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permit/trailhead question

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permit/trailhead question

Postby boognish » Wed Dec 28, 2016 2:09 pm

Monday I am going to start applying for Yosemite Wilderness permits. I have a few questions. I have searched but haven't found definite answers.

I am not sure about which trailheads to start from.
Looking for suggestions for camping spots.
Sort of wondering what to expect weather wise.
Is late June considered summer?

Route I want to take. Start Monday morning from Cathedral Lakes Trailhead (?) on John Muir Trail. Follow along Cathedral Fork. Continue along Echo Creek. East along Merced River. Merced Lake. Continue North East. Vogelsang Lake. Follow Rafferty Creek. Back on John Muir Trail. Back to Cathedral Lakes Trailhead(?).

So I want to start Monday morning late June 19 and exit June 21. That is three days and two nights. Is Cathedral Lakes Trailhead the trailhead I want to start at? For second or third choice would I want to start at Lyell Canyon Trailhead or one of the others and stick to the same route? What is best to put for my first night camp location? Any suggestions on areas to camp the second night? Are the shuttles running in that area late June or is it better to drive to the trailhead?
I am sure I am going to have a ton of other questions as I get this going. After backpacking for these three days I am planning on getting a room and doing a few day hikes over two days. I want to do the Yosemite Falls one day and Clouds Rest the next day. Would there be a better bang for my buck? If I have a spare hour or two someplace is there another short hike you can suggest?
I am coming from the New Orleans area and for the last few years have been hiking and camping in this area. I grew up in East TN/West NC and have hiked and camped a lot of that area.
Thanks for any help or suggestions you may have for me.



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Re: permit/trailhead question

Postby markskor » Wed Dec 28, 2016 3:54 pm

Long way to hike in three days...ambitious plan.
Suggest folding those "extra" two days into one longer trip...better a 5 day loop.
Start Sunrise and do Clouds Rest. Next day HD.
Backtrack to Echo - or just follow river up - maybe Merced (...Washburn better).
Up next to Voglesang or Bernice or?
Rafferty to Tuolumne - shuttle bus back to Sunrise.

Or perhaps, start TM and do reverse loop, whatever permit is more "Next Day" available.
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Re: permit/trailhead question

Postby boognish » Wed Dec 28, 2016 4:07 pm

I thought that would be about 30 miles. Is 10 miles a day on that route going to be killing it? I don't want to go too hard. I want to be able to enjoy myself and take in the scenery. Maybe 4-5 or so hours a day hiking. I had another loop I looked at http://www.alltrails.com/trail/us/calif ... umne-river but I figured that was not enough for three days. I really would like to do cloud rest and Yosemite Falls on this trip.
I will look up what you suggested. Thank you.
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Re: permit/trailhead question

Postby AlmostThere » Wed Dec 28, 2016 8:52 pm

The trails that would connect you to Yosemite Falls from the trail system that Cathedral Lake is in will make this harder by far, longer than you think. Do Yosemite Falls as a day hike. Do the rest of it as a backpacking trip.

Applying for the permit -- put alternates if you want to maximize your chances of a permit. Consider Cathedral trailhead -> Lakes -> Merced Lake -> Happy Isles, then the reverse, starting at Happy Isles out to Tuolumne Meadows. Then a third alternate could be Sunrise trailhead. I would expect that to be the starting point if you wish to do Clouds Rest. That could look like Sunrise -> Sunrise Lakes -> Clouds Rest -> Little Yosemite Valley -> Happy Isles. Use a bus to get to your starting point, there are a couple of options - the hiker bus and YARTS.

Late June is early summer/midsummer, depending on how the snowmelt goes. The mosquito hordes are also dependent on the state of the melt. Be prepared with headset and loose clothing, and your choice of repellant.
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Re: permit/trailhead question

Postby Wandering Daisy » Wed Dec 28, 2016 10:20 pm

You could do it as a one-way trip to Yosemite Valley and take the YARTS bus back to Cathedral Lake trailhead. The YARTS schedule is on the internet.
There is also a free shuttle that runs between some trailheads on Tioga Road. You do not necessarily have to go back to the same trailhead.

Get out a topograpical map and look at your elevation gains. A ten-mile day in Yosemite often involves gaining 3,000 feet or more. And consider doing this elevation gain in 80-90-degree heat- not that unusual for late June.
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Re: permit/trailhead question

Postby boognish » Thu Dec 29, 2016 9:47 am

AlmostThere wrote:The trails that would connect you to Yosemite Falls from the trail system that Cathedral Lake is in will make this harder by far, longer than you think. Do Yosemite Falls as a day hike. Do the rest of it as a backpacking trip.

Applying for the permit -- put alternates if you want to maximize your chances of a permit. Consider Cathedral trailhead -> Lakes -> Merced Lake -> Happy Isles, then the reverse, starting at Happy Isles out to Tuolumne Meadows. Then a third alternate could be Sunrise trailhead. I would expect that to be the starting point if you wish to do Clouds Rest. That could look like Sunrise -> Sunrise Lakes -> Clouds Rest -> Little Yosemite Valley -> Happy Isles. Use a bus to get to your starting point, there are a couple of options - the hiker bus and YARTS.

