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Re: Where can backpackers camp?

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Where can backpackers camp?
May 03, 2009 10:26PM
I am confused as to where one can camp if doing the Half Dome Hike. I know Little Yosemite Valley is the typical spot. But there are no permits available for when we are going (last weekend of May). So what are some alternatives? What if you want to camp out past the LSV? Would that still require the LYV permit? What about places to camp just outside Yosemite Valley, for instance on highway 41? Where could one park then find a nice place to camp?

thanks,

brian
avatar Re: Where can backpackers camp?
May 03, 2009 10:29PM
I know you can camp up by the Cloud's Rest junction. Not sure if there's anything actually on the Half Dome trail.
avatar Re: Where can backpackers camp?
May 03, 2009 10:50PM
Eeek responded with where you can camp, but they have two permit descriptions for going past LYV, They're called "pass through" permits, and the holder is required to go beyond a specified point. From Happy Isles, they're listed as Happy Isle-Sunrise/Merced Lakes or Happy Isles to Illilouette. The permit descriptions sort of imply that you're heading towards either Sunrise or Merced Lakes or past a certain point towards Illilouette. The location required beyond Little Yosemite Valley is the junction of John Muir Trail and Half Dome Trail. I remember there were some pretty good spots there on the Half Dome Trail before reaching the shoulder. The junction between Clouds Rest Trail and John Muir Trail is a prime spot with lots of "previously impacted" sites.

http://www.nps.gov/yose/planyourvisit/lyv.htm

Quote

Camping on the Way to Half Dome
The first camping available is at the Little Yosemite Valley Campground. Camping is not permitted between Yosemite Valley and Little Yosemite Valley. If you would like to camp in a dispersed Wilderness setting, you must be at least two miles past the campground (at or beyond either Moraine Dome or the Half Dome/John Muir Trail junction). Camping is not permitted on top of Half Dome or at Lost Lake.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 05/03/2009 11:48PM by y_p_w.
Re: Where can backpackers camp?
May 04, 2009 07:12AM
Don't forget- 40% of the permits are 1st come 1st serve, if you're feeling lucky.
avatar Re: Where can backpackers camp?
May 04, 2009 07:24AM
First of all you picked one of the most busiest days of the year. And one of the most
popular destinations in the park.

You need to get your butt to the permit station the day before you want to enter and get one of:
Glacier Pt to LYV
Happy Isles to LYV
Happy Isles to LYV Passthru (Sunrise)

Even getting there early on THAT weekend may not get you it... there may well be a long line already..
and only a few people can grab alot of the permits....

You can legally camp anywhere beyond the JMT/HD trail junction but not on Half Dome or the
dome preceeding HD. It will be obvious.

If you get GP to Illiouette then you have to camp in the Il. Basin on the first day.

Buy the NG Trails Illustrated Map of Yosemite. It is the one they have in the wilderness centers
and will show you where you cannot camp. If you abide by that map then you'll be fine.
(if you see a fire ring in that zone then some schmo who didn't know made one and either
they have given up and allowed people to camp there... or haven't come thru yet and removed
the fire ring) (don't make new ones... you're just creating work for rangers who have better things
to do)

My suggestion is to just go in there the day you want to backpack and ask for what you
want. When they don't have it... take whatever they got... it's all good...

Sorry if I didn't answer your question or said 20 things you already knew...
Re: Where can backpackers camp?
May 04, 2009 07:36AM
Thanks for the info. Why is that weekend particularly busy? I would think the weekend before would be busier since it is Memorial Day weekend.

thanks,

brian
Re: Where can backpackers camp?
May 04, 2009 06:30PM
I'm doing a similar BP trip in early June- brutal for permits. The workaround is: extend your trip by 1 day- start at any trailhead OTHER than Happy Isles, spend 1st night there. After that you can pretty much hike/camp anywhere you like, and finish at H.I. They really just look at you starting trailhead and 1st night camping destination.
avatar Re: Where can backpackers camp?
May 04, 2009 07:00PM
Quote
Jmesenburg
I'm doing a similar BP trip in early June- brutal for permits. The workaround is: extend your trip by 1 day- start at any trailhead OTHER than Happy Isles, spend 1st night there. After that you can pretty much hike/camp anywhere you like, and finish at H.I. They really just look at you starting trailhead and 1st night camping destination.

Of course that's what the quotas are. As long as that's what you're doing, you can tell them anything and pretty much camp anywhere that's otherwise legal to camp after the first night. Their main concern is that nobody spend the first night in Little Yosemite Valley without the proper permits.

The quota is only 40 people for first night camping at LYV, and on a given night there may be well over 150 people camping there from what I've heard. People just seem to filter in from different starting trailheads to spend the night at LYV before exiting back to the Valley.
avatar Re: Where can backpackers camp?
May 04, 2009 07:06PM
Quote
y_p_w
on a given night there may be well over 150 people camping there

It is a lot like camping in one of the Valley car camps sans cars.
avatar Re: Where can backpackers camp?
May 04, 2009 07:36PM
Quote
eeek
Quote
y_p_w
on a given night there may be well over 150 people camping there

It is a lot like camping in one of the Valley car camps sans cars.

Bear central of course.

I actually lucked out. The night I was there it was well under 100. Maybe even less than 80.
avatar Re: Where can backpackers camp?
May 04, 2009 07:40PM
Quote
y_p_w
Bear central of course.

Oh, yes!
avatar Re: Where can backpackers camp?
May 04, 2009 07:47AM
My bad. You got me on that one. May 25th - Memorial Day.
Re: Where can backpackers camp?
May 04, 2009 09:40AM
Yosemite is INCREDIBLY popular all summer long, from May til September, and especially so for weekends. The campgrounds that aren't first-come first-served fill up months in advance, sometimes on the very first day that reservations/permits become available. I personally get a site in the valley every year for May, and if I don't do it within 5 minutes of the reservation system opening up, there is nothing available.

This close to the actual date that you are going, probably your only option is to try for a first-come, first-served permit.
avatar Re: Where can backpackers camp?
May 04, 2009 10:33AM
Quote
cyancey76
Yosemite is INCREDIBLY popular all summer long, from May til September, and especially so for weekends. The campgrounds that aren't first-come first-served fill up months in advance, sometimes on the very first day that reservations/permits become available. I personally get a site in the valley every year for May, and if I don't do it within 5 minutes of the reservation system opening up, there is nothing available.

This close to the actual date that you are going, probably your only option is to try for a first-come, first-served permit.

http://www.yosemite.org/DSN/wwwyosemiteassociationorg/Content/Webcam/rptFullTrailheadDatesPage2.htm

However - the full trailheads report does show Happy Isles to Sunrise/Merced Lake available for reservations for limited dates in late May (18-20, 23, 28) as well as June 3-5. After that there are no reservations available for the rest of June, July, or August.

An alternative would be to start from a trailhead on Tioga Road and hike back to the Valley. Unfortunately the servers seems to be giving an error message looking past page 4. I did the backpacking trip starting at the Sunrise Lakes Trailhead (right at Lake Tenaya). I parked my car at the Valley backpackers parking lot and took the Tioga hikers' shuttle/tour bus. I exited via Happy Isles. The shuttle may run at different times, but with a low snow year I suspect it'll be starting by early June.
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