May 31, 2009 at 7:55 pm #1236695
My wife and I recently hiked the North Rim of Yosemite during the Memorial Day weekend.
-4 day point to point
-Total mileage:~31 miles
-Elevation Gain/Loss: Oh ya..!
– Map Used: Tom Harrison, Yosemite High
Country Trail Map.
Old Big Oak Flat Road (OBOFRT), sometimes called "rockslides" to Cascade Creek.
Cascade creek to Yosemite Falls.
Yosemite Falls to Snow Creek Trail at the North rim/Snow Creek Falls area.
Snow Creek Falls to the valley floor.
We followed the excellent tips from a recent article describing this trip in Backpacker Magazine.
Day one tips:
I can't say enough about the OBOFRT trail. You leave the craziness of the valley immediately and have some of the best views in the park all to yourself. The OBOFRT is not hard to follow but do pay attention to the cairns when crossing the rock slides (non technical scrambles). Make sure you keep your camp clean at Cascade creek, we had bear activity during the night.
Day Two tips:
We did encounter some snow on day two around the ribbon meadow area that required some route finding. The trail is flagged with red metal tags on trees for routing across snow but there is some distance between them. No big deal but expect to slow down in that area. Of course it's melting fast so I'm sure things are different already. We really enjoyed climbing down a little ways from the top of El Cap to were it breaks off and peering over the abyss. Two climbers came over the edge while we were there, five days on the rock! Excellent campsites above Yosemite Falls along Yosemite Creek for night number two.
Day three tips:
We chose to follow Lehamite Creek instead of taking the scenic route via North Dome, in retrospect we regretted it. The Lehamite Creek portion of the trail is nice (and steep) but North Dome looks much more spectacular. A good spot for a dip in Snow Creek is approx .2 miles before you reach the North Rim, just past the bridge. We had the BEST campsite I have ever had in my 20 years of backpacking. Why? The view of Half Dome is amazing.
Its elevator shaft steep to Mirror Lake and you're home. We hopped the shuttle back to trail head parking and before we knew it, were taking showers in Curry Village. The easiest way to return bear cans is by parking in the Yosemite Village Store lot and walking through the store to the Wilderness Center.
Begining of the OBOFRT.
First view of Bridalveil Falls, 15 minutes into the hike!
The first of many rock slides to scramble over, El Cap in the background.
Snow around the Ribbon Medows area.
Trail markers to follow thru Ribbon Medows area.
Top of El Cap.
Awesome camp above Yosemite Falls on Yosemite creek.
Campsite with amazing view of Half Dome.
Apline glow shot from the tent, truly amazing spot to pitch a tent, did I mention…no mosquitos!
My attempt to go lighter, we are using freezer bag cooking now. What a great system.
Gear issues, worked/did not work.
We choose to wear boots thinking we would encounter much more snow than we did. Although handy for the portion we did encounter snow, trail runners would have been sufficient.
New to our camping gear is Aqua Mira and freezer bag cooking. Thank you BPL community! Both are a leap forward in making our packs lighter.
*Alert to husbands* I ditched the tarp and we brought a tent. I also dropped the 3/4 length Thermareast Prolight pads for insulated air core pads w/ 2 1/2 of comfort. Neither of these are ultralight by any means but my wife was much more comfortable. She is already asking when are we going on our next trip! Something must be working…
If you have any questions about this hike please feel free to ask.May 31, 2009 at 8:09 pm #1504842
great trip report! great pictures! is that a rei half dome or quarter dome I see? I have a half dome lying around here that we use for car camping now. The freezer bag cooking method has really cleaned up the mess and added to the simplicity of my backpacking also.
I really need to get to yosemite one of these years.Jun 1, 2009 at 10:10 am #1504921
.Jun 1, 2009 at 10:45 am #1504924
Wow, that is a seriously amazing campsite – and I mean AMAZING!!!!…good call on the extra luxuries for your main squeeze. You should see what I bring when I go with my girlfriend :)Jun 1, 2009 at 10:49 am #1504925
@ngatelLocale: Southern California
An excellent adventure!! And few people encountered in Yosemite on a holiday weekend.
Yep, sometime you have to make gear concessions to make the ladies happy; but if Momma is happy, everyone is happy.
:)Jun 1, 2009 at 12:11 pm #1504942
@kennyhel77Locale: Scotts Valley CA via San Jose, CA
Dylan, nice trip report. I want to do this hike too!
When I hike with my wife we split stuff up and we usually have a baseweight of 11-12 lbs each. I always bring a good sleeping pad for her and make sure we use the tent. Make it fun, and they will go!Jun 1, 2009 at 12:32 pm #1504947
I agree with the others…fantastic trip report! I saw this trip in Backpacker too and it seemed like an amazing route. Your pictures definitely confirm that. So jealous of all you Californians. Though I find Backpacker useless for gear, I still subscribe to enjoy their trip/route suggestions and articles. That magazine never fails to make me want to get out on a trip…for all its failings, it's still totally the money for me.
It looks like his tent is the Half Dome (http://www.rei.com/product/728308). I have the old version of the Quarter Dome and I love it. Lux for solo use and usually ok for two (I am fairly short and slim which helps).Jun 1, 2009 at 1:23 pm #1504963
@rglessLocale: San Francisco Bay Area
I saw this in Backpacking mag as well. Obviously a great trip. What were the stream crossings like? I would have thought they would be pretty hard, especially Yosemite Creek above the falls.Jun 1, 2009 at 9:46 pm #1505134
@gallamarLocale: San Francisco Bay Area
Great trip report – thank you for the commentary and excellent photos. That campsite looks amazing. Great motivation to get out and do the North Rim. Enjoy the next trip together!Jun 2, 2009 at 9:15 am #1505228
Looks like a great trip. Yosemite Valley is great (once you get our of the valley). I day hiked up Yosemite Falls a few weekends ago and saw the place where you camped. Made me wish I had my stuff. Thought about making a frantic run for El Capitan, but I was wondereing up snow-coverage, and it was getting late in the day. Glad I didn't try now.
