Premier Yosemite Hiking Company

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Yosemite's Classic Summits


  • High country start & end in the Valley
  • Scenic camps including near a high lake
  • Summit of Clouds Rest for incredible views
  • Hike to the spectacular summit of Half Dome
  • Many famous and picturesque waterfalls
  • Point-to-point hike, so no back-tracking
  • Amazing natural & cultural history


Traverse the magic of the Sierra high country on this classic Yosemite Backpacking trip! This four night / five day adventure features two of Yosemite National Park’s most iconic summits, Clouds Rest and Half Dome. We start in the high country, end in the Valley, and experience incredible views, waterfalls, iconic summits, and overall amazing hiking in between!
We will begin our hike at picturesque Tenaya Lake and trek into the high country spending the night on the south side of awe-inspiring Tenaya Canyon. In the morning we will rise early and ascend to the dizzying heights of the arête known as Clouds Rest, the highest point on Yosemite Valley’s rim. We will enjoy panoramic views of the surrounding Sierra Nevada including tomorrow’s goal of Half Dome over lunch before we descend to our camp below. There, we will spend two nights at a basecamp along Sunrise Creek. From the basecamp we tackle Half Dome on the legendary Cable Route with just day packs and return that evening to a delicious hot meal, campfire and maybe a bath in the creek! The final leg of this trek is a descent into Yosemite Valley along the world famous Mist Trail, passing the Silver Apron, Emerald Pool and roaring Nevada and Vernal falls, before exiting at Happy Isles on the Merced River.
Call us at 800-715-HIKE (4453) to learn more or book a spot today!
Click here to have a detailed PDF information packet emailed to you, or request a reservation today. You can also call us at 800-715-HIKE.


Photos of this Trip

Photos: Peter Scott

Trip Itinerary

Day 1

This Yosemite trip begins with rendezvous in Yosemite Valley on the patio of Half Dome Village (formerly Curry Village) in front of the Yosemite Mountain Shop at 6PM on Day 1. The Mountain shop is located on the street-facing side of the Half Dome Village Pavilion (closest to the parking lot). You will easily spot your guide waiting for you in a Wildland Trekking hat and shirt. We'll conduct an orientation meeting and enjoy dinner together here at Half Dome Village, after which we'll get settled in the Backpackers Camp a stone's throw away from majestic Tenaya Creek and under the spectacular domes and cliffs of Yosemite Valley.

Day 2

Hiking Mileage: 5 miles
Elevation Gain: 1000 feet
Elevation Loss: 300 feet

We begin our trek along the shores of beautiful Tenaya Lake at an already high elevation of 8149 feet. We follow a level route for the first two miles, passing over the outlet streams of the Sunrise Lakes, before a short steep ascent brings us to the south edge of Tenaya Canyon. After a couple of more miles we make our camp. Alpenglow and stupendous sunset views entertain us as we enjoy a well-deserved gourmet dinner. We go to sleep early knowing we are perfectly situated for an early morning start on our ascent to the Summit of Clouds Rest tomorrow.

Day 3

Hiking Mileage: 6.6 miles
Elevation Gain: 1000 feet
Elevation Loss: 2600 feet

Today we will rise early for an alpine start on Clouds Rest. A steady, but not too strenuous climb of 1000 feet in a little over 2 miles brings us to the summit at 9926 feet above sea level. The views from the summit of this Classic Yosemite Peak are an outstanding 360 degree view of the surrounding Sierra Nevada. One can see many of Yosemite’s most famous features including: the Quarter Domes, Mount Hoffmann, Vogelsang Peak, and the Cathedral Range. Looking straight down you can see Tenaya Creek, 5000 feet below! The trek down from Clouds Rest is a steep winding descent to Sunrise Creek; along the way stunning views of Half Dome with El Capitan in the distance are framed by massive ancient junipers. An elevation loss of about 2600 vertical feet leads us to our forested campsite along the banks of bubbling Sunrise Creek.

