Sierra Nevada mountainsHikers on Sierra Nevada mountain trailrocky mountainshikers on dirt trail with mountain in backgroundDirt and grass with mountains and lake in background

High Sierra Loop

Yosemite Valley, CA
4.8 (30 reviews)

Trip Highlights

  • Expansive High Country
  • John Muir Trail
  • Alpine Rivers & Lakes
  • Potential to See Wildlife
  • Scenic and Pristine Tuolumne River
  • Rejuvenating Solitude
  • Guides Choice Trip

Description

This quintessential Yosemite trek takes us high into the backcountry of the famed Cathedral Range through narrow canyons, stunning alpine meadows and crystal clear mountain lakes. The High Sierra Loop is an adventure into some of the prettiest country in the entire Sierra Nevada Range and highlights the best of Yosemite’s high country in just four days!

We will begin our hike from historic Tuolumne Meadows along the John Muir and Pacific Crest Trails as they parallel the Tuolumne River through stunning Lyell Canyon. As we climb higher into the mountains, panoramic views of the Cathedral Range are the talk of the day. Mountain lakes appear around every corner as we trek across the granite slopes of John Muir’s High Sierra. Our camps on this trek at Vogelsang and Emeric Lakes are in expansive high altitude meadows and are absolutely beautiful places to read a book, photograph the magnificent scenery, or explore the wide open granite-filled landscape!


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% transferable or refundable.

5 Days
$1310 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: 26MI / 42KM

DIFFICULTY LEVEL 3

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:
3-9 miles
Most Elevation Loss:
1300 feet
Most Elevation Gain:
1700 feet
Quality of Trails:
Well maintained
Additional:
This well maintained, but heavily used, trail system begins by following the Tuolumne River through flat open meadows with dirt tracks and occasional granite slabs. A forested and rocky section leads upward through switchbacks to the more open High Country with rocky and sandy trails leading to lake basins. More open meadows and long sandy straight aways lead to a switchbacked, rocky, forested descent to Tuolumne Meadows.

PHYSICAL REQUIREMENTS
Participants should:

  1. be active and healthy
  2. exercise several times per week
  3. be comfortable hiking 6-8 miles per day in hilly or mountainous terrain with a 25-pound backpack

SOLITUDE LEVEL 2

1 least solitude, 5 most solitude

We rate this Yosemite backpacking trip a solitude 2. You can expect as much as an hour of solitude at a time.

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

Traveling in perfect company is a wonderful thing! With our private trip offerings you can book a trip exclusively for your group. Whether it’s with family, friends or colleagues, private trips are a fun and enriching way to explore the outdoors.

Private trip pricing is based on a sliding scale, depending on the number of people in your party. Rates are per person and do not include sales tax and national park fees (where applicable) or guide gratuity. Give us a call at 800-715-HIKE to get the ball rolling!

Private Rates FOr This Trip

  • 2 People: Rate x 2
  • 3 People: Rate x 1.3
  • 4 People: Rate x 1.1
  • 5+ People: Rate x 1

*all rates are per person

Receive Emails about Wildland Trekking Promotions, Updates, and Discounts:

We’re here to help. If you have any questions, call 800-715-HIKE or contact us online.
PDF Trip Itinerary Packet Book online
Or fill out a Reservation Request
Learn About Our Private Trips
View Private Trips
Receive Emails about Wildland Trekking Promotions, Updates, and Discounts:

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: 6 miles
  • Elevation Gain: 420 feet
  • Elevation Loss: 230 feet

Our hike begins in Yosemite’s world-renowned Tuolumne Meadows, among soaring granite domes, jagged mountain peaks, and lush fields of wildflowers, high in the heart of Yosemite’s “Range of Light.” From our trailhead, we follow the Lyell Fork of the Tuolumne River into wide Lyell Canyon as the river meanders its way through wide meadows and cascades over glacially smoothed granite shelves. Mammoth Peak and the Kuna Crest dominate the horizon to the east and the lower wooded slopes of the serrated Cathedral Range are closer by to our west. We will take it slow today to acclimate to the thin High Sierra air and hike approximately six miles to the junction with Ireland Creek, a mere 200 feet higher than our trailhead. Here we will make our camp among the gnarled lodgepole pines along the banks of the Tuolumne and enjoy an incredible meal as the brilliant summer constellations and the Milky Way slowly appear above us.

