Welcome! Log In Create A New Profile Recent Posts
Yosemite Valley

The Moon is Waxing Crescent (6% of Full)


Advanced

Re: Understanding trailhead rules

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.

Understanding trailhead rules
August 19, 2011 06:27AM
Before I get a Wilderness Permit I want to check if my proposed route is ok. I have searched long and hard but can't seem to find an answer to my question (maybe it's just too obvious!)

I want to enter at Porcupine Creek, go south through Snow Creek then past Half Dome and up the JMT to Tuolumne Meadows 3 or 4 days later. First off, is it possible to do this route, which I think means going past Happy Isles, without needing another Wilderness Permit at Happy Isles?

Secondly, would it be possible to have a pitt stop at Curry Village (which would definitely mean leaving the trail for a short time and having to re-enter)?

Basically, I don't want to stop at Curry Village for a break, then find out I am not allowed back onto the path.

I would be very grateful if someone could point me in the right direction!
avatar Re: Understanding trailhead rules
August 19, 2011 07:11AM
Quote
Alexbaird
Before I get a Wilderness Permit I want to check if my proposed route is ok. I have searched long and hard but can't seem to find an answer to my question (maybe it's just too obvious!)

I want to enter at Porcupine Creek, go south through Snow Creek then past Half Dome and up the JMT to Tuolumne Meadows 3 or 4 days later. First off, is it possible to do this route, which I think means going past Happy Isles, without needing another Wilderness Permit at Happy Isles?

Secondly, would it be possible to have a pitt stop at Curry Village (which would definitely mean leaving the trail for a short time and having to re-enter)?

Basically, I don't want to stop at Curry Village for a break, then find out I am not allowed back onto the path.

I would be very grateful if someone could point me in the right direction!

Your permit will have an entrance and exit location with the number of days of your planned trip. A short stop at the village to resupply or for a biobreak would be OK as long as you didn't do something that would indicate you terminated your trip and restarted days later, like a three day layover at the Awahnee.



Old Dude
Re: Understanding trailhead rules
August 19, 2011 08:18AM
Thanks, that clears it up! If I go to the Awahnee it will only be for one drink.
Re: Understanding trailhead rules
August 19, 2011 08:26AM
No, you actually can't. If you go to the valley your wilderness permit ends and you will need to get another one going up Happy Isles or anywhere else for that matter.
Re: Understanding trailhead rules
August 19, 2011 08:46AM
Oh ok. I will be going in September. There are no permits available to reserve from Yosemite Valley.

Would we be able to walk past Happy Isles (i.e. down Snow Creek, past Mirror Lake and then round the corner towards Half Dome) on our original permit?

Basically, does walking that route involve passing any new trailheads and therefor needing new permits? The maps are quite unclear about this.
avatar Re: Understanding trailhead rules
August 19, 2011 10:14AM
Quote
Alexbaird
Oh ok. I will be going in September. There are no permits available to reserve from Yosemite Valley.

Would we be able to walk past Happy Isles (i.e. down Snow Creek, past Mirror Lake and then round the corner towards Half Dome) on our original permit?

Basically, does walking that route involve passing any new trailheads and therefor needing new permits? The maps are quite unclear about this.

You can do what you intend on one permit.
What you can't do is get a permit for Snow Creek and then drive to the valley floor and pretend you hiked down from 120 or get a Snow Creek permit and drive to the valley floor and hang out for a day or two and the continue on up Happy Isle.



Old Dude
Re: Understanding trailhead rules
August 19, 2011 11:10AM
In my experience doing something similar I had to get two permits (did the north rim, went down snow creek and then the south rim, no night in the valley), so unless you had a different experience I would say you need two permits.
Re: Understanding trailhead rules
August 19, 2011 03:24PM
Quote
Alexbaird
Before I get a Wilderness Permit I want to check if my proposed route is ok. I have searched long and hard but can't seem to find an answer to my question (maybe it's just too obvious!)

