Yosemite Wilderness Backpacking Trip

This truly one-of-a-kind backpack is an exploration into the best of the Yosemite High Sierra. Traveling into the heart of Yosemite wilderness, this trip includes both remote cross country trekking over granite ridges and along grassy meadows and trail hiking along cascading creeks and forested slopes with views to mountains and peaks all along the way. Destinations include high alpine lakes, expansive wildflower filled meadows, glacial sculpted ridges, many of Yosemite’s iconic granite domes and towering 11,000’ peaks. Included is the opportunity to climb one of Yosemite’s most famous peaks, known for 360 degree views over the vast Sierra Nevada wilderness as far as the eye can see. This 6-day trip culminates with the incomparable summit of world famous Half Dome before ending in Yosemite Valley.


Rates and Trip Dates – Rate: $1475/person, up to 5 spaces available. Dates: TBA.


Day 1: Gather in Yosemite Valley at 4:00pm for pre-trip orientation and logistics. Receive your backpacking equipment and obtain any last minute personal items at the nearby mountain shop or market. Lodging and dinner is on your own at one of the many available options within Yosemite Valley or nearby accommodations.

Day 2: After a hearty early morning breakfast (on your own), we will meet at Curry Village. You will park your vehicle in the nearby backpacker’s parking lot, where our trip will end a week later. Transportation is provided to the trailhead at Tuolumne Meadows and our journey begins with a 6 mile hike into the heart of the Yosemite Wilderness. After a couple miles we quickly leave the well-worn trail, climb moderately up and over the famous Cathedral Range, and continue down a seldom used historical path into a wide open canyon. Following a small creek under steep granite walls, rare bighorn sheep graze camouflaged on the surrounding cliffs and ridges. Our first day ends at a beautiful alpine lake situated in a large meadow with massive granite walls guarding its shores.

Day 3: After a leisurely breakfast, we shoulder our packs and continue our enjoyable cross country route to the next high alpine lake at the head of the canyon. Today’s hike is about 5 miles, traversing the flank of massive Rafferty Peak with spectacular views of the Cathedral Range, Kuna Crest, and east to the very top of the Sierra Nevada. Tonight our camp is along the shores of Vogelsang Lake, a classic high alpine lake with lofty peaks and grand views setting the scene.

Day 4: After breakfast, we begin our day by setting our sights on 11,500’ Vogelsang Peak, a non-technical climb with rewards well worth the scramble to the summit. From this vantage point in the heart of the Yosemite wilderness, a multitude of peaks, ridges, and valleys stretch out in a 360° panorama encompassing almost the extent of Yosemite National Park. After summiting Vogelsang Peak, we continue our trek down through the old growth forest along a beautiful meandering stream to yet another beautiful alpine lake. Ending today’s journey of about 5 miles, our lakeside camp is set among a large grassy meadow, tall granite walls, and an impressive granite dome rising abruptly from its shore.


Day 5: Today’s hike continues down the well maintained trail following the now cascading creek as it makes its way through forest and granite outcrops to the confluence of the upper Merced River. Our journey culminates at stunning Merced Lake, a little over 5 miles from our previous night’s camp. We camp at the lake and if available, obtain a fresh-made dinner and/or breakfast from the nearby Merced High Sierra Camp.

Day 6: After a hearty breakfast, our hike takes us through the sheer granite walled canyon and towering domes that mark the famous Bunnell Cascades section of the Merced River. Following gradual descent of the river through the steeply walled canyon, we pass numerous cascades and walk through patches of forest and meadow to our backcountry campground at Little Yosemite Valley, about an 8 mile hike today. We find our campsite for the evening and prepare for ascent of Half Dome tomorrow morning. The nearby Merced River offers refreshing swimming and relaxing.

Day 7: We arise predawn for a quick breakfast, grab our daypacks & headlamps and start out on the 3.5 mile hike to the summit of Half Dome. As we reach the sub-dome soon after sunrise, the final ascent of Half Dome, with a clear path up the cables and relatively unoccupied peak, rewards our efforts. After leisurely enjoying the breathtaking views of Yosemite Valley (more than 4800” straight below!) and absorb the expansive view of the wilderness we just traveled through, we unhurriedly make our way back to camp. After fueling up with a more suitable breakfast or lunch, we pack up our gear, shoulder our packs one last time and conclude our trip 4 miles below in Yosemite Valley.