When Abraham Lincoln created the Yosemite Grant in 1864, it marked the first time the federal government ever set aside a piece of land for preservation. Now, 150 years later, Yosemite National Park, about a four-hour drive from San Francisco, is one of the most beloved places on the planet, with its epic rock formations like Half Dome and El Capitan, plush meadows, rushing waterfalls, and boundless ways to enjoy nature. In addition, to mark its 150th anniversary, visitors can enjoy dozens of commemorative events taking place year-round. Whether you make it for a visit in 2014 or beyond, here are some insider tips yosemite national park backpacking on how to make the most of your trip.
Following these 10 tips yosemite national park backpacking won’t guarantee you get the permit you want, but I’ve had pretty good success over the years using these strategies. But when you’re frustrated over being denied a permit for the hike you really wanted to take, keep this in mind: The permit system in parks imposes quotas on the number of backpackers in order to protect the landscape from overuse and give you an uncrowded, better wilderness experience. It’s a good thing.
Yosemite National Park Backpacking
- For those who love hiking and camping, yosemite national park backpacking a natural next step. Here’s how to get started. Basic prep work at home makes for a smoother, more relaxing trip. One early step is to find yourself good company. Hiking with a partner is more fun and safer than being alone on the trail. It’s ideal to start backpacking with an experienced partner who teaches you tips and tricks as you go, but another enthusiastic beginner will also do.
- If none of your pals are interested, look for organized groups to join until you gain more experience.
- If you already hike regularly and consider yourself active and fit, your body is probably good to go. However, if you’re a take-the-elevator type and can’t remember the last time you walked farther than the bus stop, get your body ready for the adventure. Start with short day hikes on flat land and work up to longer hikes with changes in elevation. Once you organize your backpacking gear, carry a full pack on day hikes to get your shoulders and back ready too. If you have any medical concerns, discuss then with your doctor.
- Especially if you’re traveling a long distance for the trip like the ahwahnee yosemite national park ca, to avoid disappointment, check the park’s website months in advance for the procedure to apply for a permit reservation (it varies from park to park). Plan on applying on the earliest date possible especially for popular hikes in parks that attract a lot of backpackers (like any parks and trails mentioned in this story). Most ahwahnee yosemite national park ca do not have an online reservation system it’s still done in person (not an option for many people), by mail, fax, or over the phone.
- Your best friend on a yosemite national park backpacking trip is your pack, and selecting the right one is essential. Smaller, lighter packs work well for the short trips appropriate for beginners, but larger packs hold more so you’ll need to find a balance. For overnight or weekend trips, experts at outdoor-store REI suggest a pack that holds between 20 and 60 liters and weights 5 pounds or less. When you work up to planning several-week yosemite national park backpacking trips, you’ll want to rethink pack size, especially if you hike in winter when additional clothing is required. Try the pack on in the store, and be sure it is the right size for your torso.
- Have at least one or two backup routes or date options in case you can’t get a permit for your first choice. That may be as simple as starting a day earlier or later for the same route, reversing your route’s direction, starting midweek instead of on a weekend, or choosing an entirely different, less-popular route.
Beside the Ahwahnee Yosemite National Park CA you absolutely have to prepare at least three itineraries. For instance, in Denali or Everglades, which do not accept advance reservations for permits, you will find out which backcountry zones have campsite availability when you show up at the backcountry office, so be familiar with the park map and have some ideas on where you want to go. When applying for an advance permit reservation in the Grand Canyon, include alternatives outside the park’s popular “corridor” trails.
- Parks generally limit the number of people allowed on one permit, often to six or seven; otherwise, it’s considered a group permit, and there are far fewer campsites for large groups. Keeping your party small as in two or three people can increase your odds of landing a permit in parks where permit quotas are based on the number of campers in an area each night or departing from each trailhead daily.
- National parks often border on other public lands, like national forests, where there’s no limit on the number of backpackers—which may give you campsite options when sites or camping areas within park boundaries are full on your trip dates. For instance, Alaska Basin, along the Teton Crest Trail, is not within Grand Teton National Park; so if you can’t get a permit to spend a night on Death Canyon Shelf in the park (a gorgeous spot, by the way), Alaska Basin is a very nice alternative and may fit neatly into an itinerary for which you have the other sites you need inside park boundaries.
- If all else fails, show up at the park at least an hour or two before the backcountry office opens and try to get a front spot in line for a first-come permit. Parks reserve a certain percentage of permits for walk-in backpackers, issuing those usually no more than a day in advance. Some parks post the current availability of backcountry campsites online; check that and prepare a hiking itinerary accordingly before you show up.
- Expect applying for a walk-in permit to take anywhere from 20 minutes to an hour, possibly longer, especially in parks like Yellowstone, Glacier, and Denali, where you’re required to watch a video about camping safely in bear country.