Yosemite: Tuolumne River Canyon & High Country
4 or 5 Day Loop Options


2021 Dates: July 28 - Aug 1 (5 day loop), Aug 26-29 (4 day)

Trip Overview

Traversing through Yosemite National Park's Grand Canyon of the Tuolumne River is the perfect adventure meant to push you out of your comfort zone and show you what backpacking is all about. This amazing, advanced trip offers some of the best waterfalls, climbs and swimming holes in Yosemite and is also one of the least traveled so you can enjoy much of it in perfect backcountry solitude. Experience breathtaking views the Tuolumne River, repeated swims in the refreshing, clear blue waters of the Tuolumne River and more waterfalls than you can imagine!  Enjoy it all, in pure backcountry solitude, on this 4-day challenging, yet highly rewarding, trek through the Yosemite High Country. (check out updated COVID-19 trip safety precautions)

Difficulty Rating: Advanced

Participants will be carrying their own gear as well as group gear (35 - 45 lbs total), 7 to 11 miles each day over moderate to strenuous terrain with elevation drops and gains of up to 4,000 ft in a day. We recommend doing numerous day hikes and training with a 35 - 45 lb pack prior to your trip. Individuals should be in superior physical condition. (see training recommendations)

Trip Itinerary

Although we'll always do our best to adhere to this schedule, it is often dictated by factors outside of our control and is therefore subject to change. We will run this trip rain or shine.

Day 1

Meet at White Wolf Campground parking lot at 8 am (lot currently CLOSED - meet up changed to Murphy Creek Trailhead - some cars shuttled back to start trailhead)

Trip orientation and gear discussion

Hike 9-11 miles, including major descent into Pate Valley

Enjoy a trailside lunch

Make camp at Pate Valley along the Tuolumne River

Enjoy a delicious, hot dinner

Day 2

Enjoy a delicious, hot breakfast

Break camp
Hike 11 miles to the base of Waterwheel Falls on gradual, but strenuous uphill terrain

Enjoy a trailside lunch

Enjoy picturesque swimming holes along the river and at camp

Make camp

Enjoy a delicious, hot dinner

Day 3

Enjoy a delicious, hot breakfast

Break camp

Hike 9 miles to the Glen Aulin High Sierra Camp on varied terrain

Enjoy a trailside lunch

Take photos of Waterwheel Falls, California Falls, and Tuolumne Falls up close

Make camp

Enjoy a delicious, hot dinner

Day 4

Enjoy a delicious, hot breakfast

Break camp

Hike 6 miles on moderately flat terrain to Tuolumne Meadows

Enjoy a trailside lunch

Return to Lembert Dome Picnic Area and cars

Packing List


Lightweight 2 Person, 3-Season Tent (rentals available)

Backpacking Pack - minimum 60L (rentals available)

Lightweight, Compressible Sleeping Bag rated 15 to 25 degrees (rentals available)

Lightweight Sleeping Pad - inflatable recommended (rentals available)

Headlamp with fresh batteries (rentals available)

Mess Kit (bowl, insulated cup, and spork)

Sturdy Hiking Boots that are broken in

2-3L Water Bladder and 1L Bottle

SunscreenSun HatSunglasses

Hiking Pants/Shorts (lightweight, quick dry)

Wool or Synthetic Hiking Tops (quick dry)

Wool or Synthetic Hiking SocksLiner Socks

Waterproof Rain Jacket and Pack Cover (poncho at minimum)

Seasonal Layers: BaselayersFleece/Down JacketBeanieGloves 

Optional (but recommended):

Trekking Poles (rentals available)

Lightweight Day Pack

Insect Repellant

Small Pack Towel


Ear Plugs


Luxury Item (small book/kindle, deck of cards, etc.)

Guide Gratuities (optional)

Do NOT bring:


Full Wallet and Set of Keys 

Full sized Toothpaste, Deodorant, Sunscreen, etc. (Please only bring small packages of these things or re-package them yourself.)

$615 per person


Expert, Medically Trained Guides

Group First Aid Kit

All Wilderness Permits and Camping Fees

Bear Canisters

Group Cooking Gear

Water Filtration

Dinner & Breakfast meals and Trail Snacks (lunches eliminated due to COVID-19 contamination risks)

Not Included:

Transportation to and from Yosemite

Lunches (see above)

Personal backpacking gear (see Gear List below - rentals available)

Park Entrance Fees

Insurance of any kind

Guide Gratuities