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California: Yosemite Grand Traverse

From $2,745

  • 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

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!

Day 1: Fresno

Arrive in Fresno, California, and check in on your own at the Piccadilly Inn Airport Hotel adjacent to the Fresno air terminal between 4:00 and 5:00 p.m. The guides will meet you in the evening for “welcome” cocktails and go over a summary of the trip at 6:00 p.m. Get a good night’s sleep in preparation for our upcoming days of hiking!

  • Accomodation:Piccadilly Inn Airport Hotel

Day 2: Knoblock Meadows

After breakfast on your own at the hotel, we’ll take a scenic van ride to the trailhead, which is at about 7,300 feet in elevation. Ever since the Gold Rush, horse packing has been the preferred way to move heavy loads around the High Sierra, and we’ll get acquainted with our pack animals and their guides. Loading these horses is really an art form, and after you put what you need for the day into a small backpack, the packers will strap the rest of the gear onto the animals using the unique diamond-hitch system. After about four and a half miles of hiking, we’ll reach Knoblock Meadows (8,200') where the guides will prepare dinner in the mountain twilight. This day—like all the days to come—ends with stargazing beneath the high mountain peaks. (2½ hours driving)

  • Lunch/Dinner
  • Accomodation:Camp

Day 3: Isberg Pass and Lake 10K

We’ll be in the heart of the Ansel Adams Wilderness today, established in 1964 as part of the original Wilderness Act, and renamed in 1984 for the famed nature photographer. This is a hard but rewarding day of hiking as we climb the switchbacks over Isberg Pass (10,750') and cross into Yosemite National Park itself. We’ll camp at Lake 10K, so named because of its elevation (10,005'). If you want to wash off the trail dust you’re free to take a dip in the frigid waters of the lake, or else just sit back and enjoy the views of Isberg (10,996'), Long Mountain (11,502'), and Forester Peak (12,057'). (11 miles hiking)

  • Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner
  • Accomodation:Camp

Day 4: Triple Fork of the Merced River Camp

After yesterday’s climb, today’s downhilltrek will come as a welcome relief. We’ll be hiking through the creek drainages that eventually form the mighty scenic Merced River, which, along with the Tuolumne River, drains Yosemite National Park. Along the way we’ll have excellent views of the north-south running Clark Range, named after Galen Clark who discovered the Mariposa Grove of Giant Sequoias and was known as the “Guardian of Yosemite” for 21 years in the mid-1800s. The day’s hike drops us 2,500 feet over the course of 11 miles, and we’ll camp on the shores of the Triple Fork of the Merced River 7,400 feet.

  • Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner
  • Accomodation:Camp

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.

  • Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner
  • Accomodation:Camp

Day 6: Half Dome

Before the sun rises, we’ll be up and walking toward Half Dome (8,836'). This granite monolith rises 4,800 feet from the floor of Yosemite Valley, and the summit was considered inaccessible as late as the 1870s. Today a cable route has been installed to help hikers make it up the final 900 feet. The route is difficult but well-maintained, and completely doable for hardy hikers. Once on top, we’ll have unparalleled views of Yosemite's high country and the Yosemite Valley floor. If you don’t mind heights, check out the famous overhang known as the “Visor” , a small perch 4,000 feet above Yosemite Valley (Round trip up and down the Dome is 9 miles). Exhilarated, we’ll travel back to basecamp for a relaxing afternoon.

  • Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner
  • Accomodation:Camp

Day 7: John Muir Trail

The John Muir trail runs for 212 miles along the spine of the High Sierra. We’ll only do a short portion of it, but it’s a beautiful one, taking us through the Yosemite High Camp area that many people claim to be the most gorgeous spot in the entire park. We’ll camp at the iconic Cathedral Lakes (9,600').  (8½ miles hiking)

  • Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner
  • Accomodation:Camp

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.

  • Breakfast/Lunch

Aug 29, 2015 - Sep 05, 2015

Jul 16 - 23, 2016

Aug 27, 2016 - Sep 03, 2016

pricing

2015 & 2016 Prices
$2,745  (10-12 members)
$3,045  (5-9 members)
$250     Single Supplement

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Camp

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.

