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Re: Backcountry hike in November

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Backcountry hike in November
September 15, 2016 04:26AM
First trip to Y, arriving on November 16th for a week. looking to backpack in and camp at wilderness site, one or two nights. Not looking for any killer physical hikes, but rather a hike that gets us into the wilderness and good views. Any suggestions?

alan
Re: Backcountry hike in November
September 15, 2016 09:02AM
For a first time ever trip to Yosemite the best recommendation seems to be setting up base camp in Yosemite Valley (in November I'm guessing Camp 4 should be open) and doing a few day hikes. Since you will be there a full week it sounds like you could cover all the "mandatory" day hikes---Yosemite Falls, 4 Mile Trail, Panoramic Trail, Vernal/Nevada Falls and still have time for a couple night backpacking trip. I would recommend any trip including Clouds Rest. But in November, there is also a fair chance of running into weather. I hiked Mt. Dana several years ago on October 31 or November 1 and it snowed on our way down.
avatar Re: Backcountry hike in November
September 15, 2016 09:15AM
What's your snow camping experience?

Here is the Yosemite Valley Climate Averages, note that precipitation is dramatically picking up in November, and that snow starts falling in the valley. Yosemite Valley's elevation is about 4,000 ft., backpacking trips would be higher.

Sometime during November it's possible that the Tioga and Glacier Point roads may close for the winter, this varies from year to year. Here's Yosemite's Winter Road Closures page which includes links on closing/opening dates for these roads for various years. In any case, overnight parking along these roads will become illegal for the season starting October 15.

Rancheria Falls (about 4,600 ft?) from the Hetch Hetchy Road could be an option, as could Laurel Lake (6,100 ft?) if the weather holds up nice. However, you must follow the weather forecasts closely, heavy snow and rain is a possibility. It's really a crap shoot, you should make sure you're ready to abandon the backpack trip if the weather looks questionable.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 09/15/2016 09:15AM by ttilley.
avatar Re: Backcountry hike in November
September 15, 2016 09:25AM
Quote
mainer33
First trip to Y, arriving on November 16th for a week. looking to backpack in and camp at wilderness site, one or two nights. Not looking for any killer physical hikes, but rather a hike that gets us into the wilderness and good views. Any suggestions?

alan

Keep in mind that highway 120 will more than likely be closed for the winter by then, and hopefully there will be lots of snow above the valley. Even if there is no snow and 120 is open there will be no overnight parking allowed. Trailhead parking should be available at Badger Pass (now know as Snow Play Area or something like that) so, depending on snow conditions there would be opportunities to hike out of there.

Further south there are trails out of Wawona. Again, a lot depends on snow conditions.

The Hetch Hetchy area, which is lower and further west, would have less snow relative to the areas around the valley but the views there are not quite as "spectacular". Plenty of options there. The road to the dam is kept open all year with intermittent closures due snowfall.

Be prepared for winter camping and renting snowshoes. It will be cold in November and it gets dark at five o'clock and stays dark until about 7AM. Lots of bag time.

The suggestion to stay on the valley floor and day trip is a good one especially since this would be your first visit. It will still be cold though.

And what Tom said.



Old Dude



Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 09/15/2016 09:27AM by mrcondron.
Re: Backcountry hike in November
September 16, 2016 04:57AM
Thanks for all the feedback. We are aware of the weather issues and limitations, but just want good or fair weather suggestions for an overnight camp in the wilderness. We will have snowshoes, and I love a winter landscape. Is eagle pass doable?

alan
Re: Backcountry hike in November
October 15, 2016 04:32PM
No overnight parking on the Tioga Road starting October 15 is only enforced within Yosemite National Park. As a longtime resident of Mono Basin I am well aware of this. As long as the road is open you can park at any of the turnouts east of the Tioga Pass entrance station and hike from there. (The road is closing temporarily this weekend due to a storm but is likely to reopen.) Walking the length of Saddlebag Lake into 20 Lakes Basin would be a great overnight or two night outing.
avatar Re: Backcountry hike in November
October 16, 2016 11:28AM
Hey Mainer
First...not familiar with Eagle Pass...did you mean Eagle Peak?
I would continue to check in with the forum group about conditions as you get closer to your trip. As mentioned above, if you can get through highway 120 you can park just outside the park...I have done so...literally a few feet outside the park, and winter hiked from there into the park. But the road has to be open, which means snow free, and it seems you are in search of snow...
Our winter storm door seems to have opened for now and it is likely that highway 120 will be closed in a month imo. As Chicagowright says, you will probably be setting up a base in Yosemite Valley, your best bet for a wilderness and views would be the North Rim Trail or the Pohono (south rim) Trail. North rim trail is discussed here....a trip on old snow last spring.
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