Yosemite North to South 2020

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Re: Yosemite North to South 2020

Post by wildhiker » Thu Oct 10, 2019 10:24 pm

Yes, the High Trail runs parallel to the Merced River trail, but up on the slope above to the east. The "mapbuilder" layer in Caltopo is based on OpenStreetMap data. Openstreetmap is a crowd-sourced map. Only trails that contributors have entered will show. In general, it seems to show trails more accurately than the old USGS topos, but as you found out, not all trails have been entered on OpenStreetMap. The High Trail does show correctly on the USGS topo layer in Caltopo and is a well-maintained trail.

You can get a flavor of the Lyell Fork Merced River by exploring just a half mile upstream cross-country from the High Trail. In fact, there are fabulous campsites just that far up. See my trip report from 2016: viewtopic.php?t=15812


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Re: Yosemite North to South 2020

Post by potatopants » Sat Oct 12, 2019 5:46 am

Thank you, Phil, for the explanation. I'm enjoying your trip report immensely. It's helpful to know it's maintained so I can plan my daily mileage accordingly.

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Re: Yosemite North to South 2020

Post by sedersmith » Sun Nov 17, 2019 3:47 am

potatopants wrote:
Tue Oct 08, 2019 12:47 pm
Hi all, I'm looking into a 2020 trip that criss-crosses Yosemite north to south, and I've loosely sketched out a possible figure-eight route that's around 200 miles.

2020 will mark 10 years since my first visit, a trip that was a pivotal moment for me. So Yosemite has a special place in my heart, and I'd like to use this trip as a fundraiser to give back, supporting conservation work and youth programs in the park. Any thoughts you might be able to share to help me plan an enjoyable and successful trip would be very much appreciated.

A few details about my experience:
  • Solo travel
    Level 2 to 3 backpacker
    A handful of Sierra trips under my belt ranging from 3 to 16 days in length; familiar with terrain and potential hazards
    Some unmaintained trail experience (Colby Pass Trail)
    Prefer to stay on trail
    Good to go with river crossings, high elevation, exposures, and sketchy passes
    Usual pace is 10-13 miles per day on average on maintained trails
Map and route details:
I can complete this route anytime between July and mid September, depending on permits.
Tuolumne seems like a logical start/end point so I can resupply there midway.

The northern loop is about 120 miles and travels clockwise through the Grand Canyon of the Tuolumne, joins up with the PCT, leaves Yosemite and cuts over to the West Walker River Trail, heading southeast and reentering Yosemite on the Buckeye Canyon Trail. Rejoin the PCT and end back at Tuolumne. Resupplying is an issue, since I'd anticipate wanting as many as 10 days to complete this loop. If I can't work out a resupply, I'd consider a lollipop, entering at Sonora Pass and following the PCT to Tuolumne, which would be around 70 miles and maybe 6 days.

The southern loop is about 80 miles. It follows the JMT from Tuolumne to the Panorama Trail, south over Buena Vista Pass and then turning north near Quartz Mtn toward Merced, then Vogelsvang, and back to Tuolumne. I anticipate as many as 7 days and will be able to manage with one food carry for this loop.

Any thoughts on this potential route? Potential challenges aside from resupply that I should consider? Areas to avoid? Places I shouldn't miss?

Thank you in advance for any insights you might be able to share!
Hi buddy, I even am planning to do something similar, but can you share the estimated cost that you feel is needed (Approx).

Sloth Smith

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Re: Yosemite North to South 2020

Post by Wandering Daisy » Sun Nov 17, 2019 10:40 am

Just a few notes:

1 The northern loop will take more than 10 days. If you rush down the GCT you will miss a lot.
2 The lower part of the trail was blocked by rockfall when I was there a few years ago.
3 Definitely camp near the top of Waterwheel Falls. Once you drop down the views are inferior.
4 Avoid camping in Pate Valley - it is horrible! Better camping about a mile up Piute Creek.
5 The trail from Pate Valley up to Pleasant Valley is horribly hot in the afternoon - do early AM.
6 From Pleasant Valley to Rancheria Creek water sources dry up early - mid summer on maybe no water
7 From Peeler Lake it is more scenic to drop down a bit and go back up via Robinson and Crown Lakes then over Mule Pass
8 Possible resupply at Twin Lakes if you drop down from Robinson Lake. A small store. Maybe they would hold a resupply box for you.
9 Take a side trip to Maltby and Ice Lakes view points.
10 Burro Pass and down Matterhorn Canyon is very nice. Best camping with views across the creek at about 10,000 before you drop down

Southern route - Why do the loop to Chiquito Lake? Not scenic at all.
I would go via Ottoway Lakes and pass then down the trail, taking the low trail along the Merced. You would take the high trail on the way in so no repeat miles

Resupply points are Tuolumne Meadows, Twin Lakes, Hetch-Hetchy, Yosemite Valley. Starting each trip from Tuolumne makes sense for transportation but then you do not utilize it as the best resupply point. May re-think where you plan to start or shorten each loop if needed to avoid resupply.

You need to do a detailed daily plan to see what is really feasible - daily mileages and elevation gains and consider the best campsites.

Long ago I did a similar northern loop and started at Twin Lakes- just carried 12 days food. Although I did not resupply I could have at Tuolumne Meadows.

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