Welcome! Log In Create A New Profile Recent Posts
Tuolumne Meadows and Lembert Dome during a summer storm, Yosemite National Park

The Moon is Waxing Gibbous (69% of Full)


Advanced

Re: Midnight Half-Dome Hike, Places to Snooze Beforehand

All posts are those of the individual authors and the owner of this site does not endorse them. Content should be considered opinion and not fact until verified independently.

Midnight Half-Dome Hike, Places to Snooze Beforehand
August 12, 2009 04:42PM
I will be driving into Yosemite after a couple of days in Death Valley, using the Tioga Road entrance. This will be my first time attempting Half Dome, so I've decided to try and start at midnight or 1 am to beat the crowds and arrive on top for some more scenic early morning lighting.

If I arrive on a Thursday afternoon, do you think there is any chance I could snag a spot at Porcupine Flat, Tamrack, or Tuolumne to catch a few winks before sneaking into Yosemite Valley under cover of darkness? I've only been to Yosemite once before, but it looks like they have a no-randomly-sleeping-in-back-of-your-car policy. Is this enforced or will it be possible to park somewhere and sleep in the back of an SUV for a bit, assuming I don't get a camp spot for car sleeping?

This is my first time posting here, so apologies if this is in the wrong place. Thanks.
avatar Re: Midnight Half-Dome Hike, Places to Snooze Beforehand
August 12, 2009 05:02PM
You probably will be able to get a site at Porcupine Flat. If not, try White Wolf and Yosemite Creek before Tamarack.
avatar Re: Midnight Half-Dome Hike, Places to Snooze Beforehand
August 12, 2009 05:51PM
Quote
bbb
I will be driving into Yosemite after a couple of days in Death Valley, using the Tioga Road entrance. This will be my first time attempting Half Dome, so I've decided to try and start at midnight or 1 am to beat the crowds and arrive on top for some more scenic early morning lighting.

If I arrive on a Thursday afternoon, do you think there is any chance I could snag a spot at Porcupine Flat, Tamrack, or Tuolumne to catch a few winks before sneaking into Yosemite Valley under cover of darkness? I've only been to Yosemite once before, but it looks like they have a no-randomly-sleeping-in-back-of-your-car policy. Is this enforced or will it be possible to park somewhere and sleep in the back of an SUV for a bit, assuming I don't get a camp spot for car sleeping?

You can legally sleep in your car at a designated campsite.

If you really want to do this early morning, you could try and snag a Happy-Isle to Little Yosemite Valley backpacking permit. That would reduce some of your stress and you could bookend your stay at any of the backpackers campgrounds for $5 per person. I don't think they went up HD, but a pair of hikers I saw at Little Yosemite Valley woke up at maybe 4 AM to go explore the area.
Re: Midnight Half-Dome Hike, Places to Snooze Beforehand
August 13, 2009 06:25AM
Thanks everyone. I am going to look into the wilderness permit today. I am guessing that 'day before' means that I would have to get into Yosemite a full 24 hours before my evening snooze, so my plan will most likely be to try and get a parking/sleeping spot at Porcupine Creek, White Wolf, or Yosemite Creek. One site mentions the Tioga Overlook as a car sleeping area. I think it's between 395 and the Tioga entrace. This will be my last resort as it is the furthest drive from the trailhead.

From what I've read, it indeed seems like the rule is that you can car "camp" so long as you are in an individual campsite. Maybe I can just pull in next to someone else who has only one car at their campsite. They'll never notice. : )

I saw that the new moon is coming up as well. In Death Valley, with any luck, it will mean some fantastic star gazing and maybe enough light to hike the dunes at night. In Yosemite, it means bringing lots of batteries for the headlamp. Still, fewer werewolves will be out.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 08/13/2009 06:27AM by bbb.
Re: Midnight Half-Dome Hike, Places to Snooze Beforehand
August 13, 2009 06:48AM
Quote
bbb
Thanks everyone. I am going to look into the wilderness permit today. I am guessing that 'day before' means that I would have to get into Yosemite a full 24 hours before my evening snooze, so my plan will most likely be to try and get a parking/sleeping spot at Porcupine Creek, White Wolf, or Yosemite Creek.

