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Yosemite Hiking Vacation

Wonders of Yosemite


  •   6 full days in the backcountry
  •   Challenging hiking with amazing scenery
  •   Wonderful mountain solitude
  •   Majestic high country of the Sierras
  •   Stunning camps near rivers & lakes
  •   A deep wilderness journey
  •   BIG mountain views
  •   Incredibly vivid night skies


This adventurous, 6-day trip is for people who want to get off the beaten path and explore the deep wilderness of Yosemite. We stay primarily in the stunning high country of this spectacular national park, exploring remote glacial-carved mountains, alpine lakes, ice-cold rivers, serene meadows, and wildlife. Our camps are in pristine settings at or near treeline and often near the shores of mountain lakes and rivers.

There's no better way to escape the summer crowds and discover a wilder, more peaceful Yosemite than a wilderness journey like this one! Give us a call at 1-800-715-HIKE (4453) to learn more or book your spot today!

Yosemite issues backcountry permits 5.5 months in advance. It's beneficial to register before permits are issued and if you do, we recommend not making concrete travel arrangements until the permit is secured. We have a very good success rate with Yosemite permits, but if unsuccessful your deposit is 100% transferrable or refundable.

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Backpacking Trip
Yosemite Valley
7 days
48mi / 77km
$1675 Per Person

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Travel to Yosemite Valley

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Trip Dates & Booking

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800-715-HIKE (4453)

Trip Itinerary

Day 1

This Yosemite trip begins with rendezvous in Yosemite Valley on the patio of 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 Curry Village Pavilion (closest to the parking lot). You will easily spot your guide waiting for you in a Wildland Trekking hat. We'll conduct an orientation meeting, 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. We'll enjoy dinner either at Curry Village or in camp.

Day 2
  • Hiking Mileage: 7 miles
  • Elevation Gain: 1200 feet
  • Elevation Loss: 1400 feet

We enjoy a quick breakfast in Yosemite Valley and make sure all loose ends are taken care of before we board a shuttle to our trailhead at Glacier Point, one of the most beautiful spots in Yosemite. Here, after taking in the incredible panoramic views of the High Sierra, we begin our adventure. Taking advantage of our high elevation trailhead, today’s hike is initially downhill along the sparsely forested slopes of the east-facing Illilouette Ridge. We reach the crossing of Illilouette Creek at the half way point of our day and carefully ford the knee deep stream. After a filling trailside lunch we continue up the Illilouette Canyon to our forested campsite along the banks of the Clark Fork of Illilouette Creek. Here, after a hot and satisfying dinner, we’ll fall asleep to the sounds of the stream filled with the snow melt of the Clark Range high above us.

Day 3
  • Hiking Mileage: 9 miles
  • Elevation Gain: 2500 feet
  • Elevation Loss: 300 feet

After an early wake up call, we eat a hearty breakfast and continue our hike up Illilouette Creek towards the rocky ramparts of the Clark Range. On the trail we maintain a constant but manageable ascent as we approach the Merced Pass Lakes, sight of an infamous plane crash in the 60’s. A few more miles bring us to our destination for the day, incredible Lower Ottaway Lake. One of the most beautiful lakes in Yosemite, it is situated in a rocky amphitheater surrounded by colorful Red Peak, Ottaway Peak and Merced Peak. These peaks are made up of red and yellow metamorphic rocks which are some of the oldest rocks in the Sierra Nevada. As we set up camp and prepare for dinner the west facing peaks above us light up with one of the best shows of alpenglow in the Sierra!

Day 4
  • Hiking Mileage: 9.5 miles
  • Elevation Gain: 2000 feet
  • Elevation Loss: 2500 feet

It’s another early rise this morning as we traverse around Lower Ottaway Lake and begin our ascent to the highest trailed pass in Yosemite, Red Peak Pass. We follow in the footsteps of Ansel Adams, who originally scouted out this route in the 1920’s and made the first ascent of nearby Red Peak. Once at the pass, we pause to catch our breath in the rarified air at well above 11,000 ft. It’s almost all downhill from here to our campsite along the Triple Peak Fork of the Merced River. But first, high above tree line, we trek through one of Yosemite’s most beautiful alpine regions with views stretching from the park’s northern borders to the jagged peaks of the Minarets, far to the south. Finally, descending into a lodgepole forest, we reach camp and can relax along smooth granite slabs and soak our tired feet in the ice cold waters of the Merced.

