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Yosemite Wilderness

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General Trip Planning Information

Start planning your Yosemite Wilderness adventure visit by getting more information on backpacking, permits, trails, current conditions and more.

Recreational Opportunities

Backpacking is possible year-round in Yosemite, but is very limited during the winter and early spring due to snow. Peak hiking season runs June through August and some permits can be difficult to obtain. The 211 mile-long John Muir Trail begins in Yosemite Valley and winds through the Park for a few days before heading south into the Ansel Adams Wilderness. The Half Dome cable route is traditionally accessed via the Mist Trail starting in Yosemite Valley from late May through early October. A permit is required to hike to the top of Half Dome when the cables are up. Modern big wall climbing came into its own in Yosemite with such routes as The Nose and Salathe on El Capitan as well as other classic routes on Half Dome, Washington's Column and Sentinel Rock. Free climbing opportunities also abound throughout Yosemite Wilderness including classic routes on Fairview Dome and Cathedral Peak. Ski touring and snowshoeing are popular in the winter particularly along the Glacier Point Road, where several marked ski trails exist. Hetch Hetchy provides the best opportunities for winter hiking. More information on seasons and trail descriptions can be found on the Yosemite website. Yosemite's wilderness lakes and streams entice anglers to search out the big trout. Please Check, Clean, and Dry your equipment when moving from one water body to the next to prevent the spread of invasive species.

Climate and Special Equipment Needs

Trekking in Yosemite requires no special equipment beyond the standard backpacking gear. Elevation ranges from 2900 feet to over 13,000 feet with some of the high passes not be passable until July in a typical year without crampons or ice axe. Traveling in winter requires being prepared for snow camping and over snow travel. Open creek crossings are common throughout the winter.

Safety and Current Conditions

Check current conditions and learn more about wilderness safety before your trip.

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