I want to enter at Porcupine Creek, go south through Snow Creek then past Half Dome and up the JMT to Tuolumne Meadows 3 or 4 days later. First off, is it possible to do this route, which I think means going past Happy Isles, without needing another Wilderness Permit at Happy Isles?

Secondly, would it be possible to have a pitt stop at Curry Village (which would definitely mean leaving the trail for a short time and having to re-enter)?

To reiterate, when you leave the wilderness for more than the few minutes it would take to cross a road, you need another permit to enter it. You cannot backpack on roads, non-wilderness trails, or other non wilderness areas. At that point you cease to be backpacking.

You are exiting the wilderness at Snow Creek TH and walking in non-wilderness, aka the valley floor. You need two permits. I'd do a walk in for the section you most want to do, not try to patch together something from a distant trailhead - try for permit from Mono Meadow, Glacier Point, Happy Isles to LYV, Happy Isles passthrough, Sunrise, Cathedral or Tuolumne Meadows itself, and toward Half Dome from there.
avatar Re: Understanding trailhead rules
August 19, 2011 08:45PM
Quote
AlmostThere
Quote
Alexbaird
Before I get a Wilderness Permit I want to check if my proposed route is ok. I have searched long and hard but can't seem to find an answer to my question (maybe it's just too obvious!)

I want to enter at Porcupine Creek, go south through Snow Creek then past Half Dome and up the JMT to Tuolumne Meadows 3 or 4 days later. First off, is it possible to do this route, which I think means going past Happy Isles, without needing another Wilderness Permit at Happy Isles?

Secondly, would it be possible to have a pitt stop at Curry Village (which would definitely mean leaving the trail for a short time and having to re-enter)?

To reiterate, when you leave the wilderness for more than the few minutes it would take to cross a road, you need another permit to enter it. You cannot backpack on roads, non-wilderness trails, or other non wilderness areas. At that point you cease to be backpacking.

You are exiting the wilderness at Snow Creek TH and walking in non-wilderness, aka the valley floor. You need two permits. I'd do a walk in for the section you most want to do, not try to patch together something from a distant trailhead - try for permit from Mono Meadow, Glacier Point, Happy Isles to LYV, Happy Isles passthrough, Sunrise, Cathedral or Tuolumne Meadows itself, and toward Half Dome from there.



Notice in the above map of trailheads that if all you say is correct then one would need at least four permits to go from White Wolf, east to Yosemite Creek, then south across 120 exiting wilderness, down toward Yosemite Creek Campground where there is again where there is a break in the wilderness as the trail goes through the campground, then back north across the road into Yosemite Campground exiting the wilderness, up to 120 again leaving the wilderness, past Lukens Lake back to White Wolf.
One permit would allow one to do this loop. The legs would be entered on the permit at the time of issue.



Old Dude
Re: Understanding trailhead rules
August 19, 2011 10:25PM
Quote
mrcondron
Quote
AlmostThere
Quote
Alexbaird
Before I get a Wilderness Permit I want to check if my proposed route is ok. I have searched long and hard but can't seem to find an answer to my question (maybe it's just too obvious!)

I want to enter at Porcupine Creek, go south through Snow Creek then past Half Dome and up the JMT to Tuolumne Meadows 3 or 4 days later. First off, is it possible to do this route, which I think means going past Happy Isles, without needing another Wilderness Permit at Happy Isles?

Secondly, would it be possible to have a pitt stop at Curry Village (which would definitely mean leaving the trail for a short time and having to re-enter)?

To reiterate, when you leave the wilderness for more than the few minutes it would take to cross a road, you need another permit to enter it. You cannot backpack on roads, non-wilderness trails, or other non wilderness areas. At that point you cease to be backpacking.

You are exiting the wilderness at Snow Creek TH and walking in non-wilderness, aka the valley floor. You need two permits. I'd do a walk in for the section you most want to do, not try to patch together something from a distant trailhead - try for permit from Mono Meadow, Glacier Point, Happy Isles to LYV, Happy Isles passthrough, Sunrise, Cathedral or Tuolumne Meadows itself, and toward Half Dome from there.



