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Vernel Fall, Merced River, Yosemite National Park

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Re: Tulomne longer backpack advice?

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Tulomne longer backpack advice?
January 08, 2016 07:38AM
Thanks all. This forum has been amazing and first thanks for all I have learned here. Yosemite is now a favorite spotin the world.

I am looking for a new hike and wanted to get advice on solo backpack in area I haven't done. Route pic is below in picture but starting near Soda Springs following river to Glen Aulin to Waterwheel to White Wolf (halfway point) then returning via different route stoping at Grant lakes, Ten Lakes, near Tuolumne peak on way back coming back to Glen Aulin HSC to Soda Springs where I started. About 60 miles total and elevation gain seems reasonable. I have done previous solos like North Rim to Mt Watkins (thanks to advice here!), Pohono, Tuolomne to valley via Vogelsang, Cathedral, Rancheria, Tenaya to Sunrise, etc and normally do only 6-8 miles/day with heavy pack on.

Wanted to ask advice if should modify route back to see more (e.g. see May Lake) or any thoughts on how many days to spread this over. And best time (July, Aug good?). Thanks all. Excited to go and again thanks all. Unique community and amazing amount of wisdom on this forum.


Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 01/08/2016 08:18AM by Tedbay.
avatar Re: Tulomne longer backpack advice?
January 08, 2016 12:32PM
Sounds like a good plan. I am on my phone and can't check you're route, but I would say the best time would be late July early August if our snows keep up. In 2011, I did a similar route and all the creek crossing were raging in the 2nd week of July and the trail past Glenn Aulin to Waterwheel Falls was all flooded.
If our snows keep up, it may be a similar situation this summer.
Re: Tulomne longer backpack advice?
January 08, 2016 11:46PM
Looks like your map isn't showing, but presumably you are taking the Grand Canyon of the Tuolumne to Pate Valley from Tuolumne, going to White Wolf and then back to Tuolumne through Ten Lakes Basin. That's a great route and I wouldn't change it unless you wanted to make it longer, but more isn't always better. May Lake is nice, but you'll be adding a day and will be seeing more people. You'll see a lot of different terrain along with some great views. You'll be doing a bit of elevation gain, going from 4,000 ft at Pate to 8,000 ft at White Wolf to nearly 10,000 ft at Tuolumne Peak, but you can break it up.

As for when, that really depends on the winter snow pack, but it is too early to tell what that will be. I've done the Grand Canyon just before the road opened (Road open to White Wolf only, started there and hiked to Tuolumne and road opened when I came out). Unless there is some high water, you can do that section right after the road opens, though there are some flooded sections and some wades, but nothing too bad, though maybe not for a novice.

The tricky section for you will be Tuolumne Peak. It is high and north facing so typically holds snow longer. I would say generally 3 to 4 weeks after the road opens that section is passable, though you'll hit some snow. Typically that would be passable late June during a 'normal' winter.

It is hard to predict what this winter will be, but it seems to be a big one so mid-July might be the earliest I would go but later maybe more prudent.
Re: Tulomne longer backpack advice?
January 09, 2016 11:33AM
Guys, thanks much for advice. yes that's the route. Really appreciate the advice on water/timing. I still have pic posting issues though I've read the link on how to post via FB between the image tags using the mountain/sun button. it was a screen grab from Garmin basecamp draft route but that is the route. I am going to get the pic thing down as many time have wanted to post some trip reports.

Also just got confirmation of wilderness permit for an overnighter in May to Rancheria and was impressed ranger called home number to advise of potential river issue (I asked "are you talking about Wapama where I think a hiker was washed over few years back?" he said yep). Was impressed got a call.

Thanks again and am going to start planning this one out so keep each day/leg manageable and relaxing....

Re: Tulomne longer backpack advice?
January 09, 2016 12:52PM
That is impressive !
Re: Tulomne longer backpack advice?
January 10, 2016 07:53AM
Plan good or any suggestions? Do this in mid to late August or early September. Little over 60 miles total. Maybe stay in backpacker Tuolomne camp first night to acclimate to elevation and relax. Last night maybe take car down to valley stay at Lodge for shower and Curry Pizza Deck for restaurant at Lodge for a steak!

