Moderately rough river with stone mountainshiker on stone dirt trail with lush greenery and mountainsRiver passing through rocky hills and treeshikers on stony trail with treesYosemite valley landscape with stone slopeman swimming in green natural waterWaterfall in Yosemite valleyLarge river with trees and mountains behind

Grand Canyon of Tuolumne

Yosemite Valley, CA
4.8 (5 reviews)

Trip Highlights

  • Rapids & Waterfalls
  • Box Canyon
  • One-way Thru Hike
  • Rejuvenating Solitude & Remoteness
  • Traverse Grand Canyon of the Tuolumne
  • Potential to See Wildlife

Description

Ideal in June and early July (it gets too hot in mid to late summer), this Yosemite adventure, through the deepest gorge in Yosemite National Park, passes by some of Yosemite’s most remarkable waterfalls flowing among massive, glacially-carved canyon walls. Beautiful riverside camps in this remote wilderness offer more solitude than most destinations in Yosemite. Our adventure begins in beautiful, flower-filled Tuolumne Meadows and ends at the historic High Sierra Camp of White Wolf Camp 32 miles down canyon. Along the way we’ll pass by innumerable raging cascades and many placid pools of the mighty Tuolumne River through some of the most incredible scenery in the Sierra Nevada! Scenic highlights of this wilderness paradise include Wildcat Point, Muir Gorge and the idyllic Pate Valley, not to mention the beautiful shores of the Tuolumne River as it plummets towards Hetch Hetchy beneath 5000 ft. granite walls!

Join the Wildland Trekking Company on a journey in John Muir’s footsteps through the incomparable Grand Canyon of the Tuolumne River! Give us a call at 1-800-715-HIKE (4453) to learn more today!


NEED TO KNOW: YOSEMITE PERMITS

Yosemite issues backcountry permits 5.5 months in advance. It’s beneficial to register before permits are issued and if you do, we recommend not making concrete travel arrangements until the permit is secured. We have a very good success rate with Yosemite permits, but if unsuccessful your deposit is 100% transferrable or refundable.

Read more …
5 Days
$1490 Per Person
Return Guests get a 10% discount on all Trips!
Trip Type: Guided Backpacking Trip
Difficulty Level:
Solitude Level:
Group Size: 4-10 Guests
Trip Length: 5 Days
Distance: 30MI / 48KM

DIFFICULTY LEVEL 4

Our difficulty ratings are based on a scale of 1-5, tours with a rating of 1 being least difficult, tours with a rating of 5 being most difficult

Backpack Weight:
25-35 pounds
Daily Hiking Distances:
5-9 miles
Most Elevation Loss:
3000 feet
Most Elevation Gain:
3700 feet
Quality of Trails:
Well maintained
Additional:
A flat, sandy dirt tread leads through Tuolumne Meadows to the head of the canyon. A highly engineered, rocky trail leads past numerous waterfalls on stair steps, switchbacks and cobbled rocky sections to wide open Pate Valley. After steep switchbacks leaving the canyon, the trail traverses through forest and glacial moraines before reaching White Wolf.

PHYSICAL REQUIREMENTS
Participants should:

  1. be very active, healthy people
  2. exercise vigorously several times per week
  3. be comfortable hiking, biking, or running for hours at a time without taking breaks

SOLITUDE LEVEL 2

 

TRAVEL TO YOSEMITE VALLEY BACKPACKERS CAMP

This trip meets in Yosemite Valley in the parking lot of Curry Village near the bear boxes at shuttle stop 14 at 6PM on Day 1. Your guide will contact you approximately 10 days before your trip to coordinate this rendezvous and answer any last minute questions you have. Your guide will be waiting for you in a Wildland Trekking hat and shirt. This trip includes dinner and camping that night at the backpackers camp. Personal vehicles can remain parked at Curry Village during your trip.

Most of our guests rent vehicles or drive their own to Yosemite Valley. However, you can also travel to and from Yosemite National Park using train and bus options from much of California:

From FresnoYosemite Area Rapid Transit (YARTS) is offering 4 bus rides each direction from Fresno to Yosemite Valley. To reach the Yosemite Valley Backpackers Camp get off at Curry Village and either walk or take a national park shuttle to North Pines Campground. Walk to the back of the campground and across the footbridge to the camp.

