September 30th, 2023 - Oct 4th, 2023
Number of people
Arguably most scenic of the three itineraries offered, this adventure is also suitable for people who want to get challenged. Over 5 days, you will soak in the magnificent panoramas of Cathedral Lakes, Clouds Rest and climb up the Half Dome—one of the best experiences in Yosemite! Come for the thrilling hikes and show-stopping natural wonders and stay for the great company and once-in-a-lifetime experiences of sleeping under the stars in one of the best backpacking destinations on the planet.
Meet your guide in Curry Village at 4:00 pm. Meet your group and do an extensive gear check. If time allows before dinner, you’ll be able to walk to some of Yosemite Valley’s iconic sightseeing spots. Get to know your group and your guides a bit better over dinner, before pitching a tent at Yosemite Valley Backpacker’s Camp.
After grabbing breakfast in Curry Village, take the morning shuttle to the Cathedral Lakes Trailhead. Catch your first glimpse of the high country while hiking 3.2 moderate miles (5.2 km) up to Lower Cathedral Lake. Upon arrival, enjoy a delicious lunch by the lake, go for a swim, and set up camp with a stunning view. Your group will spend the rest of the day exploring this iconic alpine lake area, with the option for another short hike up to the Upper Cathedral Lake. Return to the camp in the evening and enjoy a hot meal and tea before hitting the sack beneath the stars.
Meals:Lunch and dinner
Hiking: 3.2 miles (5 km)
Elevation: +800’, -1,000’ (+245 m, -305 m)
After a hearty breakfast, hike along the JMT up and over Cathedral Pass (9,700’/ 2,957 m), enjoying some of the adventure’s most spectacular views over Matthes Crest, Tressider Peak, Echo Peaks, and Columbia Finger. Find your reward for a full day of hiking with a relaxing evening at the camp beside Sunrise Lake, complete with a spectacular alpenglow sunset, spend some quality time with fellow backpackers and get ready for another night under the stars.
Meals: Breakfast, lunch, and dinner
Hiking: 7.3 miles (11.7 km)
Elevation: +666’, -500’ (+203 m, -152 m)
After a hearty breakfast, hike approximately 3.5 miles (5.6 km) to the summit of Clouds Rest, standing at 9,926′ (3,025 m). Enjoy lunch at the top while soaking in one of Yosemite’s most renowned panoramic views. From the summit, hike down 5 miles to Sunrise Creek for the final night of camping.
Meals: Breakfast, lunch, and dinner
Hiking: 7 miles (11.3 km)
Elevation: +800’, -2,800’ (+244 m, -853 m)
Wake early, enjoy your last breakfast in Yosemite. Day 5 may be the last day of the adventure, but it isn’t any less exciting! You’ll hike 2.5 miles (4 km) to the top of Half Dome at 8,836′ (2,693 m) —arguably one of the best experiences in Yosemite. Take in the spectacular views and descend the 2.5 miles (4 km) back to camp before hiking out another 5.5 miles (8.9 km) to Yosemite Valley via the Mist Trail. En route, experience two of the park’s most spectacular waterfalls. Generally, you can expect to return by 4 pm. Say goodbye to Yosemite or continue touring on your own!
Meals: Breakfast and lunch
Hiking: 10 miles (16 km)
Elevation: +1,900’, -5,000 ft (+580 m, -1,524 m)
What you get on this adventure:
What’s not included:
The best thing about these Yosemite guided backpacking trips is that they are beginner-friendly!
However, even though no prior backpacking experience is necessary, you should have some hiking experience and be a physically active person. That said, the three itineraries offered vary in difficulty. The Yosemite sunsets itinerary is suitable for people with very little hiking experience who can walk between 3 and 7.5 miles a day (4.8-12 km), with an elevation gain no greater than 1,720 feet. Somewhat more strenuous is the Glacier Point to Half Dome itinerary, with daily hiking covering between 3.5 and 7 miles (5.6-11.3 km)—with an elevation gain of up to 2,700 feet (823 m) while climbing Half Dome. The most strenuous is the Cathedral Lakes, Clouds Rest & Half Dome itinerary, with hiking between 3 and 10 miles (4.8-16 km), again with an elevation gain of up to 2,700 feet (823 m) while climbing Half Dome.
During all three adventures, all participants should be able to carry a 30-50lb backpack. Temperatures can get very high in the summer nights and it can also get pretty cold during the nights (due to high elevations). Your guides will always be by your side during hikes and will notice if it gets too strenuous for anyone in the group, making frequent breaks. They will also teach you all the necessary skills you need for backpacking.
If you’re looking for something a bit more challenging, check out another multi-day Yosemite hiking tour we have on offer.
Here’s a list of the equipment you need to bring:
Backpacks, sleeping bags, sleeping pads, trekking poles, camp pillows, bowls, mugs and sporks are all included in the price of the trip. However, feel free to bring any of these items if you have your own. Dress comfortably and for the weather in clothes you can move in. Make sure to keep an eye on the weather forecast and adjust your packing list accordingly. Layers are best and don’t wear jeans.
You can expect excellent food throughout the guided Yellowstone backpacking tour! Typical breakfasts might include burritos, oatmeals, pancakes, dried fruit, bagels, etc. For dinner, your guides will prepare a variety of pastas, risottos, beans, couscous, meats, vegetables, etc. Lunch will consist of trail food with fruits, vegetables, pita, bagels, salami, cheeses, hummus, trail mix, energy bars, etc. All special dietary requests (vegan, keto, gluten-free, vegetarian—you name it) can be easily accommodated, just let your guides know in advance!
Group sizes and prices:
Backpacking in Yosemite National Park can be arranged for larger or for private groups (with a custom date). Contact us to make arrangements.
Min. age requirements:
If your group has hikers under the age of 18, contact us prior to booking to make arrangements.
A 50% deposit to secure your place is due upon booking. The remaining amount is paid 1 month (30 days) prior to departure. If booking 45 or less days before departure, full amount is required upon booking. Once the trip is confirmed by the guide, the cancellation policy stated below applies.
To get to Yosemite, most people fly into Sacramento International Airport (SMF) which is around three hours away from the park. Another option is flying into the San Francisco International Airport (SFO), just over four hours away from the park. From here, you can rent a car or take a shuttle service.
You will meet your guide in Curry Village at 4 pm on day 1, which means you can travel to the park on the same day. If arriving the day before, we suggest finding accommodation in Curry Village, Yosemite Village, Foresta, or El Portal.
57hours is committed to providing safe outdoor adventure experiences. We require all guides using our platform to have a COVID-19 safety plan and to make the details of that plan accessible to travelers. In most cases, group sizes will be reduced, guides will avoid overcrowded locations, and other safety measures will be met depending on the location and activity.
We also expect clients to respect local regulations and take measures to protect themselves, guides and the communities they’re traveling to. For more information on COVID-19 measures in Yosemite, CA, please refer to the Government of California website.
Please contact us if you have any questions or require further information. We are happy to provide you with the most up-to-date information!