Day 1: start on trail near 120 near Lembert end near Waterwheel Falls, going by Glen Aulin (8.7 miles, about 2000' elevation loss)
Day 2: Waterwheel to Pate Valley (10.1 miles, 2500' elevation loss)
Day 3: Pate to Harden Lake (6.8 miles, 3000' elevation gain)
Day 4: Note there is also a trail West of this trail that goes by White Wolf (is one better?). Harden to trail juncture close to Yosemite Creek (along Middle Tuolumne river) (8 miles, about 1500' elevation gain, then 1000 drop after that for last 2 miles).
Day 5: Trail Juncture to trail down to Grant Lake then back up following Trail to Ten Lakes, camping at largest lake that is furthest East. (8 miles, up and down, about 1500' elevation gain overall)
Day 6: Ten Lakes to trail near Tuolomne Peak flat area (6.4 miles, 1000' drop first 2 miles then climb 1400' last 4 miles)
Day 7: Tuolumne Pk to Starting spot on 120 going by Glen Aulin (12.3 miles, about 2000' elevation drop first 6 miles, then 750' climb last 6).
Re: Tulomne longer backpack advice?
January 10, 2016 08:27PM
Basilbop and I did that loop along time ago in reverse. One of our first multi day backpacking trips. Great choice!

That late in the season, water levels in falls will be down, obviously, but fewer bugs. Pros and cons to early vs late season. Pick your poison, so to speak.

But swimming in the river will be easier. I prefer going up the falls. (I've done both directions many times). Having gone up and down the Morrison switchers, I think I prefer going up those too. I think I just prefer going up steep bits. Down with weight... Give yourself time, if not conditioned to it.

Enjoy, it's a lovely area!!!
avatar Re: Tulomne longer backpack advice?
January 11, 2016 07:41AM
Took an Old Dood and a newbie ... and my wifie... on that loop minus the TM to Glen Aulin section...
years ago... starting at White Wolf...
Camp spots were : Ten Lakes, Tuolumne Peak Tarns, Glen Aulin proper, Grand Canyon Tuol, Morrison
So 6 days... and the newbie really had no much of an issue... (ok, he was tired... but he did fine)
I am with JKW on this... going upstream looking UP and AT the water coming down is
much nicer... so... I would recommend to start at White Wolf and zip down to Morrison area first day.
or go all the way down to Pate bridge area... then from there more or less where stayed above...
or take is slower and stop at Cathedral Creek and camp there going thru GCT.
I would not really recommend Harden to camp at... and there are spots along Yosemite Creek
heading to Ten Lakes.. but it will take you some serious looking ... (the jct. where you hit
the Ten Lakes trail all the way to Ten Lakes is wooded... and to get views other than Half Moon
Meadow you need to nix the trail) ... the best stuff is from Tiogo to that jct.
Anywho... you could also keep your original route and go out May Lake and the the
shuttle / bus / thing with wheels on it that is free that goes from Olmsted to Tioga Pass
and runs in the summer time area... and has stops (this is dig on me calling it the hiker bus
which I get crap for... which I kinda don't get but then again there is a bus that went from
the valley to TM this last year... so I dunno... so I guess I digress) (but I'm not bitter)
Anyway... you could hike past May Lake to Olmsted via Snow Flat ... or take a left
at the May Lake parking lot... to Old Tioga Road and hike to Tioga Road and such.
Crossings may be yummy at Morrison and Register... if you go very early... but by
late July they should be fine... if you can push to mid Aug... then prolly best since
there is alot o snow this year so far...

Hope you at least read this.
Have fun

Chick-on is looking at you!
Re: Tulomne longer backpack advice?
January 10, 2016 08:34PM
One other thought--unless you really want to hike across Tuolumne Meadows twice, you can park near Pothole Dome and take a few miles off your first and last days of the hike. That last day, I'd be happy to not have to hike all the way to Lembert Dome through the crowds and traffic of TM...

