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Re: Low elevation hiking

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Low elevation hiking
November 17, 2011 04:37PM
Was hoping you all don't mind a couple of questions. My wife, son and myself are going to be spending Thanksgiving week in the Yosemite area. We are not prepared for snow hiking and I am thinking that some hikes around the valley might be the way to go. Would appreciate some suggestions on hikes where the snow would be minimal. We wanted to come up Tioga Rd but this weekends weather looks pretty bad. We are driving up from San Diego sunday. Any tips and advice is appreciated.
We did spend last Thanksgivng here also and even though it snowed as hard as I have ever seen we had a great time. But not much hiking was had.
Thanks.
Charlie
avatar Re: Low elevation hiking
November 17, 2011 05:19PM
If you haven't done this hike already, it's a wonderful, scenic, and easy hike. Just hike the Yosemite Valley Loop Trail west of the Yosemite Lodge. Considering how crowded Yosemite Valley can be at times, there's rarely too many people hiking this beautiful loop trail west of Yosemite Lodge and the Swinging Bridge.


Re: Low elevation hiking
November 17, 2011 05:46PM
I would plan on taking highway 140 into the park traveling from the south. Tioga Road is
questionable at this time.

As for hiking, I would consider the Valley Loop Trail as suggested. I would consider Mirror Lake,
and I would also try Vernal/Nevada Falls. For the latter, you can always turn around if it gets
snowy or icy.
Re: Low elevation hiking
November 18, 2011 07:59AM
I'll second (or third) the Valley Loop Trail--and I may see you on it this Thanksgiving :-) I would stick to the north side of the valley to stay in the sun; this also lets you drop into the Ahwahnee bar, Degnan's, or the Mountain Room bar for a snack or warm drink if conditions warrant. On the other hand, the western part of the loop--from the Lodge down past El Cap to Pohono Bridge, then back past Bridalveil Fall and the chapel, rarely has people on it. I would also read a bit about the history of the valley since there are a lot of interesting items along this segment that are not marked. A quick taste: right next to Sentinel Bridge look for the tree that Hutchings's Big Tree Room was built around (look for the nail holes...) and a nearby sequoia planted when the old village was in this area...
Re: Low elevation hiking
November 18, 2011 05:08PM
Appreciate the tips and we will try to do the Loop Trail on Thanksgiving basibop. Look for man, a woman and a happy teenage boy. Buy you a drink if we meet.
What about Yosemite Falls? I cant really figure out what the snow level is from up there. And my son is wants to do Chilnualna Falls. Any thoughts on that?
Again I appreciate all the advice. You all have a great holiday.
avatar Re: Low elevation hiking
November 18, 2011 06:32PM
Quote
madmxe
Appreciate the tips and we will try to do the Loop Trail on Thanksgiving basibop. Look for man, a woman and a happy teenage boy. Buy you a drink if we meet.
What about Yosemite Falls? I cant really figure out what the snow level is from up there. And my son is wants to do Chilnualna Falls. Any thoughts on that?
Again I appreciate all the advice. You all have a great holiday.

Chilnualna Falls is not a trivial hike. If there isn't a lot of water flowing things up there are pretty bland.



Old Dude
Re: Low elevation hiking
November 18, 2011 07:42PM
I, too, have spent some time in the late Fall in Yosemite Valley. First, let me emphasize that you should not plan too far ahead. If the weather is bad, like fog or freezing rain, stick to the trails on the valley floor. Besides the loop trail, try the trail past Mirror Lake. If you are ambitious, go up the Snow Creek Trail until you feel like coming back down. You can also try some of the side trails. see link: link

If there is snow covering much of the hillsides, but you get a sunny day, try something on the sunny (north) side. Like the Yosemite Falls Trail. Also on a sunny day, hike the Foresta fire road down to Foresta Falls, or even all the way to El Portal. see link: link

Also at low elevation and on the sunny side is the hike from Foresta to Little Nellie Falls. see link: link It is mentioned here as a bike trip, but more people hike it than bike it. Ditto for the Foresta Falls hike.

Just don't get your distance expectations too high, based on summer hiking guides. It takes longer to get there in the snow and/or mud. And never be too proud to just turn around if it gets bad.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 11/18/2011 07:47PM by wherever.
Re: Low elevation hiking
November 19, 2011 07:29AM
Quote
mrcondron
Chilnualna Falls is not a trivial hike. If there isn't a lot of water flowing things up there are pretty bland.

I assume these comments are mostly within the context of doing the hike in November. I personally really love this hike but I've only done it in the late spring so can't comment on what it would be like now. The hike does gain significant altitude (about 2800' IIRC) and it's about 7mi round trip but, except for a brief section at the very beginning, it's never really very steep so, while not trivial, I found it fairly easy even the first time I did it (which was only my 2nd or 3rd time doing "serious" (as in "something more than strolling along a path through the woods" ) hiking). As far as bland, I agree that much of the early-season wonder of it would be lost this time of year (I actually don't know how much Chilnuana Creek depends on snow melt for it's water, though so I can't say whether the falls would be at all dramatic this time of year).

In season, however, I love the variety of this hike: you start off walking directly alongside the lower falls, work your way in to some nice exposed granite, disappear in to the woods (all the time getting glimpses of various cascades and rapids along the creek), open in to a beautiful meadow of wild flowers and then climb up a long series of (fairly gentle) switchbacks, crossing over lots of small seasonal run-off "mini-falls" before you finally come in to view of the (hidden from most angles) upper falls. Much of that would not be present this time of year (although there are still some splendid views along the way). I also have no idea how much snow is likely to be on the trail so you definitely want to trust the Old Dude's assessment over mine about being up there now.

