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Yosemite Backpacking – Classic Yosemite

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

If soaring peaks, epic views & walking in the footsteps of giants is your desire, this 4-day backpacking adventure was made for you!

For those, like John Muir, who believe time spent in nature is the pathway to a life well lived, majestic Yosemite National Park is the perfect destination. Breathe deeply amidst the Jeffrey pines, wiggle toes in crisp mountain streams and take in the colors of a Sierra sunrise as we backpack through this beautiful area.

Our route along Yosemite Creek takes advantage of running snowmelt, which feeds into crystal clear mountain creeks, eventually rushing over cliff edges to become the 2500’ high Yosemite Falls! Take a refreshing dip to wash away the miles-long journey. Trade our heavy packs for daypacks on a hike to the top of Eagle Peak, considered by John Muir to be the most comprehensive of all Yosemite views from the north rim of the valley. Along the journey, our expert professional guides will help hone our backpacking skills while teaching us the essentials of packing light and the history of all that surrounds us.

2024 dates coming soon!

Sign up for trip updates to learn about new dates the moment we add them. And you can always contact us with questions about upcoming availability: (800) 622-2236 |

A hike to the top of 2,425-foot-high Yosemite Falls offers a unique perspective of one of America's highest waterfalls.

Trip Highlights

  • Hike to America’s tallest waterfall on a 4-day backpacking trip in Yosemite
  • Stand atop Eagle Peak and enjoy one of John Muir's favorite views of Yosemite
  • Look down 2,500' from the top of Yosemite Falls and marvel at the High Sierra


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 & down hills at elevation (between 6,900 & 7,749 ft), for distances of up to 8 miles daily over varied terrain.

To maximize your enjoyment of the trip, we strongly encourage you 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; 2-person tents; group cooking gear; group first aid kit, water filter; campsite and permit fees.


Backpackers campground, 1 night; Backcountry camping, 2 nights

Your Adventure Itinerary

Itinerary map for Yosemite Backpacking – Classic Yosemite

Important Itinerary Note:

Trip dates are subject to permit availability and may change. Permits are obtained approximately 5 months prior to departure. Based on permit availability trip start dates may shift by a day or two. When planning for this trip/requesting time away from work, consider requesting a day or two before and/or after for flexibility.

Day 1

Welcome to Yosemite where our backpacking adventure begins!

This trip begins in Yosemite National Park, California. Today you will meet your guides and the other group members at the Backpackers' Campground, located at the far end of The North Pines Campground in Yosemite Valley for trip orientation, gear check, and dinner. Please allow yourself ample time as traffic can sometimes be an issue in the valley. Dinner included.

Day 2

Set out on a fun day of backpacking

We enjoy breakfast in camp before dividing up group gear, packing up our bags, and setting out in our own personal vehicles, for about 38 miles (45 minutes to an hour). Starting out at a comfortable pace, we hike through a coniferous forest of Jeffrey and western white Pines, keeping a sharp eye out for birds like the mountain chickadee or Clark's nutcracker. This is typically a full first day of backpacking, with time along the way for lunch and natural interpretation. Today's trail runs beside the rushing waters of Yosemite Creek, traveling just below the snowline. Lunch is along our route, which is between 5-7 miles with an elevation loss of around 700 feet. A refreshing dip in the creek can wash away the miles and bring smiles. After dinner, we'll enjoy some camaraderie around the campfire. All meals and snacks provided.

Mileage: 5-7 miles; 700' elevation loss

Day 3

Day hike to the top of Eagle Peak and Upper Yosemite Falls

After breakfast, we continue exploring the Yosemite backcountry. Today, we'll explore with only our daypacks as we set out for the rim of Yosemite Valley to enjoy the panoramic view from Eagle Peak, where we will experience Clouds Rest, Half Dome and other iconic features of the park face to face. John Muir considered this view to be "the most comprehensive of all the views" from the north rim of the valley. If there's time and desire, we will head over to the top of Yosemite Falls, 2,425' above the valley floor. There should be time for a relaxing evening swim before dinner, and our final sleep under the Sierra stars will prepare us for the next day's hike back to civilization. All meals provided.

Mileage: 6-8 miles; 1,000' elevation gain/loss

Day 4

Return along Yosemite Creek to Tioga Pass Road

On our final day, breaking camp after breakfast we make our way out of the backcountry retracing our path traveling along Yosemite Creek, a different perspective now after our nights out in the clean mountain air. We plan to arrive back at our vehicles by 4pm but there is no guarantee that we'll make it by then, so those flying out of Fresno should plan no flights before 9:30pm and those flying out of Oakland should plan no flights home before 10:30pm. Breakfast, snacks and lunch included.

Mileage: 5-7 miles; 700' elevation gain

Itinerary map for Yosemite Backpacking – Classic Yosemite

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.

Provided by REI

  • 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.