Notice in the above map of trailheads that if all you say is correct then one would need at least four permits to go from White Wolf, east to Yosemite Creek, then south across 120 exiting wilderness, down toward Yosemite Creek Campground where there is again where there is a break in the wilderness as the trail goes through the campground, then back north across the road into Yosemite Campground exiting the wilderness, up to 120 again leaving the wilderness, past Lukens Lake back to White Wolf.
One permit would allow one to do this loop. The legs would be entered on the permit at the time of issue.

Humpf. You guys are talking like a bunch of freshman lawyers. We already went through this sort of thing when we argued about camping along the Pohono Trail, which was technically too close to some road thousands of feet below in the Valley. Yes, the rules would technically prohibit it. Actually, the rangers tend to have some common sense.

Try calling the wilderness office at 209 372-0740. Call them at an hour when they aren't insanely busy, which they are when they open every morning. Ask your question. If the answer is "no", ask why. If it's "OK" get the ranger's name, so you know whom to ask for if you have trouble when you get your permit. List the expected route on the permit.

If what you want is listed on the permit, it's unlikely that any ranger on the trail is going to object. They have enough real problems, and don't spend a lot of time on legal nitpicking. (Of course, people on this forum sometimes do have more time than they know what to do with)...

Finally, be flexible. If you can't do exactly what you wanted, there are still a zillion other great trips to do.
avatar Re: Understanding trailhead rules
August 19, 2011 10:58PM
Quote
wherever
Quote
mrcondron
Quote
AlmostThere
Quote
Alexbaird
Before I get a Wilderness Permit I want to check if my proposed route is ok. I have searched long and hard but can't seem to find an answer to my question (maybe it's just too obvious!)

I want to enter at Porcupine Creek, go south through Snow Creek then past Half Dome and up the JMT to Tuolumne Meadows 3 or 4 days later. First off, is it possible to do this route, which I think means going past Happy Isles, without needing another Wilderness Permit at Happy Isles?

Secondly, would it be possible to have a pitt stop at Curry Village (which would definitely mean leaving the trail for a short time and having to re-enter)?

To reiterate, when you leave the wilderness for more than the few minutes it would take to cross a road, you need another permit to enter it. You cannot backpack on roads, non-wilderness trails, or other non wilderness areas. At that point you cease to be backpacking.

You are exiting the wilderness at Snow Creek TH and walking in non-wilderness, aka the valley floor. You need two permits. I'd do a walk in for the section you most want to do, not try to patch together something from a distant trailhead - try for permit from Mono Meadow, Glacier Point, Happy Isles to LYV, Happy Isles passthrough, Sunrise, Cathedral or Tuolumne Meadows itself, and toward Half Dome from there.



Notice in the above map of trailheads that if all you say is correct then one would need at least four permits to go from White Wolf, east to Yosemite Creek, then south across 120 exiting wilderness, down toward Yosemite Creek Campground where there is again where there is a break in the wilderness as the trail goes through the campground, then back north across the road into Yosemite Campground exiting the wilderness, up to 120 again leaving the wilderness, past Lukens Lake back to White Wolf.
One permit would allow one to do this loop. The legs would be entered on the permit at the time of issue.

Humpf. You guys are talking like a bunch of freshman lawyers. We already went through this sort of thing when we argued about camping along the Pohono Trail, which was technically too close to some road thousands of feet below in the Valley. Yes, the rules would technically prohibit it. Actually, the rangers tend to have some common sense.

Try calling the wilderness office at 209 372-0740. Call them at an hour when they aren't insanely busy, which they are when they open every morning. Ask your question. If the answer is "no", ask why. If it's "OK" get the ranger's name, so you know whom to ask for if you have trouble when you get your permit. List the expected route on the permit.

