LeConte Falls Trail – Yosemite NP

Date: June 14, 2014
Miles: 19.24
Elevation Gain: 2,700 ft
Start Time: 6:34 am
Duration: 9:04 hours

Waterwheel Falls Trail
Waterwheel Falls Trail

The trailhead to LeConte Falls can be found in Tuolumne Meadows. While you can start from the east or west side of Tuolumne Meadows and travel a similar distance, we opted to start on the west side from the Lembert Dome parking area. The trail heads east and the first four miles are relatively flat as you hike past the meadows and then along the Tuolumne River. The trail through this section transitions between forest, open meadows and large granite slabs.

1st Bridge over Tuolumne River.
1st Bridge over Tuolumne River.

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Taft Point/Sentinel Dome Loop – Yosemite NP

Date: June 13, 2014
Miles: 6.1
Elevation Gain: 5,500 ft
Start Time: 11:58 am
Duration: 2:50 hours

Taft Point/Sentinel Dome Loop Trail
Taft Point/Sentinel Dome Loop Trail

Normally a hike needs to be longer than about six miles in order to earn its own blog post but this trail earned it anyway.  The Taft Point Trailhead begins on the Glacier Point road.  We got a later start since we spent the morning at Mariposa Grove but it never really got too crowded since we weren’t down in the valley. Continue reading “Taft Point/Sentinel Dome Loop – Yosemite NP”

4-Mile Trail/Panorama Trail Loop – Yosemite NP

Date: June 12, 2014
Miles: 16.0
Elevation Gain: 5,500 ft
Start Time: 5:50 am
Duration: 6:48 hours

4 Mile Trail/Panorama Trail Loop
4-Mile Trail Trailhead
4-Mile Trail Trailhead

This was the one hike that I would warn Sandy about the most during our warm up hikes in the preceding year.  Whenever we would finish an uphill section of the hike it would go something like, “Now imagine hiking this thing twice and only being 1/4th the way done.”   Continue reading “4-Mile Trail/Panorama Trail Loop – Yosemite NP”

Upper Yosemite Falls – Yosemite NP

Date: June 11, 2014
Miles: 11.4
Elevation Gain: 3,920 ft
Start Time: 6:47 am
Duration: 5:44 hours

Upper Yosemite Falls Trail
Upper Yosemite Falls Trail
View Across Yosemite
View Across Yosemite Valley

The Upper Yosemite Falls Trail begins at the Camp 4 campground. Although we parked in the correct parking lot the actual trail was not apparent.  So we walked through the campground for a little while before we eventually found the trail.  For the first 1.5 miles it was steep switchbacks through the trees.  After getting that climb behind us the trail headed around the side of the cliff for about a half mile with occasional view of the valley.

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Clouds Rest – Yosemite NP

Date: June 10, 2014
Miles: 14.5
Elevation Gain: 3,750 ft
Start Time: 7:00 am
Duration: 6:30 hours

Clouds Rest Trail
Clouds Rest Trail

The trailhead begins at the southern shore of Tenaya Lake on Tioga Road. After only a few hundred yards the trail leads into a very wide, yet shallow, river.  When we got to the river there was a couple with two teenaged daughters all discussing their options.  Since I did some homework on this trail we were prepared and unclipped our flipflops from our backpacks and set out across the river like a couple of pros.   Continue reading “Clouds Rest – Yosemite NP”

The Mist Trail – Yosemite NP

Date: June 9, 2014
Miles: 8.6
Elevation Gain: 2,736 ft
Start Time: 6:37 am
Duration: 6:43 hours

The Mist Trail
The Mist Trail

The Mist Trail is the most popular trail in Yosemite.  Because of this we knew we need to get an early start to avoid the hoards.  We parked a the backpackers’ parking lot near Curry Village and walked 1.5 to the official trailhead at Happy Isles since the shuttle bus was not running at 6:30 in the morning.  Happy Isles is also the trailhead for Half Dome and the John Muir Trail (JMT) so we were still not alone like we normally are this time of day but it wasn’t too bad. Continue reading “The Mist Trail – Yosemite NP”

Cathedral Lakes – Yosemite NP

Date: June 8, 2014
Miles: 10.41
Elevation Gain: 2,170 ft
Start Time: 8:03 am
Duration: 4:20 hours

Cathedral Lakes Trail
Cathedral Lakes Trail

Cathedral Lakes trail begins in the southern end of the Tuolumne Meadows area.  The first couple of miles are uphill through a thick forest so there isn’t too much more that I can say about that.  At about the two mile mark the very distinctive Cathedral Peak appeared in front of us. Continue reading “Cathedral Lakes – Yosemite NP”

Tamarack Lake Trail – Lake Tahoe

Date: June 7, 2014
Miles: 9.6
Elevation Gain: 1,289 ft
Start Time: 7:12 am
Duration: 4:10 hours

Tamarack Lake Trail
Tamarack Lake Trail

We drove to South Lake Tahoe for our first night and stayed at the Beach Retreat & Lodge.  I looked for a short warm-up hike in the Tahoe area that was on our way to Yosemite and the Tamarack Lake trail fit the bill perfectly.

Echo Lake
Echo Lake

The trailhead started at Echo Lake.  We followed the northern shore of Echo Lake for about a mile.  This was our first venture into the Sierras. This is what I have always envisioned as the perfect mountain setting with lots of granite, glacial boulders strewn about, ancient trees, beautiful lakes and water seemingly flowing all over the place. Continue reading “Tamarack Lake Trail – Lake Tahoe”