About this TrailMay this adventure be greater than your dreams: This is a 11+ day backpacking trip covering 206 miles. It starts from Meeks Bay at Lake Tahoe, CA, and ends at Half Dome / Yosemite Valley (Happy Isle), CA. The trail leads through one of the finest mountain scenery and wilderness in the US, covered with volcanic landscape, where thick floods of volcanic flows and sediments buried the Sierra Nevada, through granite cliffs, 11,000-foot peaks, deep spectacular glaciated canyons, clear streams and thousands of lakes. The History:
1964: Wilderness Act was passed by Congress and President Lyndon Johnson signed the Wilderness Act on September 3, 1964, protecting some 9 million acres (36,000 km²) of federal land. Wilderness areas are subject to specific management restrictions; human activities are restricted to non-motorized recreation (such as backpacking, hunting, fishing, horseback riding, etc.), scientific research, and other non-invasive activities. "A wilderness, in contrast with those areas where man and his own works dominate the landscape, is hereby recognized as an area where the earth and community of life are untrammeled by man, where man himself is a visitor who does not remain.”
The trail leads through declared wilderness areas and most parts are following the well signed Pacific Crest Trail (also known as the Pacific Crest National Scenic Trail). Desolation Wilderness:
contains of subalpine forest, lakes and valleys carved by glaciers and granite peaks. The name Desolation comes from lacking any trees in some areas as Desolation Valley. Mokelumne Wilderness:
is a rugged landscape of great scenic beauty. Much of the area is dominated by volcanic ridges and peaks. Many smaller streams are flowing through deep granitic canyons, but only a few lakes are located in the northern portion of this spectacular area. It includes one of the most fantastically eroded volcanic landscapes. Carson-Iceberg Wilderness:
is a rugged landscape of scenic beauty, named after the Carson River (which is named for noted scout and explorer Kit Carson), and the distinctive granite formation called “The Iceberg”. Emigrant Wilderness:
is bordered by Yosemite National Park is a glaciated landscape of great scenic beauty. The northeast third is dominated by volcanic ridges and peaks. Yosemite National Park:
is internationally recognized for its spectacular granite cliffs, waterfalls, clear streams and deep canyons. Almost 95% of the park is designated wilderness. The Pacific Crest Trail
(PCT) was first proposed by Clinton C. Clarke. Clinton C. Clarke dedicated much of his life to preserving a slice of the American West for future generations.
1930: His vision, first articulated in the 1930s, was a border-to-border trail along mountain ranges in California, Oregon and Washington, "traversing the best scenic areas and maintaining an absolute wilderness character." It would take millions of dollars, 60 years, and thousands of hours of labor, but eventually Clarke's dream would be realized.
1932: Clarke founded the Pacific Crest Trail System Conference to lobby for and plan the trail. The founding members of the PCT Conference included the Boy Scouts, the Young Men's Christian Association (YMCA), and a young photographer named Ansel Adams.
1935 through 1938: During the summers of 1935 though 1938 more than 40 YMCA groups, traveling in relays and carrying a logbook over 2,000 miles, hiked, explored, and evaluated a route for the trail from Mexico to Canada. One YMCA staffer in particular, Warren Lee Rogers, was instrumental in exploring sections of trail after they had been mapped out - a feat all the more impressive because Rogers had been crippled by childhood polio. "May your Pacific Crest Adventures be greater than your dreams." Warren Lee Rogers.
Today's PCT closely follows the route blazed during those relays in the 1930s.
1968: On October 2, 1968 President Lyndon Johnson signed the National Trail Systems Act, which named the Appalachian Trail and the PCT as the first national scenic trails. The Act defined National Scenic Trails as "extended trails so located as to provide for maximum outdoor recreation potential and for the conservation and enjoyment of the nationally significant scenic, historic, natural, or cultural qualities of the areas through which such trails may pass." Preparation: Wilderness Permit
A wilderness permit is required for travelling through all wilderness areas. The permit is issued by the agency at which points the trail is entered (the Forest Service issues the permit if started at Meeks Bay, the Yosemite National Park Service will issue the permits for starting in Yosemite N.P.). The permit will cover the entire trip. No quota system or fee applies for this trail.