If what you want is listed on the permit, it's unlikely that any ranger on the trail is going to object. They have enough real problems, and don't spend a lot of time on legal nitpicking. (Of course, people on this forum sometimes do have more time than they know what to do with)...

Finally, be flexible. If you can't do exactly what you wanted, there are still a zillion other great trips to do.

No need to get snippy. Just trying to answer the guy's question.



Old Dude
avatar Re: Understanding trailhead rules
August 20, 2011 01:07AM
Quote

Humpf. You guys are talking like a bunch of freshman lawyers. We already went through this sort of thing when we argued about camping along the Pohono Trail, which was technically too close to some road thousands of feet below in the Valley. Yes, the rules would technically prohibit it. Actually, the rangers tend to have some common sense.

Wow. I really hope that this thread does not take a contentious detour, because the query is legit, and there are many of us who are not around consistantly enough to have total recall on oblique references to other discussions/threads. With every "new" question, comes a whole new audience that may have little to no knowledge on the topic, so any inside references may be lost on us.

National Parks offer up a unique situation that many of us may never encounter, otherwise -- one in particular being the strange bedfellows of first class ammentities shoe horned in with the Wilderness Experience. Please continue to suffer our ignorance on these matters, and kindly share your vast repository of info & experience in a user friendly manner.



The body betrays and the weather conspires, hopefully, not on the same day.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 08/20/2011 09:34AM by Bee.
Re: Understanding trailhead rules
August 20, 2011 08:27AM
Quote
Bee
Wow. I really hope that this thread does not take a contentious detour, because the query is legit, and there are many of us who are not around consistantly enough to have total recall on oblique references to other discussions/threads. With every "new" question, comes a whole new audience that may have little to no knowledge on the topic, so any inside references may be lost on us.
.

Quite right. Sorry, Didn't mean to be so grumpy.

Please accept my apologies.
Re: Understanding trailhead rules
August 20, 2011 05:13AM
Quote

Quote



Notice in the above map of trailheads that if all you say is correct then one would need at least four permits to go from White Wolf, east to Yosemite Creek, then south across 120 exiting wilderness, down toward Yosemite Creek Campground where there is again where there is a break in the wilderness as the trail goes through the campground, then back north across the road into Yosemite Campground exiting the wilderness, up to 120 again leaving the wilderness, past Lukens Lake back to White Wolf.
One permit would allow one to do this loop. The legs would be entered on the permit at the time of issue.

Humpf. You guys are talking like a bunch of freshman lawyers. We already went through this sort of thing when we argued about camping along the Pohono Trail, which was technically too close to some road thousands of feet below in the Valley. Yes, the rules would technically prohibit it. Actually, the rangers tend to have some common sense.

Actually I'm talking like someone who stands in line in the wilderness office and listens to people argue with rangers, patiently, while waiting for my own permit. Coz that's exactly what I am.

Calling the wilderness office is a good idea, if there's any doubt left. You may get inconsistent information - we often do - because different rangers are in different stages of training.... There's not really any debate about where the wilderness permit is valid. You leave the wilderness, you don't have one anymore.

Crossing roads isn't the issue. Crossing roads is permissible. Walking on roads, sitting down in a snack bar, etc. is not. You are contradicting this in the example - the trail goes through the campground. Staying on the trail means staying within your permit. The trails in the valley floor aren't wilderness trails, they are paved tourist trails.

When a ranger tells me this has changed, I'll let you know.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 08/20/2011 05:20AM by AlmostThere.
avatar Re: Understanding trailhead rules
August 20, 2011 10:03AM
Quote
AlmostThere

Actually I'm talking like someone who stands in line in the wilderness office and listens to people argue with rangers, patiently, while waiting for my own permit. Coz that's exactly what I am.

Calling the wilderness office is a good idea, if there's any doubt left. You may get inconsistent information - we often do - because different rangers are in different stages of training.... There's not really any debate about where the wilderness permit is valid. You leave the wilderness, you don't have one anymore.

