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Tuolumne Basecamp Tour

Highlights

  • Guides Choice basecamp trip in Yosemite
  • Fantastic summer trip in the mountains
  • Stunning alpine meadows at Tuolumne
  • Varied and thorough tour of the high country
  • Alpine lakes and trout rivers
  • Incredible views of "The Range of Light"
  • The amazing glacial history of Yosemite
  • Comfortable camp & fantastic cuisine

Description

Our Tuolumne Basecamp Tour in Yosemite National Park is a wonderful opportunity to get to know this famous region of the Sierra Nevada Mountain Range, and makes for an excellent summer tour option. Tuolumne Meadows, which is 4,000 feet higher and 20 degrees cooler than Yosemite Valley, is a subalpine wonderland of vast mountain meadows, meandering trout rivers, glittering granite domes, and amazing views looking down into Yosemite Valley. We camp here for 3 nights and explore the stunning high country on unforgettable hikes!
We'll set up a comfortable basecamp in one of Tuolumne's national park campgrounds and set out on scenic, unforgettable day hikes each day. Our hikes lead us on a 3-day exploration of this amazing high country, and each night we return to camp for campfires, wonderful outdoor cooking, and relaxation. (Please note: Yosemite's campgrounds are generally busy, but our day hikes will provide us with some great solitude.)

Don't miss this fantastic summer trip in Yosemite - give us a call at 800-715-HIKE (4453) to learn more or book your spot today!
Please Note: Our Yosemite basecamp trips utilize campgrounds with the best locations to accommodate the chosen trip itinerary. The camps are comfortable, and put us right in the action, but can be very busy at times due to the popularity of the Park.
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

Trip Itinerary

Day 1

Hiking Mileage: 6 miles
Elevation Gain/Loss: 1800 feet
Campground: Tuolumne Meadows Campground


The first morning we’ll meet at Half Dome Village in Yosemite Valley. From here we’ll proceed to the Lembert Dome trailhead and take a preparatory round trip hike of two miles to the glacially smoothed summit of this roche moutonée. The views are staggering. We’ll linger, take some photos and soak in the incredible panoramas of the domes and serrated peaks surrounding the phenomenal Tuolumne Meadows 800 ft. far below us.

Next we’ll head up to Tioga Pass, the highest road pass in California and the Sierra. Our hike, beginning here, will reward us with sweeping views of Dana Meadows, the ragged peaks of much of Yosemite’s High Sierra and the rugged grandeur of the Eastern Sierra. We'll reach a saddle where we can gaze down into the Gaylor Lakes Basin. This high glaciated cirque just below the Sierra Crest is home to five wonderful mountain lakes and incredible views, as well as an abandoned 1870's mine. We'll spend the afternoon exploring the basin, enjoying a picnic lunch, and possibly checking out the historic Great Sierra Mine.


Day 2

Hiking Mileage: 7 miles
Elevation Gain/Loss: 1800 feet
Campground: Tuolumne Meadows Campground


Today is a real adventure as we take a cross-country route to one of Yosemite’s most beautiful lakes--Cathedral Lake. The hike begins in Tuolumne Meadows but quickly ascends into a lodgepole forest where we’ll say goodbye to the trail and set off cross-country towards Budd Lake. The hiking is easy, though, through the open forest as we circle Cathedral Peak and crest a saddle before descending to Cathedral Lake. At the lake, we’ll enjoy a picnic lunch and relish the world-famous view of spire-like Cathedral Peak reflected in the lake. We’ll take the trail to return and stroll under Eichorn Pinnacle before entering a deep red fir forest and the descent to the trailhead.


Day 3

Hiking Mileage: 5 miles
Elevation Gain/Loss: 2000 feet
Campground: Tuolumne Meadows Campground


Today, after a satisfying breakfast among the misty lodgepole pines of our campsite, we'll attempt to summit a peak at the geographical center of Yosemite National Park. Our hike takes us uphill to May Lake, a charming sub-alpine lake framed by sheer granite cliffs. We'll take a break at the lake before continuing up the flanks of Mount Hoffman. This summit involves only hiking, but is an exciting ascent up a picturesque mountain peak.

The real gem of today comes when we reach the summit of Mount Hoffman, which some people say offers the best view of any in Yosemite! From its high perch we will be looking down on Half Dome and Clouds Rest - a rare vantage point - and over to the bright granite peaks of the Cathedral Range. We'll snap some pictures and soak up the views over a picnic lunch before heading back down to May Lake and back to the trailhead.


Day 4

Hiking Mileage: 2 miles
Elevation Gain/Loss: 500 feet
Campground: Tuolumne Meadows Campground


On our final day, we'll pack up and enjoy a hot breakfast before leaving our basecamp among the pine-scented heights of the High Sierra. We’ll head back down the Tioga Pass Road toward Yosemite Valley and park at the trailhead to the Tuolumne Grove of Giant Sequoias-one of three groves in the park. Here we'll hike the closed old road into Yosemite down into one of the few remaining groves of the largest tree on earth. These bright cinnamon colored behemoths are over-whelming in their massiveness. No wonder no one believed the original discoverer! Later, over our final lunch we will reminisce about our incredible visit to Yosemite, one of America’s "crown jewels".


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 day pack
  • Use of trekking poles
  • All meals are included from breakfast on Day 1 through lunch on the last day
  • A professional, knowledgeable, certified Yosemite hiking guide
  • 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 outdoors – 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 sleeping pads
  • Leki or Black Diamond trekking poles
  • Cooking stoves and cookware
  • 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?

You'll meet your hiking guide and group in Half Dome Village in Yosemite Valley around 8 AM the morning the trip begins. Your guide will be in contact approximately 2 weeks before your trip and will specify the exact location of the rendezvous at that point. You can park your personal vehicle at Half Dome Village for the duration of the 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 basecamp trips is 6 guests and 1 guide. 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)
         
 
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°