Premier Yosemite Hiking Company

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Yosemite Basecamp Tour

Highlights

  • Have a comprehensive experience of Yosemite that covers the major highlights of the Park
  • Enjoy hiking classic trails as well as lesser-known, hand-picked routes to stunning destinations
  • Hike past many of the most famous and picturesque waterfalls and domes of Yosemite Valley
  • Summit a high country peak for incredible views of Yosemite Valley and the Cathedral Range
  • Enjoy a comfortable basecamp in Yosemite Valley with access to showers
  • Relax in camp and dine on our exceptional outdoor cuisine in the evenings
  • Learn about the amazing geologic history that shaped this awe-inspiring landscape


Description

Come join us for an extraordinary week of hiking and camping in Yosemite National Park! Each day we'll embark on exciting day hikes throughout the Park, and each evening we'll return to a comfortable basecamp where we'll enjoy outdoor dinners around a blazing campfire. We provide all the meals, camping gear, local transportation, and an expert guide so you can relax and soak up Yosemite!

Our daily hikes cover the gamut from popular, classic hikes to lesser-known gems that we selected just for this trip and our Yosemite Inn-based Tour. We'll spend time in Yosemite Valley, and we'll venture up into the high country of Tuolumne Meadows. We'll visit waterfalls, high peaks, stunning viewpoints, and giant Sequoia trees. You'll get to see and experience an amazing amount of this park in just 5 days!

One of the most amazing aspects of visiting Yosemite is learning about its glacial history. Your guide will point out this history throughout the week, noting evidence such as sheered domes, mountains of moraine, massive boulders perched in impossible positions, and other unique features. You'll also learn about Yosemite's wildlife, Native American history, and early settler history.

Please Note: Our Yosemite basecamp trips utilize campgrounds with the best locations to accommodate the chosen trip itinerary. The camps are comfortable and provide showers, but can be very busy due to the popularity of the Park.


 

Photos of this Trip

Trip Itinerary

Day 1

Shuttle: 3 hours
Hiking Mileage: 5-9 miles
Elevation Gain/Loss: 1500 feet
Campground: Upper Pines Campground in Yosemite Valley


Our first hike begins at the Happy Isles trailhead with a moderate hike to two of Yosemite’s crown jewels, Vernal Fall, and Nevada Fall, along the John Muir or the Mist Trails. While many of Yosemite's hikes are centered on a final destination, this route features stunning views the whole way, from Upper Yosemite Falls across the Valley, to the phenomenal granite heights of Liberty Cap, Grizzly Peak, the Panorama Cliffs, Sentinel Dome, Glacier Point and even Half Dome soaring above our heads.

After we lunch at a picturesque point overlooking the falls, we’ll return to the Valley floor and set up camp among the towering ponderosa pines of the beautiful Upper Pines Campground in the heart of Yosemite Valley. After relaxing a bit, we will explore more of the scenic wonders of this fantastic place and take a short hike to one of Yosemite’s lesser visited sights. Then, as your guide prepares a sumptuous meal, there is time to is sit around the campfire and watch as the alpenglow turns Half Dome a brilliant crimson over 4000 feet above us!


Day 2

Shuttle: 1.2 hours each way
Hiking Mileage: 5-8 miles
Elevation Gain/Loss: 600-1000 feet
Campground: Upper Pines Campground in Yosemite Valley


Today we will arise early and drive up into Yosemite's high country. We'll head east along the Tioga Pass Road, stopping at Olmsted Point for a mesmerizing view of Yosemite's alpine mountains and Half Dome in the distance. We'll soak up the majesty of Tuolumne Meadows: a series of vast, alpine meadows with mountain streams snaking their way through the tall grass and plentiful wildflowers. And finally we'll arrive at our trailhead at Tioga Pass, the highest highway crossing in California and the Sierra.

Our hike takes us to the one of the most surprising - because it's not highlighted on most of the tourist maps - and impressive alpine areas in the Park. We start high and go higher on this hike, and are rewarded with sweeping views of Dana Meadows, and the ragged peaks of much of Yosemite’s High Sierra beyond it. 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 3

Hiking Mileage: 8 miles
Elevation Loss: 3200 feet
Campground: Upper Pines Campground in Yosemite Valley


Today is the highlight of the trip for many of our guests. We'll have a big breakfast before heading out from Yosemite Valley for one of the best hikes in the Park. Our hike starts with a shuttle from Yosemite Valley to Glacier Point - one of the world’s great view points - with most of Yosemite’s iconic features on display below your feet.

From here, after soaking up the incredible views, we head down the Panorama Trail, which, as its name suggests, offers some of the best panoramic vistas of the Park. The ever-changing views of Half Dome compete with the astounding sights of Vernal and Nevada Falls as we descend to a crossing of Illilouette Creek just above Illilouette Falls. We wisely refrain from a dip in the tempting waters and proceed up and over the Panorama Cliffs to descend the John Muir Trail past unique views of Vernal and Nevada Falls. We end up at Happy Isles where we can soak our tired feet safely in the cold waters of the Merced River before making our way back to our camp, just feet away, and a well-deserved gourmet dinner.


Day 4

Hiking Mileage: 6 miles
Elevation Gain/Loss: 2000 feet
Campground: Upper Pines Campground in Yosemite Valley


Today we're returning to Yosemite's high country for a summit attempt on 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 5

*** This trail will be temporarily closed until fall of 2017. Your guide will substitute it with a carefully selected, equal or better alternative. ***

Hiking Mileage: 5-6 miles
Elevation Gain/Loss: 1200 feet Shuttle: 2 hours


On our final day, we'll pack up and enjoy a hearty breakfast before leaving our basecamp among the ponderosa pines. We'll turn south and enjoy one last, special treat. Today's hike takes us into Yosemite's biggest trees - the Mariposa Grove of Giant Sequoias. We'll hike the lower and upper loops, which provide for a wonderful morning of hiking. We'll visit the 2700 year old Grizzly Giant, the 25th largest tree on earth, as well as many other of these giants. We'll also get an unparalleled view of Wawona Valley, another of Yosemite's special places.

After our hike and lunch we'll contemplate the unforgettable week we've just experienced, and most likely start hatching new plans for future trips to more special places like Yosemite!


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 4 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)
         
 
Month
Valleys
Alpine
 
 
hi
low
hi
low
 
 
June
81°
51°
71°
46°
 
 
July
89°
57°
77°
50°
 
 
August
89°
56°
81°
53°
 
 
September
82°
51°
71°
46°