Ideas for 2-Night Yosemite Trip - Early September

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gary c.
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Re: Ideas for 2-Night Yosemite Trip - Early September

Post by gary c. » Thu Feb 22, 2018 3:31 am

My suggestion would be to hike to and camp at Sunrise Lakes. Next day do a day hike to Clouds Rest and then back out to the car the following day. Squeeze your fishing in when you can. If you want to see Yosemite high country it doesn't get much better than from the top of Clouds Rest.


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gary c.
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Re: Ideas for 2-Night Yosemite Trip - Early September

Post by gary c. » Thu Feb 22, 2018 4:14 am

Better option!!
If possible get your permit while you are staying in Yosemite Valley. Leave your car in the valley and take the bus to the Tenaya TH. Spend the first night at Sunrise Lakes. Get up in the morning and break camp and hike to Clouds Rest. From there hike down to the Sunrise Creek/JMT junction and spend the night. In the morning get up and hike the rest of the way down to Yosemite Valley and your waiting car. That way you get to see all of the famous waterfalls on your way down.
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Re: Ideas for 2-Night Yosemite Trip - Early September

Post by markskor » Thu Feb 22, 2018 5:35 am

gary c. wrote:Better option!!
Leave your car in the Valley and take the bus to the Tenaya TH.
Great option, but...Be advised that YARTS (Valley to TM route) only runs weekends in September...and the Hiker bus stops operation just after Labor Day.
Mountainman who swims with trout

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Re: Ideas for 2-Night Yosemite Trip - Early September

Post by gary c. » Thu Feb 22, 2018 10:27 am

You are right Mark. I wasn't thinking about the September part. Just the same, by working the permit system they could get a night on each end at the backpacker camp in the valley.
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Re: Ideas for 2-Night Yosemite Trip - Early September

Post by Fairbanks142 » Thu Feb 22, 2018 6:27 pm

Thanks all for the additional info!

Mark, following up on your earlier questions, there are 4 of us in our group. Yes, we have experience at >10K elevations. Our only other trip to the Sierras was last September at Sequoia (Mosquito Lakes) -- a 2-night trip similar to what I'm looking to do here. We've done other higher elevation trips in the Rockies. And we've done much more ambitious trips -- 10+ mile days with 4K elevation changes -- but we're finding the shorter pack in with 2 nights in the same place as a base camp for day hiking and fishing is best for us.

I was wondering about restrictions on camping around the Sunrise Lakes, being so close to the trailhead, but looking at the NPS site I can see that camping is allowed there.

Again thanks to all for all of the great info and suggestions!

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Re: Ideas for 2-Night Yosemite Trip - Early September

Post by tmorton23 » Fri Feb 23, 2018 10:09 am

Chain Lakes in SE Yosemite. Approximately 5 miles in, very uncrowded, easy to get a permit because the trailhead is outside of Yosemite. Gnarly drive to get there, but worth it for the seclusion.

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Re: Ideas for 2-Night Yosemite Trip - Early September

Post by Wandering Daisy » Fri Feb 23, 2018 4:53 pm

If you have not been to Yosemite, and are into big granite walls, then a day in the Valley (if it is not too hot) is well worth it. Definitely do Mist Trail at least to top of Vernal Falls. Yosemite Falls will likely be dry or a dribble. Mirror Lake is not worth the effort. With a backcountry permit, you can stay at any of the backpacker campgrounds- Yosemite Valley, Tuolumne, or Hetch Hetchy, the night before your trip and the night after. The Valley is not at its best in September, so you may instead want to focus on Tuolumne. Lots of good little day hikes there too. Fun to just scramble on the many granite domes.

As for the backpack, it depends on what you are after. Are you looking for the iconic "Yosemite" or fishing, or mountain scenery, of meadows? How much off-trail are you willing to do, and how difficult? Although the lakes on the south (accessed from Fernandez TH) are nice, you would waste too much time getting there. Tuolumne trailheads are probably better. I agree that Nelson is great. Also the lakes on the back side of Matthes Crest, going in via Cathedral Lake.

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Re: Ideas for 2-Night Yosemite Trip - Early September

Post by wildhiker » Sat Feb 24, 2018 1:08 am

And if the weather is good (not too cold), and you want a high altitude experience, I would recommend starting from the Mono Pass trailhead (between Tuolumne Meadows and Tioga Pass) and hiking up to camp at Upper Sardine Lake - only about 5 miles and 1500 feet elevation gain, but you are camping at 10,400 feet on the brink of the great gash of Bloody Canyon with a great view down to Mono Lake and the desert mountains. You can dayhike to the top of nearby mountains (Gibbs or Lewis) or explore on easy cross-country (basically walking on meadowy slopes) over to Parker Pass, Helen and Spillway Lakes. This trailhead is also rarely all reserved.
-Phil

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Re: Ideas for 2-Night Yosemite Trip - Early September

Post by Fairbanks142 » Tue Feb 27, 2018 5:43 am

Thanks again to everyone for all of this excellent info. This has really helped me focus my research, and I've landed on Sunrise Lakes, Cathedral Lakes, and Rafferty Creek as the three options for trailheads on my permit application. Starting from any of those three give us plenty of good options based on what you've shared here.

It also looks like the hiker bus may still be running on the day we start out, so we'd have the option to leave our car in the valley and hike out to the car on our last day. And it looks like the bus in Tuolumne will still be operating so we might want to consider starting at Cathedral Lakes TH and then exiting at the Sunrise Lakes TH. For my permit application, I'm just going to list the same TH for the exit as the starting TH -- for example, starting at Cathedral Lakes and exiting at Cathedral Lakes. I would imagine that when we show up to pick up the permit, we could always change the exit TH?

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Re: Ideas for 2-Night Yosemite Trip - Early September

Post by wildhiker » Tue Feb 27, 2018 7:45 pm

Yes, when you pickup your reserved permit, you can change everything but the starting trailhead, starting date, size of group, and apparently, group leader. Even those things can be changed if there is still space available. When you are out hiking, you can change your route and campsites on the fly. The quota system used in the High Sierra is based solely on starting trailhead (with rare exception, such as the Whitney zone). In turn, the trailhead quotas are based on field observations plugged into computer models going back to the 70s that do simulations of possible peak usage at various locations based on analysis of actual trips and different quotas on trailheads. This is one of the great pleasures of the High Sierra compared to other high use areas, such as the Tetons or Rocky Mtn National Park. In those areas, your entire trip is regulated - you must use specific campsites on specific nights.
-Phil

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