Call: (530) 543-2694 (or 2600)
USDA Forest Service,
Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit,
35 College Drive,
South Lake Tahoe, CA 96150
They will mail or fax the Wilderness Permit for free with the following information:
Entry Date: xx
Entry Trail: Meeks Bay
First Night Camping Zone: Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) PCT – Desolation south to Yosemite N.P. / Yosemite Valley
The permit, issued by the USDA Forest Service, is also valid for climbing Half Dome. No extra permit is required. Food:
Bear-resistant canisters are mandatory for entering Yosemite N.P. Consider to pack in: bread, freeze dried food and fruits, smoked meat sticks slimjim, tuna/salmon pouches, and powdered milk/drinks. Weight of food was about 2 pounds per day (22 pounds for 11 days). The body is burning about 4000+ calories per day, so eat often during the day. Backpack:
Basically you will have more fun with less weight. At the start, the weight of my backpack was 38 pounds, including the 22 pounds for food. The backpack should not weight more than 25% to 30% of your body weight.Resupply:
Two post offices are located along the trail:
Mile 30: Echo Lake Resort
Mile 178: Tuolumne Meadows
Small packages for up to 15 days will be hold at the post offices along the trail if addressed as follows:
Pacific Crest Trail Hike – Please hold until xxxx Echo Lake, CA, 95721
Business hours were: Mon-Sat 11:00am-2:00pm, Sun closed.
It is located at the east end of Echo Lake.
Pacific Crest Trail Hike – Please hold until xxxx Tuolumne Meadows Yosemite N.P., CA 95389
Business hours were: Mon-Fri 9:00am-5:00pm, Sat 9:00am-12:00pm, Sun closed.
It is located at the south side of Tioga Road before crossing Tuolumne River on the west side of the campground reservation office. Maps:
National Geographic provides 3 maps covering the entire trip:
Map 803: Lake Tahoe Basin
Map 807: Carson-Iceberg, Emigrant & Mokelumne Wilderness Area
Map 206: Yosemite National Park
Online order at: http://www.natgeomaps.com/trailsillustrated.html
I made letter size color copies of the relevant parts of the trail and had about 11 sheets of copies, one of each covering about one day of hiking. It is much more convenient to use a letter size copy at each day and fold it into a pocket than dealing with the large map on the trail. Day 1: 6.3 miles to Stony Ridge Lake
Travelling to the trailhead at
Meeks Bay Resort 7941 Ca-89 Tahoma, CA 96142:
I booked with Amtrak (train / bus) to South Lake Tahoe Transit Center (SLT). The train arrives in Sacramento and the Amtrak bus leaves to South Lake Tahoe.
The Tahoe Transit Canter is located at the intersection of Highway 50 and Highway 89:
