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Yosemite NP | High Sierra Backpacker

You are hereYosemite NP

Yosemite NP

Backpacking in Yosemite National Park.

Alex Wierbinski's picture

High Sierra Mammals Reference-Identification sticky icon

High Sierra Small Mammals Forum, Identification, and References 




Mammals, identification, Greg Lasley Photography.

Mammals of Yosemite National Park, (1952) by Harry C. Parker.

For more links about animal, plant, geology, and astronomy information for backpackers see the High Sierra Backpacking links page on the trail guide.





 Last Update




 August 1


Fungal Antidote for Skunk Spray Found

Fungal Compound Deodorizes Skunk Smell




March 27

Alex Wierbinski's picture

Half Dome Permit Policy Safety Analysis




Half Dome
From the Trail Guide
Liberty Cap in Shadows with Half Dome towering over Mount Broderick.
Liberty Cap in Shadows with Half Dome towering over Mount Broderick, Looking from just West of Nevada Falls, Guide, Map.


Half Dome Safety Analysis

Restricted permit-only access to Yosemite National Park's Half Dome summit, anticipated to improve hiker safety, did not,
Elsevier, June 26, 2019.


2010 Half Dome Permit Restrictions
"Implementation in 2010 of permit-only access to Half Dome cable handrails along the final ascent of this iconic landmark reduced the number of people on the summit at one time, but this did not result in a significant reduction in the overall toll of associated human suffering and mortality, or search and rescue (SAR) activity and costs."

Alex Wierbinski's picture

DNC, Devil Never Cares, Paid Pirate's Ransom by Feds, Aramark, & Taxpayers for Yosemite Place Names



Camp Curry
Camp Curry Sign before DNC turned it off.
DNC forces us to pay for our own property...


Devil Never Cares Paid Pirate's Ransom for Yosemite Place Names

Lawsuit Settled Between National Park Service, DNC Parks and Resorts, and Yosemite Hospitality, LLC Over Trademarks and Service Marks,
Yosemite National Park, July 15, 2019.


Classic Yosemite Place Names
"Ahwahnee Hotel, Curry Village, the Wawona Hotel, and Badger Pass Ski Area"

Dealing with Thieves
"DNC Parks and Resorts at Yosemite, Inc. (Delaware North), the United States of America, and Yosemite Hospitality, LLC (Aramark) have settled the lawsuit filed by Delaware North related to Delaware North’s former concession contract at Yosemite with the National Park Service."

tmorton23's picture

High Sierra Backpacking Trip Report: Twin Lakes-Benson Lake Loop, July 14 to July 21, 2018


Trip Report
Bensen Lake Loop

July 14 – 21, 2018

Editor's Note
This trip begins and ends at the Twin Lakes Trailhead in the Toiyabe-administered Northern section of the Hoover Wilderness. It climbs precipitiously to, then over the Sierra Crest, into the heart of the very difficult backpacking terrain of the North Yosemite Backcountry.

Intercepting the routes of the unified PCT-TYT along Rancheria Creek in Kerrick Canyon, our route turns South with them, briefly up through the beauties of Seavy Pass before plunging down into what I call, "The Bensen Hole," only to make the precipitiously steep climb back out past the beauties of Smedberg Lake and finally over Bensen Pass, on our way back to Twin Lakes where we split off the PCT-TYT in the bottom of Matterhorn Canyon, North, to climb up through Matterhorn Canyon through Burro and Mule Passes, from the point where the PCT-TYT begin their climb East out of Matterhorn Canyon to Miller Lake, on our way back to our starting trailhead at Twin Lakes.

Check out Tim's fine description of this classic High Sierra hike, accompanied with the maps, mileages, and his excellent images of this challenging route below...

Time & Distance

Eight Nights

Around 54 miles


All Photos


Trail Guide

Barney Lake in the Hoover Wilderness
Alex Wierbinski's picture

Highway 120, Tioga Road Fully Opening July 1, 2019



Tioga Road Opening July 1, 2019, Highway 120

Yosemite National Park Announces Tioga Road To Open to Unrestricted Vehicular Traffic on Monday, July 1,
Yosemite National Park, June 27, 2019.


Unrestricted Vehicular Traffic
“...unrestricted vehicular traffic on Monday, July 1st, at 8:00 a.m..”

Previously & Still Limited Traffic, Until July 1
Tioga Road Limited Opening June 21, 2019
"...open to all vehicles, including bicycles, from 10:00 am to 11:00 am and from 3:00 pm to 4:00 pm."

“From now until the full opening Monday morning, vehicular access will continue to be available from 10:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. and 3:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. There will continue to be no stopping along the road and no overnight parking.”

Backpackers-Bicycle Restrictions/Requirements in Force
From Previous Order

Alex Wierbinski's picture

Tioga Road Limited Opening June 21, 2019



First Highway 120 Opening for 2019 Season

Yosemite National Park Announces Limited Access on Tioga Road Beginning on Friday, June 21, 2019,
Yosemite National Park, June 19, 2019.


