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Re: First timer. Need an opinion/intel for a 2 day loop

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avatar First timer. Need an opinion/intel for a 2 day loop
April 29, 2013 06:11PM
I'm planning on doing a 2 day, 1 night trip to Yosemite in a few weeks. I already have my permit, but am looking at doing this:

(Yellow squares are the 1st day, yellow/red the 2nd)

I've never been out there before. I plan on hiking towards Merced Lake from Happy Isles in the Valley and camping near/in Echo Valley. I'm having issues finding the trail name that connects the trail from the valley/Merced Lake to the JMT at Echo Valley(Echo Valley Trail?) and am also finding it impossible to find an online map with mileage of those trails. I have a topo coming in the mail this week.

From what I've gathered, It's about 11.5 miles from Happy Isles to Echo Valley. I just have no idea what the exact mileage would be from Echo Valley up to the JMT and back down the valley to Happy Isles. Any idea?

Is this a doable two day trip?

Thanks for any input!
Re: First timer. Need an opinion/intel for a 2 day loop
April 29, 2013 06:25PM
You didn't happen to mention whether you are an experienced backpacker or not. If not, that is a really ambitious trip with serious gain and mileage. It's about 4.5 miles to Little Yosemite campground climbing 2,140 feet in elevation over that distance, and another 6.7 beyond that to the trail junction in Echo Valley. Then your second day has you climbing 800 feet in elevation over four miles and then losing all 3,000 feet you gained back to Happy Isles. This is a knee hammer of a trip if you take the Mist Trail both ways. If you are a solid backpacker comfortable with carrying a load on your back over many miles, it can be done. If you haven't gone more than 5 miles in a day and climbed much at elevation with a backpack, I suggest a shorter less uphill trip.
avatar Re: First timer. Need an opinion/intel for a 2 day loop
April 29, 2013 06:45PM
Sorry, I'm experienced and in great shape. Base weight is under 20lbs. Would reversing it be easier on the knees? Whats the distance from the Echo junction back to Happy Isles from the JMT?

Thanks!
avatar Re: First timer. Need an opinion/intel for a 2 day loop
April 29, 2013 11:20PM
Quote
gplg
Sorry, I'm experienced and in great shape. Base weight is under 20lbs. Would reversing it be easier on the knees? Whats the distance from the Echo junction back to Happy Isles from the JMT?

Thanks!

The distance of the round trip is going to be between 21 and 24 miles depending on whether or not you go to the shore of Merced Lake and whether or not you come out on the JMT.



Old Dude
avatar Re: First timer. Need an opinion/intel for a 2 day loop
April 30, 2013 03:28AM
I don't plan on stopping by the Lake if I'm going to do the loop. My original plan was just to hit the lake and come back. Thanks for the numbers
Re: First timer. Need an opinion/intel for a 2 day loop
April 29, 2013 07:34PM
Easier on the knees would be taking the JMT in whichever direction (uphill or downhill) is easier on *your* knees. The stone steps are what does the job. Some people find the uphill climb worse, others dislike the down.

The JMT from Nevada Falls adds a couple miles of distance but has switchbacks instead of lots of steps.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 04/29/2013 07:35PM by AlmostThere.
avatar Re: First timer. Need an opinion/intel for a 2 day loop
April 30, 2013 03:18AM
Gottcha. That helps.

Thanks again.
avatar Re: First timer. Need an opinion/intel for a 2 day loop
April 30, 2013 09:24AM
If you have never been there before I recommend the Mist Trail up past Vernal and Nevada Fall on the way in and the JMT on the way out. Downhill is usually tougher on the knees than uphill so downhill is when you might want to avoid the Mist Trail. It would be a shame to do this hike and miss the close up features of Vernal and Nevada Fall on the uphill.
To answer your other question, it's about 3.8 miles from the first Echo Valley junction to the John Muir Trail and then another 3.7 miles back to Little Yosemite Valley via the JMT. I don't know if that trail from Echo Valley even has a name. In any event you are talking about a 10.3 mile first day, all of it a 3,000' ascent from Yosemite Valley to Echo Valley.
Jim
avatar Re: First timer. Need an opinion/intel for a 2 day loop
May 01, 2013 03:47PM
Thanks
avatar Re: First timer. Need an opinion/intel for a 2 day loop
May 02, 2013 03:24PM
My 2 dollars worth is to always go up The Mist Trail... and come down the JMT
(usually we actually come down The Mist... but it depends on conditions and whatnut)
Don't do a loop... just go up Merced River... and just keep going.. always hike upstream...
I find it much more enjoyable. Keep going as far as you can... take 3 days...
And just keep going ... it will be free and clear for a long way... go past Washburn...
and there's lots of great stuff past Washburn... some great falls.
Turn around and come back the same way. It's that good.
How far you can go all depends on your fitness and desire. With 3 days you can
dayhike on day 2 if you like.
I've personally put up a zillion photos of this on Z forum here... if you want links just holla.