From Other California Cities: by rail on the Amtrak San Joaquin Train to the city of Merced (serviced by most large cities in California) or by Amtrak “Thruway” Bus Service from Merced to Yosemite Valley. To book your trip, use Amtrak’s Online Reservation Service to book round-trip Amtrak travel to “YOS” (Yosemite Valley).

California does not charge sales tax on services, so there is no sales tax for this trip.

All trips in Yosemite National Park have a 5% fee required by the National Park Service. This fee is applied when your reservation is made and is passed through directly to the national park.

There are no other taxes or fees associated with this trip. Feel free to give us a call at 1-800-715-HIKE (4453) with any questions!

Private Trips

Travel in perfect company by booking a private trip exclusively for your group!

Our sliding scale for private trips is based on the final number of guests in your group. Rates are per person and do not include sales tax, national park fees or guide gratuity. The final rate is based on the actual number of guests on the trip and may adjust based on cancellations or additions.

Please Note: you can also enjoy a private trip at our normal scheduled rates by filling any empty tour to capacity. However, if group members drop from the tour those spots will automatically become available on our website for instant booking. By purchasing a private trip at the rates listed below, your trip will remain exclusive to your group regardless of cancellations. 

Private Rates FOr This Trip

  • 2 People: Rate x 2.5
  • 3 People: Rate x 1.75
  • 4 People: Rate x 1.25
  • 5+ People: Rate x 1.15

*all rates are per person

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ITINERARY

ITINERARY

DAY 1

This Yosemite backpacking tour begins with rendezvous in Yosemite Valley on the patio of Curry Village in front of the Yosemite Mountain Shop at 6PM on Day 1. The Mountain shop is located on the street-facing side of the Curry Village Pavilion (closest to the parking lot). You will easily spot your guide waiting for you in a Wildland Trekking hat. We’ll conduct an orientation meeting, after which we’ll get settled in the Backpackers Camp a stone’s throw away from majestic Tenaya Creek and under the spectacular domes and cliffs of Yosemite Valley. We’ll enjoy dinner either at Curry Village or in camp.

Colorful stream and mountain view

DAY 2

  • Hiking Mileage: 5.8 miles
  • Elevation Gain: 200 feet
  • Elevation Loss: 800 feet

Our trek into one of Yosemite’s most beautiful corridors begins high among the serrated peaks and massive domes of the Sierra Nevada in world-famous Tuolumne Meadows. Here, our trail parallels the northern shore of the Tuolumne River as it makes its way through the largest sub-alpine meadow in the Sierra. Bountiful wildflowers enhance the already incredible views. Pothole Dome, Lembert Dome, Cathedral Peak, Fairview Dome and Unicorn Peak are just some of the iconic granite crags we pass as we hike approximately 5.6 miles to sublime Glen Aulin. At Glen Aulin, just below White Cascade and Tuolumne Falls, we camp at the backpacker’s camp, along the banks of beautiful Conness Creek, where we will enjoy a great meal, a roaring campfire and some good laughs as we settle in for a star-studded sierra night.

stone mountainside overlooking vista

DAY 3

  • Hiking Mileage: 8 miles
  • Elevation Gain: 500 feet
  • Elevation Loss: 3000 feet

An early start is essential today as our hike takes us to one incredible scenic wonder after the next. First we follow the wide and meandering Tuolumne River as it traverses mile long Glen Aulin which, appropriately means “beautiful valley” in Irish Gaelic. Beyond, we come to California Falls, the first of a series of three spectacular waterfalls that our route passes today. Next, as our route steepens and the granite walls rise above us, spectacular La Conte Falls appears, and then we reach the famous Waterwheel, often called one of Yosemite’s most unusual waterfalls. After a tasty lunch along the granite slabs below the falls, we will continue our trek below canyon walls rising higher and higher above us. Our goal is to hike about eight miles to a campsite above the ominous Muir Gorge where we will build camp for the night far from…just about anything else!

hiker on stony shoreline beside California river

DAY 4

  • Hiking Mileage: 8.3 miles
  • Elevation Gain: 600 feet
  • Elevation Loss: 1500 feet

We begin our hike today by traversing high above the Muir Gorge. John Muir, along with Galen Clark, first ascended this narrow and dangerous gorge in the late 1800’s. Muir describes the river‘s passage through the canyon as a “savage, roaring, surging song” and “rather nerve- trying.” We wisely stick to the trail and continue descending past Register Creek, beside a long series of pools and cascades, as we make our way to the next campsite in awesome Pate Valley. Here, in this mini-Yosemite, we relax along the shores of the Tuolumne among the black oaks and yellow pines and enjoy the solitude of this relatively warm and low-level valley. After a possible dip in the river we enjoy our last evening’s meal under a vast canopy of stars.

