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Backpacker Magazine – June 2011

National Parks: Yosemite

Enjoy this legendary park (without the legendary crowds) on a four-day trip through the Clark Range.

by: Brian Beer

Sunset Over Lower Ottoway Lake (Jeff Chow)
Sunset Over Lower Ottoway Lake (Jeff Chow)
Fall Foliage In Yosemite Valley (Carr Clifton)
Fall Foliage In Yosemite Valley (Carr Clifton)
Yosemite In Winter (Kirkendall-Spring Photographers)
Yosemite In Winter (Kirkendall-Spring Photographers)
Liberrty Cap From The Top Of Nevada Falls (Rian Long)
Liberrty Cap From The Top Of Nevada Falls (Rian Long)
Lower Ottoway Lake
Lower Ottoway Lake

 
CLARK RANGE LOOP
Highlights of Yosemite’s best-kept secret


Waterpark Cross the Merced River before weaving through house-size boulders and rounding Bunnell Point. Around the next bend, take a slip-and-slide break on granite-bottomed Bunnell Cascade. 11S 0283122E 4180360N

Photo op Snap this shot of Liberty Cap from the top of Nevada Fall. 11S 0276756E 4178282N

Half Dome detour Schedule an extra day so you can bag this iconic peak (8,836 ft.) on a 6.6- mile side trip from Little Yosemite Valley. Bonus: You’ll have a jump on all of the daytrippers coming from the Valley floor, so you can summit by sunrise without a midnight start. Trip ID 60564

Shoreline camp On night three, post up at Merced Lake among the lodgepoles on the lake’s eastern side. 11S 0286920E 4179538N

Swimming hole At mile 21, a social trail follows Merced Peak Fork and leads to the off-trail section above sublime Serenity Lake—and secret swimming holes. Like to hike-dip-hike? Slot the trip for August when water is warmest. 11S 0291060E 4170900N

Lower Ottoway Lake Hard charger? Lower Ottoway Lake, 2.5 miles past Upper Merced Pass Lake, makes for a scenic alternative campsite on the first night. 11S 0286485E 4169119N

Sneak route No luck with a permit for Happy Isles? Start at Mono Meadows trailhead, which lets you jump on the loop at mile 7.7 and catch the waterworks from Nevada Falls at the trip’s end. 11S 0277701E 4173796N

Royal view
See Mt. Starr King rising west of the trail at mile 5.8. 11S 0275943E 4175692N




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READERS COMMENTS

drew
Aug 22, 2011

I just did this exact hike; awesome, but very challenging. All of Red Peak Pass is covered in snow; no visible path and difficult to traverse. Stay up high and once through the pass, keep right!

And your smiles do stand out. Got stopped multiple times exiting the park by day hikers around Vernal and Nevada Falls; all were very jealous.

Thank you backpacker!

Anonymous
Jul 29, 2011

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