Yosemite National Park Trip Epilogue - Hiking California


This final summary post for the Yosemite National Park trip has two parts.


Yosemite National Park, California, USA


Following this favorite image, captured from the north side of the Hetch Hetchy Reservoir, the first section is a list of links to all the individual posts for the hikes in this Yosemite series. 

The second portion contains notes and reminders for a subsequent adventure in Yosemite National Park, California, USA.  This experience may be helpful to anyone planning a similar adventure.




The strategy to reduce expense by staging into Yosemite National Park from towns outside the park was flawed. 

On one hand, there was the opportunity to become familiar with the towns of Lee Vining, Oakhurst and Mariposa, California.  A lot of time was lost with the reasonably lengthy and repetitive commutes on challenging road.

The problem in Yosemite is the road 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 the more expensive, in-park accommodation for Tuolumne Meadows and Yosemite Valley could be a better use of time and effort with competitive overall expense comparison.   

It is likely reservations would be required far in advance.  Yosemite has a lot of camping and backpacking accommodation for those who prefer it.  Too much incredible trail was left untouched. 

Yosemite National Park contains a huge number of possibilities.  This trip introduced us to new knowledge about layout.  Wonderful natural treasures were discovered and experienced but there are plenty more to see.

The Rangers at Tuolumne Meadows introduced 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 ever visited.  Traditionally, these missions occur in the first week of September following school opening.  For Yosemite, on the next trip, the plan will move farther away from the summer shoulder to increase enjoyment of the wilderness experience.

Consideration would be given to late May/early June and October.  It would be interesting to see 'frazil ice' in the spring.

It is very important to understand the routes and schedules of the Yosemite Valley Shuttle System and to work it into parking planning and trail-head transport.  Time and opportunity were lost in frustration by failing to understand beforehand the importance of these links.


Trails to Complete - Notes for a future mission.


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 trail-head.

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. 


Other trails to 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).