Crossing roads isn't the issue. Crossing roads is permissible. Walking on roads, sitting down in a snack bar, etc. is not. You are contradicting this in the example - the trail goes through the campground. Staying on the trail means staying within your permit. The trails in the valley floor aren't wilderness trails, they are paved tourist trails.

When a ranger tells me this has changed, I'll let you know.

Hmmm... I always though it would be ok to to send myself a food resupply to pick up at Tuolumne Meadows post office when doing the John Muir Trail, but it sounds like that would violate what you're saying. On another note, what do the rangers think of people taking chick-on approved routes off-trail? I'd never lie about where I was going (what a slap in the face that would be to SAR if I turned up missing), but I wonder if someone the rangers didn't already know pretty well would get the wilderness permit.
avatar Re: Understanding trailhead rules
August 20, 2011 10:23AM
Quote
mbear
On another note, what do the rangers think of people taking chick-on approved routes off-trail? I'd never lie about where I was going (what a slap in the face that would be to SAR if I turned up missing), but I wonder if someone the rangers didn't already know pretty well would get the wilderness permit.

Having done such routes myself...they just write the permit so long as you've reserved the trailhead or it has open slots.
avatar Re: Understanding trailhead rules
August 20, 2011 11:33AM
Quote
ttilley
Quote
mbear
On another note, what do the rangers think of people taking chick-on approved routes off-trail? I'd never lie about where I was going (what a slap in the face that would be to SAR if I turned up missing), but I wonder if someone the rangers didn't already know pretty well would get the wilderness permit.

Having done such routes myself...they just write the permit so long as you've reserved the trailhead or it has open slots.

Traveling cross-country (off-trail) is perfectly legal in Yosemite National Park, as long as the area is not closed off (usually fenced off) by the Park Service. If you read one of the wilderness permits regulations that the Park Service DOES list online, it states "Group size is limited to 15 people or fewer, eight people maximum for any cross country hiking more than one-quarter mile from any trail."

In other words, as long as the group you backpacking with (that's listed on your wilderness permit) is eight or fewer people, you are permitted to hike off trail in Yosemite National Park.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 08/20/2011 01:31PM by plawrence.
Re: Understanding trailhead rules
August 22, 2011 08:34PM
When I picked up my Glacier Point > Illiluouette permit last year, the rangers indicated that they cared primarily about two things 1) that I enter at Glacier point, and 2) that I spend the first night in the Illiluouette drainage (they were also very adamant about bear cannister usage and smellables). Beyond that, it was pretty clear that they did not care where I went or where I exited. They told me I could go anywhere I wanted. They also knew I would be going through TM on the 5th day of 11 to pick up some food and spend the night at the backpackers camp. They were fine with that. I ended up exiting in WaWona.
Re: Understanding trailhead rules
August 19, 2011 11:29PM
The way I overheard a ranger at the permit station in the valley explain it, you can cross a road and re-enter via another trailhead but the second you get in a bus or car, or buy a hot dog, your wilderness experience ends and so does your permit.
Re: Understanding trailhead rules
August 20, 2011 08:25AM
Quote
steelcup
The way I overheard a ranger at the permit station in the valley explain it, you can cross a road and re-enter via another trailhead but the second you get in a bus or car, or buy a hot dog, your wilderness experience ends and so does your permit.

Nice!

But by this explanation, you COULD hike down Snow Creek....across the Pack trail on the East side of Tenaya Creek to Happy Isles, and head up the trail without ever touching a paved road, trail or hot dog....

And as I suggested in another forum, the OP could certainly hike from Porcupine Flat through Tenaya Lake and DOWN the Merced Canyon to accomplish more or less the same trip, without any permit issues. But he/she couldn't re-provision anywhere along the route.



Balzaccom

follow our adventures, read our blog, or just to come hang out at our website: http://www.backpackthesierra.com/
Re: Understanding trailhead rules
August 20, 2011 09:45AM
I just spoke to someone at the Wilderness Center, she said that it is not possible to pass through the valley on one permit so, as suggested above, I think we will go via Tenaya Lake.

