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For a total mind-and-body reset, look no further than this Yosemite guided backpacking trip. Think of it as a portal to Yosemite’s vast wilderness, where you’ll discover remote valleys, unnamed lakes, and secret 4,000- foot tall viewpoints. Perfect for first-time backpackers, and all those looking for a tranquil escape into the wilderness, this 5-day adventure of the Ten Lakes Basin will leave you feeling relaxed and restored. We’ll swim whenever we want to, swing in hammocks, walk at our own pace, and completely tailor the trip to your liking! There will be an expert guide by your side, not only to create a supportive and welcoming environment, but also to cook some delicious meals and take you to Yosemite’s best hidden gems.

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  • Remote Ten Lakes Basin

    Escape the crowds by joining this 5-day trip and explore unnamed lakes & secret viewpoints

     

  • Lakeside camps under the stars

    We’ll pitch our tents on the shore of a lake, swing in hammocks, and enjoy delicious food prepared by our guide

  • Ideal for beginners

    There’s hardly a better trip for first-time backpackers than Yosemite’s wilderness and this trail

Itinerary

This guided backpacking trip in Yosemite is the perfect escape from the everyday hustle and bustle. Lush conifer woodlands, sparkly mountain lakes, spectacular viewpoints, swims in the afternoon sun—these are just some of the things you can start looking forward to. This 5-day tour of the Ten Lakes Basin is set in a remote area, but a super experienced guide will navigate us to the area’s best hidden gems and secret spots. Ideal for both beginners and seasoned backpackers alike, Yosemite never disappoints. And it gets even better when you know that all the logistics are taken care of—there’s even a complete gear package that you can rent! So if you’ve been thinking of finally giving backpacking a shot, this is your cue.

  • Explore Yosemite’s front country on your own. Meet your guide in the early evening at the backpackers campground. Go over gear and itinerary, set up camp, and eat a hot cooked meal.

    Meals: Dinner

    Backpackers campground in Yosemite
  • Following a hearty breakfast, ascend through an abundant forest before reaching Half Moon Meadow, where you will look for wild black bears! When crossing the towering Ten Lakes Pass, stand proudly at the top and behold an entire valley of glittering lakes! Go for a swim and cool off in the summer sun. During your lakeside dinner, watch the sunset reflect on the pink water.

    Meals: Breakfast, lunch, and dinner
    Hiking: 6.5 miles / 10.5 km
    Elevation: +2,150 ft / +655 m | -700 ft / -214 m

    Ten Lakes Basin
  • Today you will leave basecamp in place and explore off-trail with just a light day pack. Your guide will show you a secret route off-trail to a mysterious lake hidden deep in the woods! You’ll also discover a jaw-dropping 4,000 foot cliff overlooking the entirety of Yosemite! At camp, we’ll swim, rest in hammocks, and play games.

    Meals: Breakfast, lunch, and dinner
    Hiking: 3-5 miles / 5-8 km
    Elevation: +500 ft / +152 m

    Grand Canyon Tuolumne River
  • Leave basecamp and hike to a serene, unnamed lake before swimming out to her many islands. At twilight, take another off-trail excursion to a secret lake beyond a hill. Contemplating her sunset beauty, you will return to eat dinner and sleep in your cozy tents.

    Meals: Breakfast, lunch, and dinner
    Hiking: 2-4 miles / 3-6.5 km
    Elevation: 0 ft

    Sunset from camp in Yosemite
  • Accomplish your last short climb back up to Ten Lakes Pass. We look down at the lakes and reflect upon our expedition. Hiking home, we feel fresh and full with the insights we gained on our restorative journey.

    Meals: Breakfast and lunch
    Hiking: 6.5 miles / 10.5 km
    Elevation: +700 ft / +213 m | -2,150 ft / -655 m

     

    Swimming in a lake in Yosemite
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Meet your guides

