Backpack Yosemite's Snow Creek Trail

Backpack Yosemite's Snow Creek Trail

Mirror Lake Trailhead, Yosemite

Distance

7.2 Miles

Elevation Gain

2700 Feet

Activities

Chillin, Camping, Photography, Backpacking, Hiking

Skill

Intermediate

Season

Year Round

Type

Out-and-Back

Forest
River
Romantic
Scenic

Backpacking the Snow Creek Trail offers hikers amazing views of Half Dome and Basket Dome. 

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 can take a dip in the water which is about 200 yards from the campgrounds. Beware though, it isn't called “Snow Creek” for no reason. I’d also recommend camping there. The best campground is the one closest to the overlook of Half Dome. This makes for an awesome time for beers or tea around a campfire. This spot also caters to your creativity at night. With views of Half Dome and Basket Dome, you can do some night photography, write your next book, or just be in the present moment and memorize what is in front of you. You can do the optional hike the next day to Indian Rock which is a 5 mile hike.

Tip:Remember that you always need a wilderness permit to camp in Yosemite National Park. When getting this permit you can also rent a free bear canister for your food and scented items. Be sure with any bear encounters YOU DO NOT RUN AWAY. Hold your ground. Remember, bears are afraid of humans and loud noises. So if you come across one or if it finds your food, scare it away by screaming as loud as you can. Also make sure you are always following the leave no trace seven principles and always make sure to check the weather before any backpacking trip. This ensures that you have a good and safe time. Be safe and most importantly have fun!

Community Photos

Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures and follow local regulations.

Nearby Lodging

From $90/night

Half Dome Village

Yosemite Valley, California

From $108/night

Housekeeping Camp

Yosemite Valley, California

From $386/night

The Majestic Yosemite Hotel

Yosemite Valley, California

Reviews

Leave a Review

Overall rating: 

Worth The Effort!

We went in early November and it was spectacular! The day time weather was very pleasant, and very warm in the sun, but it was definitely below freezing at night. This was a workout of a hike with spectacular views of Half Dome. It was too chilly for a swim but we camped overnight which as of Nov 2016 the camping past the Snow Creek Footbridge is now open but not before then. Great effort brought great reward as we explored the Snow Creek Falls and got some stellar views of the valley. We were pretty limited as many of the wilderness access trails were closed for winter and the pass was snowed out, so we were stoked to find some backcountry camping! Highly recommend especially if you want to get away from the crowds and get some unique photos of the valley!

Sublime views, troublesome bear

Snow Creek is one of the only places you can camp in the backcountry with a perfect view of Half Dome from the tent. Well worth the switchbacks from Mirror Lake! An alternative route (all downhill) is to start on Tioga Rd and descend to the Snow Creek footbridge, then finish the trip via Mirror Lake in the Valley. Hitchhiking or the YARTS bus will bring you back to the car. Take note: a notoriously troublesome bear hangs out at Snow Creek. The area is currently closed to camping (July/August 2016) because she knows how to break open bear canisters and is teaching her cub unfortunately. Always check with the Wilderness stations about current trail conditions, including bear reports.

Distance

7.2 Miles

Elevation Gain

2700 Feet

Activities

Chillin, Camping, Photography, Backpacking, Hiking

Skill

Intermediate

Season

Year Round

Type

Out-and-Back

Nearby Adventures

Adventure

Snowshoe to Snow Creek

Adventure

Get Epic Yosemite Views from Basket Dome

Adventure

Hike to Hidden Falls (aka Tenaya Creek Falls)

Adventure

Hike to Yosemite's Mirror Lake

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