Check our our website: http://www.backpackthesierra.com/
Or just read a good mystery novel set in the Sierra; https://www.amazon.com/Danger-Falling-Rocks-Paul-Wagner/dp/0984884963
Re: Tulomne longer backpack advice?
January 11, 2016 01:25PM
Thank you guys for the awesome advice! Will definitely do in reverse, starting at White Wolf, go up looking at water, avoid Lembert, etc. Below is a link to revised route with camps at Chick-On's spots (Pate, Cathedral, etc - the tent icons show the spots). Did I get the recommendations right? Ok to park at White Wolf (spot I have never been to). Excited to see a whole new part of the park. will likely do this solo in mid to late August. THANKS AGAIN!


avatar Re: Tulomne longer backpack advice?
January 11, 2016 01:39PM
Yes you park at White Wolf. (not at Tioga/White Wolf Rd where you have) ...
There is trailhead parking...
I recommend you take the old road/trail to Harden and see Harden Lake on
your way down... this take you thru Harden Gardens... which you will miss a bunch
of if you take the east trail as you have drawn...
I recommend NOT sleeping at the Glen Aulin HSC ... unless that is your cup of tea..
and instead stay in Glen Aulin PROPER... or thereabouts...
or lots of other places nearby... that are not the HSC...
You have yourself staying at the eastern most Ten Lakes... that is imo... about the
least picturesque of all the Ten Basin Lakes... I would recommend one that
is between Grand and Colby... north of the trail...
If you want to poke around... you could stay in SF Cathedral one day also...
and Grant the next... and then hike out from Grant...
I dunno how much you will like the "Yosemite Creek" site you have down there.

Chick-on is looking at you!
avatar Re: Tuolumne longer backpack advice?
January 11, 2016 05:19PM
There is trailhead parking...

Is the parking still in short supply?
avatar Re: Tuolumne longer backpack advice?
January 11, 2016 06:12PM
There is trailhead parking...

Is the parking still in short supply?

I don't think anything has changed. Didn't even drive into White Wolf last year though.
I would say there is a "fair" amount of parking just outside the campground entrance.
If nothing can be found there... and campground is open... I would go and talk to
the campground host... and they will probably tell you to go and park in the backpackers
campground area.
It seems the park service opened the WW road earlier and left it open later than in
the past last year. At least that is what I observed. It could have been due to
WW renovation... and/or Tioga Rd. resurfacing. I would hope they continue to do
that since once the road opens... imo.. they should open the gate into WW and allow
people to park at the WW trailhead... rather than have the cluster along Tioga Road.
(it seems far too many ppl do not understand to get COMPLETELY off the road
to park... (or take a picture) (or wander IN the road)) tongue sticking out smiley

Chick-on is looking at you!
avatar Re: Tuolumne longer backpack advice?
January 11, 2016 06:22PM
From what I've seen in the past they really should move the gate at the end of the road down a bit. That'd help with the parking problem.
avatar Re: Tuolumne longer backpack advice?
January 12, 2016 06:58AM
From what I've seen in the past they really should move the gate at the end of the road down a bit. That'd help with the parking problem.

Yeah. That's a great idea. Yose Creek and Tamarack don't have it so darn close...

Chick-on is looking at you!
Re: Tulomne longer backpack advice?
January 12, 2016 06:40AM
Revised route per the comments/advice. THANKS. Mileages and elevation change seems reasobable for me. would likely stay in backpacker campground night before just to acclimate. Revised campsite toward end so at spot in a meadow that looks to be where Yosemite Creek starts -map says it is Halfmoon Meadow and looks to be flat spot (better spot Chick on than previous spot you noted might not be so good?). Also moved camp to Glen Aulin proper (vs. HSC). The spot below Tulomne Peak is that good spot (not too exposed, windy?). Will finalize and fax in for my permit for August! Revised GCT Loop

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 01/12/2016 06:41AM by Tedbay.
avatar Re: Tulomne longer backpack advice?
January 12, 2016 06:57AM
If you want to start on the first day... and get some of the dump down into Pate
"out of the way"... Morrison Creek area has nice camping... and also some
before the switchers down to it...
But in general... you have a nice plan... You could probably hike out Ten Lakes
Trail and snag a ride back to White Wolf if that is desirable for some reason.
The "hiker" bus MAY also provide that link...
I have never camped by Half Moon Meadow... you may want to take your time
and explore Ten Lakes area... go up Grand Mtn... go check out a bunch of
the lakes and such... and camp at Grant Lakes that night...
Grant out to WW or Ten Lake TH should be ok... especially since it's
last day and all...