Jesse Dunlap
5.00
Jesse Dunlap
With a dad in the Marines, Jesse was born ready to move around the world and discover all its secrets. Having worked as a walking history tour guide all around NYC, he soon started sharing his outdoor passion by guiding hikes in Upstate New York. He also worked as a sea kayaking guide in Prince William Sound, a fly-in backpacking guide in the Alaskan backcountry, and he led therapeutic wilderness programs in the desert of Utah. One of Jesse’s favorite memories was backpacking the full Pacific Crest Trail. Jesse is a friendly, knowledgeable guide who will make you feel right at home in the wild. Talk to him about Russian novels, his love of scary movies, or ask him to entertain you with his storytelling skills!
The Lamplighters Adventuring Society
5.00
The Lamplighters Adventuring Society
The Lamplighters Adventuring Society
The Lamplighters Adventuring Society specializes in all-inclusive hiking trips in Yosemite and Yellowstone. With small groups and a supportive guide, they focus on a more personal approach, which is achieved through, among other things, wild game nights and coming together in heartfelt campfire chats. Their top priority is the client’s safety—your guide has extensive knowledge of wilderness routes and natural history, and is certified as a WFR and in CPR. Another thing that sets them apart from the crowd is their emphasis on delicious food. Being in the wild won’t stop your guide from providing you with the most high quality food available.
5.00 (5 reviews)
emeraldaly (source: Trip Advisor)

Jesse was a great guide on Adventure of Ten Lakes!! The trip was a refreshing disconnect! Jesse provided packing tips, prepared delicious meals, and knew so many great spots and views.

Corey Q (source: Trip Advisor)

I have backpacked before on my own before, and thought a guide was an unnecessary luxury. Boy, was a I wrong. Jesse was so fantastic at handling all the behind-the-scenes work (such as getting permits and shopping, etc), that all I had to do was show up, lace up my shoes, and have a breathtaking experience. Due to snow, the hike we planned had to be abandoned, but he did a spectacular job of preparing for alternatives and giving us options. I rented gear from him and was very pleased with the quality (and the fact that I didn’t have to schlep my gear through the airport). And his meals were out of this world. So good and varied and filling. Dishes? Done. Always upbeat and unflappable. Really, Yosemite is lovely, and I was able to engage with nature without having to worry about incidentals. You won’t be disappointed.

Roger T (source: Trip Advisor)

So many good things to say! Jesse is an amazing guide! I had never been to Yosemite and wanted to do it the right way by staying a few nights. From start to finish everything was planned out thoroughly. Jesse felt like a long time friend even though we just met and going solo that really was comforting. Hike was a great challenge, meals were delicious and overall the views were breathtaking. As soon as I can I really am hoping to sign up for another adventure!

Paul W (source: Trip Advisor)

What a great trip! Jesse is a skilled and knowledgable guide. His enthusiasm carried us through the challenges of the trail, and his flexibility and confidence ensured us a truly unforgettable experience. Oh, and the food was delicious! Next time I feel like a walk in the park, I’ll book it with Jesse!

Allen A (source: Trip Advisor)

My experience with Jesse and Lamplighters in Yosemite in July ’23 was EPIC. Jesse goes above and beyond to insure his guests have an excellent experience. The meals were delicious and balanced. The equipment was excellent. Jesse made sure to have preparations for all extenuating circumstances to make our trip outstanding, even though the road was not open to go on the original itinerary for our trip. The trip was EPIC!

Things to know

  • What you get on this adventure:

      • An experienced, local hiking guide with extensive knowledge of the area
      • Five-day Yosemite guided backpacking trip
      • Front & backcountry accommodations (first night in Yosemite backpackers campground, other in wilderness)
      • All meals from dinner on Day 1 to lunch on Day 5
      • Coffee, hot chocolate, and snacks
      • Transportation between parking/backpackers campground and the trailhead
      • Group camping gear
        • Water filters
        • Stoves, pots, and pans
        • Bear canisters or food snacks (everyone carries one, save room in your pack)
        • Emergency GPS device
        • First aid kit
        • Maps
        • Wilderness permit
        • Group shelter (for afternoon showers)
      • Individual tents
      • Personal trail journal, card games

    What’s not included:

      • Transportation to Yosemite
      • Personal clothing
      • Personal gear (backpack, rain cover, sleeping bag, sleeping pad, camping pillow, trekking poles, headlamp, batteries, mug, bowl, utensils) — available to rent
      • Meals
      • Entry tickets/parking
      • Guide gratuities — optional, 10-20% recommended
      • Travel and medical insurance — optional
  • This Yosemite guided backpacking trip is welcoming to first-time backpackers as well as engaging for experienced hikers. As long as you’re fit enough to cover daily distances in the itinerary as well as handle mentioned elevation gains, you’re good to go!

