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Yosemite National Park

Monday, July 31, 2023 - Monday, August 7, 2023 -- $1675 ★★★★


Yosemite National Park is a beautiful Sierra wonderland featuring towering mountains, thundering waterfalls and rugged pulchritude. The incredible views in this wilderness are virtually inescapable, it's actually hard to avoid them. On our trip, we will be hiking to some of the most iconic, universally recognized landmarks including North Dome and Clouds Rest. At the outset of the trip, we'll walk through the Tuolumne Grove of Giant Sequoias -- leviathan trees which can grow to be over 300' tall.

Our journey begins with a day-hike through the Giant Sequoias. We'll continue on Tioga Road to the Porcupine trailhead to begin hiking. We'll stay at/near North Dome, May Lake, Glen Aulin, Upper Cathedral Lake, Lower Sunrise Lake (swimming!) up and over Clouds Rest before returning to Tioga Road. Along the way, you may see black bears (we carry bear canisters), big horn sheep, yellow bellied marmots, mule deer, pika, short tailed-weasels and possibly even a mountain lion. But probably just deer and an occasional bear.

Come join us for a true life-list adventure.

Topographical Map of Proposed Route

See CalTopo map


Weather is always an important concern when hiking. Expect daytime hiking temperatures well into the 70s and nighttime temperatures in the 40s & 50s. However, be prepared for the possibility of day temperatures in the 80s and as low as 30 with the possibility of violent afternoon thunderstorms. Here is the anticipated weather.

Probable Trip Leaders

Rick Romine
Beau Devlin
Any Other Guide(s) TBD


The trails through Yosemite National Park are very well groomed with good footing. However, elevation gain and loss can be dramatic. Furthermore, some days have relatively high elevation changes making this trip difficult at times. However the views are engaging and rewarding with incredible, continually changing scenery few ever get to see.


$1675 per person double occupancy. Here, double occupancy means that you will share a room with another participant during the 1 hotel night. You will also be responsible for transportation to and from Fresno, CA (FAT), personal equipment, restaurant meals eaten off the trail and any gratuities for guides.

Covered expenses include 1 hotel night, 1 night in a frontcountry campground, 6 days of trail meals, ground transportation, National Park permits and 2 awesome guides.

Tipping: In order to keep our prices competitive with (and hopefully favorable to) other outfitters, we shamefully can’t pay our guides as much as we think they deserve. Like most other guiding services, we rely on the generosity of our participants to make up this shortfall by tipping the guides. While tips are not required or expected, if your guides have served you well, please consider a gratuity so they can continue living their extravagant lifestyles of eating powdered meals, sleeping in the dirt and pooping in smelly outhouses and small holes they've dug.


The 2023 snow pack is historically deep and the snow season is not over as of this February writing. Please be prepared for lingering patches or snow travel along the trail. This does not mean crampons and ice axes, but trekking poles will be invaluable.

In 2023, flights to Fresno can be crazy expensive. At least some participants will be flying into Oakland and either taking a train or bus to Fresno. It may also be able to coordinate a ride with the guides if you set this up ahead of time.

The frequency of wildfire in Yosemite and its environs has markedly increased with climate change, so that there is often a fire burning either in the park or within range to send smoke into the park. Despite the enormous Oak Fire and Washburn fires that were burning during the 2022 Half Dome trip, the smoke was barely noticeable in the backcountry, but of course that may not be the case this year.

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Monday, July 31, 2023

Fly or drive into Fresno, CA (FAT). Some time between 9AM - 2PM is the ideal time to arrive, but if you have been on our trips and have had your virtual equipment shakedown, you can arrive later.

Note: Flights to Fresno can be expensive, so book early. It's possible that someone else will drive in from Oakland (3+ hours) so we might be able to arrange a carpool if you decide to do this.

Take the free airport shuttle to our local hotel

We will assemble at: Piccadilly Inn Airport, 5115 E Mckinley Avenue, Fresno, CA 93727, 559-375-7760.

Mini-equipment shakedown. We reiterate the virtual shakedown you did pre-trip.

Make Your Own Trail Mix Bar from our copious list of ingredients

"Before" body composition measurements taken

If you have forgotten or overlooked gear, we may take a trip to REI, 7810 N Blackstone Ave, Fresno, CA 93720, (559) 261-4168

All the items that you won't bring on the trail will be set aside and placed in storage

If you drove, vehicles may be left at Hotel. However, the hotel may charge you a fee and assumes no responsibility for your car's security and will have you sign a document saying so.

At around 3PM, shuttle to campsite: Yosemite Valley Backpackers Campground, Yosemite Valley, CA 95389, (209) 372-0200. Site(s) TBD Elevation: 4000'

Shuttling will take about 2.5 hours

Guides prepare dinner in camp. On some trips with longer shuttle times, we may opt to go out for an opening dinner at a local restaurant. (Cost of restaurant dinner not included in trip price)

Camp at Yosemite Valley Backpackers Campground, Yosemite Valley, CA 95389, (209) 372-0200. Site(s) TBD Elevation: 4000'

We must pick up the wilderness permit first if the office is still open, otherwise we will do it in the morning.

Be prepared to set up camp in the dark if we leave Fresno late.

