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  1. #1
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    Advice needed for Yosemite trip

    Hi All

    My company is sending me out to San Francisco in Mid April for three days and since I'm out there I convinced them to fly me back on Sunday instead of Wednesday. So I've got 3 or 4 days that I'm going to use visit Yosemite.

    I've never hiked west of the Mississippi and while I know all the big tourist spots in Yosemite I really want just a nice 20ish mile loop or something similar I can do in the couple of days that I have. Anyone have any advice on trails I should consider or avoid?

    Thanks in advance!

  2. #2
    Senior Member Just Jeff's Avatar
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    I only did two backpacking trips in Yosemite...Ten Lakes and Winnemucca Lake. Trip reports on both here: http://www.tothewoods.net/HikingPictures.html

    I think I'd recommend Ten Lakes for that.

    Coming from Atlanta, be sure to consider the altitude. You're basically going from sea level to 10k feet, and you'll feel it. I got a bit of a headache and definitely could feel it when I breathed. Also be sure you know which roads are open before you leave...they still get snow in April.

    And be prepared for quick weather changes.

    It's a beautiful area...so many people only see the valley from the road, but there's so much more if you just get out of the car!
    “Republics are created by the virtue, public spirit, and intelligence of the citizens. They fall when the wise are banished from the public councils because they dare to be honest, and the profligate are rewarded because they flatter the people, in order to betray them.” ~Judge Joseph Story

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    www.nps.gov/yose

    In April you won't be able to do much. Higher elevations are under snow. Tioga Pass is closed. Call the wilderness permit line and discuss trail conditions with a ranger if you have questions the website can't answer.

    You might consider getting a campsite and dayhiking - there are some good dayhike opportunities, not including Half Dome - cables will not go up until late May. Glacier Point Road will be closed as well.

    Other great hiking opportunities exist on the coast - Skyline to Sea trail in Santa Cruz County (three days/30 miles or so), Point Reyes, Henry Coe State Park, Big Sur.

  4. #4
    yeah, probably right on the snow. the yosemite valley floor is only 5000 feet i think. when i was there i climbed and didn't leave the valley much at all (went up to tuolome a couple times) there's trails all around up on the valley rim i believe, you could hike around that area perhaps without going up into the high country. definately check out the mariposa giant sequoia grove while you're there. i think it's near the southern? entrance

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    Senior Member Black Phoenix's Avatar
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    Check the conditions but hiking from the valley to Merced Lake is amazing, it's 25-30 miles if I remember correctly so it's a backpack trip for most people. I did that in April of last year and had the trail and lake to myself (and girlfriend) from Little Yosemite Valley to Merced and back. It gets pretty cold at night still and there will be snow scattered for sure.

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    Senior Member Harpo63's Avatar
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    I've hiked/camped at Half Dome a couple times. As posted above, have to wait till the cables are up on the dome. If you want to hike on the higher elevations, plan for winter camping. Otherwise, as was suggested, lots of awesome places to hike in that area. I lived in the Central Valley for 10 years before moving back east. I'd save the high peaks for later in the spring if you make another trip. Yosemite should definitely be on anybody's "bucket list".

    For April, Id also suggest the coast as its a good time for that. Its a totally different experience than what you can get on the east coast.

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    Senior Member Just Jeff's Avatar
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    Big Sur isn't too far from SF, and has some AWESOME hiking. Plus you could stop by Monterey Bay and check out the seal lions, seals and otters...worth stopping for a meal overlooking the bay. Some of those trips are posted on my page as well.

    There's a hot spring about 10 miles in...you could hike in, camp there, and IIRC there are several trails where you could turn it into a loop. If nudity bothers, you might want to be careful...sometimes folks are there au naturel. But I think there are several spots where they've improved the springs so if it's not busy you can find your own tub. I never made it to that one.
    “Republics are created by the virtue, public spirit, and intelligence of the citizens. They fall when the wise are banished from the public councils because they dare to be honest, and the profligate are rewarded because they flatter the people, in order to betray them.” ~Judge Joseph Story

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  8. #8
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    Thanks for the advice folks. I'm a huge fan of John Muir so I can't resist the lure of Yosemite for this trip, even if conditions aren't idea. There is so much good hiking in CA that I don't even want to think about it until I retire so I can just spend 6 months of the year checking off the trails that I want to hit.

    Black Phoenix - Do you remember which trailhead you started from? Looks like there are several options that fit your description along the Mist trail or John Muir trail.

  9. #9
    Senior Member Black Phoenix's Avatar
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    Had to look it up, it's Happy Isles to Merced Lake.

    You will start on the beginning (or the end, depends where you start) of the JMT which is paved and filled with tons of people. From there you have a couple choices to get to the top, either the Mist Trail or John Muir but check the conditions because the JMT may still be closed due to a rockslide. Regardless of which trail you choose, you just need to hike out of the valley and get to Little Yosemite Valley, from there it's pretty much one trail to Merced.

    You could take both trails, one on the way up and another on the way down.

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