Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Yosemite High Sierra Camps

Dale Matson

Click On Photographs To Enlarge
Townsley Lake From Above

One of the lesser-known Yosemite options is the Yosemite High Sierra Camps.
The six camps are located a convenient 7-10 miles apart and provide accommodations for those who want to see Yosemite without the burden of a heavy backpack. Each camp has a permanent stone structure and buildings that can be taken down in the fall when the camps close. The camps provide tent cabins and wonderful meals, which allows the hiker to carry only a daypack. The price is steep per night at about $170.00 but mules must bring in all of the supplies including the salt and pepper on the table. They also have to pack out the trash too.

I have stayed at all the camps except the original one on Merced Lake. Each has wonderful views and opportunities for day hikes in the vicinity. My wife and I have opted to stay in the backpacker’s area and buy the meals in advance of our trip. This also means you will be able to get a wilderness permit as a walk in the morning you begin. This is only about $70.00 per night including dinner and breakfast. This eliminates the need to carry a bear canister for our food and the hot meals are terrific.
Each camp has a small store in the mess tent and items like bug spray and candy bars can be purchased. We have done trips where we stayed at two separate high sierra camps on successive nights and trips where we stayed successive nights at one camp. We climbed Mt. Hoffman when we stayed at the May Lake camp. There is a new and improved trail to the top this year. The John Muir Trail goes by the Sunrise High Sierra Camp. Glen Aulin is probably the easiest access after May Lake and the trail leading to it travels through a beautiful area in Tuolumne Meadows.

My favorite high sierra camp is Vogelsang, which is also the highest of the camps at over 10,000’. We have done a number of day hikes out of there.

Over the years, we have had great conversations with folks from all over the world before and during the meals. It is certainly a great way for older people to hike and explore Yosemite. I’m glad the new Yosemite Plan retained this classic opportunity.

There is an opportunity (via the lottery ending Nov. 1) to do all of the camps in one extended effort. There are also ranger-guided trips that can be arranged. The trails are generally in good condition and easy to follow.  

 Falls At Glen Aulin
 Tuolumne River Near Glen Aulin
 May Lake
 Climb Up Mt. Hoffman
 May Lake From Above

 Falls At Glen Aulin
 Ireland Lake near Vogelsang HSC

 Vogelsang Pre Dinner Gathering
 Tent Cabins At Vogelsang
 Dinner At Vogelsang
 Sunrise HSC
 Sunrise HSC
 Alpenglow At Sunrise HSC
 Evelyn Lake Near Vogelsang HSC

 May Lake
 Swimming At McGee Lake Between May and Glen Aulin HSC
 Tenaya Lake View From Mt. Hoffman Climb
 Lyell Fork Of Tuolumne River Headed to Vogelsang HSC 
 Vogelsang From Trail To Vogelsang Pass And Bernice Lake
Backpacker's Camp At Vogelsang

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