white water descending stone hillside

DAY 5

  • Hiking Mileage: 9.0 miles
  • Elevation Gain: 3700 feet
  • Elevation Loss: 200 feet

The final leg of our adventure takes us up to our exit trailhead at rustic White Wolf High Sierra Camp and a great meal and possibly a cold beer! But, first we’ve a bit of a challenge, exiting Pate Valley to the southwestern rim of the Grand Canyon of the Tuolumne 3500 feet above. We start early to take advantage of the cool of the day as we switchback up the north facing slope to reach the old Tioga Pass route and finally trail’s end at the historic White Wolf Camp, originally built during the mining boom of the 1880’s. At a last lunch, we toast our successful completion of one of the more challenging trips in Yosemite!

Please Note: We always do everything in our power to follow the set itinerary, however it can change occasionally based on temporary access restrictions, weather, lodging/campground availability, guest ability/injury, natural events like fires and flooding, and other potential causes. Normal terms and conditions apply to trips with itinerary changes.

Trip Dates & Booking

TRIP DATES & BOOKING

Click on a date to register. You can also click here to request new dates or book through customer service.

Available to Book

AVAILABLE TO BOOK

This trip is available and bookable online! Click on the date to register now or contact us online to book through our award-winning customer service team!

Going Fast

GOING FAST

This trip has 1 or 2 spots remaining and is bookable online! Click on the date to book now or contact us online to book through customer service.

Request a Reservation

REQUEST A RESERVATION

This trip is exclusively booked through customer service due to logistics with lodging, permits, staffing, availability, or something else. Please contact us online or call us at 800-715-HIKE (4453) to request a reservation.

Permitted and Confirmed Trip Dates

These trip dates are permitted and confirmed. Click on a date to book!

Don't see your dates? Call us! We may be able to add new trip dates.

800-715-HIKE (4453)

Trip Details

Trip Details

WHAT'S INCLUDED

  • Top-of-the-line tent, backcountry sleeping pad and multi-day backpack
  • High quality, synthetic sleeping bag (professionally laundered after every use) – or bring your own.
  • Use of trekking poles
  • All meals are included from dinner on Day 1 through lunch on the last day
  • A professional, knowledgeable, certified Yosemite hiking guide
  • National park backcountry camping permits
  • Bear cannisters for food storage
  • Emergency equipment including a company-issued first-aid kit and satellite phone
  • A Lifetime Hiking Membership entitling you, your spouse and dependents to a discount of 10% off any Wildland hiking trip after your first one (must book directly with us to receive the discount)!

WHAT'S NOT INCLUDED

  • Clothes, raingear, and footwear (see recommendations)
  • Sunscreen, toiletries and personal items
  • Water bottles and a headlamp or flashlight
  • Guide gratuity (industry recommendation is 10-20% of trip cost)

Click here to see a printable, downloadable trip information packet with more detailed guidance about what to pack.

MEALS: WHAT TO EXPECT

All of our hiking and backpacking tours include a diversity of tasty meals packed full of critical carbohydrates, proteins and fats. We carry foods that travel well in the backcountry – rice, pastas, lentils, beans, couscous, packaged meats, nuts, breads, oatmeal, granola, and more.

For optimal taste and energy, we supplement all our meals with spices, herbs, oils, cheeses, butter, sugar, and fruits and vegetables (fresh and dried). In addition, we provide you with with an assortment of trail mix, snacks, and dried fruits to eat at your own discretion.

We regularly accommodate vegan, vegetarian, kosher and non-gluten diets and will make adjustments for food allergies. These and other special dietary requests may require an additional fee.

GEAR WE PROVIDE

We provide all group gear which includes the following:

  • Deuter or Osprey backpacks
  • Sierra Designs, Kelty or Big Agnes tents
  • Sierra Designs, Kelty, Big Agnes and Mountain Hardware synthetic-fill sleeping bags (or bring your own)
  • Thermarest or Big Agnes sleeping pads
  • Leki trekking poles
  • Cooking stoves and cookware
  • Bear cannisters
  • Company-issued first-aid kit
  • Emergency communication device(s)

WHAT GEAR TO BRING

We ask that you supply a couple of gear items on your hiking tour. These items are two 1-liter water bottles per person and either a headlamp or flashlight per person. Basic items like sunscreen, bug repellent (where and when applicable), lip balm, and toiletries are also important.