Limited Access
"...open to all vehicles, including bicycles, from 10:00 am to 11:00 am and from 3:00 pm to 4:00 pm."

No Parking
"...no visitor parking available at either end of the road closure."

Tuolumne Meadows Closed
"There are no visitor services available along Tioga Road. The Tuolumne Meadows Visitor Center, Wilderness Center, and the Tuolumne Meadows Campground remain closed."

"Opening dates for the 2019 season have not been determined."

"The road will remain closed outside of these times to allow for continued roadwork and snow clearing."

"Cyclists traveling over Tioga Road will need to be prepared to cross over the full length of Tioga Road during daylight hours. Tioga Road is closed to overnight camping."

Alex Wierbinski's picture

2019 Glacier Point Road Opening May 10th



2019 Opening Dates
Highway 108, Sonora Pass, Open as of June 3
Highway 4, Ebbetts Pass,    Open as of June 3
Highway 120, Tioga Road,   Still Closed on June 3


Glacier Point Update, May 29: OPEN

Glacier Point Update, May 17: Closed Through Sunday, May 19, 2019

Glacier Point Update, May 14: Glacier Point Road Closed for Storm of 5-15


Yosemite Roads

All High Sierra Road Info


Through the Snowy High Sierra
Through the Snowy High Sierra  Driving to Sonora Pass, Hwy 108, June 2010
Driving to Sonora Pass, Hwy 108, June 2010


Yosemite Road News & Status of Trans-Sierra Highways

Alex Wierbinski's picture

Yosemite Announces Delayed Facility Openings, & Beware Snow-Covered Trails through July


Seasonal News of Note
Yosemite Announces Delayed Facility Openings

Note the Snow will Affect High Trail Access, & Damages will Affect Trails Too

Yosemite National Park Announces Late Seasonal Openings for Several Park Facilities,
Yosemite National Park, March 13, 2019.


Damaged Facilities
“...that there will be late seasonal openings to facilities throughout the park...due to the exceptionally heavy snowpack in Yosemite National Park and the subsequent extensive damage to many park facilities.”

Stormy Winter
“...significant storm systems in January and February produced high levels of snow, which resulted in temporary road closures, rock and debris slides, and falling trees. Additionally, these storms resulted in extensive damage to facilities throughout the park. Damage to facilities includes trees falling on and damaging campground restrooms, utilities systems compromised, tent cabins damaged or destroyed, and falling trees impacting campsites, parking areas, hiking trails, and roads.”

Alex Wierbinski's picture

SPRING 2019: Yosemite Extends Glacier Point Winter Access


Seasonal News of Note

Massive Snowpack on the Sierra Nevada

Yosemite National Park Announces Glacier Point Road and the Surrounding Trails to Remain Open for Extended Winter Season,
Yosemite National Park, March 28, 2019.


“Yosemite National Park is pleased to announce that Glacier Point Road and the surrounding trails will remain open for winter recreational use through Sunday, April 14, 2019, conditions permitting.”

“Due to the significant snow pack, the current trail conditions are great for cross-country skiing and snowshoeing throughout the area surrounding Glacier Point Road. Typically, winter recreational use in this area ends at the end of March when the park closes Glacier Point Road to begin seasonal plowing operations.”


Last Yosemite News

Yosemite Announces Delayed Facility Openings

Note the Snow will Affect High Trail Access, & Damages will Affect Trails Too

Alex Wierbinski's picture

Daily Lottery for Camp 4, Yosemite Valley



The Rules Have Changed at Camp Four
The Rules of Camp Four, Yosmeite Valley, 2012.
The Rules Posted on Camp 4, Yosemite Valley's Backpacker (really climber) Camp, 2012.


Oh, My Aching City...in the Wilderness

Yosemite National Park Announces the Launch of a Pilot Daily Lottery for Camp 4 Campground,
Yosemite National Park, April 16, 2019.


Lottery Reservations
“Yosemite National Park announces that a new pilot lottery program for Camp 4 Campground will launch on Tuesday, May 21, 2019.

Daily Lottery
“This daily lottery system will be operated through Recreation.gov and will help improve the visitor experience at Camp 4 Campground.”

Alex Wierbinski's picture

2019 Yosemite Half Dome Permit Lottery Delayed


Forest Permit
National Forest backpacking permit.

Yosemite Reservation System


Half Dome Lottery to Open on March 13

Yosemite National Park Announces that the 2019 Half Dome Preseason Lottery will Open on Wednesday, March 13, 2019,
Yosemite National Park, March 5, 2019.


Original Announcement

Yosemite National Park Announces that the 2019 Half Dome Preseason Lottery will be Delayed,
Yosemite National Park, February 26, 2019.



"March 1 Preseason Lottery delayed."

