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Re: Trip Advice

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Trip Advice
February 19, 2008 11:12AM
Good Afternoon,

My wife and I will be hiking in Yosemite from June 14th to June 21. The following are the hikes we have planned:

Saturday June 14th
Glacier Point / Sentinel Dome / Taft Point 5.50 Miles
Sunday June 15th
Yosemite Falls / Eagle Peak 13.00 Miles
Monday June 16th
Vernal Falls and Nevada Falls via the Mist Trail 5.80 Miles
Tuesday June 17th
Half Dome 17.00 Miles
Wednesday June 18th
Mariposa Grove of Big Trees 6.90 Miles
Thursday June 19th
Cloud Rest 14.40 Miles
Friday June 20th
El Capitan 17.00 Miles
Saturday June 21st
Tunnel View / Dewey Point 5.50 Miles

Does anyone have any advice or comments ?

avatar Re: Trip Advice
February 19, 2008 12:12PM
On the Vernal Fall/Nevada Fall hike make it a loop using the John Muir Trail to get back down to the valley floor. Hike in on the Mist Trail to Vernal then on up to Nevada then go south to the Panorama/John Muir junction. Some pretty good views that way.

If you want to make a really full day of it then on the Yosemite Falls/Eagle Peak trip go on El Capitan after Eagle Peak. That leg isn't very hard and you could have an off day to recover.

What is the planned starting point for the El Capitan hike? If you are coming in from Tamarack Flat on the old road bed high water should not be a problem as there is a bridge across Cascade Creek. If you are coming in from the trail-head near the Foresta Junction on Big Oak Flat Road be aware that crossing Tamarack Creek might be problematic with all the water we will probably have this year.


What is your planned starting point for Clouds rest?

All in all you have planned an awesome week.

Post Edited (02-19-08 12:23)

Old Dude
avatar Re: Trip Advice
February 19, 2008 12:19PM
Some of these could be more enjoyable as part of a backpacking trip. Clouds Rest and Half Dome could be part of the same backpacking trip. Trailheads along Tioga Pass are a good way to get there, but the road may not be open in your timeframe. It's been a pretty good snow year, unlike last year.

I haven't done Half Dome as a day trip, but hear it's brutal on the body as such. You're talking about a 4500 ft elevation gain followed by the last 400 ft up the cables. A lot of that is walking on granite staircases. I broke my trip (starting at Tenaya Lake/Sunrise Lakes Trailhead) up into a four-day/three-night backpack with Half Dome the first day, Clouds Rest the second day, and back to the Valley the third day.

It shouldn't be too crowded on a Tuedsay.


Re: Trip Advice
February 19, 2008 12:33PM

You are right about the brutal part of the Half Dome hike. It certainly can be. And the cables are 800 feet according to one of my Yosemite guide books. I believe some sections of those 800 feet are at 45-60 degree inclines.



Re: Trip Advice
February 19, 2008 12:24PM

1. I wish I was in the kind of shape to do that much hiking in a week!

2. If you want to save yourself a full day, you could do Vernal Falls, Nevada Falls, and Half Dome all on Tuesday. It's the same trail. The 17 mile roundtrip route to Half Dome follows the same trail to Vernal Falls and Nevada Falls and then goes to Half Dome from there. The only minor difference is some people take the Mist Trail to Nevada Falls and some take the 1 mile longer (but less steep) John Muir Trail to Nevada Falls. The Mist Trail and the John Muir trail split about .25 miles above the Vernal Falls Bridge. The JMT and the Mist Trail come back together slightly above Nevada Falls. From there it's about 5 more miles to the top of Half Dome.

Unless you just want to do the Vernal and Nevada Falls trip twice, you could save a whole day by continuing to Half Dome on Tuesday. You've saved a full day and almost 6 miles for another day.

I usually do Half Dome once or twice each summer. I like to go up the less steep John Muir Trail in the morning so I don't get wet going by Vernal Falls and then on the return I come down the faster Mist Trail. Plus, late in the day, a shower from Vernal Falls feels real good. Unless you have good rain gear, you WILL get wet going by Vernal Falls in the morning. And it's COLD sometimes too. By using both the JMT and the Mist Trail you also get to see even more views of the falls. The view of Nevada Falls coming down the JMT is one of the best in the park when the falls are fully flowing. You will get a good view going up the Mist Trail too, but not quite like the one from the JMT.

Good luck on your trip. Sounds like you have your plate full.

Re: Trip Advice
February 19, 2008 12:42PM
My feet and knees already hurt, after reading your itinerary...8^)

All good hikes, and you don't mention all the starting points; however, if starting from the valley:

The Mist Trail/Vernal/Nevada is redundant if you're doing Half Dome from the valley the next day. Go up the mist trail to Nevada Falls, then on to Half Dome. You can return from Nevada falls via the John Muir if you prefer (longer but saves those big steps down the mist trail).

I'd suggest leaving before daybreak for Half Dome, to beat heavy traffic at the cables.

