I entered the lottery in November and was successful in getting 4 places for a 5 day/4 night guided hike in August. After many years of unsuccessful lottery applications, I think it helped that I was flexible in dates (I gave them a 2 week window) and I included the option of the Ranger Guided hike. The 5 day Guided hikes are somewhat easy to get, the 7 days sell out more quickly. You only pay a small premium to have the guided trip.
Our expereince was wonderful, Jana was a fantastic Ranger guide, and we got along very well with the other 6 people on our trip.
First night was Vogelsang, then down to Merced Lake, with a lay over night, then up to Sunrise camp and then out to Tuolumie Meadows.
I'm a regular hiker, but the circuit was a bit challenging, the heat and rocks and elevation gain and losses make it somewhat challenging, but the comfort of the tent camps makes it all worth it. YOu need to bring a sleep sheet, and your personal gear, so you'll end up carrying a pack around 20 lbs, which is much better than a 30 + pack. Vogelsand and Sunrise camps have wood stoves in the tents, making them toasty warm, and Merced is low enough to be warm.
The food was very good considering it comes in by pack mule, and is plentiful and healthy.
They book you in, Vogelsang and Sunrise are particularly beautiful
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.