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Backpacker Magazine – August 2008

Yosemite National Park

Climb classic Sierra passes, ogle granite monoliths, and camp above treeline in John Muir's second home.

by: Tim Shisler

Entrance Strategy

>> Getting There Yosemite is about three and a half hours from the San Francisco area. The most direct entrances–on CA 120 heading east through Groveland, and CA 140 northeast through El Portal–lead straight to Yosemite Valley.

>> Season Watch the Yosemite park weather page (, and after the third consecutively hot weekend in spring (75°F-plus in the high country, usually middle of May), head into the Valley and witness cascades roaring off sheer granite walls. Go in September for bug- and crowd-free beauty.

>> Best frontcountry campground Camp 4, on the Valley floor, is noisy, dusty, and crowded–but you should stay there anyway. Why? Because world-class climbers Yvon Chouinard, Royal Robbins, and Lynn Hill all did. Outside the Valley, try White Wolf Campground, with 74 spots. (Camp Four, $5 per person, per night; White Wolf, $14 a night per site;

>> Pre-trip breakfast Leave the Bay Area at dawn and stop in Groveland at the Mountain Sage (18653 Main Street, 209-962-4686) for a cup of fair-trade coffee and a breakfast burrito.

>> Gear Shop Forgot something? If Yosemite Mountain Shop (209-372-8396; doesn't have it, you don't need it. The Valley store stocks everything from HB offset brass nuts for climbing to bug spray and iodine.

>> Permits Backcountry permits ($5, 209-372-0740; are required year-round–and are subject to a trailhead quota system. Make reservations up to six months in advance online or by phone. Missed the window? The park holds 40 percent of their quota for walk-ins. Go to any one of the five backcountry offices the day before your start date to get one–and rent a mandatory bear canister ($5 for two weeks,

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Star Star Star Star Star
Zapato Brie
Jul 07, 2014

Just did a longer variation of this 2 weeks ago, starting and ending at Tuolumne Meadows for a 93 mile loop. Tough hike, but definetely worth the effort! Got things broken down by day with lots of pics, elevation profiles and panorama views here:

Oct 25, 2011

Debbie Hoffman
Mar 21, 2011

Hi Tim:
Could you elaborate on the part of the trip where the Ansel Adams campsite is located? Approximately how far from the junction of the High Elevation Trail is the creek and the fisherman's trail? Looking at a map I'm seeing 4 creek-crossings before arriving at the Lyell Fork. I'd love to find the campsite! Thanks!

Scott Sanders
Sep 05, 2008


You ARE TOTALLY RIGHT. Thanks so much for your info. Just got back from Yosemite. AWESOME!!!!

You saw my pic's but here's the website for anyone else who's interested.

Click the Yosemite link.


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