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Pothole Dome (Tuolumne Meadows, Yosemite National Park)

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Re: 2 night backpacking trip

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2 night backpacking trip
July 21, 2013 02:57PM
Hello all,

I am going to Yosemite with a friend in two weeks for a quick backpacking trip. I've been to Yosemite before, but with family a number of years ago. As such, I don't know the park very well, and I'm having trouble figuring out the logistics of our trip. There are so many trail-heads and options to choose from...
Here are a couple of criteria that I'm having trouble uncovering: whether there is parking at the various trail-heads, and which ones will be cooler in temperature given that it is the middle of summer. I'm not that concerned about scenery, as I'm confident wherever we go it'll be beautiful. Do you all have any suggestions?
Our plan is to drive up from southern California on Friday, and get a hotel somewhere relatively close to the park, so we can get an early start on Saturday, then leave again to go home on Monday.

Thanks in advance!
avatar Re: 2 night backpacking trip
July 22, 2013 11:12AM
Hi JK,

Yours is a familiar question for people who are unfamiliar with the park. However, there is sooo much to do and so many different variables it's nearly impossible to offer much accurate advice.

With that being said, I highly suggest reading through the trail descriptions on this site: http://www.yosemitehikes.com/. It will help you narrow your search by what your fitness level is and by what you want to do. There's a lot of info that's searchable on this forum as well. Between the two site you should be able to identify a few different trips that would work for you.

If you're going to do an overnight within the park, you need to secure your first-come, first-served permit. For the best available selection, try to get to the permit station in the park on Friday to secure your permit to begin your trip the next day. See the NPS website for details (http://www.nps.gov/yose/planyourvisit/wpres.htm). Have a few trip options prepared or be ready to accept the rangers' suggestions for available trail heads. They won't steer you wrong!

Do some more research and you'll be fine. All the info is out there...Good luck and be safe!

"It is all very beautiful and magical here - a quality which cannot be described. You have to live it and breath it., let the sun bake it into you" - Ansel Adams
Re: 2 night backpacking trip
July 23, 2013 05:21PM
Thanks Jay
Re: 2 night backpacking trip
July 23, 2013 05:28PM
A nice weekend loop is Lyell Canyon, up over the Ireland Lake trail to Vogelsang, then back Rafferty. Get a little of everything: a river, a high Sierra pass (actually 2), an HSC, and awesome vistas. Just one option, but as Jayabrams notes, there are plenty of others.
Re: 2 night backpacking trip
July 23, 2013 06:18PM
This being your first trip to Yosemite, I would recommend a north rim loop starting up Yosemite Falls and coming down Snow Creek. This would be a comfortable two days and also allow you some time in the (gasp!) valley. I would recommend night one on North Dome and night two atop Snow Creek -- both with awesome views of Half Dome and the Valley. This trip would allow you to get your feet wet (logistics and must-see sights) and gain confidence for a longer follow-up trip beyond the valley walls. have fun!!!!!
Re: 2 night backpacking trip
July 23, 2013 06:20PM
sorry, this being your first real backpacking trip to Yosemite.
Re: 2 night backpacking trip
July 24, 2013 01:50PM
Thanks KC and mtc. Lyell canyon trail-head is booked for the days we want to go. mtc, would Porcupine Creek work as a trail-head for the trip you're suggesting? It seem from the map I've been using, we would enter and exit from the same trial-head, is that right?
Re: 2 night backpacking trip
July 24, 2013 06:07PM
a couple years ago, my boy and I did 3 nights starting up rockslides, camping just west of el cap on night one (not sure where exactly -- kinda got lost due to snow covered trails). day two had us over el cap, yose falls and lost arrow spire -- spending night two on north dome. day three had us on/around indian rock and a nice long afternoon/evening atop snow creek - overlooking half dome. we made it back into the valley well before lunch on day four (for a great rental bike ride). note that we'd started and finished in the valley (backpackers campground) which provided the time in the valley.

if you start at porc ck, you could have a leisurely day one to camp on top of snow ck. on day two hit the valley for lunch (curry village pizza!!!) and then hike up yose falls, lost arrow spire to north dome for night two. wake up day three and get back to porc ck trail head by mid-day.

does that fit your plan?
Re: 2 night backpacking trip
July 24, 2013 06:27PM
I know this is not real hard core but, as i'd mentioned earlier, it would "get the feet wet" (getting some diversification) and allow you to gain experience/confidence for a follow-up trip.

personally, I enjoy a touch of the madness/contrast offered by the valley to "season" the experience. last year we did a Saturday-to-Saturday -- starting at backpackers campground and did a loop up the merced river valley, over vogelsang pass, through Tuolumne meadows (great cheeseburger!!!!), cathedral lakes, up 10,450, mildred lake, sunrise lakes, clouds rest, and back to the valley (curry village pizza!!!) -- about 60 miles overall. man, just a fantastic experience for this southern Indiana boy.
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