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Yosemite: suggested hiking for 3 days

Posted: Tue May 01, 2007 7:21 pm
by TNsoccer07
I am planning a 3 day trip to Yosemite late this May (May 22-24) and will want to spend most of my time hiking. I had originally planned spending a day doing the Snow Creek Falls Trail to North Dome to Upper Yosemite Falls to Sunnyside one day, doing the Panorama-Mist-4 Mile Trail hike another day, and then spending a day doing Half Dome. However, several things have made me reconsider my original plans. First, it looks like Tioga Pass Road and Glacier Point Road will be open and fine when I am there in late May. Therefore, I may want to spend a day hiking in those areas. Second, I tore my ACL in February playing soccer and don't know whether going downhill on steep trails will be a good idea. I will wear a brace while hiking, and I am way ahead of schedule on my post-op therapy, so things are looking okay. I think I'll be able to do most of what I had wanted, but I want to have some options. I know that Half Dome won't be an option now, though. There is no way I'll get up or down that with a bum knee.

My first question regards the North Dome hike. Given my situation, would you recommend doing North Dome from Tioga Road rather than the loop? If I do the Porcupine Creek Trail, I would like to go to both North Dome and Upper Yosemite Falls and back. Can you tell me how the mileages compare for a Mirror Lake-North Dome-Upper Yosemite Falls-Sunnyside hike and for a Tioga Pass-North Dome-Upper Yosemite Falls-Tioga Pass hike? Are there any good views on the way to North Dome from Tioga Road? Also, would you say that the hike is fairly easy from Tioga Road---how much elevation gain/loss is involved?

My second question regards the Panorama-Mist-4 Mile Trail hike. Do you think it is worth it to do this entire hike? Is it better just to go to the top of Nevada Falls on the Mist Trail and back down the John Muir Trail or to take the Panorama-Mist trail up and then a bus back down to the Valley? Are the views any better on the Panorama Trail than they are at Glacier Point? Also, if I do the entire Mist-Panorama-4 Mile hike, which trail should I go up (or down) first? I guess I could start at either Glacier Point or Yosemite Valley.

My third question regards the other day in Yosemite. I am trying to decide between a few options...

1. Spend the day on the Glacier Point Road. Hike to Sentinel Dome and Taft Point. Then, go to Mariposa Grove and check out the sequoias.

2. Spend the day on Tioga Road. Hike the Gaylor Lakes trail, Tenaya Lake loop, and the Cathedral Lakes trail.

3. Do the hike to Clouds Rest. Do you know how much elevation gain there is? Is the final stretch as steep as it looks from your photos?

I don't necessarily need to do Mariposa Grove while I'm in Yosemite because I'll be headed to Sequoia/Kings Canyon after Yosemite. I guess if I only went to the top of Nevada Fall, I might have time to take the Glacier Point Road and do Sentinel Dome that day as well. Sorry for all of the questions. Any thoughts and/or other suggestions would be greatly appreciated!

Thanks in advance,

Posted: Fri May 04, 2007 2:52 pm
by maverick
Tioga and Glacier should be open by then. The chitter chat on the
internet says it was supposed to have opened this weekend before this
new system came in, so who knows for sure, just keep an eye on the
Tioga-Glacier Road plowing update on the nps site.
16.4 miles from Porcupine Flat (round trip), about 14.2 from Mirror
Lake and to back to the bottom of Yosemite Falls. The Porcupine
option will be a better option for you knees.
Hike to Nevada Falls via the Mist Trail then take the Panorama Trail
to Glacier Point and take the shuttle bus back. Thats if Glacier Road is
open and if the shuttle is running(lots of ifs).
Clouds Rest is about 16 miles round trip from Tenaya Lake. Starting
elevatiom is 8149ft and Clouds Rest is at 9926ft.
The best view point in Yosemite!!
Gaylor option is nice too but doesnt touch CR.