From your itinerary, I assume you're an avid hiker, but most people are very exhausted after Half Dome, and the next day should have an easy schedule; Mariposa grove or a day off in the valley would be OK.

The Yosemite falls trail from the valley is a solid uphill climb, so if you go on to Eagle peak or elsewhere, I'd expect you'd also want to follow that with an easy day. The Sentinel Dome/Taft point one is fairly mild if you're hiking from Glacier Point road.

The 14 and 17 mile cloud's rest and el cap hike sound like a lot to me, for two days together, but you know your abilities and limitations best. I tend to be an 'enjoy the hike' person rather than a 'cover a lot of ground' one, so the schedule you've set may be just right for you...for me, it would be way too intense.

Yosemite Photo Galleries: http://www.pbase.com/roberthouse/yo
Re: Trip Advice
February 19, 2008 01:17PM
Hi Everybody,

Thanks for all the feedback. A couple of comments and questions:

1. If we continue on from Eagle Peak to El Capitan, does anyone know the additional milage and elevation gain ?

2. We had planned on doing El Capitan from Tamarack Flat.

3. I had thought about doing Vernal/Nevada Falls on the same day as Half Dome, but I thought that might be too much given the trail conditions on the Mist Trail (i.e. very wet). I did not want to take a chance comming down it after a hard day hiking and going up it to start a long hike did not sound like a good idea.

4. I am alittle concerned about the roads (Glacier Point and Tiago) being closed in mid-June. Should I be ?

Any comments or suggestion would be welcomed.

avatar Re: Trip Advice
February 19, 2008 02:01PM
If Tioga Road is closed when you are in the park in June then the only way to Clouds Rest is up into Little Yosemite Valley. The same route to Half Dome except you turn right at the junction that would lead to Half Dome if you turned left. Another consideration is that if Tioga Road is still closed due to lots-o-snow then chances are that there will be tons of snow on the way to Clouds Rest since it is at almost 10K feet. The hike to Clouds Rest is mostly southern exposure so things may not be too bad but it doesn't take much snow to obscure to trail.

If you continue on to El Cap from Eagle Peak you will add about 6-7 miles round trip from the Eagle Peak Junction to the junction for the spur that runs out to the actual top of El Cap. Here again if the snow is keeping Tioga Road closed then there may be a ton of snow even on the way to Eagle Peak since the trail after leaving the Yosemite Creek trail towards Eagle Peak is a northern exposure. There is about 500-600 feet of elevation drop from the Eagle Peak spur junction to El Cap. First down into a little creek then back up on the way to El Cap. After that things are pretty flat.

Doing El Cap from Tamarack Flat if the snow isn't a problem is a good hike. While hiking out of Tamarack Flat you might take a short side trip to the Devils Dance Floor.

If you go to Half Dome you will go by both Vernal Fall and Nevada Fall. Well you would have to backtrack about 0.2 miles to get to Nevada Fall if you go up the Mist Trail. If you do the Mist Trail/John Muir Trail loop then you will get both falls on the Half Dome trip at no cost in time or distance.

I think Glacier Point Road opens earlier than 120 as Glacier Point Road doesn't have any avalanche issues like 120.

Old Dude
Re: Trip Advice
February 19, 2008 01:37PM
Hi Again,

I forgot to mention that we are going to try and do Cloud Rest from Tiago Road.

If that is closed. Is it possible to do a day hike from another area to Cloud Rest ?

By day hike I mean less the 20 miles ?

avatar Re: Trip Advice
February 19, 2008 02:03PM
BobH60 wrote:

> Hi Again,
> I forgot to mention that we are going to try and do Cloud Rest
> from Tiago Road.
> If that is closed. Is it possible to do a day hike from
> another area to Cloud Rest ?

In 2006 my family went through Tioga Pass around June 21, and it had just opened after a pretty good snow year. Last year wasn't a huge snow season and Tioga Pass was open by around Memorial Day.

> By day hike I mean less the 20 miles ?

It might be about under that distance from Happy Isles. However - Clouds Rest is higher than Half Dome, and you're talking maybe a 6000 ft elevation gain and it's going to be brutal on your knees and hips walking down. It's only about 12 miles round trip with a more reasonable elevation gain from Tenaya Lake.

By the way, here's a photo of Half Dome taken while I was on the way to Clouds Rest on a Friday last June. You can see the line of people going up the cables.

My suggestion would be to maybe scale back the activity one day and see if you might get a reservation for dinner at Erna's Elderberry House in Oakhurst that night.

Re: Trip Advice
February 19, 2008 04:59PM

Nice picture. I'm not quite sure I've seen a picture of the backside of Half Dome from that vantage point. How far along the trail to Cloud's Rest were you when you took that picture?

I've never before ever seen a really good view of the granite steps, but your picture shows that nicely.

avatar Re: Trip Advice
February 19, 2008 10:58PM
wbmyosemite wrote:

> YPW,
> Nice picture. I'm not quite sure I've seen a picture of the
> backside of Half Dome from that vantage point. How far along
> the trail to Cloud's Rest were you when you took that picture?

