May 5, 2013 at 5:27 am #1302552
I may have a conference in the Bay Area in late July. The conference ends on a Wednesday, and I'd love to head off to Yosemite (maybe camping in the natl forest the first night, then visit the backcountry office in the AM and then spend two nights in the backcountry). Does this sound like a feasible plan? Are there certain routes that would tend to have walk-up availability?May 5, 2013 at 7:46 am #1983353
From SF, your route should take you to the Highway 120 entrance on the Big Oak Flat Road. There are some places to stay outside the park—but depending on what time you arrive, you may also find space at one of the campgrounds near that entrance station. It all depends.
The most popular overnight trips will probably be booked, but you can almost certainly find a route on one of the lesser used trailheads. Look at Snow Creek Falls ( a steep climb, which is why nobody wants to do it) or Porcupine Flat to North Dome, or Nelson Lake or Polly DOme Lakes…all of those usually have some spots. And all of them give you some nice adventures.
We've done all those hikes, and there are links on our website to the reports:
backpackthesierra.comMay 5, 2013 at 4:06 pm #1983512
Great suggestions, thanks. I'm looking for a 30-40 mile hike that also gets me up to or has views of the High Sierra. Would any of these fit the bill?May 5, 2013 at 4:13 pm #1983516
@b-g-2-2Locale: Silicon Valley
There is no precise definition of the High Sierra. However, most people would say that it is the highest part of the Sierra Nevada Range, and that is approximately the area from just south of Mount Whitney and then north about one hundred miles. Certainly through Sequoia and Kings Canyon.
Once you get north of Kings Canyon, the scenery is still nice, but the elevation is not so bad.
The High Sierra Trail runs east and west across from Crescent Meadow to Mount Whitney, but that is long.
–B.G.–May 5, 2013 at 6:14 pm #1983554
Certainly going in through Nelson Lake gets you right up to Tuolumne Pass on the second day. And from there you are only a short hike from Vogelsang and the whole shebang.
We did a trip last year that went to Nelson, then over Vogelsang Pass to Bernice Lake…then down Lewis and up Fletcher Canyon. Nice hike, three good solid days of hiking. About thirty miles or so.
From Tuolumne Pass, you could also go past Ireland Lake and into Lyell Canyon…
And Rush Creek puts you right at THousand Island Lake after about ten miles. It doesnt' get any better than that!May 16, 2013 at 7:42 am #1986723
Following Paul W's suggestions, I tried to find the Rush Creek Trailhead and Elizabeth Lake Trailhead (to access Nelson Lake) but they appear not to be on the list of reserveable trailheads (see link below). Is it possible to reserve these in advance?
If anyone has additional suggestions for 20-30 miles loops that can be accessed from trailheads with availability on July 25th let me know.May 16, 2013 at 11:36 am #1986828
@b-g-2-2Locale: Silicon Valley
Rush Creek is not within Yosemite, so the Yosemite permit system doesn't apply.
Elizabeth Lake is tricky. I believe that Elizabeth is too close to Tuolumne Meadows, so there is no overnight camping allowed there. Therefore, the permit office doesn't even want to issue an overnight permit toward Elizabeth if they think that is where you want to camp. However, if you tell them that you intend to start on that trail, go up over the pass, then down to Nelson Lake, they will issue the permit within quotas.
–B.G.–May 17, 2013 at 6:19 am #1987006
Exactly. And people rarely ask for that option, so the trailhead is almost always under quota.May 17, 2013 at 10:17 am #1987060
Young Lakes (via Glen Aulin trail,) Glen Aulin and Nelson Lake all have openings for July 25th. So if you send in your reservation form now you do have some choices. And there will always be walk up availability to some of the trailheads, you just can't predict exactly which ones.
Young Lakes is a truly spectacular high country destination, it would be my choice for a late July trip. 7 or so miles to the first Young Lake, the next two are just beyond. Stay here for two nights and you will have several interesting dayhike opportunities such as Ragged Peak, Mount Conness and Roosevelt Lake.
Glen Aulin will be past its waterfall glory by late July, so nice but not as spectacular.
You find Nelson Lake on the reservation application form under cross country trail heads. As others have said there is a trail to Elizabeth Lake, but after that is is use trails to Nelson Lake and pure cross country beyond, so you need to be confident in your cross country navigation skills.
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