Yosemite High Country Basecamp Tour

Yosemite, California
5.0 (28 reviews)

Trip Highlights

  • Diverse Tour of Yosemite
  • Iconic Hikes
  • Best Waterfalls & Domes
  • BIG Alpine Views
  • Yosemite Valley and High Country
  • Camp Near Tuolumne River
  • Exceptional Outdoor Cuisine

Description

This all-inclusive Yosemite camping tour packs a tremendous amount of value into one action-filled four day hiking and camping package. We give you the best of both sides of Yosemite – phenomenal hikes in Yosemite Valley as well as up in the Park’s stunning Tuolumne Meadows. We spend time exploring Yosemite Valley’s world-famous granite features, like Half dome and El Capitan, as well as its amazing waterfalls and incredible glacial history. We also enjoy plenty of time in the cooler, quieter high country around Tuolumne Meadows, hiking through subalpine parklands, past beautiful clear-blue lakes and to the summits of some of the Park’s “cathedral” peaks!

We set up our base camp at higher elevations than Yosemite Valley, at a private campground with great access to the Valley and the high country. Each day after a hearty breakfast we head into the park for unforgettable days of hiking on a diversity of hand-picked trails. At night we return to our camp for fantastic meals, relaxation, and showers.

One of the most amazing aspects of visiting Yosemite is learning about its glacial history. Your guide will lead you through this history throughout the week, noting evidence such as sheered domes, mountains of moraine, massive boulders perched in impossible positions, and other unique features. You’ll also learn about Yosemite’s wildlife, Native American history, and early settler history.

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From USD
$2045 Per Person
Trip Type: Camping Hiking Tour
Difficulty Level:
Solitude Level:
Group Size: 2-10 Guests
Trip Length: 4 Days
Distance: 27MI / 43KM

DIFFICULTY LEVEL 2

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

SUMMARY OF DIFFICULTY
This trip follows well maintained trails. Some concerns include loose dirt, large stepping stones and tree roots. The top of Vernal/Nevada falls has exposed vertical drops with safety railings in place.

Hiking Distances:

4-8 miles

Backpack Weight:

10-12 lbs

Terrain:

Lightly Rugged

Max Daily Elev. ↑↓:

2540 feet

Heights Exposure:

Moderate

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.

PHYSICAL DEMANDS OF THIS TRIP

  • Hiking uphill or downhill with a 8-12 lb backpack for 6-8 hours
  • Maintaining balance and footing on lightly rugged terrain
  • Hiking with occasional, moderate heights exposure
* 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 trip a solitude 2. You can expect as much as an hour of solitude at a time.

MINIMUM OF 2 GUESTS

If a trip does not reach the minimum number of guests, you may choose to transfer to another trip date or another trip, be refunded your payments in full, or you may have the choice to pay a supplemental fee to run the trip with fewer guests. We make the final determination for these trips 4-6 weeks before the departure date, and notify guests of changes and options immediately.

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
  • 4-5 People: Rate x 1.5
  • 6-8 People: Rate x 1.25
  • 9-12 People: Rate x 1.15

*all rates are per person

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Itinerary

Itinerary

Day 1

  • Shuttle: 3 hours
  • Hiking Mileage: 4 miles
  • Elevation Gain: 1270 feet
  • Elevation Loss:  1270 feet

Our first Yosemite hike begins at the Happy Isles trailhead with an outstanding hike to view one of Yosemite’s crown jewels, Vernal Falls, along the John Muir trail.  While many of Yosemite’s hikes are centered on a final destination, this route features stunning views the whole way. We’ll enjoy a panorama that includes Upper Yosemite Falls across the Valley, to the phenomenal granite heights of Liberty Cap, Grizzly Peak, the Panorama Cliffs, Sentinel Dome, Glacier Point and even Half Dome soaring above our heads.

After our waterfall hike we’ll enjoy a picnic lunch and then begin the shuttle to our camp at higher elevation.  At camp, we’ll get settled in and reconvene for our first delicious, guide-prepared dinner.

Day 2

  • Shuttle: 1.5 hours each way
  • Hiking Mileage: 10.2 miles
  • Elevation Gain: 2540 feet
  • Elevation Loss: 2540 feet

Today we will climb one of Yosemite Valley’s iconic granite domes, Half Dome’s northerly sibling, the spectacular North Dome. Our hike starts above the Valley at a normally quiet trailhead and heads south through a pristine Lodgepole Pine forest. After only a few miles we will enjoy a rejuvenating break at Indian Arch, an arch-shaped rock that provides breathtaking views of the mountains that surround us. From Indian Arch we will descend down onto the top of North Dome where we will enjoy a picnic lunch with out-of-this-world, 360-degree views of Yosemite Valley and the surrounding mountain peaks as our backdrop. After snapping lots of photos and soaking up the views, we will complete our hike back to the trailhead, then return to camp for showers, evening cuisine, and another relaxing evening.