Tuesday, August 1, 2023

Second set of "before" body composition measurements taken

Pick up backcountry permit and bear canisters if we have not already done so

Shuttle about an hour to the Tuolumne Grove of Giant Sequoias, elevation 6660'

Day-Hike 2.0 round trip miles to the Tuolumne Grove of Giant Sequoias, elevation 6600'

Shuttle about a half hour on Tioga Road to the Porcupine Trailhead

Eat lunch and pack food into bear canisters, then re-pack packs with full canisters.

Guides may need to shuttle a vehicle to the ending portion of the trip, Sunrise Lakes Trailhead about 15 minutes away. During this 30 minute period, we anticipate participants will eat lunch, pack food into their bear canisters and re-pack their packs with full canisters.

Start hiking at Porcupine Creek Trailhead, elevation 8100'

Hike 1.5 miles to the Lehamite Creek Trail 4-way intersection, elevation 7850'

Drop packs and day-hike 2.6 round-trip miles to Indian Rock, elevation 8522'

Hoist packs hike 2.6 downhill miles to a footbridge, elevation 6750'

There are several campsites here, a few of which have vast, sweeping views of Half Dome and Yosemite Valley (may have to bushwack south about 100 yards)

Camp near the top of the Snow Creek Trail, elevation 6750'

Miles today: 8.7 miles. Total to Date: 8.7 miles

Possible Bailout: Tioga Rd

Wednesday, August 2, 2023

Hike 3.0 uphill miles on the Snow Creek Trail to the Mt. Watkins trail intersection, elevation 8225'

Drop packs and day-hike 1.8 round-trip, gradually uphill miles to the summit of Mt. Watkins, elevation 8500'

Don packs and hike 1.5 miles to Tioga Rd, elevation 7500'

Hike 1.3 miles to the May Lake Trailhead, elevation 8800'

There are bear boxes here. If we have time on the first day, we can cache some food here to be picked up now.

Hike 1.0 mile to the May Lake, elevation 9270'

Camp at May Lake, elevation 9270

Miles today: 9.6. Total miles: 18.3

Possible bailout: Tioga road

Thursday, August 3, 2023

Hike 7.8 miles to Glen Aulin, elevation 7800'

Camp at Glen Aulin, elevation 7800'

Miles today: 7.8. Total miles: 26.1

Possible bailout: Tioga Road

Friday, August 4, 2023

Hike 4.9 miles to Parson's Memorial Lodge, elevation 8650'

Hike 1.4 miles across Tioga Rd past Tioga Ranger Station to the Cathedral Lakes trailhead, elevation 8500'

Hike 3.0 uphill miles to Cathedral Lakes Trail intersection, elevation 9200'

Hike about 0.5 miles to Upper Cathedral Lake, elevation 9587'

Camp at Upper Cathedral Lake, elevation 9587'

Miles today: 9.8. Total miles: 35.9

Possible bailout: Tuolumne Ranger Station

Saturday, August 5, 2023

Hike 4.5 uphill miles on the John Muir Trail to a trail intersection, elevation 9100'.

Turn right and hike 2.4 miles to lower Sunrise Lake

This is a great place to go swimming

Option A

Camp at Lower Sunrise Lake, elevation 9300'

Miles today: 6.9. Total miles: 42.8

Possible bailout: Tioga Rd.


Option B

Hike 2.7 miles to Sunrise Creek Trail intersecion, elevation 9125'

Dispersed Camp at Sunrise Creek Trail intersecion, elevation 9125'

No water here, but there is reliable water a mile back where we will fill up

Miles today: 9.6. Total miles: 43.4

Possible bailout: Tioga Rd.

Sunday, August 6, 2023

Option A

Wake up around 2:30AM and break camp

Hike 0.5 miles to the Sunrise Lakes Trail intersecion, elevation 9200'

Drop packs and Day-Hike 4.2 miles to the summit of Cloud's Rest to watch the sunrise, elevation 9926'

Day-Hike 4.2 miles back to our packs, elevation 9200'


Option B

Wake up around 4:30AM

Day-Hike 1.6 miles to the summit of Cloud's Rest to watch the sunrise, elevation 9926'

Day-Hike 1.6 miles back to camp, elevation 9125'

Break Camp and pack up

Hike 2.2 miles to Sunrise Lakes Trail intersection, elevation 9200'


Hike 2.5 miles back to Tioga Road, elevation 8150'

End of hiking

Miles today: 11.4 or 7.9. Total miles: 54.2 (no, the numbers don't work out exactly right)

Possible bailout: Tioga Road

Shuttle back to local hotel: Piccadilly Inn Airport, 5115 E Mckinley Avenue, Fresno, CA 93727, 559-375-7760.

Gather your off-trail items from storage

After body composition measurements taken

Dinner and awards ceremony at a local restaurant (Dinner cost not included in trip price)

Stay in our local hotel (included in trip cost)

This is the official end of the trip. You are welcome to spend the night at the hotel, however if you drove and would like to get on the road or if you flew and would like to schedule a late flight (or a red-eye if this is a West Coast trip) you can definitely do so.

Monday, August 7, 2023

Take free airport shuttle or we will pay for a shared cab/Uber

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