I looked at my photo library, and I think that was on the way back (towards Half Dome) taken at a little past 1 PM. I was camping between Half Dome and Clouds Rest. If you were coming from Half Dome, it's just before the first set of switchbacks up to Clouds Rest.

> I've never before ever seen a really good view of the granite
> steps, but your picture shows that nicely.

I've got various photos from the same viewpoint. This is what Half Dome/Tenaya Canyon/Yosemite Valley looks like from Clouds Rest.

Re: Trip Advice
February 20, 2008 05:34AM
Good Morning,

Thanks to everyone for their advice. If Tiago Road is closed are there some other hikes that I should be considering ?

Thanks for the advice,
Re: Trip Advice
February 20, 2008 08:29AM
BobH60 wrote:

> Good Morning,
> Thanks to everyone for their advice. If Tiago Road is closed
> are there some other hikes that I should be considering ?
> Thanks for the advice,
> Bob

If I were you, for a first timer, I would not leave out just a walk around the Valley Floor loops. There is a great new view around every corner. These loops take you past classic views of many of the Valley's features. With your stamina, you could easily do the entire loop system in a day (about 16 - 20 miles of nearly level walking) or divide it into two or three separate areas. Right now, part of one loop near Thre Brothers is closed due to rockslide hazard, but it may reopen by late spring/summer.

Don't forget Mirror Lake, once in the in the morning and once in the afternoon!

The idea about combining Half Dome (and even Cloud's Rest) with Vernal/Nevada Falls is dead on. One is a virtual subset of the other.

Another idea, assuming the Glacier Point Trail is open, is to take Glacier Point Trail up to Glacier Point, then take the trail downhill to the southeast to Illilluouette Fall, along the top of Panorama Cliff to Nevada Fall, and back down that way. About 14 -15 strenous but doable miles, loop.

The Eagle Peak Hike is one of my favorite hikes anywhere. I like it better than Half Dome because - well, because you can *see* Half Dome from the the trail and because Yosemite Falls is in your face much of the way. Do not miss this hike.

One short steep scramble that my son and I have become very fond of is the Sierra Point trail. It is no longer an official trail, but access is fairly easy and straightforward if you spot the correct take-off point, and for sturdy hikers it is no problem. Check these URLs for discussion...



Another brief discussion of this walk may be found in this thread...


The "route" begins at the point along the trail among some large boulders and in front of a rockslide on the uphill (east) side of the trail. An interpretive sign about rockslides and wildife perfectly establishes your starting point - just work your way along the easiest route through the boulders behind the sign and into the forest on the right until you discover the vestiges of the trail about 125 yards uphill....then follow the old trail.

One other hike you may want to consider near Mariposa Grove is the walk to Chilnualna Falls. The trail leaves from a private neighborhood within the park just north of the Wawona area, and works its way up to a gorgeous multi-tiered waterfall perfect for playing in when the water is not too high. In any case, it is a refreshing, gorgeous place. This is a hike description, but you wil doubtless see much more water in June than shown in these pictures...


Also down thataway toward Wawona is the hike to Alder Creek Falls - however, despite the fact that it is a beautiful and large waterfall, the views are somewhat distant and not from the bottom, which is the way most folks prefer to see them. If you take this walk, you will have peace and quiet - few people take this trail. Anyway, I would not bother with this unless you are absolutely bored by the Yosemite Valley waterfalls ;-)

Have fun!

Wilderness forever,
Bruce Jensen
avatar Re: Trip Advice
February 20, 2008 10:06AM
Another area of the park that doesn't get as much attention as the valley area is Hetch Hetchy. Since the Hetch Hetchy area is further west and lower in elevation the snow is not so heavy and melts off a little earlier.

Some day hikes:
Rancheria Falls. This hike akes you up the western end of the Grand Canyon of the Tuolumne and has some pretty good views. Lots of variation in flora. Good chance of seeing bears too.

Smith Peak. The views from the top of Smith Peak are as good as anywhere in the park. It affords clear views of most of the northwest quad of the park. The hike in great. The spur trail to the peak is located at Smith Meadow where there are remnants of a ranching camp.

Miguel Meadow. Up the old switchbacked road that runs over to Lake Eleanor. There is a ranger station at Miguel Meadow and nearby a coral and stable. The stable is reputed to be the oldest NPS maintained building in the park. Who knows for sure. Gravel Pit lake is a little side trip. This lake is rarely visited and most often there are animals or birds there.

Poopenaut Valley. There is a short, about 3/4 mile, trail from the road down about 1200 feet down into the Tuolumne River bed downstream of O'Shaughnessy Dam. This is a hike that not many people do as it is so short and steep. It's worth it though.

Laurel Lake. Up the switchbacks but north to Beehive Meadow and on to the lake by crossing Frog Creek. The water could be high at Frog Creek but it is crosssable even though your eyes may be bugged out a bit.

Old Dude
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