Day 5
  • Hiking Mileage: 6.7 miles
  • Elevation Gain: 1600 feet
  • Elevation Loss: 200 feet

We have a mellower day today with a moderately easy hike to our night’s camp near Washburn Lake. So we linger a little longer and savor our breakfast and hot drinks around the morning campfire. Once on the trail we amble along the west bank of the Merced enjoying the relatively level trail through the glacially smoothed landscape. After a scenic riverside lunch, the trail steepens a bit as we continue our descent toward Washburn Lake, which we soon reach. After setting up camp among the granite boulders, we have a little time to enjoy the area, perhaps take a swim or just lie back and watch the clouds go by.

Day 6
  • Hiking Mileage: 7 miles
  • Elevation Gain: 1600
  • Elevation Loss: 1600 feet

Today we pack up and hit the trail as we continue following the Merced River as it makes its way from the high alpine peaks to the floor of Yosemite Valley. We soon pass a set of falls as we amble past the Merced Lake Ranger Station and then a little farther along the bustling Merced Lake High Sierra Camp. But, the sounds of the campers quickly fade as we contour the shore of bucolic Merced Lake. The granite cliffs become taller as the trail descends along the river and the cascades become more numerous until we reach our days goal near glacially smoothed Bunnell Dome. Here we set up camp as the setting sun’s rays shoot up canyon, illuminating the domes and high peaks of the Cathedral Range.

Day 7
  • Hiking Mileage: 8 miles
  • Elevation Gain: 300 feet
  • Elevation Loss: 2900 feet

Today, we sadly pack up camp for the last time and prepare for our last day on the trail. But, we’ve saved some of the best for last as we hike past many of Yosemite’s most iconic features, including Half Dome, Clouds Rest, Liberty Cap and two of the most photographed waterfalls in the world: Vernal and Nevada Falls. It’s almost all downhill and the miles quickly go by as our trail hardened muscles and our lightened backpacks make the hiking seem easy. Too soon we’re at the trailhead and aboard the shuttle to Curry Village where we’ll have an early afternoon lunch and bid farewell to Yosemite and the great adventure that we had.

Please Note: We always do everything in our power to follow the set itinerary, however it can change occasionally based on temporary access restrictions, weather, lodging/campground availability, guest ability/injury, natural events like fires and flooding, and other potential causes.

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) 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
  • Emergency communication device(s)

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, 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? In the Dates section of this trip page, the green dates are bookable online by simply clicking on the date, and blue dates must be booked through our customer service team for a variety of possible reasons. To email our customer service team, you can click here 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 72 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 in the parking lot of Curry Village near the bear boxes at shuttle stop 14 at 6PM on Day 1. Your guide will contact you approximately 10 days before your trip to coordinate this rendezvous and answer any last minute questions you have. Your guide will be 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 Curry 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

Yosemite and Sequioa-Kings Canyon 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 the guides' off-duty hours by not waking or asking anything of them unless there is a true emergency. Also, state law requires that employees receive an uninterrupted 10 minute break every four working hours, so guides are required to take four 10 minute breaks between 5 a.m. and 9 p.m.

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 1-800-715-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)

Camping on Backpacking Trips

backpacking tent

Backcountry Sleeping

Tent Camping

Sleeping on backpacking trips is in premier 1-person, 2-person or 4-person backcountry tents. Solo travelers, and anyone else who requests it, are issued single tents. Top-of-the-line self-inflating sleeping pads and sleeping bags (professionally laundered after every trip) are also provided.

backpacking meals

Backcountry Cuisine

Fresh & Delicious

Meals from breakfast Day 1 through lunch the last day are fully included and prepared by your guide. We never use dehydrated backpacking meals, instead serving freshly prepared, delicious backcountry cuisine made with a variety of common and specialty ingredients that travel well in the wilderness.

backpacking campsites

Amazing Campsites

In the Action

Of course campsites vary tremendously by destination, trip and even by the individual day of a trip. However, you can expect to camp in beautiful areas that put you right in the action to make the most of your backpacking adventure. We carefully design our itineraries with campsites in mind.

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