Late June is early summer/midsummer, depending on how the snowmelt goes. The mosquito hordes are also dependent on the state of the melt. Be prepared with headset and loose clothing, and your choice of repellant.


Ok I may have been confusing in what I want to do. The first three days were a backpacking trip with a loop to Merced Lakes. Then I was going to get a room someplace and do Yosemite Falls as a day trip one day and Cloud Rest as a day trip the next day.

Also when you are giving me trailhead these are not trailhead I can chose when applying for backpacking permits. The trailheads I can choose in Tuolumne Meadow are Sunrise, Murphy, Cathedral, Rafferty Creek->Vogelsang, Lyell Cayon, Glen Aulin, Young Lakes via Dog Lake, Young Lakes via Glen Aulin, Mono Pass. I had some other routes planned I just was sure how to fill the application out about entry exit points.

Never mind the happy isle trail head was under the Valley. I have been doing nothing but reading and looking at maps of yosemite for the last three or so weeks and I think I have broken and confused myself beyond repair.

The more I have looked at the map and your post the more it makes sense to me. These are some routes I haven't considered yet. Thank you very much.
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Re: permit/trailhead question

Postby maverick » Thu Dec 29, 2016 11:47 am

Welcome to HST!
Please read the following link, answer the questions, so then we can give suggestions based on your abilites. viewtopic.php?f=1&t=4205
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I don't give out specific route information, my belief is that it takes away from the whole adventure spirit of a trip, if you need every inch planned out, you'll have to get that from someone else.

Have a safer backcountry experience by using the HST ReConn Form 2.0, named after Larry Conn, a HST member: http://reconn.org
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Re: permit/trailhead question

Postby markskor » Thu Dec 29, 2016 5:32 pm

Yosemite has its own rules. May sound confusing at first but easy to work with.

RE - what trailhead?
For a three-day trek, lots easier to hike mostly downhill - (start out high?) - Tuolumne (HWY 120). BTW, you know that having a valid wilderness permit in hand is the key, required to camp overnight in the Yosemite wilderness.

If Clouds Rest is on your hit list, then either Sunrise TH, or add a day and do Cathedral TH. Both these routes pass/also can access Half Dome on the way down too. Another permit (is also required) to summit HD (a ranger there checks) but as part of a multi-day trip package - free (just ask when picking up your wilderness permit) as your requested trail passes right by the HD spur.

Exit Happy Isles. Stay Valley BP camp (no reservation needed), and plan for (weekends only in June/ July daily) YARTS bus back to car. However, realize this is probably the most crowded/requested TH that starts out on 120.
Alternative (and IMHO) a much better trip starts TM and goes up Rafferty...Voglesang...Washburn or Merced...LYV (and then can bag HD from here too)...down (4 days.) Another spectacular but well worn trail freeway... but not as bad as Cathedral or Sunrise.

As to what to put down as your exit date...nobody really cares, (except maybe your wife)... I always add a day or three. The primary rule is that you must start out on foot, only at the permit-stipulated TH, on the exact date indicated. As long as you are in accordance there, you can then go almost anywhere Yosemite after...trail plans do change. They ask you to put down your probable exit TH and date, but these two are not hard and fast items - always reasonably flexible.

BTW, other Yosemite rules include: You must-carry a bear-can (rented cheap at permit office), the permit thing for doing the Dome legally (already covered), the one-night only, no reservation needed, stay at BP camp rule (Valley and TM), the 4-mile rule of 120, and the quota thing for going South over Donahue.

As for obtaining a reserved permit...always a good idea, especially for larger parties...ask for one of those 3 THs. Here's the thing though, only 60% of the permits are reserved...40% are "next day only", and you can always check for a more desirable TH when you physically pick up your "reserved" permit before the hike. If you didn't succeed in getting what you really wanted "reserved", a single or a deuce can usually get a "next-day" permit anywhere, almost any day.
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Re: permit/trailhead question

Postby wildhiker » Fri Dec 30, 2016 12:58 am

Another Yosemite Wilderness Permit tip: Reserved permits that are not picked up by 10 am on the day when the trip is supposed to start are released to folks waiting in line. If you pick up your reservation (or same day walk-up permit) before 10 am, but really want a different, fully booked up trailhead, stick around at the permit office until 10 am to see if there are any cancellations. Let the ranger know that you are interested in cancellations and they will generally check for you right away at 10 am without making you wait in line again. Since the permits are free, you can return the first permit if there are now spaces available on the new trailhead. This worked for me and my two partners this summer and allowed us to get the "fully booked" trailhead we really wanted (with the less desirable one already permitted as backup) because a reservation for four was cancelled at 10 am when they did not show.
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Re: permit/trailhead question

Postby Dave_Ayers » Fri Dec 30, 2016 9:38 am

To figure out which Yosemite trailhead is appropriate, use the map at https://www.nps.gov/yose/planyourvisit/ ... lheads.pdf .
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