Yosemite Backpacking – Hetch Hetchy
Get up close and personal with Yosemite National Park, traveling on foot through a landscape that few people get to experience. Hetch Hetchy Valley, formed millions of years ago by glacial erosion, has often been spoken of as Yosemite Valley's sibling. Although the valley underwent a massive transformation when Congress approved building a dam in 1913, stunning trails and vistas remain for backpackers, wildflower enthusiasts, and spring waterfall lovers. Join us on our foray into the wilds of the Sierras and enjoy this backcountry experience as our guides share their love of one of the world's most revered wilderness areas. A stunning trip for the experienced and beginner backpacker alike, we'll carry all our belongings on our back; including personal and group gear (totaling approximately 30-35 pounds) and discuss basics like map and compass use, backcountry cooking, and minimal impact camping. Get away from your daily routine as we explore the rich environmental and political history of the area.
Looking for more ways to get away from the crowds and explore Yosemite’s backcountry? Explore Tuolumne Meadows and beyond on our High Country backpacking adventure or set yourself up for some stunning views on our Yosemite Valley backpacking adventure.
Yosemite Backpacking: Hetch Hetchy Itinerary:
Day 1 Meet your fellow adventurers at the Backpackers' Campground to enjoy dinner and conversation, as well as an orientation and gear check.
Day 2 With packs loaded, we'll set out for our backcountry campsite, hiking above Hetch Hetchy Valley and taking in views of Tueeulala and Wapama Falls.
Day 3 Trading our backpacks for daypacks, we set out from our backcountry camp to day hike the lush Tiltill Valley before returning to camp.
Day 4 Break camp and hike out of the backcountry, returning to the trailhead in time for afternoon farewells as our adventure ends today.
Although we do our very best to adhere to the schedule listed above, this itinerary is subject to change for numerous reasons beyond our control. There are numerous beautiful and suitable routes available to our guides, and these routes may be utilized instead of those published in this itinerary when circumstances or conditions warrant. This trip is operated rain or shine.
Contact REI Adventures prior to purchasing your airline tickets to confirm the trip has the minimum number of participants required to operate.
Professional instruction and guiding; meals as noted on the daily itinerary; 2-person tents; group cooking gear; group first aid kit, water filter; campsite and permit fees.
Transportation from your hometown to group meeting point; park entrance fees where required, insurance of any kind; alcoholic beverages; soft drinks; guide gratuities and items of a personal nature.
Merced, CA: 80 miles, 2 hours
Fresno, CA: 100 miles, 4 hours
Oakland, CA: 180 miles, 5.5 hours
Reno, NV: 180 miles, 5.5 hours
There is no reliable transfer service from any airport to our meeting place. Anticipate renting a car if flying in for this weekend getaway. Although YARTS (Yosemite Area Regional Transportation Service) does offer transportation from Merced to Yosemite National Park, it does not serve the Hetch Hetchy area.
Daytime temperatures usually range between 60-80 degrees F, with evening temperatures dropping to the 40s or 50s. You may encounter freezing temperatures at some of the higher elevations. Afternoon thunderstorms are a distinct possibility so adequate raingear is important.
This trip is subject to the booking information set forth in the current REI Adventures Weekend Reservation Information. Please read this information carefully and call us if you have any questions. A full gear list and detailed pre-trip information is sent upon sign-up. We highly recommend the purchase of travel insurance through REI Adventures. If coverage is purchased at the time of your initial reservation, the 'Pre-existing Conditions Exclusion' is waived (certain exclusions apply).
We look forward to having you join us for the trip of a lifetime! Why wait? Space is limited, reserve your adventure today.
Yosemite Backpacking – Hetch Hetchy
The key to staying comfortable while on an active trip is layering. To get maximum comfort with minimum weight, you need versatile layers that mix and match to create the right amount of insulation, ventilation and weather protection. Try to bring only what is necessary—this will help you and the field staff.
Daytime temperatures usually range between 60º and 80º F, with evening temperatures dropping to the 40s or 50s. You may encounter freezing temperatures at some of the higher elevations. Afternoon thunderstorms are a distinct possibility so adequate raingear is important.
- Tents (3-season, 2-person)
- Cooking gear
- Stoves and fuel
- Water filter
- Group first-aid kit
- Bear canister
- Backpack: large internal frame or external frame (4000-6000 cu”)
- Pack cover - waterproof
- Sleeping bag (rated at 20º-25º F)
- Sleeping pad
- Small lightweight day pack
- Rain jacket and pants, lightweight waterproof and breathable
- Midweight fleece jacket or wool sweater
- Midweight thermal top and bottom made of synthetic or wool
- Hiking pants, quick-drying, lightweight (zip-off legs are great). No jeans!
- Hiking shorts, quick-drying, lightweight
- 1 T-shirt, synthetic
- 2 changes of underwear
- Hiking socks, 2 pairs of wool or synthetic
- Sock liners, 2 pairs of synthetic liners (optional)
- Sun hat with brim
- Wool or fleece hat
- Lightweight wool or fleece gloves
- Hiking boots: heavy duty, waterproof, and well broken-in, should rise above ankle
- One 1-quart water bottle, Nalgene-type, even if you have a hydration system
- Headlamp with spare batteries and bulb
- Plastic bowl, spoon, fork, 16 oz. mug with lid
- Sunglasses and retainer strap
- Sunblock, small amount not the whole bottle, min SPF 25
- Lip balm (unscented)
- Insect repellent (small)
- Head net for mosquitoes, especially in July
- Toothbrush & trial-sized paste
- Pack towel and/or washcloth
- Personal first aid kit, small and light with personal medications
- Bic lighter
- TP System: In a gallon Ziploc Bag store these items from the packlist above: Toilet paper (not a full roll) & 1 ziploc quart baggie, orange plastic trowel, WetOnes, Feminine Wipes, Pantiliners for women
- 1 large plastic garbage bag
- Trekking poles
- Down vest or jacket (highly recommended)
- Swimsuit (for bathing and swimming)
- Compass - the guide teaches with a Sunto M-2
- Ear plugs
- Lightweight camp shoes/sandals
- Journal and pen
- Pocket knife or multi-tool (small & lightweight)
- Camera and spare batteries
- Hydration system (bring at least one Nalgene-type bottle, even if you do bring a hydration system)
Feel free to give us a call at (800) 622-2236 should you have any questions regarding the gear list. The staff at our stores and Direct Sales (800-426-4840) will also be happy to help you with gear questions. Or check out www.rei.com/learn. The Expert Advice section on our "Learn" page has great information to help you prepare for your trip.