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I'm happy to help with any Yosemite questions!


I live near airport (FAT). In case you planning a trip to Yosemite, let me know if you need help on any kind 🙂

We have a REI nearby too.

Happy trail


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Ok, I'll ask two questions.  First is a hard question.  

I'm pretty familiar with most of the park.  I think I've hiked most trails South of the T. River. But there is this huge part of the park north of the river.  Other then the Pacific Crest Trail, I don't think many people get up there.  Some of my favorite places ar Vogelsang pass and Ten Lakes.  I like the higher elevations   Given this, what are some good multi-day hikes that are North of the T. river for late summer?

I know this is a hard question.  I've asked it to park rangers and no one has much experience up there.

The way I used to plan trips was to pack a week of food in a bear can and ask for a walk-in wilderness permit for "whatever is available", last year forced me to plan in advance but always got my first pick by having a group size of one and staring on a weekday.

Second question:   Where would you go three weeks from now? I'm looking for a less-popular trailhead and maybe three nights or so length.  I like hiking on snow or dirt.  But hate hiking on melted snow mixed with dirt (mud) up to my ankles.



Hi Chris - I know the north part of the park a little bit better than the south part of the park.

In answer to question one, have you considered entering the park from trailheads outside the park boundary on the Eastern side? There are multiple entry points you could consider, as close as leaving just over Tioga Pass at Saddleback Lake.

It's possible to do a loop including Benson Lake from Twin Lakes near Bridgeport. This loop could be as little as four or five days and as many as 12 easily. Green Creek also offers access, and there is reasonable access from the Virginia Lakes.

Some of these routes are more maintained than others.

The North Boundary Country of Yosemite is the most remote place you can get to in California. You might consider accessing it from the Emigrant Wilderness, or from Leavitt Meadows.

As for your second question, have you ever walked out of Hetch Hetchy? You would be a little early to take the route closer to the lake because of how much water comes through the waterfalls, but the other routes should be mostly snow free.

Have you walked the trails near Wapama Falls? That's in the southern part of the park that you mentioned earlier. That's generally snow free early. That's really nice country in spring, with lots of dogwood along the waterways.

It's also possible to access the park from Bass Road south of the park boundary. Again, you probably know that part of the park much better than I do, but it's a low snow year, so it should be just fine.

Safe travels. I have an 8 day trip planned in the Cathedral Range in mid-September if the smoke allows. It should be low key, except for lots of peaks climbed. I would consider having company with me. Hit me up, backpackers! 

Hi! I'm looking to go to Yosemite. How many days do you recommend to see most of the park and which hikes? Do you know of any BLM/ dispersed camping locations I can set up tent for free as I travel through the park? Any advice would be great! Thanks for offering advice 🙂 


@e_curts There is no "free" car camping inside the park.  There are a number of relatively inexpensive first come first served drive in camp sites in the park.  Also if you are prepared to hike 5 miles from any road you can get a Wilderness pass which used to be free but are in high demand and unless reserved well in advance are only available for the day of or next day and there are entry and exit rules.  You still have to pay the park entrance fee or have a pass.  Not sure on the status of all those in (post)covid world so check the Yosemite website.   It seems they have gone full "reservation" for this year

The park is surrounded by National Forests so it may be possible to find places you can overnight for free outside the park but I don't know the regulations for those areas.  Anything close or convenient is unlikely given the popularity of the park.  Also note that due to the Rim Fire (2013) and the Furgusen Fire (2018) much of the forest on the western side of the park is burned and not recovered.

You should check with the appropriate management unit for the area you are interested in.  Here is one...


Also, although it is a low snow year the Tioga road through Yosemite (Hwy 120) is closed in winter and you cannot cross the Sierras that way until they clear it of snow so check it is open before you make plans.  The only crossing that is almost always open in Hwy 80 unless you go around the Southern end of the Sierras.  Since it is May and there is not much snow things may be opening up already.


There is no free camping anywhere near Yosemite National Park. The free campsites that are an hour or so from the sites most folks want to visit within the park are typically filled as well, both East and West sides.

On the east side you'll probably camp south of Mono Lake. On the west side there is some free camping on the road to Hetch Hetchy and the national forest lands nearby, however these sites can be difficult to find, and much the area has been impacted by fire. On the south side it's possible to camp along Bass Road.

Many people have inside knowledge on where these free campsites are and most likely all of them will be taken on Friday through Sunday nights.

Yosemite still advertises quite a lot of restrictions, and that may include the first come first served camping as well. A lot of effort is spent in this park patrolling parking areas looking for steamy windows at night. They also patrol the areas near rock climbing cliffs.

There are many people who attempt to sleep in vehicles in Yosemite. If you are caught sleeping in your vehicle in the park, you will be ejected right then from the park, and there will be a large fine. They will not allow you to re-enter the park for a period of time as well. That is what I have been told from the rangers of the past. I'm sure with covid they might be even more insistent on rule following.

Everyone wants to visit the iconic national parks during their busiest seasons without making many plans. Do you think the classiest restaurant in your town would allow you to just show up at 7:00 p.m. and demand the best table? If your sports team was attending the championship, would every person be allowed in to the stadium if they were fans of the home team?

I wish more people considered the impact of their travels. Consideration for other visitors, and the areas and inhabitants of the areas they visit.