Heck, you can pretty much just disregard most of what I said as far as your query about where to hike now...I really just wanted to plug what is actually one of my favorite main-stream hikes in the lower part of the Park. hot smiley



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 11/19/2011 07:31AM by DavidK42.
Re: Low elevation hiking
November 19, 2011 08:19AM
Thanks again. I have a pretty good idea we can still get 5 good days of hiking in. See you out there!
avatar Re: Low elevation hiking
November 19, 2011 08:46AM
Quote
DavidK42
Quote
mrcondron
Chilnualna Falls is not a trivial hike. If there isn't a lot of water flowing things up there are pretty bland.

I assume these comments are mostly within the context of doing the hike in November.

Yes, I was referring to conditions now.



Old Dude
avatar Re: Low elevation hiking
November 19, 2011 12:26PM
No one has mentioned Hetch Hetchy. It's at a lower elevation than the valley, and as a result I think it would tend to be snow free or at least LESS snow than the valley this time of the year.
There are some nice day hikes in the area.
avatar Re: Low elevation hiking
November 19, 2011 12:31PM
Quote
qumqats
No one has mentioned Hetch Hetchy. It's at a lower elevation than the valley, and as a result I think it would tend to be snow free or at least LESS snow than the valley this time of the year.
There are some nice day hikes in the area.

Absolutely. Hike out to Wapama Fall or even go up the switchbacks toward Beehive Meadow. Great views either way plus it's a lot of fun to see the dam and go through the tunnel. HH is a bit out of the way if one is in the valley though.
Bear sightings in the area are plentiful.



Old Dude
avatar Re: Low elevation hiking
November 20, 2011 07:53AM
I doubt that a teenage boy would find that hike bland. There is always some water in the creek.
And I think you'd be surprised at how much water is flowing in the creek now.
Great views along the way imo. Wawona Dome... At the 'top' there is much to explore.
The only down side imo is in fall you get the black flies... but those should be mostly non-existent now.
Re: Low elevation hiking
November 18, 2011 07:41PM
Quote
madmxe
What about Yosemite Falls? I cant really figure out what the snow level is from up there. And my son is wants to do Chilnualna Falls. Any thoughts on that?
Yosemite Falls to Columbia Rock or Oh My Gosh Point (search for info on this viewpoint elsewhere here) is worth it and should generally be snow free. Chilnualna Fall isn't that spectacular, but the nearby Mariposa Grove is. Have a great trip!
avatar Re: Low elevation hiking
November 18, 2011 08:58PM
Last March (early) I was glad to have stabilicers for the short side-trip to Oh My Gosh Point with the main trail being clear to that point, though there are perfectly good views on the main trail just beyond.
avatar Re: Low elevation hiking
November 21, 2011 02:09AM
I hiked Chilnualna falls about 7 days ago and the water in the falls was flowing very nice. Not sure what the snow conditions might be as of today since it may have snowed on the trail over this weekend.
Re: Low elevation hiking
November 21, 2011 11:33AM
Hites Cove if it's open. It was still closed last I checked two weeks ago.

Hites Cove trailhead is on the 140 about 15 miles west of the valley.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 11/21/2011 11:33AM by dbagnall.
Re: Low elevation hiking
November 26, 2011 08:58PM
Just got back today and thought I would share what we did for the 5 days. Again thank you for all the suggestions. I wish we had more days to do them all.
1. Hiked to Nevada Falls. A little slippery the last quarter mile but well worth it. A hike up the Mist Trail about 5 years ago started us hiking and I always wanted to go a little farther. We also saw a bobcat just past Vernal Falls on this hike.
2. Went to Hetch Hetchy and walked to Wampa Falls. Enjoyed the area a lot. I spent most of the rest of the trip imaging what that valley would like without the damn.
3. Hiked to the top of Yosemite Falls. I have to admit this was really hard. What kind of hike is this by Sierra standards? Trail was free of snow but still really slippery. It was worth it though at the top.
4. Walked around Mariposa Grove to Wawona Point. It felt nice to have dirt under my feetsmiling smiley Very enjoyable and I would think you could take about anyone here.
5. We had to have a short day so my son could hit some museums for school reports. We did about 7 miles of the valley loop early in the morning and then hit the museums. A very plesant walk.

We hope to come back this summer and hit some of the trails off the 120. Again thanks for all the suggestions. If we had more days we would have tried them all.
Re: Low elevation hiking
November 26, 2011 09:17PM
Quote
madmxe
Just got back today and thought I would share what we did for the 5 days. Again thank you for all the suggestions. I wish we had more days to do them all.
1. Hiked to Nevada Falls. A little slippery the last quarter mile but well worth it. A hike up the Mist Trail about 5 years ago started us hiking and I always wanted to go a little farther. We also saw a bobcat just past Vernal Falls on this hike.
2. Went to Hetch Hetchy and walked to Wampa Falls. Enjoyed the area a lot. I spent most of the rest of the trip imaging what that valley would like without the damn.
3. Hiked to the top of Yosemite Falls. I have to admit this was really hard. What kind of hike is this by Sierra standards? Trail was free of snow but still really slippery. It was worth it though at the top.
4. Walked around Mariposa Grove to Wawona Point. It felt nice to have dirt under my feetsmiling smiley Very enjoyable and I would think you could take about anyone here.
5. We had to have a short day so my son could hit some museums for school reports. We did about 7 miles of the valley loop early in the morning and then hit the museums. A very plesant walk.

We hope to come back this summer and hit some of the trails off the 120. Again thanks for all the suggestions. If we had more days we would have tried them all.
Sounds like a nice variety!
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