Backpackers looking out over the high country of YosemiteTuolumne River near Tuolumne Meadows, Yosemite National ParkHikers standing around a campfire near the Tuolumne RiverTent at sunrise in Yosemite National ParkBackpackers hiking through spring snowfields in YosemiteWildland Trekking hikers summiting a peak in YosemiteSunrise above tree line, Yosemite National ParkHiker in the high country of Yosemite National ParkHalf Dome and Yosemite Valley below an alpine lake, Yosemite

High Sierra Loop

Yosemite Valley, CA
4.8 (38 reviews)

Trip Highlights

  • Expansive High Country
  • John Muir Trail
  • Pristine Rivers & Lakes
  • Potential to See Wildlife
  • Alpine Peaks & Passes
  • Rejuvenating Solitude

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

We enter the permit lottery for this trip 5 months prior to the trip start date. To create the best experience for our guests, we also apply for excellent, but lesser known, alternate itineraries. If we initially secure only an alternate itinerary, you can accept it, transfer to another trip or request a full refund. However,  we recommend accepting alternate itineraries and remaining on the trip, as there is a second (and more promising) opportunity to secure the primary permit approximately 1 week before the start date. We will update you and notify you of your options throughout this process. In the case that we are unable to secure the primary permit the week before, we will still run the trip with the backup itinerary (which is a highly rated, world class trip). In this case regular cancellation policies will apply.

Read more …
From USD
$1815 Per Person
Trip Type: Guided Backpacking Trip
Difficulty Level:
Solitude Level:
Group Size: 1-10 Guests
Trip Length: 5 Days
Distance: 26MI / 42KM

DIFFICULTY LEVEL 3

Scale of 1-5. 1 is least difficult; 5 is most difficult

SUMMARY OF DIFFICULTY
This trip is follows well maintained trails. Some concerns include loose dirt, large stepping stones and tree roots. Day 2 is a challenging climb out of Lyell Canyon to Vogelsang High Sierra Camp on a well maintained trail with little to no heights exposure.

Hiking Distances:

6-9 mi

Backpack Weight:

35-45 lbs

Terrain:

Lightly Rugged

Max Daily Elev. ↑↓:

2100 ft

Heights Exposure:

Light

Please Note: Terrain, Elevation Gain and Heights Exposure ratings reflect the section or day of the trip with the maximum difficulty of each. Much of the trip is at easier levels. See the trip itinerary for more detailed information. Backpack Weight ratings are estimates that account for Wildland-provided gear, guest clothing, personal items and a share of group food. By packing light it’s often possible to stay on the lower end of the weight range. Pack weights also decrease during the trip.

PHYSICAL DEMANDS OF THIS TRIP

  • Hiking uphill or downhill with a 35-45 lb backpack for 6-8 hours
  • Maintaining balance and footing on lightly rugged terrain
* For an official and complete list of physical requirements, please see our Essential Eligibility Criteria.

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.

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

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 in the parking lot of Curry Village near the bear boxes at shuttle stop 14 at 6PM on Day 1. 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: 6.5 miles
  • Elevation Gain: 2120 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 High Sierra Camp and Fletcher Lake.  There, we will enjoy truly spectacular views, and settle in for a great dinner.

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: 7.1 miles
  • Elevation Gain: 240 feet
  • Elevation Loss: 1530 feet

After a steaming cup of coffee and a hot breakfast we will make an early start for the 7 mile trek back to Tuolumne Meadows.  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 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. 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.

* We apply for this trip’s permit 5 months in advance. For trip dates fewer than 5 months away, we have already been issued a permit, either for the primary itinerary or an excellent backup itinerary. If a backup was secured, we will apply again for the primary itinerary 1 week prior. Please email  us or call us at 800-715-HIKE (4453) to learn the permit status of each trip date!

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
  • Trained hiking guide(s) with years of personal wilderness and hiking experience, medical certifications, and a passion for leading people into breathtaking landscapes. See Guide Bios.
  • National park backcountry camping permits
  • Bear cannisters for food storage
  • Emergency equipment including a company-issued first-aid kit and communication device (InReach Explorer or satellite phone)
  • Mandatory 5% national park fee that passes through directly to Yosemite

What's Not Included

  • Clothes, raingear, and footwear (see recommendations)
  • National park entrance fee
  • 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)

Guest Packing LIst

When you register for this tour you’ll receive access to a printable, downloadable trip information packet with a detailed packing list specific to this trip (click here to see it now.) All trips require a sturdy pair of hiking shoes or hiking boots, rain gear, a recommended clothing system, a headlamp or flashlight, a hydration system (water bottles and/or bladder) and other items specific to each trip.

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!

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.

Travel to Yosemite Valley

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.

Many Wildland 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 1 bus ride 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).

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 Precautions

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. Guides adhere to standardized risk management protocols in case of any potential or actual incident, and all tours carry an emergency communication device and comprehensive first-aid kit. Additionally we have a “24/7” system through which guides or guests can reach Wildland support personnel at any time.

If you have any further questions about safety, please contact us at 1-800-715-HIKE (4453) for more information.

Essential Eligibility Criteria

Essential Eligibility Criteria (“EEC”) have been specifically identified to help you understand the skills and abilities necessary to participate on each Wildland trip, and they apply uniformly to all potential trip participants, irrespective of the presence or absence of any disability.

Once you identify a trip in which you may be interested, please carefully review the EEC and itinerary details. If after reviewing the EEC that apply to your desired trip, you determine you need an accommodation in order to meet the EEC, please contact us prior to registering to discuss your requested accommodation.

The EEC exist for your own safety and the safety and enjoyment of all participants. If you are unable to meet the EEC for the trip, with or without an accommodation, you are not eligible for that trip. If you register and arrive for a trip for which you do not meet the EEC, you will be disqualified from participation on the trip and will be dismissed or evacuated from the trip without a refund.

Guide Shifts

The guide(s) for 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.

Age Restrictions

Age restrictions on this trip 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 (38 reviews)
Catherine A
5.0

Truly a trip to remember.

6 months ago

Mike was a truly wonderful guide. Incredibly patient, full of knowledge, and cooked us the most amazing meals! Truly a trip to remember.

Milton D
5.0

Second to None

1 year ago

Wildland Trekking back office and field staff exceeded all my expectations. Nature can throw curves at any treks plan; the quality and experience of our guide kept us all calm and collected no matter what happened and made the entire trip a highlight in my life's experiences. I would highly recommend Wildland Trekking to anyone starting their journey into back country adventures.

Adam J
5.0

Amazing

2 years ago

Great experience with Wildland Trekking. The trip was the best of many I have taken with Wildland Trekking. The scenery was world-class and completely worth the hike it took to get there. My friend and I will definitely be back for more trips.

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 *

*

*