Get to know what it’s like to live in the intact wilderness of Yosemite! Apart from hiking in magnificent landscapes of the Tuolumne Meadows and Gorge, countless waterfalls, and crystal-clear lakes, this tour is made special for superb sunsets and being suitable for absolute backpacking beginners and those with very little hiking experience. Learn the basics of backpacking in great company with superb guides who will take care of all the logistics.
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, relocate vehicles or use the park’s shuttle service to the trailhead near Tenaya Lake. Before hitting the trail, you’ll get a chance to soak in the alpine views at Tenaya Lake (8,150′ / 2,484 m) before hiking approximately 3 moderate miles (4.8 km) up to May Lake. After setting up camp, you can opt for a four-mile hike to the summit of Mount Hoffman—the geographical center of Yosemite National Park and John Muir’s favorite summit view. After dinner, scramble up onto the secret bluff to witness the first incredible sunset of the adventure.
Meals: Lunch and dinner
Hiking: 2.7 miles + optional 3 miles (4.3 km + 4.8 km)
Elevation: + 500’ (152 m)
Start your day with a hearty breakfast and proceed with hiking for about 7.5 miles (12 km). It’ll be a moderate downhill to Glen Aulin High Sierra Camp, where you’ll be rewarded by views of a spectacular waterfall and a swimming hole, where you’ll be able to get refreshed. After dinner, take a short stroll to a bluff overlooking the Grand Canyon of the Tuolumne to enjoy another Yosemite sunset.
Meals: Breakfast, lunch, and dinner
Hiking: 7.5 miles (12 km)
Elevation: +450’, -1,380’ (+137 m, -420 m)
After a filling breakfast, hike with daypacks for 3.3 miles (5.3 km)—down to the Tuolumne River gorge and finally to Waterwheel Falls, passing California Falls and LeConte Falls along the way. Enjoy lunch within the spectacular Tuolumne River gorge, before returning back to the Glen Aulin to camp. After dinner, take a short hike to a secret bluff behind and above Glen Aulin High Sierra Camp and enjoy the final (and typically the most incredible!) Yosemite sunset.
Meals: Breakfast, lunch, and dinner
Hiking: 6.6 miles (10.6 km)
Elevation: +1,720’, -1,720’ (+525 m, -525 m)
After breakfast, hike out 4.5 miles (7.2 km) along the meandering Tuolumne River until you reach Tuolumne Meadows. You’re expected to arrive there between 11 am and 1 pm—at the perfect time to enjoy a burger from the Tuolumne Grill and celebrate your achievements with fellow backpackers! Relocation to your vehicles and to the Curry Village will be coordinated and provided by your guides. Say goodbye to Yosemite or continue touring on your own!
Meals: Breakfast and lunch
Hiking: 4.5 miles (7.2 km)
Elevation: +700’ (+213 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!