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Vernel Fall, Merced River, Yosemite National Park

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Re: Tioga Road update - options for other trails

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Tioga Road update - options for other trails
June 24, 2017 11:54AM
Just saw this and not feeling so optimistic now about my July 18 permit reservation out of Tuolumne Meadows.


Anyone have any suggestions for other less popular but scenic trails not off of Tioga Rd that I may be able to obtain reservations for (4 people)? I was surprised to see several trails that had availability for my date, but I don't know anything about them. Would be willing to do something outside of Yosemite also, if it doesn't work out. We've already got the time off so would like to take advantage of it. Thanks!
Re: Tioga Road update - options for other trails
June 24, 2017 04:38PM
Which trailheads are you looking at? Keep in mind that anything at a lower elevation will be mosquito heaven by July 18 if there are trees or water nearby.

I do expect 120 to be open over Tioga Pass prior to your trip, in spite of the latest posting. They may not have any services available other than the ranger station and permit office, which is typical the first week or two after the road opens. The one that affected me last year when the road opened was no hiker's shuttle.
Re: Tioga Road update - options for other trails
June 24, 2017 06:17PM
I just glanced over the trail head report and saw that there were quite a few with 7/18 open - some where off of Tioga though. If we can't do our original route, I am open to any other suggestions. But you give me hope that the road may be open. The hiker's shuttle would be an issue for us also since we planned to park in the Valley. Don't know if YARTS will be running, but they only have one bus that leaves Yosemite Valley at 5pm. If the Tuolumne backpackers' camp isn't open, not sure where we would sleep that night before we get on trail the next day. Worst case, I guess we could rent another car when we get to Fresno, so we have a shuttle. But that sounds a bit extravagant!
Re: Tioga Road update - options for other trails
June 26, 2017 12:14AM
If you can get to the Tuolumne Meadows' backpackers campground, you can camp there. I've done it a few times after 120 has opened, but the main campground is closed. It's very quiet, since there are usually only a few other backpackers there and some of the staff working on the campground. The backpackers doing the PCT don't seem to want to camp there. There are also campgrounds on the east side of Tioga Pass that often have space, including one about halfway up the road to Saddlebag Lake that you have to walk a quarter mile from the parking lot to get into. I've never seen it fill up in the summer, except a holiday weekend.

The hiker's shuttle won't be running until everything else is open at Tuolumne Meadows, so I would not expect that to be going on July 18. YARTS usually starts running buses right after the road opens, but check their web site for updates constantly. The park concessionaire runs a hiker's shuttle as well between the valley and Tuolumne Meadows that is independent of YARTS.

If 120 is closed, you still have a number of trailheads out of Wawona, the Glacier Point road, the valley, Hetch Hetchy, and Big Oak Flat Road to choose from.
Re: Tioga Road update - options for other trails
June 26, 2017 09:12AM
Thank you so much for the info! I like the idea of a quiet campground, so I really hope YARTS is running and we can get there. I would imagine since there is only one bus per day, it fills up quickly, especially if there is no hikers shuttle. I'm going to give them a call and try to make reservations or at least get a feel for whether or not they will be running.
Re: Tioga Road update - options for other trails
July 03, 2017 08:14AM
Good point about the YV-TM hikers bus. I had some concerns that it wouldn't even be running this year, due to the HSC. But other things need to be operational for that bus to make sense. It was originally planned to start 6/9/17, based on the website. Of course, that's been pushed back a bit.

Interesting how the GP Tour Bus officially states that they don't make drop-offs at the trailheads, but the drivers clearly do. Maybe it depends on the driver you get.
Re: Tioga Road update - options for other trails
July 03, 2017 09:56AM
From the NPS website:

"The Tuolumne Meadows backpacker campground is not open and won’t open until the campground opens."


Is there an unofficial tolerance for backpackers spending the night there?
Re: Tioga Road update - options for other trails
July 03, 2017 11:35AM
It all has to do with the toilets/ waste disposal/ potable water issues - getting the plumbing on. Nothing open/ no camping until then..

As to camping TM backpackers...rangers check. Unofficial policy is to only allow thru hikers and dissuade all others. However, if no car...came in by YARTS...
Much depends on gear, attitude, and demeanor.
Re: Tioga Road update - options for other trails
July 06, 2017 12:17PM
We will be the YARTS, no car people since it doesn't look like the hiker's bus will be running. Since there is only an evening bus, I really hope the rangers see what good, LNT practicing folks we are, and allow us to pitch our tents for the night...otherwise, any suggestions on what to do that night before we hit the trail? I am picturing us standing in front of a gate with a sign posted NO CAMPING as the bus drives away.
Re: Tioga Road update - options for other trails
June 26, 2017 10:54AM
We are heading west on July 21 and will get to the valley on 7/22. I am very optimistic the road will be open and Yarts running. I am planning on leaving the rental car in TM and have a permit from DPP to TM. This snow is very stressful from across the country. I hope they get the road to DPP open as well!
Re: Tioga Road update - options for other trails
July 01, 2017 11:53AM
120 opened last Thursday over Tioga Pass and the estimated official opening date of the Tuolumne Meadows campground is August 1, so July should be a quiet month up there except for backpackers.

I've never seen a full YARTS bus up there yet, but reservations aren't a bad idea. The last time I used it there were just five of us on the bus, but that was during the Rim Fire when they couldn't get through to the valley, so the bus just went from Mammoth to Tuolumne Meadows and back. According to the web site, YARTS should be running all the way through once a day now that July has begun.
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