Premier Yosemite Hiking Company

Wildland Trekking Phone Number

Yosemite North Rim (early season)

Highlights

  • Fantastic early season trip
  • Yosemite's waterfalls at their highest flow
  • Amazing views of Yosemite Valley
  • 3000 foot ascent of the Snow Creek Trail
  • Yosemite's only natural arch
  • The spectacular summit of North Dome
  • Rejuvenating Yosemite solitude

Description

Explore the North Rim of Yosemite Valley on this three or four day excursion into John Muir’s famous "Range of Light." This trip is a great early season adventure up to the rim that overlooks one of the world’s scenic treasures, Yosemite Valley. It offers a wonderful opportunity to escape the crowds, absorb some of the best views in the Park, sleep under the stars, and check out some of Yosemite's most amazing waterfalls and peaks.
This trek begins and ends in Yosemite Valley, where El Capitan and Half Dome tower over the famous meadows. We'll explore majestic Yosemite Falls, North Dome and Indian Rock while catching expansive views of the entire Yosemite Valley far below us and the incomparable High Sierra all around us! Photo opportunities are plentiful as the trail reveals ever-changing views of Half Dome, Clouds Rest, Tenaya Canyon, Mount Watkins, and many more of Yosemite’s scenic wonders.
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: 4.5 miles
Elevation Gain: 3000 feet
Elevation Loss: none


Our hike begins with a leisurely "shake-out" hike around the north flank of Half Dome in the western end of Yosemite Valley. We skirt the south side of Mirror Lake and after a couple of miles we take a side trail to have a quick peek at Snow Creek Falls as it cascades down the north side of Tenaya Canyon. To the left of the falls is the next section of our trip, the daunting Snow Creek Trail! We don’t let it intimidate us as we tackle the 3000 feet elevation gain slowly and steadily. The awesome views of Tenaya Canyon and the north face of Half Dome take our minds off the numerous switchbacks until the trail finally reaches the shade of a black oak forest near the northern rim of Yosemite Valley! A bit farther on, we make camp along the gentle cascades of Snow Creek and enjoy the pine scented air as our guide prepares a well-deserved gourmet dinner.


Day 3

Hiking Mileage: 8.0 miles
Elevation Gain: 2300 feet
Elevation Loss: 2100 feet


Today’s hiking bill of fare features pleasant forest walking, stupendous views, Yosemite’s only above water natural arch, and the summit of Half Dome’s smaller twin, North Dome! We break camp fairly early and continue north along Snow Creek through an enjoyable forest of lodgepole pines. We steadily gain elevation until we reach the literal high point of the trip at Indian Rock. Here photographic opportunities abound as the delicate arch frames Half Dome just two and a half miles across the canyon. After enjoying the views and a hearty lunch it is all downhill through increasingly open country to the next highlight of the trip... the summit of North Dome. Half Dome--just 1.5 miles away, now—dominates the view south, and the rest of Yosemite Valley unfolds at our feet. As we watch the shadows lengthening, we hurry the last two miles to set up our camp along a cool forested stream and look forward to enjoying our mountain top location to view one of the best night skies anywhere.


Day 4

Hiking Mileage: 6.5 miles
Elevation Gain: 1000 feet
Elevation Loss: 4000 feet


After an incredible sunrise overlooking Yosemite Valley we will have a hot breakfast and breakdown our tents. Today we descend from Yosemite’s North Rim backpacking towards our destination at historic Camp 4 in Yosemite Valley. But, the scenic highlights aren’t over yet, as our trail descends alongside Yosemite Falls, one of the top attractions in the park. At 2425 feet tall, it is the tallest waterfall in North America and the sixth highest in the world. We descend sharply to the base of the Upper Falls and enjoy the cooling mists of the spring snowmelt as the thundering water roars past the trail. The last few switchbacks pass quickly as we near the trailhead, where we enjoy a last lunch together and reminisce over our successful attempt at backpacking Yosemite Valley’s North Rim trail!


5-day Variation

This hike is often done as a five day trip with a layover the second day at the Snow Creek campsite. That day is be spent exploring the surrounding high country with excursions to the historic Snow Creek Cabin and the summit of secluded Mount Watkins. Another possibility for a four day trip would be an added night at Yosemite Creek with a day hike to the summit of Eagle Peak or El Capitan.


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, 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 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.


Guides

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.


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)
  • 10 and older to join private tours, with final approval on a case by case basis
  • 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)
         
 
Month
Valleys
Alpine
 
 
hi
low
hi
low
 
 
January
49°
26°
45°
25°
 
 
February
55°
28°
46°
26°
 
 
March
59°
31°
48°
27°
 
 
April
65°
35°
54°
30°
 
 
May
73°
42°
62°
37°
 
 
June
81°
51°
71°
46°
 
 
July
89°
57°
77°
50°
 
 
August
89°
56°
81°
53°
 
 
September
82°
51°
71°
46°
 
 
October
74°
39°
62°
37°
 
 
November
58°
31°
51°
29°
 
 
December
48°
26°
46°
25°