Yosemite National Park is home to some of the most scenic and spectacular hikes in the world. Over 3.5 million visitors travel from all corners of the world every year to marvel at the waterfalls and hike the famous trails of the 3rd oldest national park in the United States (Established October 1, 1890). With over 800 miles of trails you are sure to keep yourself busy. Most visitors head straight for Yosemite Valley, but there are many great hikes in Wawona, Tuolumne Meadows and the Hetch Hetchy as well. The park's elevation ranges from 2000ft to 13,114ft (600m to 4,000m), stretching from Giant Sequoia groves housing 200ft trees over 2,000 years old, to breath-taking valleys carved by glaciers, and home to the highest waterfall in America, to alpine meadows filled with rivers, lakes, and wildflowers. Half Dome and El Capitan rise from the central glacier-formed Yosemite Valley, as does Yosemite Falls, North America's tallest waterfall. Three Giant Sequoia groves and vast wilderness are home to diverse wildlife. Tuolumne Meadows is a great area to visit to get away from the large crowds in Yosemite Valley. This area is a few thousand feet higher than the valley and may take some time before becoming completely acclimated. Wawona is in the south western part of Yosemite National Park and is much less visited compared to the Valley. There are several highlights of this area including the Mariposa Grove of Giant Sequoia which was protected by Galen Clark 150 years ago and is home to over 300 massive Sequoias, some of the largest and oldest trees in the world still alive today.
CALF KILLER- but worth it! You start out with switch backs so you should know what you are getting yourself into but push yourself to the top. Once you soak in the view you'll forget your tired legs. Bring lots of water, proper shoes, and a positive attitude :)
Probably my favorite day hike in yosemite.. the scenery is unbeatable and unforgettable and the hike itself, while uphill, is not crazy long so it's manageable. if you go in winter i'd recommend getting ice cleats or something to give your shoes more traction because this trail can get sketchy and super iced over in the winter time.
John Muir Trail from Devils Postpile to Happy Isles in Yosemite Valley
August 3 – 12, 2015
Monday 3rd: We drove all day through the barren wasteland of Nevada. The trip was made enjoyable by listening to Julia Sweeney’s standup, “Letting Go of God.” Hilarious!
When we arrived in Mammoth, we went on the Reds Meadow Shuttle down to Devils Postpile. The Postpile was formed less than 100,000 years ago when a cooling lava flow cracked into multi-sided columns. The basalt was exposed and smoothed by glaciers.
Our first night we slept at the Whispering Pines at June Lake. The outside view from the hotel was beautiful.
Tuesday 4th: Today was dedicated to Yosemite. We started with breakfast at Nicely’s restaurant in Lee Vining, California. Then we went to Tuolumne Meadows to drop off our food cache in the bear boxes. Next, we headed down to Yosemite Valley. That place was crazy! It was packed with people, most of them speaking different languages (e.g. the tower of Babel). People clearly come from all over the world to enjoy this place.
We took a hike in Tuolumne Grove to see the giant redwood trees. I had never seen redwoods before and they are truly magnificent, ancient, and massive.
Yosemite is filled with granitic plutons, cooled, hardened and then uplifted and exposed by erosion. There are mountains of white-gray granite everywhere. One such rock is called El Capitan. I think Brennon and Devon should climb it.
While we were standing there admiring the “big rock”, a mama doe and her two baby fawns walked out of the bushes right in front of us. They wandered around for a minute and then happily hopped back into the forest.
Yosemite Falls is the highest waterfall in the United States. Although it was a little anemic (not much water) its sheer height was impressive.
We left the truck and trailer in the Yosemite Valley and decided to take the car. The only problem was that the car was on the tow dolly and it was completely dead. Luckily some good Samaritans helped us shove the Mazda off the dolly and we jumped it with Uncle Steve’s truck. We had gas station burritos for lunch.
At the end of the day we stopped at Tuolumne Meadows to scope out the backpacker’s camping spots and find the trailhead. Mission accomplished except one tiny problem. We’d walked around so long we forgot where we parked the car. After much walking and searching we eventually found the car (in 15 min parking) and headed back to Nicely’s for dinner, and Motel 6 for one last night in a bed.
Day 1: We left Devils Postpile early Wednesday morning. For lunch we stopped at one of the small Trinity lakes along the trail. Each time we stopped to eat we also had to pump water for our bottles. Lunch consisted of granola bars, trail mix, beef jerky, and craisins. After a little more hiking we came upon Gladys Lake, which I thought was even grander than the little Trinity lake.
Along the trail we met some interesting people. Today was the first time we met our friends from Canada, two men from British Colombia (although the older gentleman spoke French?). They shared our lunch spot, and they were headed the same way we were; we would see them again before our hike was finished. We also met a nice couple from Israel heading south. The third pair of fellow hikers I will call the Swiss Miss Twins (although they really came from New Hampshire). They were both blond with two braids in their hair. They were clearly experienced hikers even mentioning a hike they did in South America, but today one of them had blisters. They were heading to Red’s Meadow to take a day or two off and see if they could rest the feet and continue on. We hiked 7.5 miles today, climbing 2000 feet, and Rosalie Lake was our first campsite. It was by far the most beautiful of the lakes I had seen that day.
Day 2: Breakfast is a Steve’s Special – a mixture of several different kinds of cereal and a yummy rehydrated milk powder (I promise it tastes better than I make it sound). We left Rosalie Lake heading north on the trail. We walked past a zillion switchbacks to get to Shadow Lake. Next, we hiked along Shadow Creek, over a log bridge and past some amazing little waterfalls. To simplify the hike experience I will describe it like this: up, up, up, up, then down, down, down, down (repeat). We strolled past Garnet Lake, Ruby Lake, and Emerald Lake before arriving at 1,000 Island Lake aptly named because it is filled with small little islands. We were supposed to camp at 1,000 Island Lake, but decided to press on another 1.5 miles to Island Pass. We were tired when we arrived and it was a little cold, so we made camp, pumped water, and had a delicious Chili Mac for dinner.
Our notable fellow hikers today were two ladies from Germany, one from Berlin and the other from Munich. We also saw our first trailrunner. She cruised by us just fast enough for me to ask if she wanted applause – she said yes.
Day 3: As we