Yosemite National Park: Breeze Lake Backpacking Loop

Camp under sharp peaks and sharper stars on this 4-day, 20-mile tour along the eastern edge of Yosemite National Park. Summits, swimming holes, and trout abound.
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Camp under sharp peaks and sharper stars on this 4-day, 20-mile tour along the eastern edge of Yosemite National Park. Summits, swimming holes, and trout abound.

PERMIT INFO: Backcountry camping permits are required by the Park Service. See nps.gov/yose/planyourvisit/feesandreservations.htm for the latest details and prices.

MORE INFO: Yosemite National Park, (209) 372-020; nps.gov/yose/

Trail Facts

  • Distance: 26.9

Waypoints

BLL001

Location: 37.5305671691894, -119.447326660156

Trailhead

BLL002

Location: 37.53271484375, -119.443367004395

Follow well-used pack trail into forest of giant Jeffrey pine; L @ 3-way and begin slow, all-day climb

BLL003

Location: 37.5384254455566, -119.440811157227

Thinner section of forest with many rock piles and picnic-perfect outcrops; jog L then R at back-to-back 3-way junctions

BLL004

Location: 37.5728492736816, -119.420310974121

Cross stream (first reliable water), then go straight @ 3-way and climb

BLL005

Location: 37.5717735290527, -119.41251373291

Campsite on E shore of Lower Chain Lake; good fishing for tiny trout; coyotes sing nightly

BLL006

Location: 37.5696678161621, -119.414138793945

Hike S .1 mi. to photo op on ridge above camp; great sunset spot

BLL007

Location: 37.578441619873, -119.425743103027

Retrace steps to waypoint 4; turn R at 3-way toward Fernandez Pass

BLL008

Location: 37.5837783813477, -119.422966003418

Meander through meadows and churchlike groves of lodgepole pine; go R 3-way

BLL009

Location: 37.5989036560059, -119.42227935791

R @ T-intersection in buggy Moraine Meadows

BLL010

Location: 37.5821800231934, -119.391761779785

R @ 3-way between large pond and Breeze Lake

BLL011

Location: 37.577465057373, -119.394012451172

Breeze Lake; numerous scenic campsites with views of Gale Peak

BLL012

Location: 37.5693626403809, -119.390182495117

To bag Gale Peak, climb SW to gain obvious ridgeline approach; go L and begin steep but nontechnical scramble to summit

BLL015

Location: 37.5868835449219, -119.385139465332

Fernandez Pass; look E across lake-dappled basin in Ansel Adams Wilderness; go L @ to return to Breeze Lake

BLL016

Location: 37.5879287719727, -119.389114379883

Side hike from pass to breezy pinnacle; .3 mi. each way

BLL017

Location: 37.5761604309082, -119.396621704102

From Breeze, climb to notch for easy bushwhack to next campsite

BLL018

Location: 37.5705528259277, -119.395889282227

Descend drainages S from notch past meadows and small cascades

BLL019

Location: 37.5675735473633, -119.398406982422

Upper Chain Lake; drool over sunny tent sites, perfect diving boulders, and good trout casting

BLL020

Location: 37.5675735473633, -119.398406982422

Climb to epic sunset vista (.2 mi. RT); if time permits, ascend ridge to S to unnamed 10,448-ft. peak

BLL013

Location: 37.5680999755859, -119.387130737305

Gale Peak (10, 693 ft.); vistas of Sing and Triple Divide Peaks; Half Dome visible on clear days

BLL014

Location: 37.5746803283691, -119.380798339844

Continue N along cockscomb to Fernandez Pass; more exposed, difficult scrambling; turn back at Gale if weather looms

BLL021

Location: 37.5728492736816, -119.420310974121

Follow main trail E from Breeze past Chain Lakes to waypoint 4; go L to return to trailhead