Yosemite, California

Looking for the best backpacking in Yosemite? We've got you covered with the top trails, trips, hiking, backpacking, camping and more around Yosemite. The detailed guides, photos, and reviews are all submitted by the Outbound community.

Top Backpacking Spots in and near Yosemite

  • Mariposa County, California

    May Lake Trail

    4.0
    2.34 mi / 489 ft gain
    May Lake is a stunning, serene subalpine lake that rests at the base of Mt. Hoffmann. The May Lake turnoff is located four miles past Tenaya Lake. From the turnoff, it's 1.8 miles to the trailhead parking lot. During summer time, I will recommend getting to the parking area early to get a spot ...
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  • Mariposa County, California

    Mt. Hoffman via May Lake Trailhead

    5.55 mi / 2140 ft gain
    The May Lake trailhead is at the end of a 2-mile unpaved road leading north from Tioga Road. The trailhead has pit toilets and bear lockers. (Please be sure to store any food, garbage, scented items, and empty coolers in these lockers while hiking!) After hiking an easy 1.3 miles, you'll arrive ...
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  • Mariposa County, California

    Sunrise Lakes to Clouds Rest

    4.7
    18.93 mi / 1775 ft gain
    Start out at the Tenaya Lake Trailhead, where you can head directly onto the trail for Clouds Rest or you can branch off after 2.7 miles to Sunrise Lakes. This allows you to break up the hike, spend a night relaxing and help you have an early start back on the trail. Once re-connected to the Clo...
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  • Mariposa County, California

    Hike to Tuolumne Peak Plateau

    11.7 mi / 1800 ft gain
    The most direct route begins at Murphy Creek trailhead, on the north side of Tioga Road near Tenaya Lake. Walk north on Murphy Creek trail for 2.5 miles with minimal elevation gain. Polly Dome Lakes are a great side trip via the social trail on the right side of the trail before the first junctio...
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  • Mariposa County, California

    Backpack to North Dome in Yosemite

    5.0
    8.8 mi
    To stay overnight in Yosemite without a reserved campsite requires a "Wilderness Permit" to camp, but you can camp anywhere. However, any fires need to be in pre-made fire pits (so rangers can know where to check for fires) Day 1 - Hike in from the Porcupine Trailhead off of Tioga Road in to vie...
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  • Mariposa County, California

    Porcupine Creek Trail to Indian Ridge Natural Arch to North Dome

    10.04 mi / 2089 ft gain
    Porcupine Creek Trail to Indian Ridge Natural Arch to North Dome is an out-and-back trail where you may see beautiful wildflowers located near Yosemite Valley, California.
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  • Mariposa County, California

    10 Lakes Basin in Yosemite

    5.0
    13.38 mi / 2200 ft gain
    Beginning at the Ten Lakes trailhead, the trail to the lakes is a moderately strenuous uphill grind to Ten Lakes pass, followed by a quick downhill into the lake basin. We met a woman at the top who made sure we didn’t miss the short side trail to a vista point on the pass that offered a sweeping...
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  • Mariposa County, California

    Grant Lake via Ten Lakes Trailhead

    4.0
    12.24 mi / 2000 ft gain
    The trail begins at the Ten Lakes trailhead (7600 ft) right beside Yosemite Creek. The first 4 miles start you on the ascent through the wooded forest, however there are portions of the trail that will take you through granite rock valleys marked with only cairns so keep your eyes peeled througho...
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  • Mariposa County, California

    John Muir Trail: Camping at Lower Cathedral Lake

    5.0
    Make the .75 miles detour off of the John Muir Trail to reach this spot and you won't regret it. Lower Cathedral Lake is typically less populated than nearby Upper Lake and has some of the mot beautiful scenery on the JMT. Sunrise and sunset with the reflection of Cathedral Peak on the glassy wat...
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  • Yosemite Valley, California

    Hike to Basket Dome

    9.45 mi
    Getting There Starting in Yosemite Valley, head to the Snow Creek trailhead just past Muir Meadows. Start the hike early in the morning, since it gets pretty hot in the summer and the last part of the hike is in the sun. The Trail You'll hike more than 140 switchbacks to reach the top of Ba...
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  • 37.739698,-119.564018

    Snow Creek Trail

    5.0
    20.43 mi / 2700 ft gain
    This is truly a beautiful hike. Although it’s not the easiest, you are rewarded by the views. From the Mirror Lake trailhead (shuttle stop #17), it is 0.9 miles to the Snow Creek trailhead and 1.7 miles to the Snow Creek overlook where you can camp in close proximity. Once you reach the top, you...
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  • Cathedral Lakes Trailhead

    Tuolumne Meadows to Yosemite Valley

    5.0
    30.82 mi / 6109 ft gain
    Yosemite is an iconic park, and if you are looking for isolation with spectacular views of the backcountry this trip is for you. The trail itself is approximately 33 miles and can be done in 3-4 days, but I recommend a 6 day hike to enjoy the scenery and to have the opportunity to soak in each lo...
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  • Wawona, California

    Cathedral Lakes

    4.8
    9.04 mi / 1100 ft gain
    Starting at the Cathedral Lakes Trailhead near the Tuolumne Meadows parking lot (if parking is full at the TH), this trail wanders through the classic High Sierra forest with large white granite boulders and pine trees. After approximately 4 miles of quiet solitude in the forest, you will reach ...
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  • Mariposa County, California

    Little Yosemite Valley Campsite and Half Dome

    4.6
    13.88 mi / 4800 ft gain
    First things first. You will need to get a wilderness pass by entering the lottery for Half Dome access. If you don't get a pass via lottery just go to the Yosemite Valley visitor center, tell the clerk you are backpacking to Little Yosemite Valley and that you would like to hike up Half Dome. Th...
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  • 37.732842,-119.557782

    Panorama Trail

    4.8
    16.87 mi / 3200 ft gain
    The Panorama Trail is an outstanding hike that takes you from the Yosemite Valley floor up to Glacier Point. Or you can hike it downhill going from Glacier Point to Yosemite Valley. You can camp and make it an overnight trip or do it as a day trip by leaving a car at one end and taking a park sh...
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  • Yosemite Valley, California

    Thru-Hike the John Muir Trail

    5.0
    203.17 mi / 44944 ft gain
    To thru hike the JMT is probably one of the sickest trips to do! It's not a heavy commitment like the PCT or AT but it's also no week long vacation from work, backpacking the woods of your local forests either. There's a sweet spot in thru hiking and I believe this trail gives the full taste. You...
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