Days: 4 Days
Distance: 25 miles/40km
Difficulty: Intermediate +
Origin: Tuolumne Meadows, Yosemite National Park
The Vogelsang Loop is a classic hike through Yosemite’s famed alpine backcountry. You will camp along pristine mountain streams, alpine lakes and at the highest of the High Sierra Camps at the foot of Vogelsang Peak. From the first glimpses of the turquoise, glacial waters of Lyell Creek to the towering peaks and ridgelines surrounding Lyell Canyon to the 360 degree panoramas from the summit of Vogelsang Peak, this hike provides endless memorable views that are sure to leave you breathless. The Vogelsang Loop has been a “Guide’s Favorite” from the beginning and we’re sure you’ll agree…this is Yosemite backpacking at its best!
Meet your guide at the Tuolumne Meadows Wilderness Center at 8am for a brief orientation, backpack fitting and final packing. Once we’re all ready, we’ll head off to the trailhead at Dog Lake Parking Lot and begin the hike. Our first day sees very little elevation gain but features outstanding views through majestic Lyell Canyon, passing through forest and meadows along the turquoise waters of Lyell Creek. Camp will be made along the creek near the junction of the Vogelsang Trail. Relax while your guide sets up camp and prepares a tasty dinner.
Distance/Elevation: 6 miles, 800 foot ascent
We will start our morning with some fresh coffee and a tasty breakfast. Shortly after that, we will pack up camp and head for the high country. It’s a 2000 foot climb over 3 miles which brings you above tree line and into Yosemite’s prized alpine backcountry. We’ll turn left towards Ireland Lake and climb another few hundred feet to Ireland Lake, beautifully situated in a giant glacial cirque surrounded by Amelia Earhart & Parsons Peaks. Set up camp and spend the rest of the day exploring the area, fishing in the lake or relaxing.
Distance/Elevation: 5 miles + side hikes, 2800 foot ascent
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Today we head for Vogelsang High Sierra Camp. We’ll retrace our steps for 1.5 miles back to the main trail before skirting the shores of a few more alpine lakes. Enjoy the sweeping views in every direction: Kuna Crest to the northeast, Mount Lyell to the south and a host of other named and unnamed ridges, lakes and peaks. After settling in at camp, you’ll have the opportunity to summit Vogelsang or Fletcher Peaks (11,500 & 11,400 feet respectively). The views from either peak are breathtaking and well worth the effort. Snap some photos and enjoy the moment! Back at camp, your guide will whip up another delicious dinner before settling in for your final night in the wilderness.
Distance/Elevation: 5 miles + side hikes, minimal elevation change unless summiting peaks
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
After a night under the star-studded sky, we pack up camp and start our trek back to Tuolumne Meadows. The path is decidedly downhill, following Rafferty Creek most of the way. You’ll join back up with the John Muir Trail shortly before arriving back at the trailhead. Celebrate with a tasty lunch before parting ways. The memories will last a lifetime!
Distance/Elevation: 7.5 miles, 1500 foot descent
*Final itineraries are occasionally subject to change due to permit/campsite availability, park restrictions/closures, weather conditions and/or road closures.
- A professional, licensed and medically trained guide
- All necessary gear: backpack, tent, sleeping bag, sleeping pad, trekking poles
- All cooking/eating gear: bowls, cups, utensils (your guide will prepare all meals)
- All meals from lunch on Day 1 through lunch on the last day + trail snacks
- Backcountry permits and fees
What’s Not Included:
- Transportation to/from Yosemite National Park
- Lodging the night before/after the trip
- Clothing, raingear, and footwear
- Personal toiletries, sunscreen
- Water bottles/hydration bladder
- Headlamp or flashlight
- Guide gratuity (suggested 10-20% of trip cost)
*Upon booking you will receive a detailed trip information packet
How many people are in the group?
Most trips in Yosemite will accommodate 5 people plus one guide. On occasion, a group may be as large as 12 people plus 2 guides.
Are there age restrictions?
Children under the age of 13 are generally not permitted on regularly scheduled trips. This restriction may be negotiable on private tours. Please contact us with any questions regarding this policy.
How do I sign up?
In order to confirm a reservation, we require an initial non-refundable deposit of $250 per person, with the final balance due 90 days prior to the trip’s departure. If you book a trip within 90 days of the trip’s scheduled departure, then full payment is due at the time of booking.
Your deposit is payable over the phone by Visa, MasterCard, AmEx, or Discover. You can also pay by personal check or PayPal (PayPal incurs a 1.5% surcharge). Call our office Monday to Friday, 9am to 4pm Arizona time. 1-877-272-5032
Where does the trip begin/end?
This trip will begin/end in Tuolumne Meadows in Yosemite National Park. You will want to fly into San Francisco, Oakland, Sacramento, Fresno, or Reno. You will need to arrange your own transportation from airports to the park. In most cases, renting a car is your easiest and best option. Please visit our Travel Resources page for information on airports, shuttles/rental cars and recommended hotels.
Where do meet our guides?
You will meet your guide at the Tuolumne Wilderness Center at 8am the morning your hike begins. We will distribute all gear and pack up before heading off on the trail.
What do we do with our car and extra stuff?
On the first morning of your trip, you will follow your guide to the long-term parking area where you can leave your car and personal belongings for the duration of the hike. You can also check with your hotel to see if they are willing to store your luggage for you while you hike.
What time will we get back on the last day?
Most trips end at lunchtime on the last day of the trip. If you are considering flying home on the last day of the trip, you should be finished up around 2pm. Since each trip has slightly different logistics, feel free to contact us with specific questions related to the expected return time for your trip.
Don’t see your dates? Custom dates may be available!
Call 1-877-272-5032 or email us for details.
When booking your Yosemite Backpacking Tour, it is best that you contact us at least 6 months in advance due to Yosemite National Park’s permit system. Backpacking permits are issued via a lottery system 168 days in advance of the hike’s start date. However, it is still quite possible that we can find space for you on permits that we have already secured, in case you happen to be planning a trip less than 6 months in advance.