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Re: Tenaya Lake to Tuolumne Meadows via Murphy Creek and Glen Aulin

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Tenaya Lake to Tuolumne Meadows via Murphy Creek and Glen Aulin
June 17, 2016 12:53PM
I am a newer hiker who is kind of rebooting his love for outdoor with a few hikes in Yosemite under my belt. Mostly solo like Panorama Trail, Mist Trail, Pohono Trail up to Inspiration Point, Taft Point and Sentinel Dome.. I would like to take a trip in Yosemite's Tuolomne Meadows region to see the beautiful high country that I have seen in pictures and read about here.

I am visiting Yosemite in the weekend of Jun 25-26 and looking to hike up to the Glen Aulin high sierra camp. I am planning for a day hike only and not looking for camping as I was neither able to secure a reservation in high sierra camp nor I find myself ready for solo camping yet. As per NPS website Glen Aulin high sierra camp is approx 6 miles one -way from Tuolomne Meadows visitor center and looking at my past experience, I should be able to out and back in 10 hours.

I also found about an alternative route - entering at Murphy Creek and exiting at Tuolomne Meadows - which is a mile longer than the one from Tuolomne Meadows. Of course, this will need parking at Toulomne Meadows and taking shuttle bus to the trail head.

I would appreciate any thoughts on feasibility of this as a solo day hike, which of the route is more scenic and other suggestions. It seems easy to me, but I don't know what I don't know. Also is there any chance of encountering wildlife (bears or mountain lions) on this trail.Again how much is the probability of encountering wildlife on this route.

Thanks,
Akash
avatar Re: Tenaya Lake to Tuolumne Meadows via Murphy Creek and Glen Aulin
June 17, 2016 07:26PM
Quote
akash.srivastava
I am a newer hiker who is kind of rebooting his love for outdoor with a few hikes in Yosemite under my belt. Mostly solo like Panorama Trail, Mist Trail, Pohono Trail up to Inspiration Point, Taft Point and Sentinel Dome.. I would like to take a trip in Yosemite's Tuolomne Meadows region to see the beautiful high country that I have seen in pictures and read about here.

I am visiting Yosemite in the weekend of Jun 25-26 and looking to hike up to the Glen Aulin high sierra camp. I am planning for a day hike only and not looking for camping as I was neither able to secure a reservation in high sierra camp nor I find myself ready for solo camping yet. As per NPS website Glen Aulin high sierra camp is approx 6 miles one -way from Tuolomne Meadows visitor center and looking at my past experience, I should be able to out and back in 10 hours.

I also found about an alternative route - entering at Murphy Creek and exiting at Tuolomne Meadows - which is a mile longer than the one from Tuolomne Meadows. Of course, this will need parking at Toulomne Meadows and taking shuttle bus to the trail head.

I would appreciate any thoughts on feasibility of this as a solo day hike, which of the route is more scenic and other suggestions. It seems easy to me, but I don't know what I don't know. Also is there any chance of encountering wildlife (bears or mountain lions) on this trail.Again how much is the probability of encountering wildlife on this route.

Thanks,
Akash

Call it 12 miles with some elevation but not so much. The Murphy Creek leg is astounding. If you are lucky you will see a bear. If you are really lucky you will see a mountain lion. The last thing you need to worry about is either one of them giving you any trouble. Just don't try to take away any food they have.



Old Dude
Thanks for inputs. I think given my track record, I should start this hike by 08:00 AM so as to finish and reach Toulomne meadows by sunset.
Re: Tenaya Lake to Tuolumne Meadows via Murphy Creek and Glen Aulin
June 17, 2016 07:28PM
It's a fine day hike. Even if you can't make it all the way to Glen Aulin, there's a lot of good stuff to see along the way even if you have to turn back early.

If you're new to the Tuolumne area, I'd skip the Murphy Creek trail--there's some interesting stuff along it, but it stays mostly in the forest. The Glen Aulin trail has much more trailside scenery.

Also, don't worry about being solo--odds are you will encounter people along the trail.

P.S. You may hear from others (or read on this forum) about the "Pothole Dome" route--this is an alternate cross-country route from Tuolumne Meadows to Glen Aulin. While this is a nice route and it is mostly well-defined, it can also be tricky in early season due to snow or flooding. I'd save that one until you are a bit more experienced or at least can let someone more experienced guide you.
Thanks for input. The idea to include Murphy Creek was to include Polly Dome lake, which is 5 miles round trip. I thought that instead of returning back to Tioga Road and then driving to Toulomne Meadows to hike Glen Aulin - it would be better to add another 1.8 miles and join Glen Aulin. This will make a total 12 miles loop.

What do you think.
avatar Re: Tenaya Lake to Tuolumne Meadows via Murphy Creek and Glen Aulin
June 20, 2016 08:32PM
Please listen to basilbop.

I will add...
Murphy Creek is nice ... but once you are OFF Murphy it's nearly all a wooded hike... with McGee Lake a minor blip...
there is some nice views of Falls Ridge... but... as is usual... you need to get off the trail to see it nicely...
Polly Dome Lakes are WELL off the trail...
And... if you do a loop you will be missing White Cascade.
Minimal you should hike to the bridge over the Tuolumne just before the Glen Aulin HSC.
An out and back is what I would recommend also... with a checkout of Soda Springs and Parsons Lodge...
and the bridge over the Tuolumne near Parsons...

