Backpack atop Donohue Pass

Tuolumne Meadows Visitor's Center - Search Nearby - Added by Alex Souza

Spend a night atop one of the highest passes along the JMT/PCT. Take in views across the Eastern Sierra and down through Lyell Canyon. You'll have the opportunity to bag Donohue Peak (12,023 ft.) or Mt. Lyell (the tallest in Yosemite at 13,114 ft.).

Donohue Pass lies on the border of Yosemite National Park and the Ansel Adams Wilderness. Both the John Muir Trail (JMT) and the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) route through this pass at 11,056 ft.

A challenging but beautiful hike that starts from Tuolumne Meadows and follows the JMT for 12.5 miles to the top of the pass with an elevation gain of 2,456ft.(most of which is gained in the last mile or so of switch backs to the top of the pass). However your hard work will not go unrewarded. Camping atop Donohue pass is like spending the night on another planet. expansive views (well above the treeline) in every direction. Spectacular star gazing and vistas of nearby Mt. Lyell & McClure. However you are completely exposed to the elements at this elevation so camping here only during fair weather is a must.

If you want a night spent gazing from atop the world this is the place to go.

Distance

25 Miles RT

Elevation Gain

2456 ft Gain

Type

Out-and-Back

Activities

Photography, Backpacking, Hiking

Forest
River
Scenic
Wildflowers
Wildlife

Nearby Lodging

From $143/night

Tuolumne Meadows Lodge

Tioga Rd, YOSEMITE NATIONAL PARK, CA 95389, USA

From $386/night

The Majestic Yosemite Hotel

Yosemite Valley, California

From $108/night

Housekeeping Camp

Yosemite Valley, California

From $90/night

Half Dome Village

Yosemite Valley, California

We want to acknowledge and thank the past, present, and future generations of all Native Nations and Indigenous Peoples whose ancestral lands we travel, explore, and play on. Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures and follow local regulations. Please explore responsibly!

Reviews

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Awesome Views

This is one of my all time favorite camp sites. There is a small lake on the northwestern side of the pass that is perfect to set up your tent. Be sure to check weather conditions before you go, we had wind gusts over 50 mph and I woke up several times throughout the night because I thought we were going to blow away. If possible I'd recommend starting in the Ansel Adams wilderness and hiking down to Lyell Canyon. The canyon is beautiful regardless, but knowing everything is downhill makes the views even better.

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