1000 Emerald Bay Road, South Y Transit Center, South Lake Tahoe, CA 96151.
The bus arrived at 12:25 pm:www.amtrak.com
From the same stop, Route 30 northbound to Tahoma (via Emerald Bay) leaves every hour during summer. Bus fare was $2. The ride takes 45 minutes. Exit at Meeks Bay Resort / Campground:
Meeks Bay Resort 7941 Ca-89 Tahoma, CA 96142
For more details: www.bluego.org
BlueGO Nifty Fifty Trolley Route Route 30 – South Y Transit Station to Tahoma via State Route 89 Mile 0: Meeks Bay Trailhead (6240 feet):
From Meeks Bay Resort, return south 250 yards along Highway 89 just before crossing Meeks Creek. The trailhead Meeks Creek North is located at the north-west side of Highway 89 crossing the creek. Follow the gated dirt road west at the north side of Meeks Creek for 1.3 miles, where the trail branches to the right, marked as Tahoe-Yosemite Trail. Mile 4.6: Lake Genevieve (7400 feet):
The trail enters Desolation Wilderness and reaches after 3 miles Lake Genevieve, with good campsites located near the junction. Mile 4.9: Craig Lake (7450 feet):
After 0.3 miles, the trail reaches Craig Lake with Crag Peak as dramatic backdrop. Several good campsites are located between the middle of the lake and the southbound of the lake. Mile 6.3: Stony Ridge Lake (7840 feet):
After passing Shadow Lake, the trail reached Stony Ridge Lake, the largest one of the Meeks Creek Lakes. Good campsites are located at the north / north-east shore when crossing its dam. Day 2: 19.2 miles to Tamarack Lake Mile 9.1: Philips Pass (9000 feet):
The trail passes Rubicon Lake at 8410 feet and climbs up to Philips Pass at 9000 feet. Mile 12.0: jct with Pacific Crest Trail (8110 feet):
The trail descends into the valley and reaches the junction with the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT), which it will follows till Tuolumne Meadows. Mile 13.2: Middle Velma Lake (7930 feet):
After 1.2 miles, PCT reaches Middle Velma Lake. Just 70 yards before the junction to Camper Flat are good views of the lake and many descends there to the lake with good popular campsites near its shore just 50 feet lower than the trail. Mile 15.3: Dicks Lake (8450 feet):
At the junction after 0.3 miles, the PCT turns south and ascends to Fontanillis Lake at 8250 feet and reaches Dicks Lake after it, where good campsites are located where the trail reaches the lake. Mile 17.1: Dicks Pass (9380 feet):
From the junction, PCT ascends to Dicks Pass, highest pass in Desolation Wilderness.Mile 19.1: Gillmore Lake (8310 feet):
PCT descends and passes Gillmore Lake, with good campsites located between trail and lake. Mile 25.8: Tamarack Lake (7840 feet):
From Gillmore Lake, PCT passes Susie Lake with poor tiny campsites and Heather Lake until reaching scenic Lake LeConte and Lake Aloha. It passes the junction to popular Lake of the Woods. Lake of the Woods has 9 designated and marked campsites at its north and east side, which are first come, first served only. When the PCT reaches the junction to Tamarack Lake at Mile 25.5, follow the trail south down to Tamarack Lake, which it reaches after 0.3 miles. Tamarack Lake has good campsites at its south-east side. Tamarack Lake is the last campsite before leaving Desolation Wilderness. Day 3: 22.9 miles to several lakelets before Forestdale Divide Mile 29.6: Echo Lake Resort (7414 feet):
Return the 0.3 miles from Tamarack Lake to the PCT and follow the PCT east for 3.5 miles descending to Upper Echo Lake and passing Upper and Lower Echo Lake at their north shore above some lakeshore summer homes, until crossing Echo Lake’s dam. Mile 31.2: Highway 50 (7220 feet):
From Echo Lake Resort, follow the road to the backpackers parking lot 0.2 miles above the resort. PCT continues at the east end of the parking lot and leads over a ridge to Highway 50. Mile 39.4: Showers Lake (8647 feet):