Have fun



Chick-on is looking at you!
Got it. So as you suggested, I will hike both Glen Aulin and Polly dome lakes out and back with Glen Aulin on first day and Polly dome on second day with May lake thrown in to make it a full day hike.
avatar Re: Tenaya Lake to Tuolumne Meadows via Murphy Creek and Glen Aulin
June 21, 2016 07:38AM
Quote
akash.srivastava
Got it. So as you suggested, I will hike both Glen Aulin and Polly dome lakes out and back with Glen Aulin on first day and Polly dome on second day with May lake thrown in to make it a full day hike.

Not to dissuade you... but Polly Dome lakes are not incredibly picturesque..
The largest is nice and all... but again, it's OFF Trail.. and I have no idea
what your off trail experience is... I was simply pointing out that the Murphy
Creek trail is almost entirely in the woods. You can see this on the Topo map.
General rule of chick-on thumb is... if green it's mostly not for me... if white it's a delight.
(ok, I just made that up) ... but ... a LOT of Yosemite trails were built to
get from A to B... with little concern for views ... and built for stock to
move around.
If you are happy off trail... get on the open areas.
Of course my other general rule of thumb is... it's all good.

Sorry I don't know what you have done in the past... but what I tell people is
Pothole dome
Lembert
if game... take "fishermans" trail to Lower Cathedral (it's a trail)

Lots and lots and lots of people backpacking to Glen Aulin (HSC).
You would not be alone. Not even close...
Anyway.
Yes, go to May Lake (May Lake Road is now open).
Go to Glen Aulin and back... (and if you want to go to Polly Dome Lakes..
then ok... then maybe just do your original loop) (but you have been warned).
You have done most of the up if you have gone to Polly Dome Lake.

Anywho. You will enjoy whatever you do. Gonna shaddup now...
Have fun



Chick-on is looking at you!
Re: Tenaya Lake to Tuolumne Meadows via Murphy Creek and Glen Aulin
June 19, 2016 08:11AM
If you want to go backpacking but aren't comfortable being totally alone yet, you could stay at the backpacker's campground at the Glen Aulin HSC. That way you would still get the camping experience, but there will be other people around (and a bathroom).
Thanks for input. I think I will skip camping this time... really not comfortable with bear encounter and solo camping. May be next time.
Re: Tenaya Lake to Tuolumne Meadows via Murphy Creek and Glen Aulin
June 21, 2016 12:24PM
Quote
akash.srivastava
Thanks for input. I think I will skip camping this time... really not comfortable with bear encounter and solo camping. May be next time.

Actually, camping is a good start. I've almost always seen a bear at least one night (feels like every night) per weeklong stay in the Valley. You will learn how to scare them away. You will learn quickly if you don't secure your food. Squirrels and birds will get you more frequently than bears, even.

In Tuolumne I don't see as bears as often, but do. And you can often hear when a bear is in the campground somewhere with all the yelling to shoo it away.
Notwithstanding Chick-On's reservations about hiking in the woods, I'm considering doing this same trip with a 14-year-old daughter in late June. I realize it's still a bit early to predict snow levels, but any guesses as to the difficulty of the water crossings between Murphy Creek and McGee Lake?
avatar Re: Tenaya Lake to Tuolumne Meadows via Murphy Creek and Glen Aulin
May 08, 2017 07:18AM
It's all good baby.

Between Murphy Creek and McGee you have to cross Cathedral Creek.
Sorry, I haven't crossed it early... only seen it from Grand Canyon Tuolumne...
early... I've avoided it via this way or that xc...
Anyzoo... before starting I'd poke around a bit and take a look-see
at how Murphy and Cathedral Creek look near Tioga Rd...
I'd say that even if you only went up Murphy Creek to the crossing of Murphy...
that would be a nice dayhike... that area is indeed "astounding"
You're next to the creek so obliviously you'll see how things are w/r to Murphy..
quickly...
For Cathedral keep you eyes open as you approach Daff...
you can look on your right and get a sense perhaps... or stop here:
https://mappingsupport.com/p/gmap4.php?ll=37.876682,-119.417224&z=15&t=t4
(there's parking) (well... if they plowed and/or it melted)
and go look some more...

Dingley and Delaney are going to be a challenge for a long time ... so keep those
in mind too

Have fun



Chick-on is looking at you!
Thanks, Chick-On.
Re: Tenaya Lake to Tuolumne Meadows via Murphy Creek and Glen Aulin
May 08, 2017 09:11AM
I last crossed it the end of May in '13 which was a dry year. It was a simple wade then, perhaps a foot deep and the creek was near its upper erosion level. You're going one month later in a wet year which makes it hard to say. But I doubt it'll be much problem as that creek is not generally big or fast flowing at that crossing. I do think there's a good chance you'll need to wade vs. rock hopping. Maybe you want to take a pole and some water shoes for traction.
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