Trail Guide

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Yosemite-Photo-Backpack-YExplore-Hirsch-568

Yosemite Photography Backpack Workshop by Robb Hirsch

Advice and Etiquette for hiking the trails of Yosemite National Park.

YOSEMITE CUSTOM TOURS

We offer professionally guided photography workshops, nature and hiking tours in all regions of Yosemite National Park including: Yosemite Valley, Glacier Point, Tioga Road, Tuolumne Meadows and Yosemite High Country, Hetch Hetchy, Glen Aulin, Mariposa Grove, Merced Grove, and Tuolumne Grove. Points of interest for our tours will be Half Dome, Sentinel Dome, Glacier Point, Taft Point, Dewey Point, Inspiration Point, Clouds Rest, Lembert Dome, Mt. Hoffman, Mt. Dana, Mt. Conness, Yosemite Point, Eagle Peak, North Dome, and El Capitan. We will visit Yosemite Falls, Vernal Fall, Nevada Fall, Waterwheel Falls, Tuolumne Falls, Wapama Falls, Tueeulala Falls, Illilouette Falls, Horsetail Fall, Ribbon Fall, Bridalveil Fall, and Sentinel Falls. We may swim in Elizabeth Lake, Tenaya Lake, Ostrander Lake, Cathedral Lakes (Upper and Lower), May Lake, Raisin Lake, Lukens Lake, Dog Lake, and Mirror Lake. Our tours traverse the following trails: John Muir Trail, Mist trail, Half Dome Trail, Mariposa Grove Outer Loop Trail, 4 Mile Trail, Upper Yosemite Falls Trail, Yosemite Valley Loop Trail, Panorama Trail, Pohono Trail, Pacific Crest Trail.

Certain areas of the park are only open seasonally. We will carefully select areas to visit for your tours based on seasonal conditions that will help you achieve an experience of a lifetime.

TRAIL GUIDE

Beginner: Hikes re not very demanding but do require a level of physical activity. There will be minimal elevation gain for these gentle hikes on prescribed trails.

You should be able to participate if you: Can spend more than two hours walking or hiking, regularly walk up and down stairs in your home, enjoy being outdoors, enjoy being together with your family.

Moderate/Intermediate: Offer more challenges for outdoor enthusiasts wishing to spend more than a couple of hours on a light hike. These hikes will last all day, span longer distances, and offer modest gains in elevation.

You should be able to participate if you: Can spend a full day outdoors, have experience hiking, have no problem walking several flights of steps, spend time running or cycling, use a stair master or treadmill regularly.

Challenging/Strenuous: Hikes require a greater dedication of time and effort. These taxing hikes will last all day, encounter dramatic elevation changes, and will provide greater challenges than any other tours. Half Dome Hikes are the most challenging of the strenuous hikes and require more planning than others.

You should be able to participate if you: have experience hiking, have no problem walking several miles in a hilly area, can spend weeks training on a stair master, treadmill, or elliptical machine, can dedicate an hour each day running, cycling, or swimming.

Beginner Snowshoe: Hikes are slightly more demanding than gentle hikes because of the snow conditions. There will be minimal elevation gain for these gentle hikes on snow covered trails.

You should be able to participate if you: Can spend more than two hours walking or hiking, regularly walk up and down stairs in your home, enjoy being outdoors.

Extended Snowshoe: Hikes are slightly more demanding than moderate hikes because of the snow conditions. There will be noticeably more elevation gain for these gentle hikes on snow covered trails and they normally begin at elevations above 5000 feet.

You should be able to participate if you: Can spend a full day outdoors, have experience hiking, have no problem walking several flights of steps, spend time running or cycling, use a stair master or treadmill regularly.

Birding Walks: Are not very demanding but do require a level of physical activity. There will be minimal elevation gain for these gentle hikes and you will car caravan to certain locations where some walking will be required.

You should be able to participate if you: Can spend more than two hours walking or hiking and enjoy being outdoors.

Photo Workshops: Require very light hiking and range from easy camera walks to easy hikes. The difficulty level of each hike is determined by the desired activity level of each client. These sessions allow photo enthusiasts the opportunity to gain ideal vantage points along prescribed trails. Some of the trails are slightly more difficult than Easy Hikes but they are only recommended for travelers who request them.