  • 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

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!

DAILY itinerary

Day 1: Fresno

Arrive in Fresno, California, and check in on your own at the Piccadilly Inn Airport Hotel adjacent to the Fresno air terminal between 4:00 and 5:00 p.m. The guides will meet you in the evening for “welcome” cocktails and go over a summary of the trip at 6:00 p.m. Get a good night’s sleep in preparation for our upcoming days of hiking!

  • Accomodation:Piccadilly Inn Airport Hotel

Day 2: Knoblock Meadows

After breakfast on your own at the hotel, we’ll take a scenic van ride to the trailhead, which is at about 7,300 feet in elevation. Ever since the Gold Rush, horse packing has been the preferred way to move heavy loads around the High Sierra, and we’ll get acquainted with our pack animals and their guides. Loading these horses is really an art form, and after you put what you need for the day into a small backpack, the packers will strap the rest of the gear onto the animals using the unique diamond-hitch system. After about four and a half miles of hiking, we’ll reach Knoblock Meadows (8,200') where the guides will prepare dinner in the mountain twilight. This day—like all the days to come—ends with stargazing beneath the high mountain peaks. (2½ hours driving)

  • Lunch/Dinner
  • Accomodation:Camp

Day 3: Isberg Pass and Lake 10K

We’ll be in the heart of the Ansel Adams Wilderness today, established in 1964 as part of the original Wilderness Act, and renamed in 1984 for the famed nature photographer. This is a hard but rewarding day of hiking as we climb the switchbacks over Isberg Pass (10,750') and cross into Yosemite National Park itself. We’ll camp at Lake 10K, so named because of its elevation (10,005'). If you want to wash off the trail dust you’re free to take a dip in the frigid waters of the lake, or else just sit back and enjoy the views of Isberg (10,996'), Long Mountain (11,502'), and Forester Peak (12,057'). (11 miles hiking)

  • Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner
  • Accomodation:Camp

Day 4: Triple Fork of the Merced River Camp

After yesterday’s climb, today’s downhilltrek will come as a welcome relief. We’ll be hiking through the creek drainages that eventually form the mighty scenic Merced River, which, along with the Tuolumne River, drains Yosemite National Park. Along the way we’ll have excellent views of the north-south running Clark Range, named after Galen Clark who discovered the Mariposa Grove of Giant Sequoias and was known as the “Guardian of Yosemite” for 21 years in the mid-1800s. The day’s hike drops us 2,500 feet over the course of 11 miles, and we’ll camp on the shores of the Triple Fork of the Merced River 7,400 feet.

  • Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner
  • Accomodation:Camp

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.

  • Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner
  • Accomodation:Camp

Day 6: Half Dome

Before the sun rises, we’ll be up and walking toward Half Dome (8,836'). This granite monolith rises 4,800 feet from the floor of Yosemite Valley, and the summit was considered inaccessible as late as the 1870s. Today a cable route has been installed to help hikers make it up the final 900 feet. The route is difficult but well-maintained, and completely doable for hardy hikers. Once on top, we’ll have unparalleled views of Yosemite's high country and the Yosemite Valley floor. If you don’t mind heights, check out the famous overhang known as the “Visor” , a small perch 4,000 feet above Yosemite Valley (Round trip up and down the Dome is 9 miles). Exhilarated, we’ll travel back to basecamp for a relaxing afternoon.

  • Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner
  • Accomodation:Camp

Day 7: John Muir Trail

The John Muir trail runs for 212 miles along the spine of the High Sierra. We’ll only do a short portion of it, but it’s a beautiful one, taking us through the Yosemite High Camp area that many people claim to be the most gorgeous spot in the entire park. We’ll camp at the iconic Cathedral Lakes (9,600').  (8½ miles hiking)

  • Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner
  • Accomodation:Camp

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.

  • Breakfast/Lunch

Camp

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.

Dates and Pricing

Aug 29, 2015 - Sep 05, 2015

Jul 16 - 23, 2016

Aug 27, 2016 - Sep 03, 2016

pricing

2015 & 2016 Prices
$2,745  (10-12 members)
$3,045  (5-9 members)
$250     Single Supplement

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