Just to be clear:

If you have a wilderness permit, there are backpacker campgrounds in:
Tuolumne Meadows
White Wolf
North Pines - Yosemite Valley

Five dollars per person. Night before and night after duration of your wilderness permit. Put your pack in a bear box, throw a pad on the ground and nap.

You will easily spend 20-30 bucks on a campsite in the campgrounds, if you do manage to get a cancelled or fc/fs one.

You do not need a permit if you do not plan to stay a night in the wilderness, even if you are hiking at night - as long as you are walking and not pitching a tent, and you will continue walking until you have come back out of the wilderness, you are still "day hiking." People night hike the dome all the time without permit. However, it's an easy way to get a cheap night in the backpacker campground, for which you must have a permit in hand. If you are not taking overnight gear on your hike you don't need a permit.

You could even get a permit for some other trailhead, say Snow Creek, stay in the backpacker camp, pitch the permit, and day hike half dome. Not precisely honest but it would prevent your being thrown out of a pullout or spending a lot of time and money getting a campsite for a few hours.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 08/13/2009 06:55AM by AlmostThere.
avatar Re: Midnight Half-Dome Hike, Places to Snooze Beforehand
August 13, 2009 08:44AM
Quote
AlmostThere
You do not need a permit if you do not plan to stay a night in the wilderness, even if you are hiking at night - as long as you are walking and not pitching a tent, and you will continue walking until you have come back out of the wilderness, you are still "day hiking." People night hike the dome all the time without permit. However, it's an easy way to get a cheap night in the backpacker campground, for which you must have a permit in hand. If you are not taking overnight gear on your hike you don't need a permit.

You could even get a permit for some other trailhead, say Snow Creek, stay in the backpacker camp, pitch the permit, and day hike half dome. Not precisely honest but it would prevent your being thrown out of a pullout or spending a lot of time and money getting a campsite for a few hours.


This would seem to be sufficiently removed from the intent and spirit of the wilderness permit system as to be entirely unacceptable and should not be proposed or condoned.
Re: Midnight Half-Dome Hike, Places to Snooze Beforehand
August 13, 2009 09:25AM
I haven't done it, but I've seen it done. I agree that it's marginally legal and not at all ethical. People frequently deviate from permits - we had to, when one of our party was injured and went back to the trailhead rather than complete a four pass itinerary with a bad knee.

I wish the park had a less clogged, less byzantine system than it does, and that people could figure it out far enough in advance that we wouldn't see questions like this over and over. I can't think of another national park in the system that has this trouble - walking into the wilderness office in Sequoia you can get a permit for anywhere the day you want to go.
avatar Re: Midnight Half-Dome Hike, Places to Snooze Beforehand
August 13, 2009 09:53AM
Quote
AlmostThere
I haven't done it, but I've seen it done. I agree that it's marginally legal and not at all ethical. People frequently deviate from permits - we had to, when one of our party was injured and went back to the trailhead rather than complete a four pass itinerary with a bad knee.

I've spoken to rangers and volunteer staff handling the wilderness permits, and the only enforcement they're really concerned with is the entry trailhead and people staying the first night at Little Yosemite Valley. If you have to deviate with the original plans on exit trailhead, it's not a big deal. The quotas are only on the entry trailhead.

Quote
AlmostThere
I wish the park had a less clogged, less byzantine system than it does, and that people could figure it out far enough in advance that we wouldn't see questions like this over and over. I can't think of another national park in the system that has this trouble - walking into the wilderness office in Sequoia you can get a permit for anywhere the day you want to go.

I believe Denali NP has a detailed quota system with a user base that does max out some of the quotas. SEKI does have a quota system during the peak season, but it sounds as if they rarely hit those quotas.
Re: Midnight Half-Dome Hike, Places to Snooze Beforehand
August 13, 2009 09:18AM
Thanks for clearing this up. I was little bit confused about this before.

