There is no place in the world like Yosemite! Whether you are driving around the Valley, wandering through the giant sequoias in the Mariposa Grove, drinking lemonade at the Wawona Lodge, climbing Half Dome, looking out from Glacier Point, swimming in Tenaya Lake, or backpacking in the high country — every visitor owes a prayer of gratitude to John Muir and all the people who helped preserve this unique wilderness. (Sadly, the average visitor to Yosemite sees none of this because they drive in and out of the Yosemite Valley in just one day and many never even leave their vehicle.) Here is a link to the official website. Yosemite National Park.

Yosemite is a backpacker’s paradise (unless you don’t like bears, bear canisters, rangers, rules, permits, and crowds of people!)  On the other hand, there are 750 miles of trail through some of the most beautiful wilderness area in the world. (The Pacific Crest Trail and the John Muir Trail both wind through the Park.) Yosemite Backpacking Info If you ever have the chance to get to Glen Aulin, take it. And the Pate Valley, Vogelsang, Tuolumne Meadows, Smedburg Lake, Lyell Canyon, 10 Lakes, and Hetch Hetchy aren’t bad either!

High Sierra Trailcamps
For those who want to take their family on an easy outing, or people who just want to get away, try booking tent-cabins at the High Sierra Trailcamps. There are five camps, about a day’s hike apart. They provide accommodations (tent cabin), food (rustic but tasty), and basic necessities. They will even carry you and your bags into camp on a mule in some cases. Warning. If you need luxury, these camps are not for you. But if you like to get out into the woods (in beautiful Yosemite) and hang out with rangers, backpackers, and bears, then do it. Registration is by lottery, but if you are flexible on dates, you can usually get a reservation. Check out this map.

Half Dome Day Hike
This is a 16+ mile hike for people in good condition, with the right boots, and who are not afraid of heights. The official web site provides some good information about the hike. Half Dome Hike Be warned. More than 60 people have died climbing Half Dome. These tips on surviving the cables are a good starting point. Survival Tips But don’t be intimidated, thousands of people get to the top and back down every year – and you can too! Permits are now required to climb Half Dome.

White Wolf to Ten Lakes to Glen Aulin to Tuolumne Meadows: A true story about Scouts, Bears, Waterfalls, and Forest Fires.

Your turn. Have you ever done Scout backpacking in Yosemite? Or climbed Half Dome – like in this video?

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10 thoughts on “Yosemite”

  1. Hey Scouts,

    I divide Yosemite into North Yosemite, Hetch Hetchy, The Golden Triangle (center of Yosemite), and South Yosemite.

    I have extensive guide and map information covering all these areas. The maps are too big for a phone, but look good on an Ipad or home computer.


    Entering North Yosemite Backcountry

    from Kennedy Meadows, Sonora Pass, or Leavitt Meadow:


    (Click the links on the map above pointing to the West for the Kennedy Meadows Trailhead Map. Click the red dots for trail guide entries.)

    The North Yosemite Backcountry from Twin Lakes with the Bensen Lake Loop:


    The Grand Canyon of the Tuolumne:


    The Golden Triangle

    Tuolumne Meadows down to Yosemite Valley via the “backwards” John Muir Trail:


    Yosemite Valley back to Tuolumne Meadows via Merced Lake and Vogelsang High Sierra Camp.


    Central Yosemite “Index” Map:
    (click map for detailed maps)


    Central Yosemite “Index” Map:
    (click red dots for all Central Yosemite trail guide entries)


    To PA Troop 187

    Yes I have hiked from Emigrant to Yosemite.

    Miles and Elevations Tahoe to Yosemite Trail route from Kennedy Meadows to Tuolumne Meadows:


    The TYT joins up with the PCT in the NW corner of Yosemite, then breaks off for the Tilden Lake Loop, otherwise they share the same route from the top of Jack Main Canyon to Tuolumne Meadows.