It is interesting though that you are able to stop en-route at Tuolumne Meadows without any issues.

Anyway, all sorted now, thanks for the help.
avatar Re: Understanding trailhead rules
August 20, 2011 11:44AM
Quote
Alexbaird

I just spoke to someone at the Wilderness Center, she said that it is not possible to pass through the valley on one permit so, as suggested above, I think we will go via Tenaya Lake.

It is interesting though that you are able to stop en-route at Tuolumne Meadows without any issues.

Anyway, all sorted now, thanks for the help.

I think it would be a great help to backpackers if the Park Service listed ALL THE REGULATIONS in regards to backpacking and its wilderness permits in regards to Yosemite National Park online in an easily accessible location on its Yosemite website. I think it's silly that they list only some of their regulations in regards to overnight backpacking, but not the complete set of them.

How hard would it be for them – at the very least – to have a link on their Yosemite website to a PDF file that lists the complete set of rules and regulations that backpackers need to adhere to?

It would help greatly in trip planning, and it would give backpackers an official written document about what is permitted and what is not. Right now, some of the rules (or interpretation of the rules) appear to be quite arbitrary, depending on which wilderness ranger you happen to be talking to. This leads to confusion, even among experience Yosemite backpackers, as shown by the discussion on this (and other) threads in this and other forums.
Re: Understanding trailhead rules
August 21, 2011 12:47AM
I am baffled at times by the rules as interepreted or quoted by those here. There is a broad range of experience here and frequently those most experienced don't agree on the intepretations and actual experience of dealing with rangers has also varied. Not to be contentious but who is to know whether a backpacker re-provisions or not. I ask not in a desire to break the rule but to try and understand why it is there in the first place.
avatar Re: Understanding trailhead rules
August 21, 2011 11:55AM
In July 2005, rangers at the T Meadows Permit Center had no problem giving me a permit to enter Murphy Creek and exit Happy Isles. The route, which I showed them before they gave me the permit, went through Glen Aulin, crossed the Tioga Road near Pothole Dome, and continued past Cathedral Lakes and Clouds Rest. The ranger that issued the permit knew I was crossing a road and had no problem with it.

I'd guess your plan would be ok, but it's hard to say for sure. You could also test the waters by applying for a permit by fax, pay the $10, and see what they send you. I faxed in for a Ten Lakes permit in July, and they called me within 5 minutes to tell me the area was full of snow, and did I really want to go there?
avatar Re: Understanding trailhead rules
August 21, 2011 09:05PM
Quote
vdrummer
applying for a permit by fax

Fax? How quaint!
avatar Re: Understanding trailhead rules
August 21, 2011 09:43PM
Well, they say it's their preferred method:
http://www.nps.gov/yose/planyourvisit/wpres.htm

I was pleasantly surprised to have the office call me back within minutes of faxing them in July.
Re: Understanding trailhead rules
August 22, 2011 11:19AM
Quote
vdrummer
In July 2005, rangers at the T Meadows Permit Center had no problem giving me a permit to enter Murphy Creek and exit Happy Isles. The route, which I showed them before they gave me the permit, went through Glen Aulin, crossed the Tioga Road near Pothole Dome, and continued past Cathedral Lakes and Clouds Rest. The ranger that issued the permit knew I was crossing a road and had no problem with it.

I reserved a permit for Murphy's creek for last week, but really wanted Sunrise (all taken)....got up at 4:30am and got to the office at 9a, and I got my TH permit for Sunrise... sweet! Thanks Chick-on, 'first come first served baby'
Re: Understanding trailhead rules
August 21, 2011 05:50PM
As per the post by Almost There, I think there is a substantive difference between crossing Tioga Road and waltzing around Yosemite Valley. And that difference would be of interest to the rangers issuing the permit.



Balzaccom

follow our adventures, read our blog, or just to come hang out at our website: http://www.backpackthesierra.com/
Sorry, only registered users may post in this forum.

Click here to login