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2-3 days hiking in Yosemite

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2-3 days hiking in Yosemite

Hi all,

Just wanted to get a feel for whether our itinerary is good, after having done a bit of research. We arrive in Yosemite from Lake Tahoe on Weds 23rd June and we are staying 3 nights in white wolf tent. We are hoping/assuming/crossing fingers that Tioga pass will be open by this point given the relatively mild winter... but does anyone have any more idea about this please?

Anyway, this is our plan. On the day we arrive, we won't have time to do much as we probably won't get in until at least midday (possibly later if we have stopped at Bodie). So I thought we could check out the short loop around Tenaya Lake, and then go and get set up at our tent. We could also then do the short hike at Toloumne meadows if we had time.

On day 2 (thursday) I was figuring that the valley might be a bit quieter than it would be on Friday, as more people might be there for a long weekend. So i thought Thursday we could do a hike from the Valley, having looked at the sights first. I was thinking of the Panorama trail perhaps, or possibly the Pohono trail if we fancied even more of a challenge.

Then on Friday I would really really like to do the Clouds Rest trail, weather permitting! We will be leaving on Saturday heading out on the Tioga road again towards Lone Pine. If we hadn't managed to do Toloumne Meadows when we arrived, we would do it before we leave on the saturday.

How does this sound? We are both in our twenties and very fit and active so I'm hoping the trails will not be too challenging for us. Does it sound like a good itinerary? The only thing I feel like we are missing is a visit to Mariposa Grove, but not sure where to fit that in.

Thanks for any advice or tips!

Washington State
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1. Re: 2-3 days hiking in Yosemite

Hi

White Wolf is off Tioga Road, so the road must be open to get to your lodging. (Yes, Tioga Road will be open.)

Panorama Trail is usually done from Glacier Point down to Yosemite Valley. Folks take the fee one way bus to Glacier Point from the Valley. Is that what you're thinking? Another option for the very very very fit hiker is to hike up the Four Mile Trail (strenuous) and hike down the Panorama Trail (long day!)

What part of the Pohono Trail are you thinking about?

The biggest challenge to Clouds Rest might be crossing the creek. June is usually still high water, tho' this dismal snowpack may mean it's an easy crossing.

Tuolumne Grove of Giant Sequoias is near White Wolf. Fewer trees, but it's there. I don't know what the surrounding area is like after last fall's Rim Fire.

Atlanta area
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2. Re: 2-3 days hiking in Yosemite

Day 1 - if you know you will have time for hiking around both Tenaya Lake and Tuolumne Meadows, I suggest doing TM first, it is furthest from White Wolf so if you did TM in the evening it would mean more driving. Coming in from the east you will first come to TM, then Tenaya Lake, then WW, so you might want to do Tenaya Lake in the evening as it would be closer to and from your camp.

Which "short hike" at TM are you referring to? There are several trails that go around and through and out from the meadow, and you should go up top of either Pothole Dome or Lembert Dome.

If you have your heart set on doing Clouds Rest you might want to schedule that for day 2. Would be a shame to have great weather on days 1 & 2 and then on your last day wake up to find that the weather has scrubbed your Clouds Rest plans. If you set CR for Thursday and have to scrub that due to weather you would still have Friday as a fallback. But, if you are equally psyched at the prospect of the Panorama or Pohono then balance that accordingly.

Having done both the Panorama and the Pohono, I would recommend the Panorama -- better views, more varied experiences (no big waterfalls on the Pohono), shorter distance, can include the Yosemite "classic" Mist Trail, and less transportation hassles. You can take the Glacier Point shuttle ($) one way up to GP and then hike down the Panorama to the Mist Trail to Happy Isles where you can get a shuttle bus to your car. The Pohono, on the other hand, you could also take the shuttle to GP to start but you would end at Tunnel View where there is no public transportation. Panorama+Mist one-way is about 8.5 miles vs. Pohono one-way is about 13 miles. The Pohono Trail is somewhat more challenging because it does include about 900 ft more ascent (if you start at GP and include top of Sentinel Dome), but mostly it's just longer and overall more forested and poses transportation challenges at the Tunnel View end. The Pohono also crosses Sentinel Creek and Bridalveil Creek, not sure what water flow will be like on those in June.

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3. Re: 2-3 days hiking in Yosemite

Sorry PacificNW, I should have been clearer - yes we are hoping that Tioga rd will be open because otherwise WW will also be closed! If that does happen (although seems unlikely from what you and others say) then our back up plan is to go round to the west entrance and change our lodging to Curry Village. On the way out, instead of staying in Lone Pine we have a back-up reservation at Bakersfield, as we will be going onto Vegas. Anyway, hopefully it won't come to that!

PacificNW: Yes we were originally thinking of taking the bus, but I have now looked into the cost and I didn't realise it was $50 for 2 people! I knew there was a fee but thought it was a bit cheaper! So now I fancy our chances of combining the four mile trail and the panorama trail all in one go. Do you think this is doable? How long roughly would it take? We were anticipating getting up and starting very early, and I would definitely describe us both as being fit (we both run half marathons). What would you advise? For Pohono, we were looking at doing Tunnel view to Glacier point or vice versa. But the thing that puts me off is trying to get back to where we started at the end. Also what JR said about the creeks at that time.

Thanks for the heads up about Clouds Rest. Fingers crossed for little water!