Cross careful sometimes busy Highway 50 and continue on the PCT close to Highway 50 for 0.6 miles, which than passes Echo Summit Sno-Park, which is now called Adventure Mountain, Lake Tahoe. It passes after 1.2 miles Benwood Meadow at 7520 feet and climbs up to Bryan Meadow at 8510 feet over the next 2.4 miles. At the junction in Bryan Meadow, PCT continues south, passes the junction with Sayles Canyon Trail at 8640 feet and after 1.5 miles the junction with a trail descending to Schneider Camp. PCT continues south over Little Round Top at 9590 feet and reaches after 1.7 miles granite-bound Showers Lake, which has good large campsites shortly after crossing its outlet at the east shore. Mile 42.1: second crossing of Upper Truckee River (8460 feet):
From Showers Lake, the PCT leads to another junction after 1.1 miles with a trail to Schneider Camp and than crosses Meiss Meadow. It fords first time Upper Truckee River to the east side, passes the junction with Tahoe Rim Trail after 0.7 miles and crosses after 0.7 miles the second time Upper Truckee River to the west side. There is a good large campsite located after the ford. Mile 44.3: Carson Pass (8580 feet):
PCT passes a pond on the saddle at 8800 feet and descends to Carson Pass, where it reaches the north parking lot. Follow a spur trail along Highway 88 for 0.2 miles south and cross Highway 88 to reach the second parking lot at the west side of Highway 88. The PCT continues at the south end before Forest Service Information Station. Scout Christopher “Kit” Carson inscribed his name into a tree in 1844 when he guided the then Captain John C. Frémont, head of a government exploring expedition, over the Sierra Nevada. The original inscription was cut from the tree in 1888 and is now in Sutter's Fort, Sacramento. Mile 49.3: several lakelets before Forestdale Divide (8630 feet):
PCT enters Mokelumne Wilderness, passes the junction to Winnemucca Lake at 8880 feet after 1.3 miles and crosses the Sierra Crest just under dome-shaped Elephants Back. After 3.1 miles from the junction to Winnemucca Lake, just 0.8 miles before reaching the top of Forestdale Divide, the trail passes several lakelets. Best camping is near the largest one, at the south side or at the north side. Day 4: 21.7 miles to Upper Kinney Lake Mile 51.2: Lost Lakes (8660 feet):
PCT climbs the remaining 0.8 miles up the divide and crosses Blue Lakes Road at 8830 feet. After 1.7 miles it reaches Lost Lakes which has the best campsites as the western shore. Some car campers might be camping there. Mile 57.1: Lily Pad Lake (7840 feet):
PCT climbs up toward the Nipple and passes just under The Nipple at the saddle at 8830 feet. Steep sided Jeff Davis Peak comes into sight. After 4 miles, PCT crosses again Blue Lakes Road and reaches after another 1.9 miles Lily Pad Lake with multiple good campsites at its shore. Mile 70.4: Upper Kinney Lake (8670 feet):
PCT reaches and crosses after 0.6 miles Lower Sunset Lake Road and continues east. After 1 mile, the trail crosses the tributary of Pleasant Valley Creek with a large campsite. PCT climbs up to a conspicuous saddle at 8230 feet and continues to an unmarked junction reaching after 6.3 miles from Lower Sunset Lake Road, where a spur trail leads west to Raymond Lake under Raymond Peak at 8420 feet. There are another 6.4 miles ahead until reaching Upper Kinney Lake after passing through spectacular and incredible volcanic landscape and colorful pinnacles and passing through Raymond Meadows. Good campsites are located at the south and west shore, but are also located at the south shore near the dam. Day 5: 22.5 miles to East Fork Carson River Mile 71.8: Ebbets Pass (8732 feet):
PCT passes after 0.8 miles Sherrold Lake and reaches and reaches Ebbets Pass after 0.6 miles, where it crosses Highway 4. Ebbetts Pass was named after John Ebbetts, who traversed the pass in April 1851 with a large train of mules. He hoped it would make a suitable route for the transcontinental railroad. Mile 77.6: Asa Lake (8520 feet):
PCT reaches after 2.8 miles the junction with Noble Canyon Trail. After 0.7 miles, it reaches Noble Lake with a good campsites at the lake with Tryon Peak ahead. It passes after 0.7 miles the junction with Bull Canyon Trail and reaches Asa Lake after 1.6 miles. There are campsites located at the north shore of the lake. Mile 85.0: jct with Golden Canyon Trail (9170 feet):