DAY 3

  • Hiking Mileage: 7.0 miles
  • Elevation Gain: 2100 feet
  • Elevation Loss: 680 feet

After an early wake up call, we eat a hearty breakfast as we prepare for our hike up beautiful Ireland Creek into the high peaks along the crest of the magnificent Cathedral Range, one of Yosemite’s most celebrated regions. But, first, we must tackle what could be the most difficult part of our adventure as the trail ascends 2000 feet to the high point of our trip at 10,850 feet in just three miles. After catching our breaths, we descend to an idyllic spot alongside Evelyn Lake and enjoy a filling, well-earned lunch as we enjoy the beauty of the surrounding peaks: Johnson, Rafferty, Fletcher and Parsons, all above 11,000 feet! Our camp tonight will be near Vogelsang Lake at 10,300 feet, two miles further up the trail. There, we will enjoy truly spectacular views, including even looking down on the summit of Half Dome!

 

DAY 4

  • Hiking Mileage: Varies
  • Elevation Gain: Varies
  • Elevation Loss: Varies

Today is a layover day. We will spend the morning around camp, swimming in the lake, or, perhaps, take a short hike up to Vogelsang Pass, and if we feel particularly energetic, we can try a summit attempt on Vogelsang Peak at 11,516 ft. After lunch, we can head to the absolutely stunning, Emeric Lake or we can relax around camp until supper time. Our appetites stimulated by the high alpine air, we will enjoy our last dinner in the high country as the alpenglow slowly bathes the mountain vastness in ever-deepening shades of pink, purple and rose.

DAY 5

  • Hiking Mileage: 9.4 miles
  • Elevation Gain: 930 feet
  • Elevation Loss: 1550 feet

After a steaming cup of coffee and a hot breakfast we will make an early start for the nine mile trek back to Tuolumne Meadows. After an initial three mile ascent to Tuolumne Pass, the rest of our trail today is all downhill! We follow Rafferty Creek, an absolutely beautiful stream, as it rushes through wide-open meadows until it’s junction with the Lyell Fork of the Tuolumne in a thick lodgepole forest. And after just a short, level 1.1 mile hike, we exit our adventure back at the Tuolumne Meadows trailhead. With congratulations all around, we can celebrate our successful High Sierra Loop trip with an ice cream cone from the Tuolumne Meadows store and plan next year’s adventure with the Wildland Trekking Company!

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.

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.

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
  • Transportation logistics to the trailhead and back
  • 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
  • You will receive a Lifetime Hiking Membership entitling you, your spouse and kids to a lifetime discount of 10% off any Wildland Trekking hiking trip after your first one!

WHAT'S NOT INCLUDED

  • Clothes, raingear, and footwear (Oboz hiking shoes and boots recommended)
  • 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 or Black Diamond 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. All of these items are available online at Wildland Trekking Outfitters.

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. All of these items are available online at Wildland Trekking Outfitters.

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 most tours carry a satellite phone. 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

Yosemite guides 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)
  • 5 and older to join private tours, with final approval and 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 (30 reviews)
Lee S.
5.0

Excellent Trip

7 months ago

Excellent trip. Our guide could not have taken better care of us. Her vast knowledge of the area, her cooking skills and genuinely pleasant demeanor made her a top notch guide.

Andrew S.
5.0

Best Guide Ever

7 months ago

I had an absolutely fantastic time on my hike with Wildland. The route was expertly chosen and was incredibly beautiful. Most importantly, I can't say enough good things about our amazing guide Brittney. I've been on backpacking trips in Africa, South America, Europe, and across the US - but Brittney was the best guide I've ever had. She's funny, interesting, and highly knowledgeable about the terrain and flora/fauna. The food that she made for the trip was the best food I've ever had while backpacking, including some recipes I'll make at home! Furthermore, she always maintained great group cohesion and safety was clearly her #1 priority, which put us all at ease especially given the wildfire situation. She's clearly and expert backpacker and I learned a lot of useful backpacking tips and tricks as well. Just a truly outstanding guide and outstanding human in every way.

Oliva L.
5.0

Enjoyed Very Much

8 months ago

I enjoyed the experience especially the wildlife encounter we had. The views were amazing and the camping spots were beautiful.

See All Guest Reviews!

Go to our reviews page

Related Trips

You might also like...

Receive a PDF info packet via email which includes:
 
 
 
Receive Emails about Wildland Trekking Promotions, Updates, and Discounts:
 
Privacy Policy: Click Here.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*

*