Day 4

Hiking Mileage: 5 miles
Elevation Gain: 2700 feet
Elevation Loss: 2700 feet

We won’t break camp today so we can climb Half Dome with only light packs. The trek to the summit of Half Dome is five miles roundtrip to the 8,839 foot summit and is one of the most exciting "hikes" around! After following an increasingly steep and rocky path, the last 400 feet to the summit are via a set of cables, allowing access to this "perfectly inaccessible peak"! Views from the top of Yosemite’s most iconic summit encompass all of Yosemite Valley and much of the high country. Tonight, after returning the way we came, we will relax around the fire next to a rushing creek and celebrate our achievements in the high country!

Please Note: the ascent of Half Dome involves climbing a section called "the cables," which is a very steep and exposed part of our hike. The National Park Service has installed a pair of cables to use as hand rails, but it is still a physically and psychologically demanding climb. Some of the objective hazards also include mishaps by other hikers, such as people slipping or dropping items. This climb isn't required to do the trip, but it is required to reach the top of Half Dome.

Day 5

Hiking Mileage: 5.2 miles
Elevation Loss: 2000 feet

The final day’s hike begins with a descent to Little Yosemite Valley and then passes through one of Yosemite’s most magnificent areas: the Mist Trail. Paralleling the Merced River as it makes its way down the glacially carved canyon, the trail passes the Silver Apron, Emerald Pool and Nevada Fall before descending through the highlight of the trail and its namesake: the soaking mists of Vernal Fall. Rain gear is a good idea as rainbows appear and disappear among the wind-blown sheets of spray as we descend the steep rocky steps to a bridge over the Merced River. A mile further, we can soak our hot, tired feet in the cool waters of the Merced at the trail’s end at Happy Isles and celebrate a successful hike.

Please Note: We always do everything in our power to follow the set itinerary, however it can change occasionally based on temporary park restrictions, campsite availability, weather, road closures, guest ability/injury, and natural events like fires and flooding.

Trip Details

What's Included

  • Top-of-the-line tent, sleeping pad, sleeping bag, and technical backpack
  • Use of trekking poles
  • All meals are included from dinner on Day 1 through lunch on the last day
  • A professional, knowledgeable, certified Yosemite hiking guide
  • National park backcountry camping permits
  • Bear cannisters for food storage
  • Emergency equipment including a company-issued first-aid kit and satellite phone
  • You will receive a Lifetime Hiking Membership entitling you, your spouse and kids to a lifetime discount of 10% off any Wildland Trekking hiking trip after your first one!

What's Not Included

  • Clothes, raingear, leather gloves (for the cables on Half Dome) and footwear
  • Sunscreen, toiletries and personal items
  • Water bottles and a headlamp or flashlight
  • Guide gratuity (industry recommendation is 10-20% of trip cost)
See the Packing Lists page for more information.

Meals: What To Expect

All of our hiking and backpacking tours include a diversity of tasty meals packed full of critical carbohydrates, proteins and fats. We carry foods that travel well in the backcountry – rice, pastas, lentils, beans, couscous, packaged meats, nuts, breads, oatmeal, granola, and more.

For optimal taste and energy, we supplement all our meals with spices, herbs, oils, cheeses, butter, sugar, and fruits and vegetables (fresh and dried). In addition, we provide you with with an assortment of trail mix, snacks, and dried fruits to eat at your own discretion.

We regularly accommodate vegan, vegetarian, kosher and non-gluten diets and will make adjustments for food allergies. These and other special dietary requests may require an additional fee.

Gear We Provide

We provide all group gear which includes the following:
  • Deuter or Osprey backpacks
  • Sierra Designs, Kelty or Big Agnes tents
  • Sierra Designs, Kelty, Big Agnes and Mountain Hardware sleeping bags
  • Thermarest or Big Agnes sleeping pads
  • Leki or Black Diamond trekking poles
  • Cooking stoves and cookware
  • Bear cannisters
  • Company-issued first-aid kit
  • Satellite phone

What Gear To Bring

We ask that you supply a couple of gear items on your hiking tour. These items are two 1-liter water bottles per person, leather gloves, and either a headlamp or flashlight per person. Basic items like sunscreen, bug repellent (where and when applicable), lip balm, and toiletries are also important. All of these items are available online at Wildland Trekking Outfitters.