    Miles and Elevations Pacific Crest Trail route from Sonora Pass to Tuolumne Meadows.


    Miles and Elevations JMT route from Tuolumne Meadows to Happy Isles Trailhead:


    Miles and Elevations alternative route from Happy Isles Trailhead to JMT in Lyell Canyon just South (5.6 miles) of Tuolumne Meadows:


    Just for Fun!

    JMT miles and elevations from Tuolumne Meadows to Reds Meadow:


    Yosemite is amazing and has something for every level of scout and troop, and what’s necessary to set objectives to achieve the next levels of backcountry skills…

    These trails build better Scouts!

    I have hiked all the trails covered by the guide extensively, and I will share everything I know. I’m always here to bounce your backpacking ideas off…

    Happy Trails, Scouts!

    Alex Wierbinski,

    Tahoe to Whitney Trail Guide

  2. Troop 236 had a spectacular 50 miler in 2008 through Yosemite. Left the cars in Yosemite valley and caught the bus to White Wolf. We descended down into Pate Valley and hiked along The Toulumne up to Waterwheel falls and on to Glen Aulin. There was always plenty of fresh water sources along the trail and at every camp. Glen Aulin had porta-potties for the kids that wouldn’t dump a load for 2.5 days. We continued up to May Lake, which was spectacular in late June. It was gorgeous, and the fish were jumping onto the hooks. From there we descended down to Snow Creek and wrapped around to Yosemite Falls. We took a brief side-trek to North Dome for sunrise on day 6 before we descended down Yosemite Falls into the valley floor. It was amazing ending the hike with the sunrise and letting the boys sneak behind the water at the bottom of the upper falls. The mosquitos were tough in late June. Overall it was a stellar route with many incredible vistas and very few people.

  3. Anyone ever gone from Gianelli Cabin Trailhead to Curry Village before? Or Emigrant to Yosemite Valley for that matter. My guess is 75 miles to the base of Yosemite Falls. I suspect the group would rather take a bus than walk to Curry Village at the point. Budgeting 8 days. If need be, could cut off one day by taking van from White Wolf to Yosemite Valley. I am assuming the area of Penisula Lake in NW Yosemite is nice and uncrowded, particularly since no pack animals from Crabtree cross into NPS land. Thoughts?

  4. For anyone interested in backpacking in Yosemite, we offer week long treks, bear cans, backpacking food and a nice base camp facility with a hot tub and hot showers. Our pre-planned treks range from 13 to 60 miles and all of our staff are wilderness first aid trained. We also work with troops and crews to help them plan their own treks. Whether your group is new to backpacking or experience, we are here to help.

    Check us out: LogCabinCamp.org
    operated by the Los Angeles Area Council, BSA

  5. K.Smyth-Troop 236.
    We had a great 50-miler loop through Yosemite for 2009. The route worked out very well.
    Start Tuolumne, hike in to upper cathedral for night 1. Easy hike after long car ride, burger in Tuolumne, good chance to acclimate.
    Day 2 was through Sunrise HSC for lunch, then on to Sunrise lakes for camping and fishing. Another fairly easy day, campfire, flag retirement, a few trout to eat.
    Day 3 was up to Cloud’s Rest, then down – ending up camping on Sunrise creek. Long day, but wow-factor with Cloud’s Rest. Safety was a concern, but managable.
    Day 4 was easy day to Merced HSC. Stopped at swimming hole 1/2 mile short of Merced Lake and the boys had a blast. in Merced HSC they playe din the river, fished, and had tons of fun. It kept the Day 4 emotional breakdown to a minimum.
    Day 5 was a tough hike uphill to Bernice Lake. We stopped short of Vogelsang to get some alone-time with a pristine bernice lake. 10,200 and windy, but beautiful.
    Day 6 was cross-country hiking up to Gallison lake, thena cross to the trail up Vogelsang pass. Much more scenic than the Vogelsang pass trail. Stop at Vogelsang lake, drop the packs, then bag Vogelsang peak (11,500).
    Day 7 – through HSC and back to Tuolumne. Stop at the House of Beef in Oakdale on the way home. There’s always one dorky scout that orders a $30 prime rib dinner with Dad’s money. Makes for great stories.

