Sunlight bouncing off stone mountainsMountain streammountain range through firehikers standing atop stony mountain looking at viewLarge waterfall on stone mountainsideView overlooking mountain waterfallMountain vistaPurple wildflowers before mountain waterfall

Yosemite North Rim

Yosemite Valley, CA
4.9 (14 reviews)

Trip Highlights

  • Early Season Trip
  • Amazing Views
  • Waterfalls
  • Natural Arch
  • Rejuvenating Solitude
  • 3000 Foot Ascent of Snow Creek Trail
  • Summit of North Dome

Description

Explore the North Rim of Yosemite Valley on this four or five day excursion into John Muir’s famous “Range of Light.” This trip is a great early season Yosemite adventure up to the rim that overlooks one of the world’s scenic treasures, Yosemite Valley. It offers a wonderful opportunity to escape the crowds, absorb some of the best views in the Park, sleep under the stars, and check out some of Yosemite’s most amazing waterfalls and peaks.

This trek begins and ends in Yosemite Valley, where El Capitan and Half Dome tower over the famous meadows. We’ll explore majestic Yosemite Falls, North Dome and Indian Rock while catching expansive views of the entire Yosemite Valley far below us and the incomparable High Sierra all around us! Photo opportunities are plentiful as the trail reveals ever-changing views of Half Dome, Clouds Rest, Tenaya Canyon, Mount Watkins, and many more of Yosemite’s scenic wonders.


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.

4 Days
$1120 Per Person
5 Days
$1375 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: 4-5 Days
Distance: 19MI / 30KM

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:
4.5-8 miles
Most Elevation Loss:
4000 feet
Most Elevation Gain:
3000 feet
Quality of Trails:
Well maintained
Additional:
Ascent and descent from/to Yosemite Valley on well-maintained rocky, moderately steep, south-facing switchbacks. Middle section traverses granite slabs and rocky sections broken up with sections of forest covered, dirt and duff trail. Yosemite Creek is bridged and smaller streams are rock hops.

Participants should:

  1. be active and healthy
  2. regularly exercise vigorously
  3. be comfortable hiking, biking, running, or swimming for several hours without many breaks

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.

Learn More about our Rating System
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

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We’re here to help. If you have any questions, call 800-715-HIKE or contact us online.
PDF Trip Itinerary Packet Book online
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Itinerary

Itinerary

DAY 1

This guided Yosemite backpacking trip 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: 4.5 miles
  • Elevation Gain: 3118 feet
  • Elevation Loss: 374 feet

Our hike begins with a leisurely “shake-out” hike around the north flank of Half Dome in the western end of Yosemite Valley. We skirt the south side of Mirror Lake and after a couple of miles take a side trail to have a quick peek at Snow Creek Falls as it cascades down the north side of Tenaya Canyon. To the left of the falls is the next section of our trip, the daunting Snow Creek Trail! We won’t let it intimidate us as we tackle the 3000 ft climb, slowly and steadily. The awesome views of Tenaya Canyon and the north face of Half Dome will take our minds off the numerous switchbacks until the trail finally reaches the shade of a black oak forest near the northern rim of Yosemite Valley! A bit farther on, we make camp along the gentle cascades of Snow Creek and enjoy the pine scented air as our guide prepares a well-deserved gourmet dinner.

Hiker overlooking spectacular mountain vista

DAY 3

  • Hiking Mileage: 8.0 miles
  • Elevation Gain: 2145 feet
  • Elevation Loss: 1800 feet

Today’s hiking bill of fare features pleasant forest walking, stupendous views, Yosemite’s only above water natural arch, and the summit of Half Dome’s smaller twin, North Dome! We break camp fairly early and continue north along Snow Creek through an enjoyable forest of lodgepole pines. We steadily gain elevation until we reach the literal high point of the trip at Indian Rock. Here photographic opportunities abound as the delicate arch frames Half Dome just two and a half miles across the canyon. After enjoying the views and a hearty lunch it is all downhill through increasingly open country to the next highlight of the trip… the summit of North Dome. Half Dome–just 1.5 miles away, now—dominates the view south, and the rest of Yosemite Valley unfolds at our feet. As we watch the shadows lengthening, we hurry the last two miles to set up our camp along a cool forested stream and look forward to enjoying our mountain top location to view one of the best night skies anywhere.

Natural stone bridge

DAY 4

  • Hiking Mileage: 6.5 miles
  • Elevation Gain: 1160 feet
  • Elevation Loss: 4240 feet

After an incredible sunrise overlooking Yosemite Valley we will have a hot breakfast and breakdown our tents. Today we descend from Yosemite’s North Rim backpacking towards our destination at historic Camp 4 in Yosemite Valley. But, the scenic highlights aren’t over yet, as our trail descends alongside Yosemite Falls, one of the top attractions in the park. At 2425 feet tall, it is the tallest waterfall in North America and the sixth highest in the world. We descend sharply to the base of the Upper Falls and enjoy the cooling mists of the spring snowmelt as the thundering water roars past the trail. The last few switchbacks pass quickly as we near the trailhead, where we enjoy a last lunch together and reminisce over our successful attempt at backpacking Yosemite Valley’s North Rim trail!

Lone tree in front of waterfall

5-DAY VARIATION

This hike is often done as a five day trip with a layover the second day at the Snow Creek campsite. That day is be spent exploring the surrounding high country with excursions to the historic Snow Creek Cabin and the summit of secluded Mount Watkins. Another possibility for a four day trip would be an added night at Yosemite Creek with a day hike to the summit of Eagle Peak or El Capitan.

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, sleeping pad, sleeping bag, and technical backpack
  • 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
  • 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 information 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 sleeping bags
  • 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.

WHAT CLOTHES TO BRING

When you register for this tour you’ll receive access to a printable, downloadable trip information packet with detailed information 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 information 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)
  • 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 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:

  • 4.9 (14 reviews)
Jacqueline G.
4.0

Very cool experience.

7 months ago

Very cool experience.

Casey S.
5.0

Will Absolutely Book With Wildland Again

7 months ago

Our guide Joe was excellent. He was extremely helpful and knowledgeable of the hike and of the Yosemite Valley. He was never pushy and allowed us to control the pace of the hike each day. He made it the most memorable trip I've ever been on and even took an incredible video of my boyfriend proposing to me on top of North Dome! I said yes by the way! I will 100% recommend Wildland trekking to everyone and will absolutely be booking another trip in the foreseeable future and many many more after that!

Dennis K.
5.0

Fantastic Guide

7 months ago

We had a fantastic guide. He was very informative and fun to hike the wilderness with. Look forward to hiking with him again. He did not allow much help from the two of us with cooking/cleaning etc...allowing us to really enjoy the views and breathtaking scenery.

See More Guest Reviews!

Go to our reviews page

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