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. Group members must arrive at camp by 4:30pm for a trip orientation, gear check and dinner. Please allow yourself ample time as traffic can sometimes be an issue in the valley. Dinner included.
We enjoy breakfast in camp before dividing up group gear, packing up our bags, and caravanning in our own personal vehicles, about 38 miles (45 minutes to an hour). We'll set a comfortable pace as we hike through the 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. We'll stop for lunch along our route, which will be between 5-7 miles with an elevation loss of around 700 feet. A refreshing dip in the creek can wash away the miles and after dinner, we'll enjoy some camaraderie around the campfire. All meals and snacks provided.
Mileage: 5-7 miles; 700' elevation loss
After breakfast, we continue exploring the Yosemite backcountry. Today, we'll load up only our daypacks and 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 below. 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
On our final day, we'll break camp after breakfast and make our way out of the backcountry retracing our path travelling uphill 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