Highlights: If you’re looking for an incredible backcountry adventure that isn’t too strenuous, look no further! During this five-day trip you’ll experience some of Yosemite’s pristine wilderness locations. Camp at the base of Mount Hoffman (10,850′) along the shore of May Lake. Swim, relax, or opt for a four-mile roundtrip hike to the summit of Mount Hoffman. Trek through high alpine meadows as you make your way to Polly Dome Lake—a hidden location surrounded partially by granite. Camp at Glen Aulin, nestled at the mouth of the Grand Canyon of the Tuolumne River. Amazing sunsets are a specialty along this route! This trip is perfect for a family backpacking adventure, or those wanting something less strenuous.
For a detailed map with elevation profile of the tentative itinerary, click here: Map.
Meet your guide in front of the Tuolumne Meadows Store at 4 pm. Get acquainted with the group and with gear. If time allows before dinner, explore some of Tuolumne’s hidden gems. Grab dinner at the Tuolumne Grill before settling in for the night at the Tuolumne Meadows Backpacker’s Camp. (Note: food in the front-country is not included.) Today’s Mileage: 0 mi / +1,100′, -0′
After grabbing breakfast at the Grill, take the shuttle to the May Lake trailhead. Before hitting the trail, soak in the alpine views at Tenaya Lake (8,150′) before hiking approximately 3 moderate miles up to May Lake. After setting up camp, opt for a four mile roundtrip hike to the summit of Mount Hoffman. Mount Hoffman is the geographical center of Yosemite National Park and was John Muir’s favorite summit view. After dinner, scramble up onto the secret bluff to witness the first amazing sunset. Today’s Mileage: 2.7 mi / +500′, -0′. With optional side hike up Mount Hoffman: + 3 mi and 1,650′ elevation change.
Hike 7.5 miles mostly moderate downhill to Glen Aulin High Sierra Camp. Spectacular waterfall and swimming hole here. After dinner take a short stroll to a bluff overlooking the Grand Canyon of the Tuolumne for an amazing Yosemite sunset. Today’s Mileage: 7.5mi / +450′, -1,380′.
Hike with daypacks 3.3-miles down the Tuolumne River gorge to Waterwheel Falls, passing California Falls and LeConte Falls along the way. Enjoy lunch within the Tuolumne River gorge. Return 3.3 miles to Glen Aulin to camp. After dinner take a short hike to a secret bluff behind and above Glen Aulin High Sierra Camp for the final (and typically the most incredible!) Yosemite sunset. Today’s Mileage: 6.6 mi / +1720′, -1720′.
Hike out 4.5 miles along the meandering Tuolumne River to Tuolumne Meadows. Typically we arrive back in Tuolumne Meadows between 11 am and 1 pm; perfect time for a burger from the Tuolumne Grill! Today’s Mileage: 4.5 mi / +700′, -0
Other: This is a great route for the inexperienced hikers and families. The first campsite is on a lake with swimming and fishing possibilities. The other campsite is along the Tuolumne River with a great swimming hole below an awesome cascade. Pending seasonal openings/closures, there are toilets and running drinking water in both campsites.
Required shuttle costs are included in the above costs. We also include backpacks, sleeping bags, tents, pads, trekking poles and eating utensils at NO EXTRA COST as needed. Lastly, all profits from our guided trips go towards our non-profit youth summer camp program.
Note: All trips are subject to Lasting Adventures obtaining the necessary wilderness permits. Although our success rate is 98%, should we not obtain the exact trail-head, a trip of equal quality will be obtained. Should weather, fire, and/or delayed seasonal openings affect the chosen itinerary, a different itinerary will be offered. You will be kept in contact throughout this process.
*All trips are pending permit availability which we gain 24-weeks in advance. Please refrain from making travel arrangements until we have confirmed dates.
Lasting Adventures runs traditional backpacking trips. Traditional backpacking is done without the use of porters, stock, or other assistance. You will be expected to carry all of your own personal gear and a share of the group gear and food in a backpack for the duration of this trip. The weight can be expected to be 30-50 lbs and no more than the recommended ⅓ of your body weight.
As needed, it is recommended that participants discuss their ability to conduct a backpacking trip with their doctor, including (but not limited to) the ability to carry heavy loads over long distances and strenuous and uneven terrain. Levels of difficulty listed on our web site are relative and in no way an objective declaration of difficulty, and a regular physical exercise program is recommended prior to going on your adventure.