Hike the crown jewel of the spectacular Sierra and summit iconic Half Dome
If you want to explore the legendary high points of the Sierra Nevada carrying nothing but a daypack, then this is your trip! With pack mules hauling your gear, you'll be free to enjoy the awesome scenery on this trans-Sierra trek through Yosemite National Park and the Ansel Adams Wilderness.
You'll start off in Southern Yosemite, far from the crowded Valley floor, then hike the high country to emerge near the breathtaking Cathedral Lakes in Tuolumne Meadows. Along the way you'll cross Post Peak Pass, walk sections of the John Muir Trail, and trace the drainages that flow into the mighty Merced River. A summit hike to Half Dome caps our trip: no matter how many pictures you've seen of its sheer granite face, nothing compares to standing atop this iconic monolith. So let the mules do the heavy lifting while you explore the unparalleled beauty of Yosemite National Park!
7 days strenuous hiking (max. elev. 10,750')
- Exclusive fully mule-supported trans-Sierra hike (nobody else offers this)
- Explore the legendary high points of Yosemite, Ansel Adams Wilderness, and Tuolumne Meadows—including a summit day on Half Dome
- Enjoy vigorous hikes by day and watch the stars in gorgeous lakeside camps by night
Duration: 8 days Start Location: Fresno End Location: FresnoDownload Detailed Itinerary
Day 1 : Fresno
Arrive in Fresno, California, and prepare for the trip.
Day 2 : Knoblock Meadows
After an early breakfast on your own, our van will meet you at 7am to drive to the remote trailhead (7,100’), about a 3-hour drive. The hike to our first camp will be roughly 4.4 miles to Knoblock Meadow. That evening there may be time to wander or fish while your guide(s) prepare dinner. The day ends with campfire and stargazing.
Day 3 : Isberg Pass and Lake 10K
We will hike 11 miles over Isberg Pass (10,996') and then camp at Lake 10K (10,005') with views toward Isberg, Long Mountain, and Forester Peak (12,057').
Day 4 : Triple Fork of the Merced River Camp
Today is a long downhill hike through the Merced drainage. Great views of the eastern slope of the Clark Range! Camp at 7,300'.
Day 5 : Sunrise Creek
We’ll make a westerly turn and begin our approach to Half Dome, whose iconic mass is known the world over. Seven and a half miles of gradual ups and downs brings us to the Sunrise Creek area (7,200'), where we’ll have dinner and then turn in early to get ready for our big climb tomorrow.
Day 6 : Half Dome
We will be up before sunrise to hike the cable route up Half Dome (8,836'). Once on top, we’ll have unparalleled views of Yosemite's high country and the Yosemite Valley floor. After the summit you'll rejoin the John Muir Trail for a few miles to reach camp at Sunrise Creek.
Day 7 : John Muir Trail
Hike a short but exceptionally beautiful portion of the John Muir Trail. Camp at Lower Cathedral Lake (9,288').
Day 8 : Tuolumne Meadows, return home
After breakfast we’ll pack up and hike the remaining four and a half miles to Tuolumne Meadows, a section of high country meadows studded with granite domes. At the trailhead we’ll meet up with a van that will drive us down into Yosemite Valley, which we’ve been viewing from above for the last week. We will return to Fresno to catch your flight home.
DATES: Best time to go: July - September Departures: Aug 30, 2014 - Sep 6, 2014 SOLD OUT Jul 18 - 25, 2015 Aug 29, 2015 - Sep 5, 2015
2014 & 2015 Prices
Piccadilly Inn Airport Hotel
A superb full service hotel for business and leisure travelers alike, Piccadilly Inn Airport offers a combination of comfort, convenience and style with 185 beautifully appointed guest rooms and suites. Experience a refreshing change of pace in our outdoor pool, set in a lush tropical setting. Or work off some energy in our fitness center and then relax in our heated outdoor spa.
Properties shown are representative of the accommodations we use on this trip, may not be inclusive of all accommodations we use, and are subject to change.
Expert leadership is the key to an exciting, unforgettable experience. Our trips feature gifted leaders for whom leading trips is a true vocation. Besides showing you wonders you’d never find on your own, they make sure everything runs smoothly and safely without a hitch. They are knowledgeable about all aspects of your trip, and take great pleasure in sharing their insights with you. More than just guides, they positively elevate your experience by being teachers, companions, and the best of friends. You’ll be in good hands with them every step of the way.
My first visit to the Sierra Nevada was back in 2002 on a three month backpacking trip along the Pacific Crest and John Muir Trails. Since that very trip, I have been infected with all that these mountains have to offer and, following that hike it took me only one year to find my way back to California on a more permanent basis. I'll be the first to acknowledge that it was the backpacking, climbing and horseback riding that drew me here, but what I find most intriguing is difficult to describe and certainly isn't apparent in photographs. It's the sound of the spring meltwater, the feel of the warm Sierran granite, and the haze that settles over the mountains just as dusk falls. These are the things that can only be realized by being here in the midst of it all. Throughout all of my travels, I've never found a better playground... or office.
I find space to be myself in the outdoors, and this place is my inspiration. As a child, my dad used to pack up the family for a week and head to Yosemite every summer. We drove our minivan from Los Angeles into the lower pines campground and parked. This was the great outdoors to me. Later, after high school I started working in the Park during my summer breaks - first with the concession service, then with the National Park Service. I interned with the wilderness department for two summers (once as an SCA volunteer) and during that time hiked about half of Yosemite's backcountry trails, about 400 miles. It was during this time that I discovered a deeper appreciation and love for wild lands and found my artistic inspiration. I am a teacher by training and have worked as a guide for the Boojum Institute and Naturlalists At Large. But, I'm a learner at heart, thus my interests and talents are diverse. I love languages, culture, art and poetry as much as the mountains and can find inspiration in all of them, especially in combination. During my time in Peace Corps Thailand, I was given an opportunity to teach yoga for the first time, and this winter during the guiding slow season I will start teaching in California as a certified instructor. I enjoy the stillness in the mountains and look forward to sharing my love for Yosemite and the world with each of you this summer.
Colby Brokvist hails originally from New England, a place where it is unusually difficult to commit to only one sport. Having a background in backpacking, mountaineering and rock climbing, he is a perfect fit for anything the Sierra has to offer. An enthusiastic naturalist, Colby also holds a degree in Environmental Sciences and finds his passion for guiding in providing interpretive and educational experiences for all of his clients. Describing his love for guiding, Colby wrote "It is both the serenity and excitement of the wilderness that compels me to it and I only hope to enjoy it with good friends". Colby can be found typically leading our longer backpacks such the John Muir Trail, Yosemite High Passes Loop, The Yosemite Grand Traverse and Trans-Sierra Trails. He has personally hiked the entire Appalachian Trail as well as most of the Pacific Crest Trail. When not in the Sierra high country, he can be found guiding interpertive trips in Polar Bear habitat as well as camp hosting in Namibia for adventure safaris.