I had actually been looking into that trip up OBOFR to the top of El Capitan as a 1-nighter How did you get to the trailhead? Looking at the park map, it didn't look like the valley shuttle went that far, and didn't want to walk from there to the the closest stop on top of what I was already hiking.
edit: Then again, if there was bear activity at Cascade Creek, I'm glad the my plans didn't pan out.Jun 6, 2009 at 1:45 pm #1506383
@tomclarkLocale: East Coast
I enjoyed the report & photos. Have you seen Tony Farley's "Beautiful Places TV" episodes on North Dome and Yosemite Falls? I think you'd like the views.Jun 29, 2009 at 10:24 am #1511102
@socalpackerLocale: Southern California
Great pics and report. I also saw this in Backpacker Mag and am planning to make this hike this summer. Your pics and report have made me look forward to it even more!
KendallJun 29, 2010 at 10:16 pm #1624752
Hi, thanks so much for your trail report. We're doing this hike this weekend, and your and Kelly Bastone's article from backpacker are the two main literature we're basing our trip from. Thanks so much.
I had a few questions, and hopefully this is still an active forum so it'll get to you in time. :)
1. The first day with 5 miles, how long did it take you to climb ascent to the trail? We're planning to leave SF Friday then start the trail around 1 or 1:30. Is this still doable? I know it's only 5 miles, but it looked and sounded pretty brutal.
2. Parking — how did you guys deal with parking and/or shuttle issues?
Once again, your trip report is excellent and thank you so much.Jun 29, 2010 at 10:30 pm #1624756
You will love this trip!
1. No problem, if you start by 1:30 you can make it. It is in no way a brutal hike. The views will slow you down some I recommend taking time to enjoy them. The last part of the OBOFRT is clear and wide you could hike it with headlamps if you had to. Just be mindful when crossing the rockslide areas (at the beginning) and you will be fine.
2. Driving out of the valley (west?) just past El Cap meadow there is a pullout on your right. We parked in this pullout and didn't have any problems. The pullout consisted of a wide spot with a very short "road" to a dirt sort of a parking area. We did leave a note for the rangers with our itinerary in the window.
* Make sure you bring bear cans we had bear activity our first night and saw plenty of prints and scat the rest of the trip. Your going to love it!Jun 30, 2010 at 6:01 am #1624824
great story and pics. thanks for sharing. looks like a beautiful area.Jun 30, 2010 at 9:09 am #1624883
thanks for that trip report. what a great route!
dave.Jun 30, 2010 at 7:15 pm #1625120
Great trip report and again what an amazing campsite!! These pictures make me wish I was out there right now!
ChrisJul 1, 2010 at 12:28 pm #1625374
I noticed you used a free-standing tent in the pics, would a non free-stander (TT Rainshadow 2) work?Jul 1, 2010 at 1:04 pm #1625387
@b-g-2-2Locale: Silicon Valley
The entire North Rim is well below timberline, so the type of shelter is not critical. I've slept "out" there on many years.
–B.G.–Jul 1, 2010 at 2:14 pm #1625414
I'm coming for the Southeast where water is somewhat abundant and going on this trip July29-31 (dropping back into the valley at Yosemite Falls). Should I carry more than 3 liters at a time (I sweat like a beast)? maybe an extra 4liter Nalgene Canteen or platy? Looks like water should be OK @ Cascade Creek and Yosemite Falls/Creek, any in between those 2 points (12 miles)?Jul 1, 2010 at 2:26 pm #1625418
@b-g-2-2Locale: Silicon Valley
There are way more creeks than that.
I've done this North Rim about twenty times coming from a different direction. Tamarack Creek and Cascade Creek are dependable. Ribbon Creek is dependable except in late summer. There is one just east of El Cap. Eagle Peak Meadows is generally wet. Yosemite Creek is dependable except in late summer on a dry year. To the east of there, the creeks get a little iffy in late summer.
I would expect some June-July snow in the woods west of Ribbon Creek on a normal year. This year was a big snow year with a cool spring, so the melt just got started good a week or two ago. So, expect enough snow in the woods that you can't follow the trail at all for about a mile. Been there. Done that.
–B.G.–Jul 1, 2010 at 8:23 pm #1625562
@snusmumrikenLocale: SF Bay Area
Wow, you two seemed to breeze through the bad weather and heavy snow on the trail that this guy dealt with attempting the same trail that same week. Trail report here:
I also attempted the trail a few days later (on the Memorial day weekend) and my comments are at the end of that thread.
I agree on the camp spot – one of most spectacular I have ever seen!Jul 1, 2010 at 9:35 pm #1625582
Ya this is a heavy snow year. We did the North Rim hike last year… and the snow was minimal. We are heading up to Tuolumne Meadows tomorrow morning at 4 am, 4 hour drive from SF. Crossing our fingers the line will be short at the wilderness station! Looking forward to amazing waterfalls around Glen Aulin. I hear the snow is melting fast.Jul 2, 2010 at 12:09 pm #1625763
@snusmumrikenLocale: SF Bay Area
Oh LAST YEAR, that explains it! Now I feel stupid, you had the year right in the title of the thread.Jul 6, 2010 at 11:34 am #1626605
Does the El Capitan Shuttle goto the trailhead?
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