JR - thanks for the ideas. Your comment about TM before Tenaya does make sense. I think my rationale for wanting to go to Tenaya first was that its got a little beach, so if it were earlier in the afternoon we could have some 'beach' time there in the sun! So perhaps we should save TM for the way out of Yosemite on the Saturday if we definitely wanted to go to Tenaya on Weds afternoon? The short hike at TM I was referring to is the one here: yosemitehikes.com/tioga-road/…trail-map.htm

It also makes sense to ensure we get the Clouds Rest trail done on day 2 if there is nice weather. Is the Panorama trail less affected by poor weather? Or equally so? Also thanks for your recommendation about Panorama over Pohono - this confirms what I was leaning towards. Also, the Panorama will be more challenging if we combine it with Four Mile :-)

Atlanta area
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4. Re: 2-3 days hiking in Yosemite

Any trail will be affected by bad weather. If it is raining on the Panorama you will not have the amazing views, and if you take the Mist Trail rather than JMT it would be very slippery if wet. If it is raining on Clouds Rest you may not be able to do it at all -- I would not want to cross the arete at the top in windy, slippery conditions. And of course in the rain no views from top of CR either. Lightning is probably a bigger danger on top of Clouds Rest than on the Panorama but is a danger anywhere outdoors. The good news is that any rain in YNP in June is likely to be short-lived.

4-Mile + Panorama is a bit over 13 total miles, but perhaps more significant would involve about 4,000 ft elevation gain and the same amount elevation loss. If you want to do the 4-Mile then go for it, but personally I don't know that I would choose it just to save $25 per person (the shuttle ride is over an hour one-way to GP so it might be a little high but not too out of line IMO).

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5. Re: 2-3 days hiking in Yosemite

Thanks JR, we will bear this in mind about the weather. If it did rain while we were on the panorama trail i think we would be sensible and take the John Muir route down instead of mist trail. If there is/has been a lot of rain then it sounds like Clouds Rest might be out of the question anyway due to the creek at the start...

To be honest, the main appeal of doing 4 mile + panorama is that it looks challenging, and I would much rather walk 4000 feet of elevation than sit in a bus for an hour. So saving $25/person is a bonus, but is by no means the main reason we want to hike 4 mile first. We are always tempted by a challenge! Hence the appeal of Clouds Rest too :-)

So Cal
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6. Re: 2-3 days hiking in Yosemite

Bear in mind that it's not just 4000' in elevation gain - actually, closer to 5000', as the Panorama drops then climbs about 800' at one stretch before dropping again. It's 5000' of elevation gain from an already high altitude - the valley floor is at about 4000' to start with. All of that takes a toll.

That said, people do string these two together, and it does sound like you're plenty fit. Just do be prepared for all the conditions.

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7. Re: 2-3 days hiking in Yosemite

Thanks for the warnings. Neither of us have actually done high altitude hiking before (the closet we get is Snowden at 3500 feet) but we do ski at around 7500 feet in the french alps and generally have been ok, although my other half did once have a 'funny turn' in the ski lift as he hadn't got used to the elevation yet! But hopefully our fitness should get us through and we will go well prepared with lots of water, sunscreen, layers, knee supports... we plan on getting up at sunrise (5.30am), setting out in the car at 6am with the aim of starting hiking at 7am. Does this sound a decent time? We would really like to get started ASAP in the morning to beat the crowds.

Also, does anyone have any alternative recommendations around the Tioga Road area if Clouds Rest is not an option due to water levels/weather? Thanks everyone.

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8. Re: 2-3 days hiking in Yosemite

Itinerary looks great! Tioga will almost certainly be open, my bet is on May 9 or May 16.

The Panoram-Mist-4mile loop is the most scenic in Yosemite, in my opinion, and if you're reasonably fit, the whole loop can be done in ~6 hours including some photo and ice cream stops (they sell ice cream at both Happy Isles and Glacier Point - great mid-hike snack!). You can make it easier by taking the free shuttle to cover the 3-4 miles between Happy Isles and bottom of 4mile trail. It may not really save time though, as you have to switch buses, so if your legs are fresh just hike the whole way. Here's a GPS track for reference: http://www.strava.com/activities/109832190

Early starts are a very good idea in the valley to avoid crowds and heat. In high country (Tuolumne), both are much less of an issue.

From TM, Waterwheel Falls is a really nice hike (between 8-20 miles, depending on how many waterfalls you want to see), but ask the rangers if there's still any water left in the falls by then. You can also try Mt Dana, or one of many loops around Tenaya & Cathedral Lakes. Gaylor lakes are also gorgeous, and a very short hike on your way out of Yosemite - can be combined with Dana, or with Mt Conness.

So Cal
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9. Re: 2-3 days hiking in Yosemite

It's been pointed out to me that it really is a total 4000' elevation gain, not 5000' (sorry, I cannot math). Even so, I cannot fathom doing that whole loop in 6 hours (including time for ice cream).

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10. Re: 2-3 days hiking in Yosemite

Thanks for the other recommendations about TM trails. I will look into them :-)

I can't work out exactly how long four mile + panorama will be. Sounds dumb, but different people/websites give different lengths for panorama. But I'm taking a rough guess at 14 miles. I walked a half marathon last month (yes I'm weird!) and it took me 3 hours to do 13.1 miles. But of course this had almost no elevation, and I didn't stop to take pictures of the race spectators. But so I can imagine it might be possible to do 14 miles with the elevation, in 6 hours. But I'm almost positive we will take longer, as we will want to stop for food/water/pictures(maybe swimming?). So my plan is to start at 7 and be back in the valley for afternoon pizza at 4-5pm! Does anyone have an exact distance, and guess of time? I read somewhere else 10 hours I think.

Thanks all so much for your help in planning. For some reason I had not been thinking of hiking at Yosemite as one of our road trip highlights - I'm not sure why, but I guess I read so much about it being busy, traffic etc etc that I wasn't sure how fun it would be. But now I'm actually looking forward to Yosemite the most, thanks to help from you guys and looking into the awesome trails! :-)