Have fun whatever you do and don't worry where u end up
smiling smiley



Chick-on is looking at you!
avatar Re: First timer. Need an opinion/intel for a 2 day loop
May 03, 2013 06:10AM
I can only do 2 days sadly. I was hoping to do a loop to see as much as the park as possible since I only have 2 days to hike. Are there any decent views on the upper trail towards Half Dome?

How much further is Washburn from Lake Merced?

Thanks!
avatar Re: First timer. Need an opinion/intel for a 2 day loop
May 03, 2013 06:18AM
I would estimate Merced Lake HSC to Washburn Lake at about 2.75 miles.
avatar Re: First timer. Need an opinion/intel for a 2 day loop
May 03, 2013 06:39AM
That'll be a helluva push for one day from Happy Isles.

Thanks again.
Re: First timer. Need an opinion/intel for a 2 day loop
May 03, 2013 07:35AM
Quote
gplg
I can only do 2 days sadly. I was hoping to do a loop to see as much as the park as possible since I only have 2 days to hike. Are there any decent views on the upper trail towards Half Dome?

How much further is Washburn from Lake Merced?

Thanks!

If that's truly your goal, driving and day hiking is a better bet. Don't underestimate the views you see from roads in Yosemite. You'll miss a lot of classic Yosemite by backpacking. Which is not to say it won't be great, just a way to miss the views from Glacier Point, Sentinel Dome, Taft Point, Olmstead Point...

I would suggest day hiking to Mt Dana and to Clouds Rest if your real agenda is seeing as much of the park as possible...
avatar Re: First timer. Need an opinion/intel for a 2 day loop
May 03, 2013 08:34AM
I already have the backcountry permit and all the campsites are booked so the day hikes are out. I'll be out there again at some point and make time for a longer trip to explore.

Thanks!
avatar Re: First timer. Need an opinion/intel for a 2 day loop
May 03, 2013 07:45AM
That's a bummer. 3 days would be better.
No matter what you do backpacking there's no way in heck you can see much of the park in 2 days.
Only way to do that is in an airplane.
Do your trip. Go up as far as you can and enjoy. If you can't get to Merced Lake or even Echo.
Don't worry. Enjoy it. Don't hurt yourself to "see it all". Definitely hike up the Merced. Not up the JMT.
If you want to do the loop... ok... The views south to Clark and Bunnell and Starr King are good...
but once you hit the JMT it's miles of fleeting views. You'll get a nice view Half Dome before the JMT
and then around Clouds Rest Trail Jct. ... but not many other views of the big rock on the upper trail...
It's nice... but pales in comparison to the Merced River trek.

Have fun



Chick-on is looking at you!
avatar Re: First timer. Need an opinion/intel for a 2 day loop
May 03, 2013 08:31AM
That seems to be the consensus. Doing the out and back in the Valley. I'll highly consider it. I really appreciated the input.

Oh, what would be the most accurate weather station for the Echo Valley/Lake Merced area? There's a station at Happy Isles and then Tenaya Lake. From what I can tell, Tenaya is 8150', Lake Merced is around 7150' and Happy Isles is 4000'. There's about a 20* difference between Happy Isles and Tenaya.
avatar Re: First timer. Need an opinion/intel for a 2 day loop
May 03, 2013 09:52AM
You'll figure it out when you're out there. People sometimes overestimate. Stop and smell the roses.
I guess you got a bunch of PMs to make a consensus.

Personally I just use intellicast.com for anywhere I go in Yosemite. I just type in Yosemite National Park.
Good enough. I'd take a 32 degree bag up Merced River now. Or maybe 25 if I didn't bring any extra layers.

If you want more specific forecast for Echo Valley...
http://forecast.weather.gov/MapClick.php?lat=37.74411415606583&lon=-119.43443298339844

It'll be nice. You can count on that.

Have fun



Chick-on is looking at you!



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 05/03/2013 09:55AM by chick-on.
avatar Re: First timer. Need an opinion/intel for a 2 day loop
May 03, 2013 10:43AM
Few PMs and I have some posts on other sites. I was trying to decide on a 45* or 20.*

You folks have been a great help.

Quote
chick-on
You'll figure it out when you're out there. People sometimes overestimate. Stop and smell the roses.
I guess you got a bunch of PMs to make a consensus.

Personally I just use intellicast.com for anywhere I go in Yosemite. I just type in Yosemite National Park.
Good enough. I'd take a 32 degree bag up Merced River now. Or maybe 25 if I didn't bring any extra layers.

If you want more specific forecast for Echo Valley...
http://forecast.weather.gov/MapClick.php?lat=37.74411415606583&lon=-119.43443298339844

It'll be nice. You can count on that.

Have fun
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