Guide’s Top Pick!
The Grand Canyon of the Tuolumne is a true gem in a less-visited area of Yosemite. The pure waters of the Tuolumne River, fed by Sierra snow melt, run wild and scenic through the Muir Gorge in the central region of Yosemite National Park. In this 3,000 foot deep canyon you are treated to everything from rushing cascades to deep tranquil pools that are perfect for a refreshing and invigorating soak. This is truly a trip for water lovers as you are never far from the river. You end this trip by departing the Tuolumne River and climbing to May Lake with an option to summit Mount Hoffman at 10,850’.
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 the areas hidden gems. Grab dinner at the Tuolumne Grill before camping in the Tuolumne Meadows Backpacker’s Camp at approx. 8,600′.
Have breakfast at the Grill before catching the mid-morning YARTS bus to White Wolf (7,875′) where we will begin the hike. Today is a long 10.5 mile hike mostly downhill dropping nearly 3,500′ into Pate Valley (4,380′) on the western end of the Grand Canyon of the Tuolumne.
Today we will begin our hike paralleling the Tuolumne River as we head east and gradual uphill. As the river winds both along the river and up onto some granite walls and outcroppings we will be awarded with some dramatic views in all directions. We will hike approximately 7 miles to a riverfront campsite within the granite walls of the canyon and across from where Cathedral Creek cascades into the Tuolumne. (Campsite elevation: 5,500′)
We will continue our hike up the Tuolumne hiking another 7 miles to Glen Aulin High Sierra Camp (7,980′). En route we will past famous spillways along the Tuolumne River such as Waterwheel Falls, LeConte Falls, and California Falls. At Glen Aulin High Sierra Camp we will have a chance to rest and relax along the beach below. After dinner, hike a few minutes from camp onto a bluff for a spectacular sunset!
Today we depart the Tuolumne River gorge as we head uphill and southwest 8 miles to May Lake (9360′). We will hike 8-miles total while taking breaks along the way at prime water holes and even a few smaller lakes.
Wake up early to catch a morning sunrise on Mount Hoffman (10,850′). Mount Hoffman is the geographical center of Yosemite, was one of John Muir’s favorite summit views, and will be an awesome way to end a spectacular week. The roundtrip hike is four miles. Return to the campsite for breakfast while we pack up. Hike downhill 2.4 miles to the Tioga Road where we catch a shuttle to Tuolumne Meadows. Expected ending time is between 11am-2pm.
Guides, permits, shuttle costs, all meals in the backcountry (Day 2 lunch through Day 7 lunch), and all group gear (cooking gear, bear cans, water filters, first aid, toiletries, etc.). We also include internal frame backpacks, sleeping bags, sleeping pads, tents, trekking poles, and eating gear (as requested) at no extra cost.
Examples: Personal items (see Equipment List online), front-country food (see above), optional trip insurance, tips for guides (10-20% of trip fee), Yosemite gate entrance fee (~$35), and alcoholic beverages.
Note: This is a strenuous trip. Participants should be experienced backpackers and/or in above-average to good physical condition. 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.