Have fun ... o... also.. there is some really nice camping further up from Pate...
but... it's more mileage... but... if you camp at Morrison or above... it would
be a nice 2nd night... (it's about 1 mile before Register crossing)
Doing the Morrison and Register crossings in the morning would allow you
to go earlier in the year... and cross more safely...


Chick-on is looking at you!
Re: Tulomne longer backpack advice?
January 12, 2016 07:01AM
thank you again. NOT tmi! will noodle on this a bit more and finalize. very much appreciated as this is a new part of Yosemite for me!

avatar Re: Tulomne longer backpack advice?
January 14, 2016 06:53AM
Ted... sorry... the "for some reason or another" ... that answer is
you MAY be saying "am I there yet... " on the trail from Ten Lake Trail to White Wolf.

Have fun

Chick-on is looking at you!
Re: Tulomne longer backpack advice?
January 14, 2016 07:57AM
Dave_Ayers, sounds great! Now I feel I want to climb it too. Do you have any pictures of the Tuolumne Peak? No doubt this place is amazing.
Re: Tulomne longer backpack advice?
January 19, 2016 10:39AM
There are some pics posted at the Summit Post listing at http://www.summitpost.org/tuolumne-peak/154491 .
Re: Tulomne longer backpack advice?
May 18, 2016 07:12AM
Hi all just back from quick overnight with my wife to Rancheria Falls area and want to finally get this hike on the calendar! Want to follow advice and go from White Wolf to Tuolmne or exit at May Lake. Make it a leisurely hike in July most likely. QUESTION: it doesn't look like there is shuttle from Tuolmne or May Lake that goes all the way to White Wolf area so looks like a 10 mile walk on the road back. Any options other than hitchhiking (I will be hiking this one alone but my wife says no hitchhiking allowed!). Thanks for any logistics ideas! Also July good time for the river still or am I hitting it too late?

Re: Tulomne longer backpack advice?
May 18, 2016 02:21PM
As mentioned on some other thread, looks like the Yosemite Valley-Tuolumne Meadows Hikers Bus will be running this year again. Schedule is limited but we have used to do this and other nutty trips from WW. Check for any fees.

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 05/19/2016 07:34AM by JustKeepWalking.
Re: Tulomne longer backpack advice?
May 19, 2016 06:53AM
thank you for this! glad to see the bus is running!
Re: Tulomne longer backpack advice?
January 13, 2016 01:03PM
I highly recommend to actually climb Tuolumne Peak and not just follow the trail near it. The view is well worth the climb which is class 1-2 from the east.

However you go it's all good. But an important consideration for me is that the Grand Canyon of the Tuolumne is best early season because all the main and numerous side falls are blasting and because its usually cooler down at Pate Valley around 4,000 feet elevation. IMO, the best time is just after the water is low enough to pass (13 ft at the gauging station above Hetch Hetchy). But that early in the season the snow from the May Lake junction through Tuolumne Peak is probably still a pain to deal with. For that reason, I prefer to do those two hikes separately.

You could do 2 trips: one early season from WW to TM returning by shuttle or hitching. Then a later season trip from WW to TM via May Lake and beyond. You don't need a separate permit to continue from May Lake down across the highway and up Sunrise to Cloud's Rest, Cathedral, etc. If you do go near May Lake, be sure to climb Mt Hoffman.

One route I've done is what I call a "crown jewels of Yosemite trip": WW TH to TM climbing Tuolumne Peak, Mt. Hoffman, Cloud's Rest, and Half Dome, then going over Cathedral to TM and catching the shuttle back to WW at the TM Visitor Center or store. About 65 miles total.
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