The permit and camping rules are very convoluted, but they sort of make sense.

I would never think about taking a space away from someone who genuinely needs it. The only goal is to try and nap for a while, preferably without having to arrive at the park before dawn on the day before a midnight hike. I am guessing that I will be too excited to sleep very much anyway. But just lying down for a while should do some good. Again, thanks.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 08/13/2009 09:19AM by bbb.
avatar Re: Midnight Half-Dome Hike, Places to Snooze Beforehand
August 12, 2009 06:51PM
Quote
bbb
I will be driving into Yosemite after a couple of days in Death Valley, using the Tioga Road entrance. This will be my first time attempting Half Dome, so I've decided to try and start at midnight or 1 am to beat the crowds and arrive on top for some more scenic early morning lighting.

If I arrive on a Thursday afternoon, do you think there is any chance I could snag a spot at Porcupine Flat, Tamrack, or Tuolumne to catch a few winks before sneaking into Yosemite Valley under cover of darkness?


Point of information:
If, perchance, you are planning on doing this hike next Thursday (19 August), the nighttime portion of your hike will indeed be "under cover of darkness" since there is a new moon at that time.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 08/12/2009 07:07PM by szalkowski.
Re: Midnight Half-Dome Hike, Places to Snooze Beforehand
August 12, 2009 06:52PM
As has been mentioned, you can legally sleep in your car at a campground. If you get a wilderness permit it will likely be for the following day (the first come first serve permits are available 24 hours in advance at the wilderness centers, valley office has priority) and you will be allowed to pay five bucks for a spot in the backpacker campground which is a walkin behind North Pines campground; you have to park in trailhead parking or curry village parking.

Reservable permits are probably all gone.

We are going on a night/sunrise hike this coming weekend to half dome; on the way down the trail Saturday we will likely snooze on the granite above Nevada Falls, but it will be in daytime and not considered camping.

You could also pull out before you enter the park and snooze. Just make sure your car is entirely off the pavement. There are NF campgrounds at Saddlebag and Ellery lakes as well. But that's a long drive from the valley.
avatar Re: Midnight Half-Dome Hike, Places to Snooze Beforehand
August 12, 2009 07:00PM
Quote
AlmostThere
You could also pull out before you enter the park and snooze. Just make sure your car is entirely off the pavement. There are NF campgrounds at Saddlebag and Ellery lakes as well. But that's a long drive from the valley.

Isn't snoozing in your car off the pavement in most national forest lands considered legal "dispersed camping"?
avatar Re: Midnight Half-Dome Hike, Places to Snooze Beforehand
August 12, 2009 07:02PM
Quote
y_p_w
Quote
AlmostThere
You could also pull out before you enter the park and snooze. Just make sure your car is entirely off the pavement. There are NF campgrounds at Saddlebag and Ellery lakes as well. But that's a long drive from the valley.

Isn't snoozing in your car off the pavement in most national forest lands considered legal "dispersed camping"?

Yes, but the area east of Tioga Pass isn't a dispersed camping area.
Re: Midnight Half-Dome Hike, Places to Snooze Beforehand
August 12, 2009 07:26PM
Quote
eeek
Quote
y_p_w
Quote
AlmostThere
You could also pull out before you enter the park and snooze. Just make sure your car is entirely off the pavement. There are NF campgrounds at Saddlebag and Ellery lakes as well. But that's a long drive from the valley.

Isn't snoozing in your car off the pavement in most national forest lands considered legal "dispersed camping"?

Yes, but the area east of Tioga Pass isn't a dispersed camping area.

It is less likely to get you a fine than snoozing in a pullout inside the park, tho.

Rangers find you at the darndest times of day and night. Midnight in Little Yosemite Valley, for example. Keeps people from sneaking in and leaving early.
avatar Re: Midnight Half-Dome Hike, Places to Snooze Beforehand
August 12, 2009 07:27PM
Quote
AlmostThere
It is less likely to get you a fine than snoozing in a pullout inside the park, tho.

Very true.
Sorry, only registered users may post in this forum.

Click here to login