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RV Camping Hiking Tips

Yosemite Backcountry Camping

Camping and Hiking in the Backcountry of Yosemite National Park

Yosemite National Park covers 1,169 square miles, of which 1,101 square miles are designated wilderness. It has been estimated that 95 percent of visitors to the park never enter any of that wilderness. So if you want to do some Yosemite backcountry camping, you can really spread out and haul your gear to a secluded spot. But if the thought of carrying 40 pounds on mountain trails isn’t appealing, there are other, less strenuous ways to visit the backcountry.

Wilderness Permits
If you want to go it alone, or with just a few others, you’ll need to get a wilderness permit. In order to protect the natural beauty of Yosemite backcountry camping is limited to a specific number of hikers per day at each trailhead. Permits are free, and 60 percent for each trail may be reserved up to 24 weeks ahead; the other 40 percent are available on a first-come, first-served basis beginning the day before your hike. While the permits are free, there is a charge of $5 for a confirmed reservation, plus another $5 per person in the party. Reservations may be made by fax (recommended), phone or mail, but not online.

Yosemite Mountaineering School & Guide Service
If you’re new to backpacking, or unsure about taking off into unfamiliar territory alone, the Yosemite Mountaineering School can help. In addition to providing instruction in backpacking gear and wilderness skills, the school can help you plan an individual trip. Or take advantage of the guided tours for a Yosemite backcountry camping trip to some spectacular sights.

High Sierra Camps
If there’s such a thing as luxury backpacking, this is it. High Sierra Camps consists of five backcountry sites connected by a loop trail. All you have to do is get from one backcountry camp to the next. All you have to carry is your personal gear. Once you reach camp you’ll stay in a tent cabin and eat family-style meals in a dining tent. You can hike it alone—the trail is well marked—or with a guide, or even travel by horse. Whatever happened to roughing it?

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