From Asa Lake, PCT reaches after 1.0 miles the junction with Wolf Creek Pass Trail in Lower Gardner Meadow. Here, the trail enters Carson-Iceberg Wilderness. The trail passes over a saddle at 8800 feet and reaches Wolf Creek after 2.3 miles with a campsite before the creek. 0.7 miles after passing the junction with Murray Canyon, the trail passes the headwaters of Murray Canyon where a good campsite is located. About 1 mile after the junction with Golden Canyon Trail, is a large campsite located after the creek crossing Mile 92.9: Flat at East Fork Carson River (8100 feet):
The trail passes tiny Golden Lake and reaches after 5.0 miles from Golden Canyon junction the junction to Boulder Lake Trail at 8590 feet. The trail crosses a creek 1 mile after the junction, where another campsite is located. The trail descends into White Canyon and it reaches after 1.9 miles a flat at the bottom of the canyon near the East Fork Carson River at 8100 feet. After the ford of the creek are multiple good campsites located. Day 6: 23.3 miles to Upper Long Lake Mile 98.1: junction to Wolf Creek Lake at saddle (10250 feet):
PCT ascends over the next 5.2 miles to the saddle at the top of the canyon at the boarder of Carson-Iceberg Wilderness. From here Wolf Creek Lake can be seen below and a spur trail leads down from the saddle (distance 0.3 miles to the lake at 10100 feet). Wolfs Creek Lake is the last camp opportunity before reaching Kennedy Canyon. The distance to the first camp opportunity in Kennedy Canyon from here is 14.6 miles, with lack of creeks, streams or water between. Mile 102.7: Sonora Pass (9620 feet):
PCT surrounds Sonora Peak and descends along impressive pinnacles to Sonora Pass, which it reaches after 3.8 miles. A spur trail crosses the parking lot and crosses Highway 108 at the south. The Bartleson-Bidwell party with mules, horses and oxen, made the first crossing on October 18. 1841. This route was not attempted by wagons until 1852. “Grizzly” Adams took the trail over Sonora Pass in April, 1854, and reported “on all sides lay old axle trees and wheels... melancholy evidence of the last season’s disasters.” Mile 112.7: first creek ford at Kennedy Canyon (9060 feet):
PCT ascends over the next 2 miles to the Sierra crest with the highest point at 10880 feet. It passes under Leavitt Peak. Impressive and fantastic are the views of Yosemite peaks and the surrounded canyons. The trail passes through Emigrant Wilderness and finally reaches after 7.7 miles hiking on the crest the junction to Leavitt Lake at 10580 feet. PCT descends over the next 1.9 miles to the junction to Emigrant Pass at 9060 feet. PCT leads into Kennedy Canyon and fords after 1.2 miles a creek, where good campsites are located. Mile 116.2: Upper Long Lake (8600 feet):
PCT leads through Kennedy Canyon and through Walker Meadows until reaching the junction with Upper Long Lake after 3.5 miles. PCT is crossing West Fork West Walker River over a bridge. There are good campsites located before the bridge. Following the trail for 0.2 miles to Upper Long Lake and good campsites can be found at the north shore of the lake. Day 7: 23.6 miles to Kerrick Canyon Mile 120.8: Lake Harriet (9230 feet):
Return the 0.2 miles from Upper Long Lake to the bridge and follow PCT on the east side of the river. PCT will ascends over the next miles and passes junctions with Emigrant Pass Trail and Cinco Lake Trail and another at 9020 feet. 0.6 miles from this junction, PCT will cross Cascade Creek, where is a large campsite located after the crossing. Climbing another 0.7 miles and PCT reaches Lake Harriet with campsites along the west shore or east shore. Mile 121.9: Dorothy Lake Pass (9620 feet):
From Lake Harriet it is an easy ascend to reach Dorothy Lake Pass after 1 mile. PCT enters here Yosemite National Park. Mile 122.4: Dorothy Lake (9394 feet):
PCT descends into Jack Main Canyon and passes Dorothy Lake at its west shore. Good campsites can be found near the south-west end of the lake, where a sign is located for stock camp. Mile 132.4: Wilma Lake (7930 feet):
The trail passes the junction to Bond Pass after 1 mile and descends through Jack Main Canyon for 6.8 miles, passing Grace Meadow, until reaching the junction with Tilden Lake Trail. After 1.9 miles, the trail reaches the junction before Wilma Lake, where the PCT turns east and reaches Wilma Lake after 0.3 miles. Good campsites are located at the east end of the lake where the trail leaves the lake. Mile 137.3: Stubblefield Canyon (7740 feet):
