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Pohono Trail Memorial Day Weekend

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Pohono Trail Memorial Day Weekend
May 11, 2017 10:22AM
I am going to be in Yosemite over Memorial Day weekend. I was planning on hiking the Pohono Trail. I know there will be snow, I was just wondering how easy or difficult it will be to follow the trail? I was planning on taking the Panorama Trail up to Glacier (which I have read is really wet but not too snowy) and then the Pohono to the Tunnel. I hike all the time and go 20+ miles regularly so if the trail was easy to follow it would be a done deal. However, with the snow this year I worry that I might spent a bunch of time route finding and run into difficult meadow/stream crossings. This happened to me last Memorial Day in the Ribbon creek and meadow area and added a lot of time to the route I was taking. I am also familiar with the Panorama Trail and Pohono Trail up to Taft Point. I have not done the section between Taft and the Tunnel and that is kinda the section that worries me a bit.
avatar Re: Pohono Trail Memorial Day Weekend
May 11, 2017 10:55AM
I'd recommend hiking with a gps... so you don't need the trail... which certainly will be under loads of snow...
and the trail is not marked... cept to Taft from GP road...
I'd recommend going south of Sentinel Dome... and then you need to make sure that you hit Bridalveil Bridge

Meadow Brook .. well... we used snow bridge to get across (in March this year... I think it was March...
maybe early April) ... beyond that... not much worry
(Artist should be flowing nicely but not a snow channel at this point)

Anyway, blah blah... ya ya... I did this going up from Tunnel View in may in a big snow year... yadda yadda
and I certainly wasn't on the trail the entire way... not close... and it's anything but flat

it looked like this:

If I go to the area before Memorial Day I'll take some pix...

(or someone else could)

Anyway, have fun...

Chick-on is looking at you!

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 05/11/2017 10:57AM by chick-on.
Re: Pohono Trail Memorial Day Weekend
May 11, 2017 12:14PM
Re: Pohono Trail Memorial Day Weekend
May 14, 2017 05:32PM
I've attempted this monster day hike three times, twice without snow, but first time was with snow in late May during a year with slightly less snow than this year. Without snow you need every minute of daylight in June to pull it off and go from the Bridalveil Falls parking lot over to Glacier Point and back down. On those long June days I started at 5:30 am in the morning and barely got down to the Valley Floor again by sunset at 9 pm, and then I had to walk by flashlight a few miles back to the car. You will be lucky if your feet are not blistered somewhere at the end of the day and your knees are still working well.

The first time I tried this hike was in the snow. We lost the trail in the snow after the first lookout point above the old road, and we tried our best to make our own trail and follow the license plates used by the skiers when we could find them. We started around 8:30 am at the Wawona Tunnel, but starting 3 hours earlier would not have made a big difference unless we had turned around sooner. We got close to Bridalveil Creek before turning back, since we had no chance of getting to Glacier Point before dark with 3 hours left of daylight. On way back we ended up higher than the trail to avoid getting too close to the edge, and overshot the area where the trail descends down to the tunnel entrance. My GPS unit died in the middle of this, so we were on compass most of the time and didn't get out before it got dark. We slept over 1000 feet above the middle of the Wawona Tunnel, against a rock that was sticking out of the snow. It was probably the most scenic campsite I've ever had, as I could watch multiple waterfalls, domes, and car traffic on multiple roads from our high vantage point. Since it was a warm day/night for May with no wind, my friend and I were able to avoid hypothermia by sleeping next to each other and putting our bare feet in our daypacks (since all of our socks were wet). It was easy to get out the next morning, as we skiiied downhill in our boots to the old road and then followed it back to the trail.

The bottom line is that even if you have transportation waiting for you at Glacier Point, odds are not good that you will get through all the snow between the Wawona Tunnel and Glacier Point during daylight, and this is not a good area to wander around in at night, since you are very close to a steep dropoff much of the time. Right now there is a part of the 4 Mile Trail that is closed due to dangerous ice conditions that make it easy to fall a long distance. Usually it opens up by the time the road to Glacier Point opens, but this year could be different. If you start early in the morning from the Glacier Point Road where it crosses over Bridalveil Creek, you should be able to reach either Glacier Point or the Wawona Tunnel, depending on which way you go when the trail forks (at the next bridge over the creek), before daylight is gone. That's the only way I would recommend going when most of that area is covered in snow. Not only does the route finding and sinking into snow slow you down by a good 50%, but there are numerous seasonal creeks and snow bridges to deal with. Following other hiker's tracks is a bit risky, since it is easy to get lost in the forest and not take a direct path once you are away from the edge, which happens for a few miles on both sides of Bridalveil Creek.
Re: Pohono Trail Memorial Day Weekend
May 24, 2017 05:42PM
I have a backcountry reservation for this weekend for the Pohono leaving from Glacier. Is the trail snow covered all the way to Inspiration? I assumed from initial conversation with the ranger that we might just be dealing with snow the first couple miles but sounds like I mis-interpreted...
avatar Re: Pohono Trail Memorial Day Weekend
May 24, 2017 05:56PM

You should expect snow all along until you drop
down to Artist Creek.
Below there it should be snow free.

Rangers will say to expect
winter conditions and such...

Be safe
Have fun

Chick-on is looking at you!
Re: Pohono Trail Memorial Day Weekend
May 25, 2017 09:07AM
Nathan/Brendan - This sounds like a fun trip and probably not many hikers there in current conditions. I would expect the trail to be snow covered from GP to at least Stanford Point and snowshoes are highly recommended.

I was there on the Easter weekend and our initial plan was to go from Tunnel to Taft point. With a late start around 11:30am and slow going with full backpacks, we ended up camping at Dewey Point. It was all snow from Inspiration Point to Dewey Point at that time.GPS came in handy, especially when we stopped by Stanford Point on the way back. If you go around/to Sentinel Dome, there are some avy prone sections and chick-on has highlighted it a few times on this discussion board. You might want to take an alternate route in that section unless it's all melted out by now.
Re: Pohono Trail Memorial Day Weekend
May 30, 2017 10:28AM
Went from the Tunnel to Dewey point on 5/26...only a few spots of snow that were easily passable. There were a few spots were trees were down over the trail, but you could find your way through it.
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