Wed Apr 27, 2016 11:19 am

Totally agree, the Valley is a must see, but will offer a different, more leisurely alternative. Since you will have just finished a multi-day backpacking trip and may not care to do any major hikes, maybe just soak up some of the magnificent views the Valley has to offer.
Drive into to Valley as early as possible (predawn), most folks don't start moving around till 7:30-8 am, go to Cathedral Beach, Sentinel Beach, or one of the meadows, take some warm clothes and your sleeping pad, fix breakfast, and soak in the sunrise, views, animals, without all the noise, people, and cars that pollute your senses a few hours later. Next go check out some of the falls and then go pick up some lunch (save it for your next destination), drive up to Glacier Point, use your sleeping pad to get nice and comfy, spread out your lunch, and soak in the sublime views into the Yosemite High Country, and maybe even getting a nap. :)
https://www.google.com/search?q=360+deg ... QIGw&dpr=1
I don't give out specific route information, my belief is that it takes away from the whole adventure spirit of a trip, if you need every inch planned out, you'll have to get that from someone else.

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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