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Tuolumne Meadows to Yosemite Valley Hike Oct. 3-5

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Tuolumne Meadows to Yosemite Valley Hike Oct. 3-5
September 09, 2014 12:44PM
Hello everyone,

New to this forum but am already learning a lot. Looking to do my first backcountry camping hike coming up the first weekend of Oct. (3rd-5th) with three of my friends. All of us have some hiking experience, but are all in good shape and in our late 20’s to early 30’s. The plan for right now:
Friday – start out at Tuolumne meadows (trail head of Cathedral Lakes) and pretty much follow the John Muir Trail to Cathedral Lakes, do lunch. Then move on down and camp overnight at the Sunrise Lakes.
Saturday – Continue on John Muir trail down to Clouds Rest and camp overnight on the south side of Cloud Rest.
Sunday – Finish the 5 miles down into the valley and back to our car.

Here are my question:

1. Not knowing the terrain, I tried to be conservative on the breakdown of each day… is this a reasonable time frame for this hike?
2. Besides getting permits for the Cathedral lakes trail head, will I need any other permits?
3. Are there any specific challenges along this trail that a new person may not know about?
4. I know that the shuttle services stops in Mid Sept, and the YARTS looks like it stops on Sept. 28th. What is the best way to get a ride from the Valley up to Tuolumne Meadows? Hitchhiking was suggested, but I wanted to try and have something set up before we got up there. Is there a forum or website where people can arrange transportation like that?

Thank you guys for your help… I look forward to hearing your advice!

Tim
avatar Re: Tuolumne Meadows to Yosemite Valley Hike Oct. 3-5
September 09, 2014 01:01PM
At this time it looks like you will have problems with the fire closure. Clouds Rest is currently closed and I'd be surprised if it opened this year.
Re: Tuolumne Meadows to Yosemite Valley Hike Oct. 3-5
September 09, 2014 01:55PM
Thanks eeek,

Any suggestions as to alternate 2-3 day backcountry hikes that are great in the fall time?
Re: Tuolumne Meadows to Yosemite Valley Hike Oct. 3-5
September 09, 2014 02:11PM
OP's text in black, replies in blue. This is assuming the area is reopened after the fire.
Friday – start out at Tuolumne meadows (trail head of Cathedral Lakes) and pretty much follow the John Muir Trail to Cathedral Lakes, do lunch. Then move on down and camp overnight at the Sunrise Lakes.
Sunrise Lakes are at ~9,400 feet, so you will want to be sure that everyone in your party can handle sleeping at that altitude. You may want to consider camping the night before at ~8,000 feet to acclimatize. Since the HSC will be closed, there may not be water between Cathedral Lakes and Sunrise Lakes.
Saturday – Continue on John Muir trail down to Clouds Rest and camp overnight on the south side of Cloud Rest.
I don't recall any decent camp sites south of Cloud's Rest until the JMT junction. In any event, there is no water along that stretch, so if you do camp before reaching the JMT, you'll have to lug water. The last water southbound before Cloud's Rest is at the tarn about a mile south of the Sunrise/Cloud's Rest trail junction. The next water is the small stream at the Cloud's Rest/JMT junction -- if it is even flowing in Oct. You might have to hike north on the JMT a bit to reach water in Sunrise Creek.
1. Not knowing the terrain, I tried to be conservative on the breakdown of each day… is this a reasonable time frame for this hike?
Hard to say not knowing more, but I think your daily mileages are probably OK if you are comfortable with 10 miles the first day and having the first day be the most strenuous.
2. Besides getting permits for the Cathedral lakes trail head, will I need any other permits?
You only need the permit from Cathedral. If you want to also climb Half Dome, be sure to specify that on your permit application.
3. Are there any specific challenges along this trail that a new person may not know about?
Availability of water, as discussed above.
Re: Tuolumne Meadows to Yosemite Valley Hike Oct. 3-5
September 09, 2014 02:46PM
Thanks Dave... water availability was also a concern for me... thank you for getting me more details.

I think we were gonna try and stay in the valley Thursday night to help get accustomed to the altitude and get an early jump on Friday... will that be enough or should we try to stay somewhere higher up? Any suggestions as to were to stay if so?

As I look at my map (and PLEASE tell me if my water sources are dried up) the water plan was this... Friday fill up at Cathedrial lakes then camp and refill at Sunrise lakes. Saturday hike down CRT to the water source you told me about (and I see on my map) a mile or so south on the CRT from Sunrise lakes... fill up. Then make the treck over Cloud's Rest and down to the JMT/CRT junction and find a source of water via the Sunrise creek and camp over night (any suggestions as to a good spot?) Sunday fill up water once more and make the short treck into the valley and to our car, then fill up on a beer or two, haha.

Your thoughts?

Also, excuse the ignorance but, what does HSC stand for?

Looking forward to your relpy.

Tim
avatar Re: Tuolumne Meadows to Yosemite Valley Hike Oct. 3-5
September 09, 2014 02:48PM
Quote
BigTFlyer
Also, excuse the ignorance but, what does HSC stand for?

High Sierra Camp
Re: Tuolumne Meadows to Yosemite Valley Hike Oct. 3-5
September 09, 2014 03:07PM
That water plan seems workable, just be aware of the 2 lbs per quart extra weight. And you'll want to treat the water from those sources.

Once you get to the JMT there are many decent camp sites, including perhaps 20 near the junction. Crowding is the usual concern there, but that late in the year it shouldn't be a problem and you can shop around.

I don't think sleeping at 4,000 feet is much help. Of the camps still open that time of year I see useful options at Crane Flat at ~6,200 feet and Porcupine Flat (my preference) at ~8,100. Campground info is at http://www.nps.gov/yose/planyourvisit/campground.htm .
Re: Tuolumne Meadows to Yosemite Valley Hike Oct. 3-5
September 09, 2014 03:22PM
Thanks Dave!

We definitly plan on treating the water everytime we fill up... the extra weight will stink but we can manage.

The biggest issue I am finding right now is transportation. The plan is to park the car in the valley, get a ride up to Tuolumne and then hike back down to the car.

If we stay in one of the campsites you suggested then we will have to find transportation from the valley to that campsite to get our car.

I still don’t know exactly how we are going to get from the valley (that is where we have to pick up our permits correct?) to Tuolumne let alone then getting from the valley to the campsite.

Do you have any suggestions for my transportation issues?
Re: Tuolumne Meadows to Yosemite Valley Hike Oct. 3-5
September 09, 2014 04:04PM
During the summer months there is a hiker's shuttle that runs from Yosemite Valley to Tuolumne Meadows. I think that you can get more information by calling the YTS Dispatch Office at 209 372-1171.

Edit--Didn't see that you posted YARTS stops Sept. 28.

There are permit issuing stations in places outside of Yosemite valley including Tuolumne Meadows.

For alternate routes in the 2-3 day range, I would look at the trails that leave the Bridalveil Campground area here. Buena Vista Lake is a very enjoyable destination, and there are recent trip reports to the area. here



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 09/09/2014 04:27PM by Torero14.
avatar Re: Tuolumne Meadows to Yosemite Valley Hike Oct. 3-5
September 09, 2014 07:21PM
Hike back to your car which u drove up
to the trailhead. You're young, you're fit.
Do a loop or an out and back.
smiling smiley
You may not make it to Sunrise by
Sunset if you are farting around gettin
a permit and trying to get a ride up to TM.
Out and back from Cath lakes would be
really nice with night 1 at Upper Sunrise
n night 2 at same after dayhike or back
to Lower Cath.

Have fun n Be Safe (n warm)



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