    Still, backpacking is hard work, so the itinerary is planned in a way that it leaves enough time for resting, swimming, mindful breaks, games, wildlife viewing, and more.

    If you’re looking for something a bit more challenging in Yosemite, check out this Half Dome adventure!

  • All your meals are included in this tour, from first day’s dinner to last day’s lunch. You will enjoy delicious meals like basil and parmesan polenta, pad Thai, tropical breakfast couscous, pizza, chicken with fig gravy and mashed potatoes… Deserts will also be served! After a good meal, you’ll get to enjoy chocolate lava cake, cookies, and chocolate crepes. Nutritious daily snacks will also be provided!

    Let us know if you have any specific dietary requirements or food allergies.

  • Backpacking gear

      • Backpack (70L) — available to rent
      • Backpack rain cover — available to rent
      • Sleeping bag (rated 20-30°, must compress into your backpack) — available to rent
      • Sleeping pad — available to rent
      • Waterproof stuff sack for sleeping bag
      • Waterproof stuff sack for clothing
      • Trekking poles — available to rent
      • Headlamp — available to rent
      • Water bottle or hydration bladder (3L total)
      • Small microfiber towel

    Clothing

      • Trail running shoes or breathable boots, already broken in
      • Rain coat
      • Rain pants — optional, check weather forecast
      • Hiking socks
      • Underwear
      • Running shorts
      • Hiking pants — optional, check forecast
      • Hiking shirt (synthetic, lightweight)
      • Mid-layer shirt (or fleece, optional if you have a warm jacket)
      • Packable puffy jacket (down preferred)
      • Sun hat
      • Sunglasses
      • Swimsuit
      • Water shoes — tight-fitting sandals for wading
      • Warm pajamas (wool or synthetic fabric only, no cotton, check forecast to decide what you need)
        • Long underwear pants (light/mid weight)
        • Long underwear top (light/mid weight)
        • Warm wool socks
        • Warm knit cap
        • Buff/gaiter

    Miscellaneous

      • Cup or mug — available to rent
      • Bowl — available to rent
      • Spoon — fork optional, available to rent
      • Toiletries — keep kit as small as possible, must fit into an already-packed bear canister
        • Bathroom kit — must have
          • Toilet paper in a ziploc
          • Hand sanitizer
          • Lightweight trowel (cheap metal “snow stake” works)
        • Sunscreen
        • SPF chapstick
        • Toothbrush & toothpaste
        • Floss
        • Bug spray
        • Mosquito head net
        • Glasses/contacts
        • Blister protection
        • Bags (one garbage bag and a few ziplock bags)

    Here’s a list of optional items:

      • Ear plugs
      • Phone battery
      • Mini inflatable pillow
      • Air mattress repair kit
      • Lighter
      • Small pocket knife
      • Trail running gaiters
      • Warm gloves
      • Cash
      • Backpacking hammock (only if very lightweight!)
  • You sure can! What’s special about this trip is that you’re encouraged to join even if you don’t have any equipment lying around at home. That way, anyone and everyone can join. Other than a tent (which is already included in the price), your guides offer a gear rental package containing absolutely everything you’ll need from gear on this trip: This includes:

      • Backpack
      • Rain cover
      • Sleeping bag
      • Sleeping pad
      • Camping pillow
      • Trekking poles
      • Headlamp
      • Batteries
      • Mug, bowl, & utensils

    You can add this package to your booking upon checkout—price is $245 per trip.

  • Group sizes and pricing

      • For this Yosemite guided backpacking trip, the usual client-to-guide ratio is 7:1. That’s also the maximum group size.
      • It takes a minimum of 3 people for this tour to operate.
      • Minimum number of people for the tour to run is so low that your guides have never needed to cancel a trip. Due to frequent last minute sign-ups, a trip will not be canceled until 30 days before departure.

    Yosemite guided backpacking trips can be arranged for larger groups. Contact us to make arrangements.

    Min. age requirements

      • If you are older than 18, you’re good to go.
      • Minors younger than 18 may be permitted to join the Yosemite guided backpacking trip on a case-by-case basis, but must be in the presence of a parent or legal guardian.

    If your group has hikers under the age of 18, contact us prior to booking to make arrangements.

  • Yosemite only authorizes permit dates 6 months in advance. If you book this trip more than 6 months in advance, keep in mind that the official dates may shift a little bit once Yosemite gives out the permits.