"...due to a transition to a new contracted provider. "

"Check back March 5 for update."

More National Park Information 


Killer View

Alex Wierbinski's picture

Death on the Mist Trail: Visitor Fatality in Yosemite National Park


Death on the Mist Trail

Happy Isles Trailhead
Happy Isles Trailhead for the John Muir Trail, Yosemite Valley.
Yosemite Valley, the start point of the JMT, from the trail guide.

Visitor Fatality in Yosemite National Park,
February 25, 2019.

Yosemite Valley Backpacking Map


Alex Wierbinski's picture

Critically Endangered Yellow-Legged Frogs Released to Bolster Wild Populations


Disease, Decimation, and Hope

High Sierra Yellow Legged Frog
High Sierra Yellow Legged Frog, by Roland Knapp.
Photo Credit: Elliot Lowndes

High Sierra Yellow Legged Frogs Translocation, Recovery Science, & Status

Location, location, location,
University of California - Santa Barbara, November 19, 2018.


Also Published by the
Sierra Nevada Aquatic Research Laboratory, with pics


The Problem
“…Sierra Nevada yellow-legged frog, amphibian residents of Yosemite National Park left devastated by the chytrid fungus Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd),...”

“...save these frogs by reintroducing them to lakes from which they have disappeared because of Bd.”

Alex Wierbinski's picture

John Muir, the establishment of Yosemite Nation Park, and construction of the John Muir Trail.

History of John Muir, Yosemite, and the John Muir Trail


Two elements of the history of John Muir
on this page:

1> Exploration of Sierra Nevada and formation of Yosemite National Park

2> Father of the John Muir Trail, and the History of the Construction of the John Muir Trail


John Muir Trail on Tahoe to Whitney Trail Guide



A Brief History
John Muir's influence on  the establishment of Yosemite National Park.

From Green, Yosemite, Park and Resources.


Arrival of John Muir in California, page 299

March 1868

Alex Wierbinski's picture

2018 Selfie Tourist Death off Nevada Falls


Tourist Death off Nevada Falls

Nevada Falls, Yosemite National Park
Nevada Falls, Tahoe to Whitney Trail Guide

Teen from Israel reportedly dies in Yosemite after taking selfie atop Nevada Fall,
SFGate, September 6, 2018.

“A teen visiting Yosemite National Park from Israel fell to his death Wednesday while trying to take a selfie, according to an Israeli news report.”

Sign at Nevada Falls

Safety Sign at Nevada Falls, Yosemite National Park.


Yosemite Valley Map

Yosemite Valley to Merced Lake or Cathedral Pass

Click red dots for trail guide pages


Alex Wierbinski's picture


Started July 16, 2018
(bottom of page)
August 29th

Sept through Nov Fires, 2018 Fire Season #2


Tree News

July & August 2018


Last Update
These fires of Summer are finally winding down, meaning this page is approaching the end of its life, and will soon be retired.

As of this date the Ferguson-Carr-Mendo-& Cranston Fires are Contained.
Donnell Fire is 62% Contained as of this Date.

Alex Wierbinski's picture

Beetles Devastate Western Pines, Heat, Droughts, Beetles, & Fires All Continue Rising


Beetles Devastate Billions of Western Pine Trees

Heat, Droughts, Beetles, & Fires All Continue Rising

A tiny beetle has left Yosemite dangerously vulnerable to fire,
SF Chron, July 18, 2018.

"An epidemic of bark beetles is devastating billions of pine trees across the West in what has been described as the largest forest insect outbreak ever recorded. In California, the tree die-off is especially prevalent in the 4,500-foot to 6,000-foot elevation range of the central and southern Sierra. Yosemite Valley is just about 4,000 feet above sea level."

"Since 2010, more than 129 million drought-weakened and beetle-infested trees have died across 7.7 million acres of California forest, according to U.S. Forest Service estimates."

...there's no evidence that bark beetle infestation will subside anytime soon. In fact warming temperatures are expected to expand the insect's range, allowing it to thrive in higher elevations that previously would have been too cold for the bug to survive."


Earlier Beetle Research


Climate Change News: Study confirms beetles exploit warm winters to expand range


Alex Wierbinski's picture

Rapid Safety Analysis of Yosemite Rockfall Consequences




Yosemite Rockfalls

Rapid Safety Analysis of Potential Rockfall Consequences

Rapid 3D analysis of rockfalls in Yosemite,
Geological Society of America, June 28, 2018.

Everything in Motion

"Although the cliffs of Yosemite Valley may appear static, rockfalls from these cliffs are common, with a rockfall occurring every four to five days on average."

Big Moves

Alex Wierbinski's picture

May 2018: Hiker Falls to Death off Half Dome Cables



Hiker Falls to Death off Half Dome Cables

Yosemite hiker falls to his death from Half Dome cables, national park says,
Fresno Bee, May 24, 2018.


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