Classic Summits of Yosemite

Yosemite Valley, CA
4.9 (33 reviews)

Trip Highlights

  • Waterfalls
  • Clouds Rest
  • Summit Half Dome
  • Out of This World Views
  • Amazing Glacial History
  • Stunning Campsites
  • Mountain Creeks & Lakes
  • Point-to-Point Hike

Description

Traverse the magic of the Sierra high country on this classic Yosemite Backpacking trip! This four night / five day adventure includes two of Yosemite National Park’s most iconic features – Half Dome and Clouds Rest.  We start in the high country, end in the Valley, and experience incredible views, waterfalls, iconic summits, and overall amazing hiking in between!

We’ll begin our hike in the picturesque Tuolumne Meadows and trek into the high country spending one night below Sunrise Mountain near a selection of quiet mountain lakes.  We will enjoy panoramic views of the surrounding Sierra Nevada, hike along the famous John Muir Trail and summit two iconic Yosemite peaks.  We’ll spend two nights at a base camp as we tackle Half Dome without full packs and return that evening to a delicious hot meal, campfire, and maybe a soak in the creek! The final leg of this trek is a descent into Yosemite Valley along the world famous Mist Trail, passing the Silver Apron, Emerald Pool and roaring Nevada and Vernal falls, before exiting at Happy Isles on the Merced River.


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
$1455 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: 28MI / 45KM

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:
30-40 pounds
Daily Hiking Distances:
5-9 miles
Most Elevation Loss:
2700 feet day hiking
Most Elevation Gain:
2700 feet day hiking
Quality of Trails:
Well maintained
Additional:
Wide, well maintained path meanders through forest and across granite slabs some creek and river crossings. The route becomes steeper and rockier on ascent to Clouds Rest, where exposure and a 4800 ft. drop-off may make some people uncomfortable. Well maintained trail descends through intermittent forest and granite switchbacks to meet up with the Half Dome Trail in heavier forest cover. The famous “cables” section of Half Dome is very steep and requires extreme caution while ascending and descending. It is not mandatory to do the trip, but it is mandatory to reach the top of Half Dome.

PHYSICAL REQUIREMENTS
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.

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 hiking adventure 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: 8.8 miles
  • Elevation Gain: 2100 feet
  • Elevation Loss: 1260 feet

We begin our trek at the Cathedral Lakes trailhead in Tuolumne Meadows and quickly meet up with the famous John Muir Trail.  The trail climbs steadily before reaching a beautiful mountain lake with beautiful views of the Yosemite high country.  We will pause for a much deserved break and trail lunch prepared by your guide.  Our ascent continues after lunch as we skirt the east side of a towering, jagged alpine peak with a stunning, prominent crest directly to our left.  After a few more miles, we make our camp at on the shores of another pristine mountain lake. Alpenglow and stupendous sunset views entertain us as we enjoy a well-deserved gourmet dinner. We go to sleep early knowing we are perfectly situated for an early morning start on our ascent to the summit of Clouds Rest tomorrow!

Alpine trees reflected in lake

DAY 3

  • Hiking Mileage: 7.75 miles
  • Elevation Gain: 1400 feet
  • Elevation Loss: 3640 feet

Today we will rise early for an alpine start on Clouds Rest. A steady, but not too strenuous climb of 1000 feet in a little over 2 miles brings us to the summit at 9926 feet above sea level. The views from the summit of this Classic Yosemite Peak are an outstanding 360 degree view of the surrounding Sierra Nevada. One can see many of Yosemite’s most famous features including: the Quarter Domes, Mount Hoffmann, Vogelsang Peak, and the Cathedral Range. Looking straight down you can see Tenaya Creek, 5000 feet below! The trek down from Clouds Rest is a steep winding descent to Sunrise Creek; along the way stunning views of Half Dome with El Capitan in the distance are framed by massive ancient Junipers. An elevation loss of about 3600 vertical feet leads us to our forested campsite along the banks of bubbling Sunrise Creek.

 

Hiker standing on rocky summit

DAY 4

  • Hiking Mileage: 4.5 miles
  • Elevation Gain: 2100 feet
  • Elevation Loss: 2100 feet

We won’t break camp today so we can climb Half Dome with only light packs. The trek to the summit of Half Dome at 8,839 feet is one of the most exciting “hikes” around! After following an increasingly steep and rocky path, the last 400 feet to the summit are via a set of cables, allowing access to this “perfectly inaccessible peak”! Views from the top of Yosemite’s most iconic summit encompass all of Yosemite Valley and much of the high country. Tonight, after returning the way we came, we will relax around the fire next to a rushing creek and celebrate our achievements in the high country!

Please Note: the ascent of Half Dome involves climbing a section called “the cables,” which is a very steep and exposed part of our hike. The National Park Service has installed a pair of cables to use as hand rails, but it is still a physically and psychologically demanding climb. Some of the objective hazards also include mishaps by other hikers, such as people slipping or dropping items. This climb isn’t required to do the trip, but it is required to reach the top of Half Dome.

Hikers descending mountain with railing

DAY 5

  • Hiking Mileage: 6.9 miles
  • Elevation Gain: 875 feet
  • Elevation Loss: 3915 feet

The final day’s hike begins with a descent to Little Yosemite Valley and then passes through one of Yosemite’s most magnificent areas: the Mist Trail. Paralleling the Merced River as it makes its way down the glacially carved canyon, the trail passes the Silver Apron, Emerald Pool and Nevada Fall before descending through the highlight of the trail and its namesake: the soaking mists of Vernal Fall. Rain gear is a good idea as rainbows appear and disappear among the wind-blown sheets of spray as we descend the steep rocky steps to a bridge over the Merced River. A mile further, we can soak our hot, tired feet in the cool waters of the Merced at the trail’s end at Happy Isles and celebrate a successful hike.

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, 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
  • 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, leather gloves (for the cables on Half Dome) and footwear
  • 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, leather gloves, 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 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

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 12 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:

  • 4.9 (33 reviews)
Jennifer F
5.0

Awesome!

26 days ago

This trip was awesome! The summit of Clouds Rest and Half Dome were incredible experiences! But be prepared to work hard. This trip is tough and I recommend you take the training seriously! Our guide, Michaela, was so awesome and worked so hard to make this trip fun and manageable for all of us! She is a 5 star guide! Great trip and I highly recommend Yosemite as a destination!

Patricia S
5.0

Can't wait to take another trip

2 months ago

This was one of the best trips of my life. The guide was amazing. She made amazing meals. She was full of information and one of the most energetic people I've ever met. And the trip itself was gorgeous. I cant wait to take another trip with this company.

Gregory K
5.0

Second Trip with Wildland, both Fantastic

3 months ago

I have been on two Wildland trips and both have been fantastic. In their office they answer the phones (!!!!) and are knowledgeable and helpful. My guides have been fantastic.

See All Guest Reviews!

Go to our reviews page

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