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5 Beginner Backpacking Trips in Yosemite National Park

We love a day spent in the Valley, but if you're looking to escape the crowds, the backcountry is the answer.

By: The Outbound Collective + Save to a List

If you’re just getting into backpacking or even looking for your very first experience in the backcountry, you couldn’t ask for a more beautiful place to start than Yosemite National Park. While backpacking solo is an amazing experience, for a beginner we would recommend you go with friends or team up with some of highly experienced guides in the park. They’ll take away some of the stress and teach you lessons that will last you a lifetime of backpacking. Either way, any of these backpacking trips are perfect for beginners and we're sure you'll be planning a return trip before you even make it back to your car. 

1. Backpack to Young Lakes

Photo: Kyle Frost

Explore the beautiful Tuolumne Meadows and catch sunrise over some of the iconic peaks in the area like Mount Conness and Ragged Peak. For the best views, push all the way to Upper Young Lake. If you want to treat yourself to a comfy room after the trip, check out the Tuolumne Meadows Lodge.

2. Backpack to Glen Aulin

Photo: Alex Souza

Glen Aulin is a little waterfall oasis in the heart of the Sierra. There are great day trips from camp to falls and swimming holes nearby for those hot afternoons.  

3. Backpack to North Dome

Photo: Will Smith

Home to arguably the best view of Half Dome in the whole park, the trip to North Dome also has the park’s only natural arch formation.

4. Backpack 10 Lakes Basin

Photo: Kyle Frost

You’re going to want to wake up early and catch sunrise from 10 Lakes Basin. Scramble up one of the ridges or head up to Ten Lakes Pass - you won’t regret it!

5. Backpack to Dewey Point

Photo: Miranda Leconte

If you’re a beginner backpacker, you’re probably far from rock climbing the famed El Capitan, but on this trip you get the next best thing. You’ll have front row seats to watch climbers head up the face. Keep an eye out after sunset, you can usually see at least a few headlamps making their way up.

Once you're out of the backcountry, you'll be ready for a hot meal and a drink. Check out some of the tasty dining options right in the park - you earned it!

We want to acknowledge and thank the past, present, and future generations of all Native Nations and Indigenous Peoples whose ancestral lands we travel, explore, and play on. Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures and follow local regulations. Please explore responsibly!

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