From Wilma Lake PCT ascends to another junction after 1.5 miles leading to Tilden Lake through Tilden Canyon, and after 0.1 miles to a junction with a trail leading to TilTill Valley at 8360 feet. PCT crosses the Macomb Ridge at at 8910 feet after 1 mile and descends into Stubblefield Canyon at 7740 feet. Before and after the creek crossing are large campsites located. Mile 139.8: Kerrick Canyon (7640 feet):
PCT climbs over the next mile to a gap at 8720 feet with following dramatic views. It than descends into Kerrick Canyon and reaches the junction after 1.4 miles with the trail leading to Bear Valley after fording Rancheria Creek. Before fording the creek, on its north bank, a spur trail leads to good campsites, but there is also one campsite at its south bank. Day 8: 20.2 miles to Miller Lake Mile 147.2: Benson Lake (7581 feet):
PCT ascends upstream through Kerrick Canyon reaching the next junction after 3.6 miles at 8850 feet. PCT turns south and climbs over a short section up to Seavey Pass at 9150 feet. It passes through a couple of ponds and than starts to descend down to Benson Lake with incredible views of Volunteer Peek. It reaches the junction with Benson Lake, where it is worse to visit Benson Lake, just 0.4 miles away. Benson Lake is the Riviera, with a long sandy beach along its north shore and plenty of excellent campsites. Mile 151.7: Smedberg Lake (9219 feet):
Return the 0.4 miles from Benson Lake back to the PCT and follow the PCT crossing Piute Creek and than starting a long climb over 2.9 miles close to the next junction near Volunteer Peak at 9600 feet. The PCT turns east and reaches after 0.3 miles the second junction at 9640 feet. Both trails from these junctions would lead into Roger Canyon. Follow the PCT with direction to Matterhorn Canyon / Tuolumne Meadows. After another mile, PCT reaches Smedberg Lake, where most campsites are located at the lake’s west and north shores. Mile 158.2: Matterhorn Canyon (8480 feet):
From Smedberg Lake, the trail ascends over the next 2 miles to Benson Pass at 10140 feet. It descends into Wilson Creek Canyon and crosses Wilson Creek and descends into Matterhorn Canyon. Reaching the floor of Matterhorn Canyon, it continues through the meadow canyon floor for 1 mile until it reaches Matterhorn Creek ford. Before the ford is a large campsite located. Mile 160.0: Miller Lake (9446 feet):
100 yards from the ford is the next junction, where PCT climbs out of Matterhorn Canyon over 1.6 miles to a gap at the top at 9680 feet. Incredible views are from this gap down into Matterhorn Canyon. After 0.2 miles, PCT reaches Miller Lake, with good campsites located at its west shore. Day 9: 22.7 miles to Cathedral Lake Mile 164.0: Virginia Canyon (8520 feet):
From Miller Lake, PCT descends into Spiller Creek Canyon and crosses Spiller Creek after 2 miles with a campsite located after the ford. After another 2 miles, PCT reaches the junction at Virginia Canyon. Follow the trail down to Return Creek and ford first Return Creek and than McCabe Creek. A spur trail between both fords leads to a campsite. Mile 172.0: Glen Aulin (7840 feet):
PCT climbs for 1.0 miles to the junction at 9120 feet with the trail to McCabe Lake. PCT gently descends over the next 7.0 miles through Cold Canyon reaching Glen Aulin High Sierra Camp. Mile 178.1: Tuolumne Meadows / Visitor Center (8630 feet):
Tuolumne river is crossed over a bridge with impressive views of White Cascade falls. PCT ascends on the west side of the river, passes Tuolumne Falls and crosses the river over a bridge to the east side. After 4.0 miles, it passes the junction with the trail leading to Young Lakes and after 0.4 miles the junction leading to Soda Springs. Follow the trail to the Parsons Memorial Lodge. Here, the trail leaves the PCT and turns south over the bridge crossing Tuolumne River leading to the Visitor Center at the other side of Tuolumne Meadows which will be reached after 0.5 miles after crossing Tioga Pass Road. Tuolumne Meadows post office is 1.0 miles east located at Tioga Pass Road. Mile 182.7: Cathedral Lake (9288 feet):