What Clothes to Bring

Please refer to the trip packet for a recommended clothing list (we email you a detailed trip packet when you inquire and when you register). All trips require a sturdy pair of hiking shoes or hiking boots (reliable brands include Montrail, Lowa, Merrell, Vasque, and Salomon), rain gear, and non-cotton and cotton clothing layers. A minimum of three pairs of wool or synthetic hiking socks are also required. All of these items are available online at Wildland Trekking Outfitters.

NOTE: See the Packing Lists page for more detailed information on what clothes and gear to bring on your hiking tour. The trip packet you receive when you contact us will have the most accurate clothing and gear list for the tour you're interested in.

Trip Logistics

How do I Register?

Ready to hike? Simply click here and complete the form to get the ball rolling. Our adventure consultants will confirm availability, and if you're ready to register we'll email you a link to a registration profile. You'll have 48 hours to complete your profile (and that of any dependents) and pay the deposit ($500).

Feel free to call us for more info - we're here 7 days a week!

Where Do We Meet?

This trip meets in Yosemite Valley on the patio of Half Dome Village (formerly Curry Village) in front of the Yosemite Mountain Shop at 6PM on Day 1. The Mountain Shop is located on the street-facing side of the Half Dome Village Pavilion (closest to the parking lot). You will easily spot your guide waiting for you in a Wildland Trekking hat and shirt. This trip includes dinner and camping that night at the backpackers camp. Personal vehicles can remain parked at Half Dome Village during your trip.

Check out our Travel Resources page for information on flights, shuttles, lodging and more.

Start/End Times

Your guide will inform you of the first day's rendezvous time at the orientation meeting. Generally, you can expect it to be between 5 and 8 am, although the exact time will depend on current weather and road conditions. We will be out of the backcountry normally before 5 PM (this time is not guaranteed, as a variety of circumstances can influence our exact return time) on the final day.

Safety Considerations

Your safety is our top priority. Our hiking tours are led by professional hiking guides, all of whom are wilderness-certified first responders or EMT's, each with years of guiding and wilderness experience. We've developed comprehensive risk management protocols that our guides adhere to in case of an emergency, and most tours carry a satellite phone. If you have any further questions about safety, please contact us at 1-800-715-HIKE (4453) for more information.


Your tour will be led by a trained, experienced professional with a solid guiding background, years of personal wilderness and hiking experience, medical certifications, and a passion for leading people into breathtaking landscapes. Check out our Meet Our Team page for staff bios.

Guide Shifts

California guides work daily shifts from 5 a.m. to 9 p.m. During off hours (9 p.m. to 5 a.m.) the guides' time is their own, and they are free to sleep, rest, take personal time, postpone guest requests until the next morning, and any other legal, reasonable activity people engage in when not working. We ask all guests to respect their off-duty hours by not waking or asking anything of them unless there is a true emergency.

Group Size and Age Restrictions

The standard group size on backpacking trips is 5 guests and 1 guide, with a maximum of 10 guests and 2 guides. If you have more questions about group size, please give us a call at 800-715-HIKE (4453) and we'll answer all your questions.

Age restrictions are as follows:
  • 12 and older to join scheduled tours (mixed groups)
  • 5 and older to join private tours, with final approval and specific logistical requirements (such as porter or stock assist) determined on a case by case basis

Weather in the Sierras

Being a high mountain environment, the Sierra Nevada Mountains are prone to sudden temperature and weather shifts. This is an exciting aspect of being in the mountains. On trips in June, snow is a possibility, and the rest of the summer rain is always a possibility on your trip. To be fully prepared, please follow the recommended clothing list closely (this list comes as part of your trip packet when you register). See below for average summer temperatures:
Average Temperatures (Fahrenheit)