Yosemite Backpacking – The High Country

Trip Length4 Days
Group Size4-12
Activity level
Starting from
$1,699 for REI Members
$1,869 for non-members
DeparturesJun 2024-Sep 2024

Spend four days backpacking through spectacular scenery in Yosemite’s high country.

Yosemite National Park, set amongst California’s Sierra Nevada mountains, is one of America’s most beautiful gems. Backpacking the High Sierra is an experience unlike any other, and the views that await us are nothing short of amazing. With each bend in the trail, enjoy yet another quintessential high country vantage point. While our routes vary according to season, permits and trail conditions, our exceptional guides will lead us on a journey that is thrilling and memorable for both avid backpackers and those just starting out. Learn how to set up camp with minimal environmental impact, brush up on the basics of packing light, and hone your backpacking skills. We each carry 35-40 pounds of individual and group gear while backpacking and hiking between 2-9 miles daily. This trip is an unforgettable opportunity to relish jaw-dropping views of towering alpine peaks and spectacular granite domes and revel in the extraordinary beauty of Yosemite.

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A magical sunset experienced from close to our camp on this amazing backpacking adventure

Trip Highlights

  • Backpack Yosemite National Park's dramatic high alpine wilderness
  • Follow expert guides to classic vistas and hidden wonders
  • Learn vital backpacking skills
  • Hike past sparkling lakes and granite domes in the magnificent High Sierra

Activities

This trip is rated Moderate Plus [3–4]. Although this is a novice backpacking trip, conditioning is key to the enjoyment of it, as there are daily moderate to strenuous physical challenges. Participants will be carrying their own backpacks weighing 35 to 40 pounds up and down hills at a high elevation, for distances of up to 7.5 miles daily, over varied terrain. This high country backpacking itinerary begins at an elevation of 7,500' and will climb to 9,600'. Two nights will be spend camping at an elevation of just over 9,200'. Keep the high elevation of this trip in mind when training for this adventure as backpacking will feel harder and use more energy than at lower levels, especially if coming from a lower elevation/sea level.

To maximize your enjoyment of the trip, we strongly encourage participants to be involved in a training regimen before the trip, that ideally includes some training hikes with a weighted pack. We also recommend that you stay well hydrated prior to departure to assist in mitigating altitude sickness. Most important to your enjoyment of the trip is your overall fitness level.

  • Backpacking

What's Included

Professional instruction and guiding; meals as noted on the daily itinerary; 3-person tents for 2 guests; group cooking gear; group first aid kit, water filter; campsite and permit fees.

Accommodations

Backcountry camping, 3 nights

Your Adventure Itinerary

Itinerary map for Yosemite Backpacking – The High Country
Day 1

Our adventure begins at the Ten Lakes Trailhead in Yosemite National Park

Our trip begins at the Ten Lakes Trailhead, 7,500’ in elevation. Please allow plenty of time to drive to the Ten Lakes Trailhead parking area, park your vehicle and make your way to the trailhead. Your guides will welcome you with an orientation including a gear check and tips for correctly packing and fitting a backpack, as well as a tasty dinner. Once we distribute the group gear and food we will hit the trail to our first campsite, just over one mile into the backcountry. A tent set up demo & briefing about our fun day of hiking tomorrow finishes the first wonderful day in the Yosemite backcountry! Dinner included.

Backpacking: 1.2 miles; Elevation gain 400'.

Day 2

Backpack among the jagged peaks, domes and lakes of the high country

We enjoy breakfast in camp before packing up backpacking to Ten Lakes Pass (about 9,660’) and down to our next remote campsite close to Lower Grant Lake (9,258') that will be our home for the next two nights. We will stop for lunch and photo opportunities and work on skills development along the way. Once at our campsite, choose to relax at camp or opt for a swim in the alpine waters. Following dinner, look forward to an inspirational evening campfire program as we watch for shooting stars overhead. All meals and snacks provided.

Backpacking: 4.5 miles; Elevation gain of approximately 2,000'.

Day 3

Continue exploring the backcountry and building skills

Another glorious day in the mountains awaits us as we don our packs and hit the trail. After breakfast, we’ll leave our camp and take only daypacks as we embark on a 4 to 5 mile exploration of the Ten Lakes Basin. We’ll adventure from lake to lake with many optional swims, hikes and scenic rest breaks. We’ll enjoy lunch at one of the many spectacular alpine lakes in the basin before we make our way back to camp. Dinner is followed by a relaxing, reflective campfire program on our last night beneath the bright Sierra stars. All meals and snacks provided.

Hiking: 3.5 to 6 miles; Elevation gain: 1,000’ to 1,200’

Day 4

Enjoy a final view of Yosemite's granite icons before hiking out

After a hearty breakfast, we pack up our gear and retrace our steps to Ten Lakes Pass and down the Ten Lakes Trail to our cars waiting at the trailhead. We plan to arrive between 4 and 5pm, but there is no guarantee as trail conditions and other factors can impact travel times. Those flying out of Fresno should plan flights after 9:30pm; those flying out of Oakland should plan flights after 10:30pm. Breakfast, snacks and lunch included.

Backpacking: 6.5; Elevation loss: 2,100'.

Itinerary map for Yosemite Backpacking – The High Country

Gear List

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.

Already booked this trip? Sign into your online traveler profile for a more detailed list of what you'll need.

REI members can shop for gently used gear online or at most REI stores. Members can also trade in pre-loved used gear online or at any REI store in exchange for REI gift card credit. Check out Re/Supply at REI to learn more.

We provide

  • All Group Cooking Gear
  • Bear Canister
  • Group First Aid Kit
  • Stoves and Fuel
  • Tent(s)
  • Trekking Poles
  • Water Filter

What to pack

Contact Us

Feel free to give us a call at 1 (800) 622-2236 should you have any questions regarding the gear list. The staff at our stores and Direct Sales ( 1 (800) 426-4840 ) will also be happy to help you with gear questions. Or check out REI Expert Advice , which has great information to help you prepare for your trip.

Trip specifics may change over time. Reviews reflect the version of the trip that was active at the time the reviewer took it. Please review the itinerary as described above and call our team for any additional details.