Day 3

  • Shuttle: 1 hour each way
  • Hiking Mileage: 7.9 miles
  • Elevation Gain: 1900 feet
  • Elevation Loss: 1900 feet

Today is an unforgettable adventure as we embark on a hike to one of Yosemite’s most beautiful lakes – Cathedral Lake. Our hike begins in Tuolumne Meadows and quickly ascends into a lodgepole forest as we pass Cathedral Peak and crest a saddle before descending to Cathedral Lake. On the shores of the lake we’ll dip our feet and/or go for a chilly but refreshing swim, enjoy a wonderful picnic lunch, and relish the world-famous views of one of the most picturesque features of Yosemite’s high country: Cathedral Peak reflected in the crystal waters of Cathedral Lake. Another feast of a dinner and relaxing evening await us back at camp.

Day 4

  • Shuttle: 1 hour each way
  • Hiking Mileage: 5.5 miles
  • Elevation Gain/Loss: 2020 feet

Today, after a satisfying breakfast, we’ll attempt to summit a peak at the geographical center of Yosemite National Park. Our hike takes us uphill to May Lake, a charming sub-alpine lake framed by sheer granite cliffs. We’ll take a break at the lake before continuing up the flanks of Mount Hoffman. This summit involves only hiking, but is an exciting ascent up a picturesque mountain peak.

The real gem of today comes when we reach the summit of Mount Hoffman, which some people say offers the best view of any in Yosemite! From its high perch we will be looking down on Half Dome and Clouds Rest – a rare vantage point – and over to the bright granite peaks of the Cathedral Range. We’ll snap some pictures and soak up the views over a picnic lunch before heading back down to May Lake and back to the trailhead.

After our hike we’ll enjoy one last scenic drive out of the high country back to Yosemite Valley for the conclusion of our adventure.

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.

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, sleeping pad, sleeping bag, and day pack
  • Use of trekking poles
  • All meals are included from breakfast 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.
  • 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 outdoors – 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, Big Agnes and Mountain Hardware sleeping bags
  • Thermarest sleeping pads
  • Leki trekking poles
  • Cooking stoves and cookware
  • 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?

You’ll meet your hiking guide and group in Curry Village in Yosemite Valley around 8 AM the morning the trip begins. Your guide will be in contact approximately 2 weeks before your trip and will specify the exact location of the rendezvous at that point. You can park your personal vehicle at Curry Village for the duration of the 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 CURRY VILLAGE IN YOSEMITE

You’ll meet your hiking guide and group in Curry Village in Yosemite Valley around 8 AM the morning the trip begins. Your guide will be in contact approximately 2 weeks before your trip and will specify the exact location of the rendezvous at that point. You can park your personal vehicle at Curry Village for the duration of the trip.

Most of our guests drive personal or rental vehicles to Yosemite, but 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.

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
June
81°
51°
71°
46°
July
89°
57°
77°
50°
August
89°
56°
81°
53°
September
82°
51°
71°
46°

Accommodations

Accommodations

PRIVATE CAMPGROUND

3 NIGHTS

This basecamp tour stays at a private campground on the Tuolumne River with fantastic access to Yosemite Valley and the high country. It features showers, flush toilets and a myriad of other amenities and activities.

FANTASTIC MEALS

11 MEALS

Basecamp trips include meals for the duration of the tours beginning with breakfast the first day through lunch the final day. Meals are prepared by your guide(s) using fresh ingredients, exclusive Wildland recipes, and we adhere to all department of health outdoor cooking codes.

COMFORTABLE CAMPING

CAMPING AMENITIES

What amenities do basecamp tours include? Cold and hot drinks, campfires (where/when allowed), camp chairs, access to showers, fresh food, roomy tents, comfortable sleeping pads, comfy sleeping bags, camp pillows and more! Camp comfortably, eat well, and hike til your heart’s content!

Trip Reviews

Trip Reviews

  • Average Customer Ratings:

  • 5.0 (28 reviews)
Joe G
5.0

Unbelievable!!

8 months ago

Morgan and Austin were both awesome. They handled us very well and kept us involved and engaged with our adventure. I hope to have them on another adventure, soon. The food was unbelievable!!

Abbe S
5.0

This was a perfect trip from start to finish.

9 months ago

Amazing from start to finish! Well planned hikes and activities . The food prepared was amazing!! Fantastic!!!

Tracy H
5.0

Truly an epic adventure!

9 months ago

Our guides, Mike and Austin, were fantastic! They worked long and hard hours, driving us, guiding us, then preparing meals, etc., and I cannot thank them enough for taking such great care of us all! They listened to suggestions and bent over backward to make this an epic experience, which it was. The meals were nutritious and delicious. The hikes they chose to take us on were beautiful. Each hike offered different views of the park, and they were knowledgeable about the park itself as well as the plant life, etc. They somehow managed to challenge all of us, yet they never made anybody feel compelled to go outside their comfort zone. We were fortunate to have a great group on the adventure as well, people that I hope to hike with in the future. This was truly an epic adventure thanks to Mike and Austin.

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