Destination – Backpackers Campgrounds in Yosemite

If you read your wilderness permit carefully, you will read that you can stay up to one night before and after your backpacking trip at “backpackers campground.”  Well where are they?  This article will focus on just two of them – Tuolumne Meadows and the Yosemite Valley.

Ng_20120714_yosebackpacking_1140218

By Tuolumne River

 

Tuolumne Meadows Backpackers Campground

It is found in the Tuolumne Meadows campground (duh!) and apparently it is behind the Dana fire-pit, between the A and B loop.  See the map below:

tuolumne_meadows_campground_map

Notice that this map is north-south reverse.  Therefore if you are driving from the west side, this campground will be on your right.

Yosemite Valley Backpackers Campground

On the other hand, the backpackers campground in Yosemite valley is not as well marked.  You would not see it on the map, though if you do a search on Google for the “North Pines backpackers campground,” you might come across Park service document showing:

CapturFiles_2

Notice that the backpackers campground is north of North Pines across a bridge.  There is no parking access and therefore you have to park elsewhere after you are done unloading.

Last but not least, these campgrounds charge $5 per person per night.  Thus be ready to pay up.

The many shuttles in Yosemite

In order to be on some of the hikes, especially those one way hikes that link Tuolumne Meadows to Yosemite Valley, such as North Dome or Tenaya Lakes-Clouds Rest, or even hiking from out of the park, it might be tricky to arrange transportation.  Fortunately there are quite a few shuttle services running in the park.

6061489750_d45f293af8_b

Yosemite National Park 2885, Creative Commons photo by Jluc H

 

Tuolumne Meadow Hiker Bus (these are 2012 figures)

The first shuttle is the Tuolumne Meadow Hiker bus that runs from Yosemite Valley to Tuolumne Meadows.  However there are only two shuttles per day, one departing from the Valley (Curry Village) at 8AM and arriving at Tuolumne Meadows at 10:25AM, and the other one departing from the Meadows (Tuolumne Meadow Lodge) at 2PM and arriving at Curry Village at 4:15PM.

Stop Tuolumne Meadows-bound Yosemite Valley-bound
Curry Village 8:00AM 4:15PM
Yosemite Village 8:05AM 4:10PM
Crane Flat 9:05AM 3:25PM
May Lake Junction 9:55AM 2:35PM
Olmsted Point 10:00AM No stop
Tenaya Lake 10:10AM 2:30PM
Tuolumne Meadows Store 10:25AM 2:15PM
Tuolumne Meadows Lodge 10:35AM 2:05PM

Fares are charged based on distance and ranges from $2 to $14.50 (one way), or $3 to $23 (round-trip).  The good thing is that you can flag down the bus at any trailhead, though it is advisable to call (209) 372-4286 to make a reservation ahead of time.

For more information, check here (official site).

 

Yosemite Area Regional Transportation System (YARTS)

2367628366_cb10213e76_b

The Yarts Bus, Copyrighted picture by janlichterman and used with permission

Another way to go in-between the Yosemite valley and Tuolumne Meadows is the Yosemite Area Regional Transportation System (YARTS).  The one important line is the Highway 120 line.  Similar to the hiker bus, it runs once a day, leaving the Tuolumne Meadows store at 10:15AM and arriving at the Yosemite Valley visitor center at noon.  Return trip leaves the Valley visitor center at 5PM and arriving at the Meadows store at 6:50PM.  Fare for one way is $8 and roundtrip is $15.

Stop Tuolumne Meadows-bound Yosemite Valley-bound
Yosemite Valley Visitor Center 5:00PM 12:05PM
Crane Flat Gas Station 5:30PM 11:30AM
White Wolf Lodge 6:00PM 11:00AM
Tuolumne Meadows Visitor Center 6:45PM 10:20AM
Tuolumne Meadows Store 6:50PM 10:15AM

Bus stop map can be downloaded here and fares/schedule here.  The official site is here.

 

Tuolumne Meadow Free Shuttle

The final bus that I think would be helpful is the free Tuolume Meadows shuttle.  It runs every half an hour with various stops between the Tuolumne Meadows Lodge and Olmsted Point.

Official map for this particular bus can be found here and the official site can be found here.

7960382408_979332fcf2_b

The free shuttle runs every 30 minutes 8-26-2012 – here seen leaving the visitor center parking lot, Creative common photo by Bob_Perry

Hope that was helpful!

Summer of big ideas

In a mere six months we will be going on a lot of backpacking trips up Yosemite!  To help facilitate the planning, I have put up some pertinent information here.  Hope they help!

Wilderness permits: for each backpacking trip you need to apply for a permit.  You can download the form here from the NPS website.

The most important part about the permit is to figure out what the entry trailhead, 1st night camp location, and the exit trailhead.  There are established trailheads that you have to enter through.  The full trailhead map can be downloaded from here, but I have excerpt some screenshots for your convenience.

Glacier point trailheads

East Yosemite Trailheads

Tuolumne Meadows trailheads:

19 Sunrise Lakes: Tenaya Lake/Clouds Rest/Yosemite Valley

22B Glen Aulin pass-thru: Waterwheel Falls

22C Young Lakes via Glen Aulin: Young Lakes

24B Lyell Canyon: Lyell Canyon/Vogelsang Lake/Rafferty Creek

Yosemite Valley trailheads

Tioga Road trailheads

Tioga Road trailheads:

15 Porcupine Creek: North Dome/Yosemite Falls

More posts about planning for our trips to come!