yosemite day hiking

12:57 a.m. on October 18, 2012 (EDT)
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Hi all,

my names will and im a new member to this forum.

anyways, I am doing a last minute, much needed trip to  yosemite this weekend. I havent been there since age 10, so im stoked to take it all in and do some real hiking there as im now im my mid 20s. 

Our plan is to camp in lower pines (we got the last camp site) and then day hike. We are all experienced mountaineers and skiers. Can anyone reccomend any good day hikes (up to about 16-20 miles) that would be kind of off the beaten path, as I do understand yosemite trails tend to get very busy.

Also, does anyone know if the cables are still open? and if you can just show up in the morning and get a pass and go for it? the website indicates its either closed for the season or its full.

Thanks! I appreciate your time in reading this.

9:52 a.m. on October 18, 2012 (EDT)
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I was in Yosemite in July '11. The Valley was super crowded, but I managed to do a couple day hikes that started out in the crowds but soon left them all behind. The first was Vernal Falls (total zoo) then Nevada Falls (only a little less crazy) and then from there to Glacier Point. I saw only a handful of people past Nevada Falls, and lots of good scenery. The next day I went up to the top of Yosemite Falls, continued past Lost Arrow then on to North Dome before descending back to the valley just above Mirror Lake. Again, very few people past Yosemite Falls and Lost Arrow, and spectacular scenery all around. Sort of amazing how you can escape "Yosemite City" just by going a little farther and faster...

12:36 a.m. on October 20, 2012 (EDT)
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You know, you just can't go wrong in Yosemite, but pretty much wherever you start you are going to see lots-o-people.

As mentioned, Vernal Falls will be crowded and the hike that BigRed did is very nice.  Be careful coming down that trail by Washington Column, though.  People have died in there because they cut down too early and got into some steep terrain.

10:38 a.m. on October 20, 2012 (EDT)
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Four-Mile Trail is a bit less well-known (more like 5 miles, IIRC). Do take plenty of water.

4:55 p.m. on October 22, 2012 (EDT)
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I realize this is a little late....but just in case someone else checks this thread...


There are many hikes in Yosemite Valley that will take you into amazing scenery and are virtually empty of people.  And there are a number of great hikes that do not involve cables or Half Dome.  grin.


So let's start with a few of the alternatives to Half Dome:  Cloud's Rest is a better hike, and has better views.  North Dome as a "loop" from Porcupine Flat is a lovely hike--particularly if you go up to the rock arch along the way.  Yosemite Falls, over North Dome, and down Snow Creek would be epic, and has great views. 


As for spots with very few people indeed, check out the routes to the base of illilouette Falls, or a similar trip to Ribbon Falls.  You won't see any people on those.  And this time of year you can always hike up Tenaya Canyon until your nerves or rope skills fail you.  Just remember that it's a long wait for the bus if you have to be rescued. 


Sure, Yosemite gets a lot of visitors, but most of those never get out of their cars, and those that do hit the same four trails over and over.  If you want to find solitude, you can find it within a mile of the trailhead in Yosemite Valley.  You just have to know where to look.


There are links to all of these hikes on our website:  backpackthesierra.com



1:03 a.m. on October 23, 2012 (EDT)
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Yosemite was a beautiful place in 1974.  After a recent trip in April I will likely never return.

11:36 a.m. on October 24, 2012 (EDT)
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How sad.  We go every year at least once, often two or three times.  And as per our note above, we find wonderful places that have no people.

In fact, on our recent backpacking trips in Yosemite we have seen fewer people than in Ansel Adams, John Muir, or Emigrant Wildernesses.


But then, we don't just hike the Vernal Falls trail and drive the Valley Loop.

11:59 a.m. on October 24, 2012 (EDT)
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I am happy to hear that you have found the right places to go.  Yosemite is a treasure.  We have so many other great places to go that I have never but the effort into avoiding all the crazy Californians.

6:51 a.m. on October 26, 2012 (EDT)
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If it's any assurance for you, I hiked the John Muir trail this past summer, and a park ranger told me that "90% of the visitors to Yosimite do not walk beyond 100 yds from the roadsides".  so don't eliminate the possibilitiy of doing some great hikes and skis trips that set out from high traffic areas.  even the most spectacular vistas and simple footpaths are entry points to wonderful areas.


good luck and enjoy.

4:10 p.m. on October 26, 2012 (EDT)
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The number of people decreases as the square of the distance from the trailhead and the cube of the altitude above the Valley floor.

2:35 a.m. on October 27, 2012 (EDT)
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Yosemite in winter is wonderful. Not that crowded, although the Valley can be on holiday weekends, like Presidents' Day weekend, but once you are out of the Valley, there are plenty of places to go. Just make sure you are prepared for winter hiking. The temps aren't all that cold, even in the middle of winter, like February, especially if you are just out day hiking.

Bring chains, no exceptions. I have 4wd and still bring them. You will need them to get into the park most of the winter (meaning they won't let you in without them in the car) even if you never actually need to use them, make sure you have them.

June 24, 2018
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