Additionally, some guests choose to bring their own sleeping bag. We supply high quality, synthetic fill bags that are professionally laundered after every trip. Synthetic fill is non-allergenic, insulates when damp and stands up well to repeated washings, but is heavier and bulkier than down. If you’re able to bring your own down sleeping bag, there are multiple benefits. If not, we’ve got you covered!

WHAT CLOTHES TO BRING

When you register for this tour you’ll receive access to a printable, downloadable trip information packet with detailed guidance about what clothes to pack (click here to see it now.) All trips require a sturdy pair of hiking shoes or hiking boots, rain gear, and our recommended clothing system. A minimum of three pairs of wool or synthetic hiking socks are also required.

Trip Logistics

Trip Logistics

HOW DO I REGISTER?

Reserve your spot today! In the Trip Dates & Booking section of this page, the green and red dates are bookable online by simply clicking on the date, and blue dates must be booked through our customer service team for a variety of possible reasons. To email our customer service team, you can click here to get the ball rolling. Our adventure consultants will confirm availability, and if you’re ready to register we’ll email you a link to a registration profile. You’ll have 72 hours to complete your profile (and that of any dependents) and pay the deposit.

Feel free to call us for more info – we’re here 7 days a week!

WHERE DO WE MEET?

This trip meets in Yosemite Valley in the parking lot of Curry Village near the bear boxes at shuttle stop 14 at 6PM on Day 1. Your guide will contact you approximately 10 days before your trip to coordinate this rendezvous and answer any last minute questions you have. Your guide will be waiting for you in a Wildland Trekking hat and shirt. This trip includes dinner and camping that night at the backpackers camp. Personal vehicles can remain parked at Curry Village during your trip.

Click here to see a printable, downloadable trip information packet with more detailed guidance about flights, shuttles, recommended lodging and more.

START/END TIMES

Your guide will inform you of the first day’s rendezvous time at the orientation meeting. Generally, you can expect it to be between 5 and 8 am, although the exact time will depend on current weather and road conditions. We will be out of the backcountry normally before 5 PM (this time is not guaranteed, as a variety of circumstances can influence our exact return time) on the final day.

SAFETY CONSIDERATIONS

Your safety is our top priority. Our hiking tours are led by professional hiking guides, all of whom are wilderness-certified first responders or EMT’s, each with years of guiding and wilderness experience. We’ve developed comprehensive risk management protocols that our guides adhere to in case of an emergency, and all tours carry an emergency communication device. If you have any further questions about safety, please contact us at 1-800-715-HIKE (4453) for more information.

GUIDES

Your tour will be led by a trained, experienced professional with a solid guiding background, years of personal wilderness and hiking experience, medical certifications, and a passion for leading people into breathtaking landscapes. Check out our Meet Our Team page for staff bios.

GUIDE SHIFTS

The guide(s) on this trip work daily shifts from 5 a.m. to 9 p.m. During off hours (9 p.m. to 5 a.m.) the guides’ time is their own, and they are free to sleep, rest, take personal time, postpone guest requests until the next morning, and any other legal, reasonable activity people engage in when not working. We ask all guests to respect the guides’ off-duty hours by not waking or asking anything of them unless there is a true emergency. Also, state law requires that employees receive an uninterrupted 10 minute break every four working hours, so guides are required to take four 10 minute breaks between 5 a.m. and 9 p.m.

GROUP SIZE AND AGE RESTRICTIONS

The standard group size on backpacking trips is 5 guests and 1 guide, with a maximum of 10 guests and 2 guides. If you have more questions about group size, please give us a call at 1-800-715-HIKE (4453) and we’ll answer all your questions.

