This trip is rated Vigorous . Participants will be carrying their own backpacks with weights of 35 to 40 lbs over steep and rocky terrain with constant and dramatic elevation gain and/or loss exceeding 2,000' or more per day on most days of this trip. Day hiking with 35 to 40 lbs in the pack you intend to hike with on the trip and making sure your hiking boots are broken in before your trip is key. This is not a beginning backpacking trip. Previous experience is highly recommended.
This trip begins in Yosemite National Park, California. Today we meet our guides and the other group members in Yosemite Valley in the late afternoon. After a trip orientation and gear check we enjoy dinner together at camp. Please allow yourself ample travel time, as traffic can sometimes be an issue in the valley. Dinner included.
Today we wake and enjoy breakfast before packing up and heading out to our first backcountry campsite. We'll distribute group gear and food, review techniques for correctly packing a backpack, and discuss our route. Depending on our route, we may start with either a park shuttle (approximately one hour) or head right to our trailhead from the valley floor. This is typically a full first day of backpacking, with time along the way for lunch, a myriad of photo opportunities, trail interpretation, and maybe a dip in a mountain creek. At dusk, look forward to camaraderie around the campfire as we watch for shooting stars overhead. Our first day we'll usually hike close to 5 miles, elevation profiles will vary by route. All meals and snacks provided.
Backpacking: 5 to 7 miles; elevation gain/loss 1,000 to 2,000'.
Another glorious day in the mountains awaits us as we don our packs and hit the trail. Depending on our route, this may be a summit day with only a day pack, or we may continue our route with fully loaded packs to camp on the shoulder of Half Dome. Our guides will share their passion for backpacking in the Sierras, and you may delight in a glimpse of a marmot or the call of the mountain chickadee. A hearty dinner will satisfy your belly and the Sierra stars will satisfy your soul. All meals and snacks provided.
Backpacking: 7 to 12.5 miles; elevation gain/loss: 2,000 to 3,000'.
If this is our summit day, we'll rise early to enjoy the dome near sunrise, with a celebratory breakfast after we return to camp. Nevada and Vernal Falls will be both backdrop and soundtrack as we make our way down the Mist and John Muir Trails to the valley floor. At trail's end, we'll catch the park shuttle for a quick trip back to our cars at the Half Dome Village (formerly known as Curry Village) lot. Our estimated time of arrival back to our vehicles is approximately 4:30-6:30pm. However, please note that this may vary, as our return time is largely dictated by weather, trail conditions, hiking pace and other factors beyond our control. Breakfast, snacks and lunch included.
Backpacking 7 to 12.5 miles; elevation gain/loss 2,000 to 3,000'.