How to Prepare for Yosemite Hikes

Yosemite’s higher terrain offers visitors a place to stay, dine, and hike. Plan your Yosemite hikes with different trails from one of the High Sierra Camps. Preparing ahead for your trip will ensure that it is safer, more enjoyable, and comfortable. 

It would help if you considered doing the planning. You have to prepare several things, such as obtaining permits and creating your hiking checklist. All of these will help you determine the essential items that you need to do and prepare for your Yosemite hikes.

It might seem overwhelming to prepare for the whole trip, but we are here to help you out! In this article, you’ll learn everything you need to prepare for Yosemite hikes and give some tips to make your preparation easier. Hopefully, this information can help you in your future trip to Yosemite.

Plan Your Yosemite Hiking Routes

John Muir, the father of the modern-day outdoors movement, frequently went to Yosemite with his fellow contemporaries, Emerson and Teddy Roosevelt, to hike and enjoy the outdoors. You can also try experiencing a hike when you visit Yosemite.

Over 800 miles of Yosemite hikes await you when you reach the park. There are various hiking options like a May Lake stroll to go up the Mist Trail or an adventure to take on the Half Dome. Everyone will find something they will enjoy! 

Most visitors prefer taking the short paved hikes, but there are also other trail hikes that you might want to check out and take!

Things You Need to Know When Planning

Yosemite is a beautiful valley that is a shrine to humans and wildlife. Visitors can enjoy the natural views and the calming presence of the High Sierra. Of course, planning can help you feel more at ease when you get to the site. Here are the things you need to know when planning:

1. Expect Many Visitors

Many people go to Yosemite from April through October. With this in mind, you should check the places where you want to visit ahead of time to avoid choosing an overcrowded site.

2. Set An Early Departure 

You can expect heavy traffic at the entrance, especially when you arrive late. It is recommendable to arrive early and avoid the peak hours. Go before 9 am and after 5 pm to prevent being stuck in traffic. There are also transportation guides that you can use.

3. Reserve Ahead of Time

If you plan to lodge, camp and do backpacking, make reservations ahead of time. You will save more time doing this and avoid unnecessary stress on the day you arrive at Yosemite.

4. Do Your Calls and Tasks Before Departure 

It might be challenging to stay connected in Yosemite since there is limited cellular service. With this in mind, you should already do any tasks and calls that you need to do before departure. 

When Do You Need to Obtain a Yosemite Day Hike Permit

Visitors must obtain proper hiking permits, backpacking permits, and wilderness overnight stays permits, depending on what they would like to do. Some Yosemite trails may be closed in the presence of hazards. Still, open courses also pose risks, and with this, you need a permit. 

You are responsible for your safety, and you should exercise wise judgment. Hiking to the Half Dome requires a permit that must be valid for seven days per week. Its cables are open through October 14. Some routes have climbing closures from March 1 through August 1 for peregrine falcons protection. 

Recreation.gov distributes permits for day hikers through a lottery. It consists of one preseason lottery and daily lotteries during the hiking season. Backpackers must apply for Half Dome permits with their wilderness permit.

You can get free wilderness permits for overnight stays in the Yosemite Wilderness. Here are the locations where you can get tickets:

  1. Yosemite Valley Wilderness Center
  2. Tuolumne Meadows Wilderness Center
  3. Big Oak Flat Information Station
  4. Hetch Hetchy Entrance Station

You can call 209/372-0826 for more inquiries and visit their site for more details.

Make A Yosemite Hiking Checklist 

Some visitors go with an accompanying commercial group and usually have a guide company that provides a list of items for the hiking trip. For visitors without a retail group to guide them, a Yosemite hiking checklist can help prepare for any backpacking trips to Yosemite.

A hiking checklist is a good starting point for planning as you get to see which gears you need and things you need to purchase beforehand. In creating a Yosemite hiking checklist, it is crucial to note the things you need to bring with you for the trip’s whole duration. 