    Please do not book flights or make hotel reservations until the permit is confirmed.

    Due to this process, your guide will make an exception to their terms and conditions in case there is any problem with permits. If the dates change, and you can’t make it, your security deposit and trip fees will be completely reimbursed. There will also be an option of switching to another date.

  • To get to your Yosemite guided backpacking trip, the nearest airport is Fresno Yosemite International Airport (FAT). If you’re visiting the California Coast, you can also fly into San Jose Mineta International Airport (SJC), San Francisco International Airport (SFO) or Oakland International Airport (OAK).

    Once there, we recommend you rent or drive your own car to the group meeting point in Yosemite, the backpackers campground.

    It might be practical to stay near Yosemite the night before and after your trip. This ensures you get to the meeting point on time and that you don’t miss a flight on the way out.

  • We highly recommend that you cover all your bases with both emergency medical and travel insurance.

    With medical insurance, if you have an accident or medical emergency on or off the mountain, you’ll avoid paying out of pocket for costly expenses. This covers everything from hospital treatments to emergency air transportation and more. Travel insurance covers canceled flights, natural disasters and other scenarios that may interrupt your travel plans.

    We also expect you to respect local regulations and take measures to protect yourselves, your guides, and the communities you’re traveling to. If you need assistance selecting the right insurance for your group, let us know and we will be happy to help!

  • Deposits

    You can secure one of the set dates with a 30% deposit upon booking. The remaining 70% of the trip price is to be paid 90 days prior to departure, at the latest.

    Secure your early bird spot with a 10% deposit! This tour gets sold out very quickly, but with early-bird booking, you will be the first one to know about any new upcoming dates. Pick your preferred dates without the risk of your bucket list adventure selling out!

      • Only 10% of the total amount should be paid as a deposit upon booking. This deposit is non-refundable, but can be transferred to another 57hours adventure anytime in case the dates don’t suit you.
      • Once the dates are set, you can confirm your booking by paying another 20% of the total amount.
      • The final balance is due 3 months (90 days) prior to departure.

    Cancellations

    Booking fees are non-refundable in all cases. During checkout, however, you can choose one of 57hours’ flexibility options:

    Basic

      • In case of cancellation within 48 hours after booking, the amount paid is fully refundable.
      • For cancellations 90 or more days before the trip, you are eligible for a 70% refund of the trip price.
      • For cancellations 0-89 days before the trip, there is no refund.

    Flexible

      • In case of cancellation within 48 hours after booking, the amount paid is fully refundable.
      • For cancellations 90 or more days before the trip, you are eligible for a full refund of the trip price.
      • For cancellations 60-89 days before the trip, you are eligible for a 50% refund of the trip price.
      • For cancellations 0-59 days before the trip, there is no refund.

    Super Flexible

      • In case of cancellation within 48 hours after booking, the amount paid is fully refundable.
      • For cancellations 60 or more days before the trip, you are eligible for a full refund of the trip price.

    For cancellations 0-59 days before the trip, you are eligible for a 50% refund of the trip price.

    Park closures, natural disasters, and weather:

      • Despite thoughtful planning, nature can sometimes create unsafe weather or trail conditions at any time of the year. Though very uncommon, your trip might need to be re-routed or postponed due to dangerous trails, high snow levels, impassable roads, forest fires, disease outbreaks and park closures. If a trip is unable to operate, or if your guides deem a trip unsafe due to circumstances out of our control, there will be no refund given.
      • Instead of issuing a refund, your guides will devise an alternative itinerary as close as possible to the original trip planned. Although your guides will try hard to create an alternative trip similar to the original, it may be possible that very little, or none, of your original trip will be accessible when using our alternative itinerary. Sometimes an alternative itinerary may require driving further, with no public transportation, to reach the starting point.
      • Although it has never come to this, if your guides are unable to offer an alternative trip of any kind, instead of a refund, you will be issued a full credit for use on a future trip.

    Evacuation:

      • Whether voluntarily, or due to emergency or safety concerns, it is possible that a client may need to leave the trip before the planned finish date.
      • Your guides will help you arrange your evacuation and see to your safety and comfort. Shuttles, lodges, helicopter and medical transportation, medical care, meals, shipping and many other factors can all play a role in getting you out safely and expeditiously. There will be costs associated with your evacuation, and all costs will be solely your responsibility.
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