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Re: Winter Trip

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Winter Trip
August 16, 2008 03:53PM
Hi! I am planning a trip for four adults, all of whom are well seasoned backpackers, to Yosemite in march. Unfortunately none of us have ever done Yosemite. I just need a bit of info regarding where to go in winter, we're coming from the south on 41, and what exactly we need to do regarding camping sites. I understand I need some kind of overnight pass but I don't know where to get it, and I don't know whether I need campsite reservations if we're bringing tents. We really want to do the winter trip and we're really looking forward to it, so any suggestions on where to go and what to see would really help!

Re: Winter Trip
August 16, 2008 04:29PM
Just as a side note, I have a pair of backcountry snowshoes but my fiance only has a recreational pair. Should we get her a better pair? And for that matter are they necessary in mid march?
Re: Winter Trip
August 17, 2008 08:10AM
In March, unless it nears Easter week or is an exceptionally nice weekend, campsites should not be hard to get either at Camp 4 or the others eeek mentioned. This page
http://www.nps.gov/yose/planyourvisit/feesandreservations.htm
should link to any info you need. If you plan for Upper Pines, you should get reservations, at least if you're staying the last half of March. Wawona should be on 'first come, first served' at that time, but check the website.

(note that Camp 4 is a site that can be packed in up to 5 tents (of their choice) per campsite, and may not be to everyone's liking...or you may think it's great)

For the first half of March, you can make Upper Pines reservations starting October 15 (if they are doing reservations for that time...it varies from year to year). For after March 15, you'll need to make them November 15, and if it happens to be near Easter, I'd suggest doing it that day, early. The conditions there vary...it's a great location, but on a busy week you're definitely going to have some larger or rental motorhomes there. Wawona is a nice alternative and usually uncrowded in winter.

The need for snowshoes depends on what altitudes you're heading into, and just how "recreational" your fiance's are. There are lots of places to go on snowshoes from the Badger Pass/Glacier Point area, and Merced Grove is beautiful when it has fresh snow. (March is a big question mark as to conditions there, and how useful snowshoes will be). If she likes them, and they're sturdy enough to not come apart, they probably are fine for those areas. Both of those areas are highly recommended for winter snow walks. I believe you can also camp in the country near Merced Grove if you're wanting to snow camp, but you need the wilderness permit.

The only trail out of the valley that's usually open then is the upper Yosemite Falls trail, and you will possibly need showshoes if you plan to walk around the top...but be careful, as it's not so easy to find your way around up there in fresh snow, and there are hazardous areas, even on the last part of the trail up.





Gary
Yosemite Photo Galleries: http://www.pbase.com/roberthouse/yo
avatar Re: Winter Trip
August 17, 2008 08:41AM
Sierrafan wrote:

> (note that Camp 4 is a site that can be packed in up to 5 tents
> (of their choice) per campsite, and may not be to everyone's
> liking...or you may think it's great)

Camp 4 also has a "per person" rate, while the other campgrounds charge on a per site basis. Four people at Camp 4 will be $20 per night.

> The only trail out of the valley that's usually open then is
> the upper Yosemite Falls trail, and you will possibly need
> showshoes if you plan to walk around the top...but be careful,
> as it's not so easy to find your way around up there in fresh
> snow, and there are hazardous areas, even on the last part of
> the trail up.

I did that without snowshoes. I tried using Get-A-Grips and ended up losing one in the snow, which a group found after I mentioned it meeting them going in opposite directions (they were considerably faster than me). Sometimes I kept on postholing through the snow, but there were plenty of tracks when I got there around 1:30 PM.

avatar Re: Winter Trip
August 17, 2008 01:21PM
Sierrafan wrote:

> The only trail out of the valley that's usually open then is
> the upper Yosemite Falls trail

The John Muir Trail is also open and a hike to Little Yosemite Valley wouldn't be a bad idea.

Re: Winter Trip
August 18, 2008 09:38PM
eeek wrote:
> The John Muir Trail is also open and a hike to Little Yosemite
> Valley wouldn't be a bad idea.

I know you can go to at least Nevada Fall via a combination of the John Muir and Mist trails that time of year, but didn't know if the JMT was open beyond Nevada Fall (never having gone past there in winter). Can you continue beyond Little Yo Valley, toward Half Dome, Cloud's Rest, or toward Sunrise (assuming you have the equipment)? Or on the Merced Lake trail? With the altitude, I thought things were closed beyond Nevada Fall.





Gary
Yosemite Photo Galleries: http://www.pbase.com/roberthouse/yo
avatar Re: Winter Trip
August 18, 2008 11:15PM
Sierrafan wrote:

> Can you continue beyond Little Yo
> Valley, toward Half Dome, Cloud's Rest, or toward Sunrise
> (assuming you have the equipment)? Or on the Merced Lake
> trail? With the altitude, I thought things were closed beyond
> Nevada Fall.

Oh, it's open. But there will be plenty of snow to deal with. The Snow Creek trail is also open and is the primary winter route to Tuolumne Meadows from the Valley.

avatar Re: Winter Trip
August 16, 2008 05:11PM
jdobbs wrote:

> I understand I need some kind of overnight pass but I don't know
> where to get it,

You'll need a wilderness permit:

Wilderness permits are required in winter (November through April), but are available on a self-registration basis. No reservations are necessary. You may self-register for permits in the winter at any normal permit issuing station. For trips beginning at Badger Pass, you must get your permit at the Badger Pass Ranger Station ("A-frame"winking smiley. Self-registration areas are not staffed, except at the Yosemite Valley Visitor Center and Badger Pass Ranger Station.

> and I don't know whether I need campsite
> reservations if we're bringing tents.

You should be able to get a spot in Camp 4 without a reservation (they don't take them anyway). Or you can reserve a site in Upper Pines. Wawona is also an option that might be good if you will be hiking out of Badger Pass.

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