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Yosemite 5 Days In The Wilderness

9 posts
Yosemite 5 Days In The Wilderness

Hello, community! My group and I are coming to Yosemite in two weeks and need some help planning the backpacking itinerary. We have the wilderness permit starting in Yosemite Valley. We are planning on spending 5 nights in the wilderness, preferably not coming down to the valley but rather staying up in the mountains. I would highly appreciate it if anyone could help us plan a scenery hike within the Yosemite mountains (5 nights) starting from Camp 4. My group and I are experienced hikers and have been to Yosemite before but I wanted to reach out to this community in case someone had creative ideas! All appropriate equipment and food are already packed. Thank you very very much!

5 replies to this topic
Washington State
Destination Expert
for Yosemite National Park
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1. Re: Yosemite 5 Days In The Wilderness


You need to share more information. What is the name of your trailhead and your first night's scheduled overnight?

You can't come back to the Valley if you want your permit to remain valid. As soon as you return to the Valley, the permit is ended.

What kind of elevation gain & mileage works for your group, knowing that you're starting at 4,000' and headed up?

9 posts
2. Re: Yosemite 5 Days In The Wilderness

Hi! Our entry trailhead is Upper Yosemite Falls and we were planning on spending the first night at Eagle Peak. What I meant is that we would like to stay up in the mountains for the whole trip without having to come back down. In the case of elevation gain, we are not concerned at all. Last year, we hiked to Half Dome at an ease. Thank you!

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3. Re: Yosemite 5 Days In The Wilderness


Just looking at caltopo, I would go towards the northeast peaks (tuolomne, hoffmann etc) if the snow allows, if not i would go towards hetch hetchy.

Please let me know the snow conditions, we are going in 2 weeks.

Destination Expert
for Grand Canyon National Park
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4. Re: Yosemite 5 Days In The Wilderness

Do you exit at the same trailhead? That is also necessary information.

Atlanta area
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5. Re: Yosemite 5 Days In The Wilderness

The exit trailhead stated on the wilderness permit ultimately isn't that important, it's the entry trailhead, date, and number in the party that are of most concern.

The challenge for the OP is that the bigger mountains in the park are to the south, east and northeast of Yosemite Valley, and your entry trailhead goes due north. Once you climb to the North Rim there are sights to see, and you easily could spend 5 nights bopping around up there, but may not be the adventure you're looking for.

Another challenge is that with no shuttles this year, you want a loop or something close to a loop so you end up back near your car at the end. So 2 suggestions:

- night 1: camp Eagle Peak

- night 3: camp May Lake, stopping for night 2 somewhere along the way

- night 4: also camp May Lake, after summitting Mt. Hoffmann this day

- night 5: camp top of Snow Creek

- last day descent Snow Creek trail to get to Yosemite Valley, and you'll still have several miles to get back to your car (assuming you left it near Camp 4).

The other alternative is to see if you can get a "walk-up" permit for a different trailhead. There are many itineraries to suggest if you could get entry trailhead of Happy Isles, Glacier Point, Tenaya Lake/Sunrise, JMT/Cathedral Lakes, Rafferty Creek, Lyell Canyon or Glen Aulin. Many more than that, but any of those will give you great 5-night options that are among the most popular backpacking choices in the park and will loop you back to your car at the end.

Please note that for 2021 you cannot get a walk-up permit in the park, instead you apply for those online as well, and you are within the window to apply for that now. Check out info and links here:


I suggest you get a Yosemite backpacking guidebook, it's not too late for you to order one off Amazon and get it before your trip. I'm partial to Schaffer, but there are plenty of good ones.

You should also note that you are able to stay in the backpacker's campground the night before your entry date and/or the night you exit. There is a backpacker's campground in Yosemite Valley (note: that is NOT Camp 4) and one in Tuolumne Meadows, and last I was there the fee was $6/night per person.

Edited: May 15, 2021, 2:16 am
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