September 29th, 2023 - Oct 2nd, 2023
October 5th, 2023 - Oct 8th, 2023
Number of people
For those who want their Yosemite backpacking experience to be short and sweet, this 4-day adventure does the trick! Starting at Glacier Point, you will meander through the Illilouette Valley and along the Panorama Trail (seeing multiple towering waterfalls along the way), until you reach and climb up the Half Dome—probably the most famous landmark in Yellowstone. Once the adventure is done, you’ll have been richer for an unparalleled experience in one of the most beautiful wilderness areas in the US.
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 something to eat in Curry Village, you’ll catch the morning bus to Glacier Point at 8am. After relocating to the Mono Meadows Trailhead (west of Glacier Point), eat lunch before setting out on the trail. After lunch, descend into Illilouette Valley and walk 3.2 of mostly downhill, easy miles (5 km). Set up a camp on a waterside knoll upon crossing Illilouette Creek at the end of the day’s journey. If the sky is cloudless, experience an incredible show of stars!
Meals: Lunch and dinner
Hiking: 3.4 miles (5.5 km)
Elevation: +120’, -890’ (+36 m, -270 m)
After a hearty breakfast we will hike out of the Illilouette Valley on a moderate uphill and scenic climb to the Panorama Trail before descending to the precipice of Nevada Fall and ultimately Little Yosemite Valley where you will camp for the night. There is a beach along the Merced River here that makes for excellent relaxation. Today evening (to catch the sunset) or tomorrow morning (to catch the sunrise), you’ll climb up Half Dome—one of the best and most scenic experiences in Yosemite!
Meals: Breakfast, lunch, and dinner
Hiking: 5.5 miles + 2.5 miles if climbing up Half Dome (9 km + 4 km)
Elevation: +700’, +2,700’ if climbing up Half Dome; -1,150’, -2,700’ if climbing up Half Dome (+213 m, +822 m; -350 m, -822 m)
We will descend to the Yosemite Valley Floor via the Mist Trail which parallels the Merced River and both Nevada and Vernal Falls. Generally, our goal is to finish between 2-4 PM but this can be later due to the human factors within the group. If there’s time, celebrate your achievements with your guides and fellow backpackers. Say goodbye to Yosemite or continue touring on your own!
Meals: Breakfast and lunch
Hiking: 4.5 miles (7.2 km)
Elevation: +300’, -2,440’ (+90 m, -743 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!