This final post in the Yosemite National Park trip has two parts. Following my favorite image, captured from the north side of the Hetch Hetchy Reservoir, is a list of links to all the individual posts in the Yosemite series. The second portion contains notes I will need for a subsequent adventure in Yosemite National Park. Our experience may be helpful to anyone planning to make the trip.
The strategy to reduce expense by staging into Yosemite National Park from towns outside the park was flawed. On one hand, we had the opportunity to become familiar with the towns of Lee Vining, Oakhurst and Mariposa, California. We lost a lot of time with the reasonably lengthy commutes on challenging road. I rode motorcycle for many years and a winding, twisting, rollercoaster ride is something special. The access in and out of Helena, Montana is an excellent example. The problem in Yosemite is the road is less fun in a car and diminishes in appeal exponentially on each subsequent commute because there are so many repetitive twists and turns. There is a case for better balance between expense, time and convenience. On a subsequent trip I would use more expensive, in-park accommodation for Tuolumne Meadows and Yosemite Valley. The links lead to the locations I would give consideration in a subsequent visit. It is likely reservations would be required far in advance. Yosemite has a lot of camping and backpacking accommodation for those who prefer it.
We left a lot of incredible trail untouched. Yosemite National Park contains a huge number of possibilities. This trip introduced us to new knowledge about layout. We discovered and experienced wonderful natural treasures but there are plenty more to see.
The Rangers at Tuolumne Meadows introduced us to a leaflet called ‘Guide to Yosemite High Sierra Trails‘ published by Yosemite Association. It would have helped to have it at the beginning. There is a small cost.
Yosemite National Park is one of the busiest I have ever visited. We traditionally explore in the first week of September following school opening. For Yosemite, on the next trip, I would plan to move farther away from the summer shoulder to increase enjoyment of the wilderness experience. I would give consideration to late May/early June and October. It would be interesting to see ‘frazil ice‘ in the spring. Comments are encouraged.
It is very important to understand the routes and schedules of the Yosemite Valley Shuttle System and to work it into parking planning and trailhead transport. We lost time and gained frustration by failing to understand beforehand the importance of these links.
Trails to Complete
Redo Middle and Upper Gaylor Lake from East Park Entrance i.e. east Tuolumne Meadows, continue to Great Sierra Mine, back to ridge above Middle Gaylor Lake to summit Tioga Peak before returning to the trailhead.
Lower Gaylor Lake out of Tuolumne Lodge - 5 miles, 800 ft elevation.
Dana Meadows to Mono Pass, Summit Lake and pioneer cabins. Pick up Spillway Lake on the return hike. Consider Sardine Lakes to Bloody Canyon. Consider Parker Pass. Min 8 miles – 900 ft elevation.
Lyell Canyon – 2.2 miles (up to 15 miles)
Glen Aulen and Tuolumne Falls – 10.4 miles – 400 ft elevation
Pothole Dome – 1.1 mile – 200 ft elevation.
Elizabeth Lake out of Tuolumne Meadows Campground – 4.6 miles – 800 ft elevation
Lower Cathedral Lake below Cathedral Peak on John Muir Trail west of Tuolumne Meadows Visitor Center. Option to visit Upper Cathedral Lake.
Pywiack Dome Falls – short hike between Polly Dome and Tenaya Lake. 1.4 miles – 200 ft elevation.
Murphy Creek Trail to Polly Dome Lakes – 5.5 miles – 800 ft elevation. + loop around Tenaya Lake on return – add 2 miles. There is a beach.
Upper, Middle and Lower Sunrise Lakes plus Yosemite Valley and Half Dome Viewpoint via Sunrise Lakes Trail off west end of Tenaya Lake – 8 miles – 1,000 ft elevation.
May Lake from May Lake Road off Tioga Road – 2.4 miles (3.84 KM) return, 450 ft (137.2 m) elevation.
Porcupine Creek Trail from Tioga Road to Indian Ridge Natural Arch then on to North Dome. Approximately 10 miles (16 KM) round trip with elevation gain of 650 ft (198 m).