The trail turns west and leads for 1.1 miles parallel to Tioga Pass Road, reaching the trailhead to Cathedral Lake. The trail ascends over the next 3 miles to the junction with Cathedral Lake at 9430 feet. Follow the trail to Cathedral Lake for 0.5 miles to reach the lake. Campsites can be found along the north shore of the lake. Day 10: 16.4 miles: Half Dome Mile 187.7: Sunrise High Sierra Camp (9320 feet):
Return from Cathedral Lake the 0.5 miles to the junction and follow the trail to Sunrise High Sierra Camp. After a short climb over Cathedral Pass at 9700 feet, the trail descends into Long Meadow reaching Sunrise High Sierra Camp, which also has campsites for backpackers available. Mile 194.1: jct with Cloud Rest and jct with Half Dome (7020 feet):
Pass Sunrise Camp, and at the junction, follow the trail to Half Dome. There will be a short climb over a saddle and than the trail steeply descends along Sunrise Creek. When reaching a meadow, first views of Half Dome will be available, same as views of stunning Merced Canyon. After 4.5 miles, it reaches the junction with Forsyth Trail leading to Tenaya Lake and shortly after the junction with the trail leading to Merced Lake. Follow the trail along Sunrise Creek reaching after 1.9 miles the junction with the trail leading to Cloud Rest. The trail crosses a small creek and here are good campsites located. Half way (0.2 miles) to the junction with the trail leading to Half Dome, are more good campsites located at the south side of the trail on the saddle. Setup camp, leave your backpack behind, and take plenty of water with you for climbing Half Dome. Mile 196.6: Half Dome (8836 feet):
It is 0.5 miles from the junction with the trail leading to Cloud Rest to junction with the trail to Half Dome and another 2.0 miles to reach Half Dome. A ranger controls at the food of Half Dome the permits. The wilderness permit from USDA Forest Service / Desolation Wilderness is also valid for climbing Half Dome. Take gloves to climb along the cables and enjoy the incredible views from the top. Mile 199.1: return to camp (7020 feet):
From Half Dome, return 2.5 miles to camp located near the trail junction with Cloud Rest. Day 11: 7.1 miles to Happy Isle Trailhead / Yosemite Valley Mile 203.0: Nevada Falls (5980 feet):
Follow the trail for 3.9 miles passing Little Yosemite Valley to Nevada Falls. There is a platform at the north-west side above the falls with incredible views of the huge drop. Mile 206.2: Happy Isle Trailhead (4035 feet):
The trail descends down to Happy Isle Trailhead over 3 miles.
From exit trailhead Happy Isle (bus stop 16), take the free Yosemite Valley shuttle bus to Yosemite Visitor Center (bus stop 5). From same bus stop Yosemite Visitor Center, Amtrak (operated by YARTS bus) provides bus service to Merced Amtrak Station. From Merced, Amtrak offers train service to continue the ride to the Bay Area, San Francisco, Sacramento, Bakersfield or Los Angeles: www.amtrak.com
Directions to Trailhead
Start Trailhead at Meeks Bay:
Public transportation: Amtrak offers train service to Sacramento, CA and from there bus service to South Lake Tahoe Transit Center (SLT):
1000 Emerald Bay Road, South Y Transit Center, South Lake Tahoe, CA 96151. www.amtrak.com
From here, take BlueGO Nifty Fifty Trolley Route: Route 30 – South Y Transit Station to Tahoma via State Route.
Bus fare was $2. The ride takes 45 minutes.
Exit at Meeks Bay Resort / Campground:
Meeks Bay Resort 7941 Ca-89 Tahoma, CA 96142www.bluego.org
From Meeks Bay Resort, return south 250 yards along Highway 89 just before crossing Meeks Creek.
The trailhead Meeks Creek North is located at the north-west side of Highway 89 crossing the creek.
Exit Trailhead at Yosemite National Park:
Public transportation: from exit trailhead Happy Isle (bus stop 16), take the free Yosemite Valley shuttle bus to Yosemite Visitor Center (bus stop 5).
From same bus stop Yosemite Visitor Center, Amtrak (operated by YARTS bus) provides bus service to Merced Amtrak Station. From Merced, Amtrak offers train service to continue the ride to the Bay Area, San Francisco, Sacramento, Bakersfield or Los Angeles:www.amtrak.com
Notes on Difficulty Rating