Yosemite Backpacking – The High Country

Trip Length 4 Days
Group Size 4-12
Activity level
Starting from
$1,099 for REI Members
$1,200 for non-members
Departures Jun 2022-Sep 2022

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. Hiking 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 30-35 pounds of individual and group gear while walking 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.

Looking for more ways to get away from the crowds and explore Yosemite’s backcountry? See another side of the park with our Yosemite Classic 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


This trip is rated Moderate Plus [3–4]. This trip is rated Moderate Plus [3–4]. ​Although this is a beginning 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, for distances of up to 9 miles daily over varied terrain.

To maximize your enjoyment of the trip, we strongly encourage participants to be involved in a training regimen before the trip. 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.


Backpackers campground, 1 night; Backcountry camping, 2 nights

Your Adventure Itinerary

Day 1

Our adventure begins at Backpackers Camp with dinner and orientation.

This trip begins in Yosemite National Park, California. Today you will meet your guides and the other group members at the Tuolumne Meadows Backpackers' Camp just uphill from the Dana Campfire Circle in the middle of the Tuolumne Meadows Campground. Group members must arrive at camp by 4:30pm for a trip orientation, gear check and dinner. Please allow yourself plenty of time as it takes some time to get up to Tuolumne Meadows. Dinner included.

Day 2

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

We enjoy breakfast in our camp before packing up and caravanning a half hour’s drive west to the Ten Lakes Trailhead (7,500’). Before leaving we’ll distribute group gear and food, as well as reviewing techniques for correctly packing & fitting a backpack. Here we begin our 6.4 mile hike to Ten Lakes Pass (about 9,660’) and down to our remote campsite close to Lower Grant Lake (9,258') that will be out 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, we will 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: 6.5 miles; elevation gain: 2,100'.

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'.

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.

What to pack

Contact Us

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 REI Expert Advice , which has great information to help you prepare for your trip.