  6. Little Yosemite Valley to Glacier Point Trail permits leaving from Happy Isle to Little Yosemite Valley (LYV) are hard to come by. Troop 815 got ours because we did a service project at LYV. You could also do a similar route by coming in from Glacier Point along Panorama Trail, or from Tenaya Lake to Cloud’s Rest. Instead of staying at LYV on the third night, there is a great campsite on the Merced River with a rock slide about 2 miles east of LYV. There is another, and even better rock slide about a mile further east, although I did not notice any obvious camp sites. However, one problem with not camping at LYV is that for a week long outing your food will probably not fit in your bear canisters (if everybody carries just one). There are bear boxes at LYV and at Merced Lake, but not between those places. We left food at LYV during our second night, then picked it up on our return trip through LYV. We still hung a small amount of food at Washburn Lake (against Park rules). Turner Lake is a great lake to stop at, but I would follow the west side of the outflow creek instead of the route shown on the map. If you go over the top of Red Peak Pass you MUST jump in the glacier pool near the top, on the east side. There a number of smaller pools on the hike to the pass, but the glacier pool is unmistakable. Lower Ottoway Lake is beautiful. Lower Merced Pass Lake is just so so. About 100 yards pass the trail crossing at Clark Fork there is a nice water fall, so don’t stop at the trail crossing.

  7. in 2006 we completed a spectacular 50 miler that started at Buckeye (near Bridgeport) and ended at Hetch-Hetchy in Yosemite. Along the way we went over the Buckeye Pass, through Kerrick Meadow, over the Seavey Pass to Smedberg and Rogers Lakes (great campsite), down Rogers Canyon to Table Lake, and then over to Rancheria Falls to Hetch-Hetchy. We messed up on the last day and got to our pick-up point after dark – after an 18 mile adventure! Turns out that the dam at Hetch-Hetchy is guarded at night against terriorists, so we were met by armed rangers, who escorted us all out!

  8. Chain Lakes in southern Yosemite is an outstanding exerience for experienced hikers. Drive to Bass Lake and then up Beasore Road. (Call the ranger for exact directions to a parrticular trailhead.) Depending upon which trailhead, its a 5-7 mile hike to Chain Lakes – or it can easily be much longer if you want to hike down to Wawona (20 miles) or the Valley Floor. It was cold in October, but the area was empty of backpackers (although we did see a few hunters before we crossed the Chiquita Pass into Yosemite) and all the Fall colors were incredible.

  9. In Yosemite, there are “Top Secret” group campsites – Yellow Pines. Located on the valley floor, these group campsites are pristine. This group campsite is available for volunteers, but is not on the Yosemite map. I had our Troop perform a service project, and was able to secure this location.

  10. C. Knaus – Troop 236
    We just got back from a spectacular snowshoe hike to Dewey Point in Yosemite. Dewey Point is about 3.5 mi north of the Badger Pass ski area.

    In winter, the road is closed beyond the ski area parking lot. From the parking lot, strap on the snowshoes (or X-country skis) and head basically east on the closed road road which is generally groomed. After about 1/2 mi on the road, there are two trails that go north from the road to the point; the “ridge” and “meadow” trails. The “Ridge” trail is advertised as being more difficult with its topographical features, but it wasn’t too strenuous. Both trails were well marked and wind-up at Dewey Point with spectacular views of Yosemite Valley – from above. We were able to build snow shelters literally 10 ft from the rim.

    The views were spectacular, the hike was easy in-and-out (one nighter). Recommend getting the Park Service’s Badger Pass snowshoe/x-country trail map at the trail head for 50 cents.

    Here is a sample picture. http://www.50miler.com/Uploads/DSC_5995.jpg

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