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Re: 6 Day Backpacking Trip Advice Needed

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6 Day Backpacking Trip Advice Needed
February 06, 2017 02:39AM
Hey, I'm planning a backpacking trip out to Yosemite in late May after me and my friends are out of school for the semester. None of us have ever been to Yosemite, but after looking around I've done some research and I want to check with you guys and see what the best ideas would be. I'm planning on calling the wilderness center tomorrow to get more information as well.

Basic Info:
4-5 guys
Ages range from 22-23
3 of us are in good shape, the other 2 are slightly overweight. Just slightly however.
Using 8 days of vacation, with 5-6 days actually hiking

VERY rough overview of the plans:
1. Take a bus from LAX to Yosemite Valley (cheaper than flying to Fresno)
2. Either reserve an airbnb near the valley or stake out our spots in front of the wilderness center and wait to get a permit
3. Start the Ponoho Trail from Glacier Point and use 2-3 days to relax and really just stay up there for awhile
4. ???
5. On the last day, take a bus back to LAX for our flight and head home.

Basically #4 is where I'm stuck. I'm assuming we'll have to either hitchhike or take the shuttle back to another trailhead once we finish ponoho trail, but if there's any possibility of continuing straight onto another trail that'd be preferable to have 5 days of straight backpacking. Would it be better to start with a smaller trail that feeds into the ponoho trail?

Questions about the above plan:
1. I've heard mixed things about being able to fall asleep in front of the wilderness center (just to plan on caffeine intake). Should we plan on sending two guys to keep eachother awake?
2. How popular is the ponoho trail compared to the others? It's not really mentioned in the most popular lists, but the views from each point look amazing. Will it be easy to obtain permits?
3. From the map, it looks like a big chunk of the ponoho trail isn't available for camping until you get closer to the end. Are there better routes that keep the scenic views for backpacking?

Any advice is appreciated, thanks!!

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 02/06/2017 02:40AM by Veovis.
Re: 6 Day Backpacking Trip Advice Needed
February 06, 2017 02:58AM
A few thoughts:

Given the snowpack right now, most of the high country will be snowed in for your trip. That means not only snow on the ground, but trails hidden under snow, camping in snow, etc. It's a big snow year, and most of Yosemite is over 8,000 feet outside of the Valley itself and Hetch-hetchy. And there's no public transportation to HH.

So here are your options.

You could probably hike the North Rim of the Valley, since it gets more sun, but even it may be snowed in in May.

You could hike up Pohono to Glacier Point, then continue on into Little Yosemite Valley, then back down to Happy Isles. (You are right about limited camping on this trail).

You could hike to Rancheria Falls from Hetch-hetchy.

My suggestion? There are a ton of cool day hikes and explorations in Yosemite Valley. Do those. Maybe take one shorter trip as suggested. It's a fabulous park. Don't overlook the stuff of the day hikes:. Yosemite Falls, Nevada Falls, Snow Creek all have spectacular views. Get out into the meadow trail and enjoy the amazing solitude right in the middle of the Valley. Off-trail, hike to the base of Hidden Falls and Illilouette Falls. See the Sequoias at Tuolumne Grove. This May, the road to Tuolumne Meadows might not be open in May. I'd bet not.

Take a short backpacking trip in the middle to break up you visit--hope will also allow you to spend one night before your pack trip, and one night after it, in the backpacker's campground.

As for permits:. Get a permit now for a trip you want to take. The rangers are pretty good about letting you adapt your trip to current conditions. And there's no need to sleep out in front of the office. Permits for the following day are made available at 11 a.m. the day before. With that permit in hand, you can stay the night in the backpacker's campground.

Have fun. It's a fabulous place.

We have more info on all of this on our website in the signature line of this post.


follow our adventures, read our blog, or just to come hang out at our website: http://www.backpackthesierra.com/
avatar Re: 6 Day Backpacking Trip Advice Needed
February 06, 2017 07:54AM
Off-trail, hike to the base <snip> and Illilouette Falls.

End of May... This is a death wish...



Chick-on is looking at you!
avatar Re: 6 Day Backpacking Trip Advice Needed
February 06, 2017 10:26AM
By Death Wish... I mean you will have to cross Ill Creek (portion of)
in a squeeze spot... and ... well... read this please:


Be safe.

Have fun

Chick-on is looking at you!
avatar Re: 6 Day Backpacking Trip Advice Needed
February 06, 2017 07:52AM
Since you don't have a car...

Glacier Point Road MAY not be open then... and thus you MAY not be able to get up to Glacier Point
without walking. I'll assume you wanted to take the bus UP there do save your overweight friends
the pain.. IF the trail is doable...
I did Pohono in late may (22nd) of 2011 in big snow year... I guess it's bigger currently...
but... yeah, I wouldn't recommend it for FIRST TIMERs...
You can see how much there was looking at my pix set here:

IF you do Pohono ... you CAN hike all the way back to Yosemite Valley ... and all location in it..
by taking a right close to Tunnel view (trail end) ... on an old road (it has a sign saying bridal veil fall)
Anywho... a short walk on the real road and you are back on trail and on the valley loop
which can take you back to valley proper etc.

Anyzoo... um... I'd recommend hiking up JMT to Little Yose Valley... from there the in shape guys
can go run around here and there and such... while others recover...
Of course permits may be issue... but seems you are solving that.. by staying in front of office.

If you get bored there... come back down and go up Yose Falls trail...

Best of luck. There's lots o snow now...

Chick-on is looking at you!
avatar Re: 6 Day Backpacking Trip Advice Needed
February 09, 2017 11:55AM
Listen to what everybody is telling you about snow. Many years ago I returned from an overseas naval deployment in late May determined to go backpacking. Back then there were no permits or areas restricted from camping. A friend and I camped the first night between Nevada Fall and Vernal Fall after a beautiful day and went to sleep under a clear sky. We woke up to 6" of heavy wet snow and still coming down! The month of may will bite you.
I think the suggestion of multiple day hikes is far more appropriate for first time Yosemite hikers, especially in May. This will give you a lay of the land and peak your interest for perhaps a backpacking attempt later in the year.
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