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Yosemite Backpacking Guides
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Yosemite Hiking Vacation

Yosemite Valley South Rim

Highlights

  •   Spectacular Yosemite views
  •   Multiple dramatic waterfalls
  •   Action packed days of hiking
  •   Pristine mountain creeks
  •   Wonderful, scenic campsites
  •   Iconic Yosemite domes

Description

Explore the Southern Rim of Yosemite Valley on this four day excursion into the Yosemite Backcountry. This trip is a great early season adventure up to the south 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.

The trek begins and ends in Yosemite Valley, where El Capitan and Half Dome tower over the famous meadows. We'll explore majestic Tunnel View, Dewey Point, Glacier Point and climb to the top of Sentinel Dome. We will also camp above Bridalveil Falls and trek along the famous John Muir Trail as we make our way past Vernal and Nevada falls.

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
Difficulty:
Solitude:
Yosemite Valley
4 days
22mi / 35km
$1010 Per Person

Travel to Yosemite Valley

  Private Trips

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Trip Dates & Booking

Click on a date to register.
You can also click here to request new dates or book through customer service.
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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 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. 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 Half Dome Village or in camp.

Day 2
  • Hiking Mileage: 7.1 miles
  • Elevation Gain: 2000 feet

Our day begins with a short shuttle up to the amazing Tunnel View where we will catch the sun rising over Half Dome and get our gear ready for the Trek. The hike begins with a hefty 7.1-mile climb toward Bridalveil Creek where we will camp for the night. Along the way we will stop at Old Inspiration Point and Dewey Point, each come with Panoramic Views of the Valley below and El Capitan. Once we hit the creek above Bridalveil Falls we will set up camp for the night and cook an amazing dinner under the stars.

Day 3
  • Hiking Mileage: 7 miles
  • Elevation Gain: 1100 feet
  • Elevation Loss: 1600 feet

After an early rise and a hearty meal cooked by your guide we will pack up for an unforgettable day on the Pohono Trail. Ascending roughly 500ft takes us to an unparalleled view at Taft point. We will hang out for a few and then make our way toward the summit of Yosemite’s iconic Sentinel Dome. The view from here is 360 degrees all around the park, views of Mount Clark, Half Dome, and Yosemite falls dominate the landscape. Next up is a short walk to Glacier Point, a 3000 ft wall above Yosemite Valley and we will be standing right on top of it! This is a perfect place to have lunch and really enjoy views of Vernal/Nevada Falls and Mt. Starr King. From here we will descend a few miles into the Illilouette Creek drainage where we will pass a waterfall and make camp for the night.

Day 4
  • Hiking Mileage: 7.7 miles
  • Elevation Gain: 0 feet
  • Elevation Loss: 3000 feet

Today we will meet up with the John Muir Trail and pass 2 of Yosemite’s iconic waterfalls along the way. After breakfast in camp we will pack up and backtrack a bit as we cross Illilouette Creek toward the JMT. Once we hit the trail junction we will make our way to the top of Nevada Falls. From here you can see Glacier Point and a commanding view of the Merced River below. We will take time for photos and a quick snack and continue down the John Muir Trail. Aptly named, Clark Point, named after Yosemite’s original gatekeeper, Galen Clark, quickly comes into view. From this trail junction we will catch up with the Mist trail that will take us face to face with Vernal Falls, a perfect way to end the trip, this is a must see in Yosemite. As we make our way back down from the falls we will hit flat ground back in Yosemite Valley where we will make our way back to the cars at Half Dome Village. A last lunch with your guide will await you as we say our goodbyes and reflect on an amazing trip in Yosemite.




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
  • 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? 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 Half Dome 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 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.


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 6 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)
     
 
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°
 

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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