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Suggestions for Glen Aulin Passthrough hike

Posted: Sun Jun 21, 2020 2:14 pm
by genetastic
I just scored Yosemite wilderness permits for a Glen Aulin passthrough hike, going to either Cold Canyon or Waterwheel Falls. I'll be out for three nights, so the options I see are:

1. Glen Aulin TH / Cold Canyon / McCabe Lakes
2. Glen Aulin TH / Cold Canyon / Miller Lake
3. Maybe hit both Miller and McCabe for two separate nights
4. Glen Aulin TH / Grand Canyon of the Tuolumne / Pate Valley

It looks like the Cold Canyon options are better for getting up into an alpine environment, so that seems more appealing. If I'm targeting ~10 to 12 miles per day, that doesn't quite get me to either Miller or McCabe. I can push through to the 14 miles to McCabe or the 13 miles to the PCT junction to Miller, since the climb seems pretty gentle. But are there any decent water/camping options closer to the 10 to 12 mile mark on the PCR along Cold Canyon?

Thanks in advance!

Re: Suggestions for Glen Aulin Passthrough hike

Posted: Sun Jun 21, 2020 3:10 pm
by Wandering Daisy
Upper McCabe Lake is far more scenic than lower (although lower has fish). There is no trail to upper McCabe, but not too difficult. In my opinion, Miller is not worth going to unless you drop down and camp in Matterhorn Canyon.

The Grand Canyon of the Tuolumne is actually more spectacular. You would not have to go to Pate Valley if you are going to turn around and go back up. If you go to Pate Valley may as well go out White Wolf. When is your trip? If early then I would go down the Grand Canyon of Tuolumne There are several trip reports on GCT.

Even if you go to McCabe Lakes, I would camp first night near Waterwheel Falls and then back to Cold Canyon next day. I did a trip into McCabe Lakes (from Saddlebag Lakes) two years ago, late season. I did a trip report, you may want to look at it just to see the photos of Upper McCabe Lake.

Re: Suggestions for Glen Aulin Passthrough hike

Posted: Mon Jun 22, 2020 8:35 am
by c9h13no3
Let me second Daisy's suggestion of going to Waterwheel/Leconte Falls on the first day. That place is awesome early season.

Re: Suggestions for Glen Aulin Passthrough hike

Posted: Fri Jun 26, 2020 9:07 pm
by rgliebe
There is a nice meadow, the real Glen Aulin, after you pass the High Sierra Camp, and right now it should be pretty dry. On wet years with lots of snow and runoff it is pretty wet in June, but otherwise it is nice. I've camped there before in August and enjoyed the quiet. The only problem is you don't have bear lockers there, so make sure everything you have that smells is sealed up in a canister. A friend of mine lost his fishing supplies there because he had some bait with him that a bear grabbed in the middle of the night - the bag had lures, line, bobbers, and the bait. He never found any sign of any of it the next morning.

I second the waterfalls on the Tuolumne River as being one of the top attractions in the park that only hikers get to see. McCabe Lakes are nice, but are much easier to get at from Saddlebag Lake if you don't mind a sketchy trail and a little cross country hiking.

Re: Suggestions for Glen Aulin Passthrough hike

Posted: Mon Jun 29, 2020 1:29 pm
by genetastic
Thanks all for your comments.

We decided to add one more night on our hike and to do a loop going up Cold Canyon, around Benson Pass, and then back up via Grand Canyon of the Tuolomne. Does anyone know of a good camping site coming south down Rodgers Canyon from around Smedberg Lake where we're planning on spending a night? We can press all the way down to the Tuolomne, but I'd prefer to take it easy on the knees and have a slightly shorter day.

Re: Suggestions for Glen Aulin Passthrough hike

Posted: Sun Jul 05, 2020 6:19 pm
by rgliebe
You can camp at Rodgers or Neall Lake, but last time I was there I camped along Rodgers Creek very close to the rim before the trail turns west to follow the rim. The creek should have a little water flowing in it. It’s your last water option before reaching the bottom near Pate Valley, and it should put you about 4 hours from the middle of Pate Valley, depending on how fast you go down the 2K drop. The trees will prevent any view of the area, but it’s very quiet and I doubt you will see anyone on this trail section. The trail does get faint along the rim as it goes through a bushy area with lots of tree cover.