A typical hiking list consists of a section for each of the following:

  • Equipment
  • Clothing and Footwear
  • Personal Items
  • Medications
  • Trip itinerary 
  • Food

For a detailed list that you can use as a basis, check out this checklist. You can modify the inventory to add things that you think you will also need for the trip.

Yosemite Hiking Essentials

Like in any hike, you need to consider Yosemite hiking essentials. These things are the most crucial supplies that you must-have for your hiking trip. Here is a list of Yosemite Hiking essentials:

1. Clothes for Layering

You can expect sudden shifts in temperature when you visit Yosemite. This shift is most prominent in hiking at higher altitudes. Yosemite’s average temperature in summer is 89˚F (32˚C), but this can suddenly drop. Prepare clothes for layering so that you can adjust to the changes in the temperature accordingly. 

Opt for breathable and lightweight clothes, which are recommended for hiking rather than thick and heavy clothes. Bring a hat, sunglasses, and plastic poncho for sunny and rainy changes. 

2. Hiking Shoes

You can choose from high-ankle support boots and lightweight waterproof sandals as long as they fit you well. In selecting hiking shoes, you should pair them with good hiking socks, which provide warmth and extra protection to your feet while hiking.

3. Plenty of Water 

An uphill hike will be tiring and cause you to lose a lot of sweat. It can be challenging to bring heavy items for a full day of hiking, so you can opt for iodine tablets or bottles with filtration functions to purify water and decrease your heavy load. You can conveniently fill your bottle from water sources along the trail.

4. Snacks for Yosemite Hiking

Bring some tasty treats for the trail since hiking takes hours. You will burn many calories, so it is vital to have some snacks ready to avoid hypoglycemia. Opt for easy-to-eat snacks that you can prepare or purchase. Pre-packed lunch is also available in the following Yosemite locations:

  • June Bug Café (Midpines)
  • Jantz Bakery (Mariposa)
  • High Country Health Foods and Café (Mariposa)
  • Degnan’s Deli (Yosemite Valley)

5.  Sun and Insect Protection

Prepare sunscreen and insect protection when planning a trip for hiking. You will be exposed to the sun for long periods and will be prone to insect bites. Apply your sunscreen often and put insect protection ahead of time since Yosemite has many mosquitos.

6. Prepare An Emergency Kit

Ready-made First Aid Kits are available in local stores, and you can also do your kit by gathering bandaids, cotton, antiseptic solutions, alcohol wipes, and gauze pads.

You can also pack a whistle, which can help you get lost and signal other people for your location. Hand sanitizers and tissues for bathroom breaks are also necessary. 

Extra Tips for Yosemite Hiking

Yosemite hiking is a fun activity where you get to enjoy the outdoors and see wildlife. Here are some extra tips to make the most out of your Yosemite hiking trip.

  1. Leave hotel notes or notify your family member when you will return and your location if you want to hike or explore Yosemite alone. Plan when you will be back and tell someone ahead of time. 
  2. Yosemite has swift waters, so do not leave children unattended near bodies of water. 
  3. Observe rules and regulations in place.
  4. Take note of the signs and notices posted.
  5. Do not attempt to approach or feed animals. 
  6. Always clean as you go and bring your trash with you.

Avoid Bringing The Following Items on Yosemite Hikes

  • Bear sprays and bear deterrent devices

Yosemite black bears do not show aggression to visitors. Most bears avoid humans like humans avoid bears. It is an unnecessary practice to bring Bear sprays and bear deterrent devices. Regulations are also in place regarding these items, making it illegal to bring in Yosemite National Park. 

  • Liquid Detergent Soaps

These detergent soaps consist of chemicals that are harmful to Yosemite National Park’s ecosystem. Do not wash or clean using these soaps during your visit. The foaming content can cause the demise of the aquatic species residing in Yosemite.

Final Thoughts

Yosemite is a great valley to spend your vacation. In preparing for your Yosemite hikes, you need to plan ahead of time. Consider obtaining permits and creating your hiking checklist before departure. Determining the essential items you require will also help make your Yosemite hikes fun and enjoyable.