Age restrictions are as follows:

  • 12 and older to join scheduled tours (mixed groups)
  • 10 and older to join private tours, with final approval on a case by case basis
  • specific logistical requirements (such as porter or stock assist) determined on a case by case basis

WEATHER IN THE SIERRAS

Being a high mountain environment, the Sierra Nevada Mountains are prone to sudden temperature and weather shifts. This is an exciting aspect of being in the mountains. On trips in June, snow is a possibility, and the rest of the summer rain is always a possibility on your trip. To be fully prepared, please follow the recommended clothing list closely (this list comes as part of your trip packet when you register). See below for average summer temperatures:

Average Temperatures (Fahrenheit)
Month
Valleys
Alpine
hi
low
hi
low
January
49°
26°
45°
25°
February
55°
28°
46°
26°
March
59°
31°
48°
27°
April
65°
35°
54°
30°
May
73°
42°
62°
37°
June
81°
51°
71°
46°
July
89°
57°
77°
50°
August
89°
56°
81°
53°
September
82°
51°
71°
46°
October
74°
39°
62°
37°
November
58°
31°
51°
29°
December
48°
26°
46°
25°

Accommodations

Accommodations

BACKCOUNTRY SLEEPING

TENT CAMPING

Sleeping on backpacking trips is in premier 1-person, 2-person or 4-person backcountry tents. Solo travelers, and anyone else who requests it, are issued single tents. Top-of-the-line self-inflating sleeping pads and synthetic-fill sleeping bags (professionally laundered after every trip) are also provided.

BACKCOUNTRY CUISINE

FRESH & DELICIOUS

Meals from breakfast Day 1 through lunch the last day are fully included and prepared by your guide. We never use dehydrated backpacking meals, instead serving freshly prepared, delicious backcountry cuisine made with a variety of common and specialty ingredients that travel well in the wilderness.

yosemite campsite with hikers

AMAZING CAMPSITES

yosemite campsite with hikers
IN THE ACTION

Of course campsites vary tremendously by destination, trip and even by the individual day of a trip. However, you can expect to camp in beautiful areas that put you right in the action to make the most of your backpacking adventure. We carefully design our itineraries with campsites in mind.

Trip Reviews

Trip Reviews

  • Average Customer Ratings:

  • 4.8 (5 reviews)
Allison B
5.0

Amazing experience

2 months ago

An amazing week in the majestic canyon of the Tuolumne River. Our guide, Mike, did an amazing job to lead us and was very thoughtful in helping make the trip more meaningful. The week was a needed break to clear the mind and there is no better place to do that than the quiet high Sierra or Yosemite. Thanks for another great trek!

Brenda S
5.0

Amazing First Backpacking Trip!!!

4 months ago

Well said Scott T. Brittney was amazing. Couldn’t have asked for a better guide. This was my first backpacking trip and was amazed at how well everything was planned out. The food was amazing. Never was hungry on the trip. The views were beautiful. Saw so many waterfalls. Water was very cold but felt amazing at the end of the day. Our group was so respectful and kind. Such wonderful people. I am so excited to plan my next trip with Wildland Trekking.

Scott T
5.0

Experience of a Lifetime!

6 months ago

Experience of a lifetime! I plan on making a yearly trip or two with Wildland based on the awesome experience I had hiking them in Yosemite. My guide, more like a friend / outdoor mentor really, was exceptional. Brittney’s professionalism and friendliness is the main reason I consider myself a lifetime customer of Wildland Trekking. Safe and conscientious, I never once was concerned for our group’s well being in a very unforgiving, remote piece of terrain. Brittney’s number one concern was for the safety of each guest. I appreciated that she continually assessed the group’s physical capabilities and made adjustments that kept the tour safe and pleasant. I also very much appreciated the personal attention she gave each trekker to make sure they were drinking plenty of water, eating enough food, not carrying too much weight, and being good stewards of the park. Brittney made an already awesome trip more memorable by sharing her love for the outdoors with the group. She explained the history of the park, flora and fauna, and hiking lore that just added a little bit more to the hiking experience. The entire trip felt light and rejuvenating due in large part to part to our guide’s pleasant personality. Meals were off the chart awesome! I typically do not eat mushrooms and have never eaten tofu but Brittney, who must also be a professional chef, prepared some kick ass meals that had me coming back for seconds every time. I thought we were basically gonna eat oatmeal, jerky, and ramen for our outdoor meals. Brittney showed us a new level of outdoor quinine I didn’t think possible in the back country over a camp stove. Spoiler alert: Lemon, Poppyseed Pancakes! Most of all Brittney is a good person, with solid character that’s just fun to be around. She taught us all new outdoor skills in a way that was interesting and not condescending. Been serving in the Army for over three decades with people America would be proud to call they’re own. I would put Britt right up there with the best of that elite group. Thank you Wildland Trekking, my group, and our fearless leader Brittney for a truly wonderful experience. See you next year or perhaps sooner.

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