Posted: Fri May 04, 2007 3:30 pm
by TNsoccer07
maverick: Thank you SO MUCH for your input. That's just what I was looking for! Would you say the superior scenery along the Snow Creek Trail to North Dome outweighs the added exertion? My physical therapist and athletic trainer said that steepness of trails and length of trails is not a concern. It is stepping over objects in the trail and making sure I place my foot back properly to avoid my knee giving out that is the major concern.

You suggested taking the shuttle back to the Valley from GP. Are there not any views along the 4 Mile Trail? I just figured that it would probably just as fast to take the 4 Mile Trail down and that I would save a lot of money by not using the shuttle (there will be 5 of us).

I think your opinion of Clouds Rest has persuaded me to choose that option. I have heard many people say it is one of their most memorble hikes in the park. I just hope the trail is in decent shape when I am there.

Thanks again,

Posted: Fri May 04, 2007 4:04 pm
by maverick
Hi Sean

You can go either way my only concern is once you get to the top of
the Snow Creek Trail and get into the forested region you may
encounter snow, but who knows this year.
The SCT is nice as you get towards the top but the views from
North Dome are pretty, it gives you a different up close
view of Half Dome.
Im sure your taking trekking poles(with snow baskets just in case) they
will give you balance and save your knees on the down hills.
Sure you can take the 4 Mile Trail down I just though you were
trying to opt for less steep descents.
Your milage approx from the road up to Nevada Falls(Mist Trail)
to Glacier Point via the Panorama Trail and down the 4 Mile Trail
to the road is 13.8 miles.
Your starting at around 4100ft up to 7214ft(GP) and back down in
4.6 miles thats a drop of 676 ft a mile on a post-op ACL tear!

Posted: Fri May 04, 2007 4:27 pm
by TNsoccer07
Hmmm...that is pretty darn steep! Do you think it would be better going up the 4 Mile Trail and down the Panorama-Mist Trail instead? I guess that way I could possibly get to GP before the zoo of people arrives. The only concern with that would be encountering a ton of people on the Mist Trail. I guess most people stop at Vernal, though, so maybe I'll be okay. I guess I can take my time at GP. BTW, this is kind of random, but the classic picture I keep seeing of Nevada Fall, Liberty Cap, and Half Dome: is that viewed from the Panorama Trail or the John Muir Trail?

Thanks once again for your great advice!

Posted: Fri May 04, 2007 4:41 pm
by maverick
Panorama Trail. And yes going up 4 MT would be a better option.

Posted: Fri May 04, 2007 6:22 pm
by TNsoccer07
THANK YOU! I think that should be all of my questioning for Yosemite now. I really appreciate it!


Porcupine Flat to North Dome

Posted: Fri May 04, 2007 8:47 pm
by michaeljf
I hiked the round trip from Porcupine Flat to North Dome a couple of years ago. Its a pleasant hike but not particularly scenic until you get pretty close to the rim. Nowhere near the drama of the Snow Creek Trail. The elevation changes are not dramatic. My bad knees didn't complain.

Posted: Sat May 05, 2007 6:13 am
by TNsoccer07
Thanks michael! I think I'll go ahead and do the Snow Creek Trail instead of Porcupine Flat. Even though the hike from Porcupine Flat would be easier and shorter, I think I'll appreciate the superior scenery on the Snow Creek Trail. Plus, I kind of like the idea of making it a loop down to Sunnyside rather than having to retrace my steps back to the trailhead. That way I get to see double the scenery. Do you have any shots from the Porcupine Flat to North Dome hike?


Posted: Sat May 05, 2007 10:09 am
by michaeljf
No photos posted. There must be some out there, though. Seems you can find pix of just about anywhere with a bit of searching.

I hiked up and down the Yosemite Falls trail last fall. Incredible trail with views to die for. Come to think of it, with my knees I almost did die coming down. I had supports on both knees, leaned on my trek poles heavily, and scarfed a bunch of Motrin before I started down, but it was still pretty dicey. I eventually made it down ok. Be prepared.

On the other hand (slightly off topic) on the hike down I passed more stunning looking women than I've seen on just about any Sierra trail. Kinda offset the knee pain a bit. Most of them seemed to be accompanied by big, scowling muscle-bound guys covered in tattoos. Valley crowd, I guess.