You should be able to participate if you: Can spend a half day outdoors, have no problem walking or hiking for more than two hours, spend time on aerobic cardio activities.

Always be TRAIL AWARE. The trails of Yosemite are not marked and it is easy to stray off of granite rock and snow covered paths. Try to travel with someone who is familiar with the terrain. Carry a map and compass at all times. GPS devices are also recommended if you own one. If you do stray off the path, be sure to retrace your steps before you get lost. Look for common trail indicators like worn out paths of dirt, footsteps in sand, a cut in a fallen log that clears the path, and cairns. A cairn is a pile of rocks carefully placed by a fellow hiker to help you stay on the trail.

If traveling alone, always leave your itinerary with someone you know or check in with someone at the Yosemite Wilderness Center. It’s best not to travel alone if possible.

Certified YExplore Wilderness Guides provide safety and security on the scenic trails of Yosemite National Park. Richly experienced Photography Guides focus on offering expert advice while shooting within natural settings. Custom Tours are available for Individuals, Groups, and Families of all ages and experience levels . We outfit every tour with communication devices, GPS instruments, and first aid equipment.

The Gear Guide will help make sure you are suited with the correct gear and provisions for a day on the trails in Yosemite National Park.

LEAVE NO TRACE

YExplore Yosemite Adventures is a Leave No Trace Partner. All tours adhere to these Seven Principles of outdoor ethics, and we will discuss them in detail on every adventure.

1. Plan Ahead and Prepare: Know the regulations and special concerns for the area you’ll visit. Prepare for extreme weather, hazards, and emergencies. Schedule your trip to avoid times of high use. Visit in small groups. Split larger parties into groups of 4-6. Repackage food to minimize waste. Use a map and compass to eliminate the use of marking paint, rock cairns or flagging.

2. Travel and Camp on Durable Surfaces: Durable surfaces include established trails and campsites, rock, gravel, dry grasses or snow. Protect riparian areas by camping at least 200 feet from lakes and streams. Good campsites are found, not made. Altering a site is not necessary. In popular areas: Concentrate use on existing trails and campsites. Walk single file in the middle of the trail, even when wet or muddy. Keep campsites small. Focus activity in areas where vegetation is absent. In pristine areas: Disperse use to prevent the creation of campsites and trails. Avoid places where impacts are just beginning.

3. Dispose of Waste Properly: Pack it in, pack it out. Inspect your campsite and rest areas for trash or spilled foods. Pack out all trash, leftover food, and litter. Deposit solid human waste in catholes dug 6 to 8 inches deep at least 200 feet from water, camp, and trails. Cover and disguise the cathole when finished.
Pack out toilet paper and hygiene products. To wash yourself or your dishes, carry water 200 feet away from streams or lakes and use small amounts of biodegradable soap. Scatter strained dishwater.

4. Leave What You Find: Preserve the past: examine, but do not touch, cultural or historic structures and artifacts. Leave rocks, plants and other natural objects as you find them. Avoid introducing or transporting non-native species. Do not build structures, furniture, or dig trenches.

5. Minimize Campfire Impacts: Campfires can cause lasting impacts to the back country. Use a lightweight stove for cooking and enjoy a candle lantern for light. Where fires are permitted, use established fire rings, fire pans, or mound fires. Keep fires small. Only use sticks from the ground that can be broken by hand. Burn all wood and coals to ash, put out campfires completely, then scatter cool ashes.

6. Respect Wildlife: Observe wildlife from a distance. Do not follow or approach them. Never feed animals. Feeding wildlife damages their health, alters natural behaviors, and exposes them to predators and other dangers. Protect wildlife and your food by storing rations and trash securely. Control pets at all times, or leave them at home.
Avoid wildlife during sensitive times: mating, nesting, raising young, or winter.

7. Be Considerate of Other Visitors: Respect other visitors and protect the quality of their experience. Be courteous. Yield to other users on the trail. Step to the downhill side of the trail when encountering pack stock. Take breaks and camp away from trails and other visitors. Let nature’s sounds prevail. Avoid loud voices and noises.


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