Guide’s Top Pick!
Many believe that the northern portion of Yosemite National Park is the last true wilderness of the Sierra Nevada. This trip will take you through the less visited portion of the park that is home to deep canyons, dense old-growth forests, and stunning alpine peaks and ridges. On this adventure you will camp besides rivers, and backcountry lakes that provide a dramatic landscape of the Northern Yosemite terrain including camping in upper Slide Canyon beneath the Sawtooth Ridge. If you’re looking to push yourself and have an authentic wilderness experience, this is the adventure for you!
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 your gear. If time allows before dinner, explore some of Tuolumne’s iconic features. Grab dinner at the Tuolumne Grill before camping for the night in the Tuolumne Meadows Backpacker’s Camp at approx. 8600′.
Hike six easy miles out of Tuolumne Meadows and north towards the Grand Canyon of the Tuolumne River—a dramatic glacier cut river canyon. This is mostly a gradual downhill hike that meanders through alpine meadows and across massive granite slabs. Set up camp at the Glen Aulin High Sierra Camp (7980′) next to a pristine swimming hole. Total mileage today is approximately six miles.
We will get an early start as we continue along the Pacific Crest Trail. The start of the day will take us seven miles through Cold Canyon before we reach an amazing vista peeking into Virginia Canyon and beyond. We will then descend and pass over Return Creek and into Spiller Canyon where we will camp by a backcountry waterfall. Total mileage today is approximately ten miles.
We will rise and begin the day by ascending out of Spiller Canyon and past Miller Lake at 9,446′ before dropping into Matterhorn Canyon. At this point we will leave the Pacific Crest Trail as we continue deep into Matterhorn Canyon where we will make camp surrounded by the beauty of spectacular geological formations such as: the Fingers, Matterhorn Peak, Whorl Mountain, and the famous Sawtooth Ridge. Total mileage today is approximately ten miles.
After a hearty breakfast we will climb over Burro Pass at 10,600 before descending into Slide Canyon. We will then climb out of Slide Canyon and over Mule Pass (10,440′) as we exit Yosemite. We will proceed about another 1.5 miles past some extraordinary eastern sierra pinnacles as we head to camp along the shore of Crown Lake (9450′). Total mileage today is approximately 8.5 miles.
On our final day we will continue our descent through the Eastern Sierras passing many other lakes, rivers, streams, and small waterfalls as we proceed to the Mono Village Resort on the east side of Twin Lakes at 7,092′. Our total hike will be 7.5-miles today. Reward yourself with lunch at the Mono Village Resort followed by an ice cream before our return by shuttle to Tuolumne Meadows.
You can plan to depart that afternoon or evening either from Twin Lakes or Tuolumne Meadows as you like. Estimated arrival at Twin Lakes is between Noon and 1:00 PM. Estimated return to Tuolumne Meadows is 4:00 PM.
Guides, permits, shuttle costs, all meals in the backcountry (Day 2 lunch through Day 6 breakfast), 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), recommended trip insurance, tips for guides (10-20% of trip cost), Yosemite gate entrance fee ($35), and alcoholic beverages.
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.