Yosemite – Clouds Rest and Half Dome Backpacking Trip

Posted: January 19, 2011 in Bucket List, Travel, Travel Resources
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Clouds Rest and Half Dome viewed from the Merced RiverThis is my second post for this hike. We’ve made significant progress in planning the hike. Four of us have been approved for a Wilderness permit for our primary dates at the beginning of July to backpack from Tenaya Lake to Clouds Rest, to Little Yosemite Valley, up Half Dome, and then down to the valley floor. We have reservations at The Ahwahnee for the night after the hike … showers and a bed will be great at that point. The only remaining reservation we need is for the shuttle from The Ahwahnee back to our car at Tuolumne Meadows. We can’t make this reservation for the shuttle until one week before the day of the ride so we’ll need a calendar event to track doing this.

Things we’ve already done to set up the trip with Yosemite National Park:

Wilderness Permit – Wilderness permits are required year-round for any overnight stay in the Yosemite Wilderness. Permits are not required for day hikes. For day hikes only Half Dome requires a permit. Wilderness Permits can be reserved approximately 6 months, 24 weeks, or exactly 168 days in advance (use a Julian Calendar to determine the exact day, but confirm with the park to be sure you are not early or late). Cost – $5 plus $5 per person. Fax it in after 5pm the day before it can be reserved up to 7am the day of the 1st day reservations can be made for the first day of the hike. Requests received before 7am all get the same priority, after 7am they are prioritized by time of receipt. Check in and get your permit as soon as the day before but not later than 10am on the first day of the wilderness permit. There are daily quotas for reservable Wilderness Permits for hiking from all trailheads in Yosemite. In addition to a trailhead Wilderness Permit you will need a special Wilderness Permit in order to go up Half Dome. If you do the most popular Half Dome hike, from the valley floor to Half Dome and back in one day, you will need to reserve the specific permit for that. If you are hiking from a different trailhead and spending several days in the wilderness, you can get a permit to go up Half Dome when you pick up your trailhead specific Wilderness Permit with no other reservations. You just have to remember to ask or you will not be allowed up Half Dome. For 2011, there is a ranger posted at the base of Half Dome every day, not just weekends.

Lodging/Camping Reservations. Determine where you will stay before and after your hike. There are several camping and lodging options available at the park. One very useful service Yosemite provides are Backpackers camps near most trailheads. Backpackers with Wilderness Permits are allowed to stay at the Backpacker camps the day before and the day after the dates on their Wilderness Permit with no other reservations required. We will be staying at the Tuolumne Meadows backpackers camp on the night before the hike and at The Ahwahnee on the night after the hike.

Things we still need to reserve:

Tuolumne Meadows Hikers Bus. This shuttle leaves The Ahwahnee at 8:20am and will get us to Tenaya Lake to the trailhead where our car will be parked a little after 10am. The cost from Yosemite valley to Tenaya Lake is $12.50 per person. The reservations can not be made until 7 days prior to the day you will ride the shuttle. Since this will be the 5th of July for us and it may be very busy at that time, we will make the reservations as early as we can.

Getting the Wilderness Permit email confirmation was awesome. I love it when plans come together. The trip now seems much more real. Just a few more things to set up, some supplies to buy, and a lot of training to do. Hiking 20+ miles carrying a 35-40 pound backpack most of the way will be challenging. But that is at least part of the reason we’re doing this. If it was easy it wouldn’t be as rewarding. The other reasons are for the views and the chance to bond with family and friends. I’m really looking forward to this trip!

Previous post for this trip: Half Dome Hike Early Planning

Next planning post for this trip: Yosemite Clouds Rest Backpack or Not

Or jump right to the Half Dome Hike: Yosemite (2011) (Part 2 – Backpacking to Little Yosemite Valley and Hiking Half Dome)

  1. […] Lake to Yosemite Valley this summer. We have done all the early planning, and were granted the wilderness permit and most of the reservations, so now it is time to do more detailed planning. The biggest detail still in question is whether to […]

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