Two days ago there was a new trailhead dedication ceremony for one of the locals in Whitefish. He was a high impact guy with lots of dedication to preserving the trails and local forests.I was originally going to talk about this trail – but we got a rogue hail/rain storm.
So, in a strange turn of events I will be bringing you quick overviews of five separate hikes in the Sierra Nevada ranges. All this hikes are easy or moderate in difficulty and none of them should take longer than 6 hours.
The hikes in Sequoia are – Moro Rock trail, General Sherman groove trail, and Tokopah Valley to Tokopah falls trail. The hikes in Yosemite are – Cathedral Lakes trail and the Vernal and Nevada falls trail via Mist Trail.
Without further ado, let’s get to it
1. Moro Rock Trail. 0.4 miles with approximately 200ft elevation change. This trail scales a granite dome via a moderately steep staircase that gives you a great view of the western divide. From the parking lot you will head south, and the road naturally leads to the staircase. It’s a pretty tight walk up to the top, so if you have a fear of heights or get claustrophobic this hike may be one to do off season. It is highly trafficked walk/hike and is best done before 8 am.
2. General Sherman Tree Trail/Groove. 0.75 mile with 150 ft of elevation change. This hike is the easiest one on the list, and will be the most crowded regardless of season. The parking lot is past the main drop off, simply a righthand turn and follow the road until you see the parking lot. Unless there is snow on the ground, expect there to be a sizeable crowd, so again make sure to arrive earlier or later in the day to avoid excess crowds. I’d say if you only have one day in this park ensure to make this walk happen – the trees are an abosulte sight to behold!
3. Tokopah Valley to Tokopah Falls. 3.7 miles with 600 ft elevation change. This hike is a pretty cool one, and the first on the list that will qualify as a full hike. You start out in the Village parking lot and follow the river. The trees, which encase the hiking route, eventually give way to the sheer granite walls of the valley. The temp will drop 10-20’F as you make your way to the falls, so bring a light jacket or extra layer in the event you think you’ll get cold. As this is an actual hike, most complete it between March and November.
4. Cathedral Lakes Trail. 6-8.5 miles and 1000 to 1500ft elevation change. This route is probably my favorite on the list, as it leads to a set of two subalpine lakes. The trail is on the northern rim of Yosemite valley and you will need to take Tioga Pass Road to get there. The parking lot sits opposite a large open meadow which gives a great overview of many different granite domes. As you make your way on the path, you will be walking through pine trees the entire way. There aren’t really a lot of open exposed areas, except of one where the cathedral peak sits to your left. You will more than likely see rock climbers sending their routes of this piece of rock. as you make your way further you will have to choose the upper or lower lake. I can’t speak for the upper lake, but the lower lake is amazing. The water is cool but swimmable (in september) and the overall view of the meadow and nearby peaks are great! Highly recommend starting early to get sunrise views of the cathedral itself! As this is a longer hike pack a snack and plan rest spots if you don’t live a very active lifestyle.
5. Mist Trail. 5-6 miles and 2200ft elevation change. This is another fun hike to start in the early morning hours. I’d recommend making sure there is sunlight, as there are certain portions of the route that are steep staircases. The overall hike itself is paved until you pass Vernal falls (the larger of the two) and gives way to a cool view of the water source leading to the falls. The trails are wide enough for larger groups until you get to vernal falls, and everything is clearly marked. This is an easy enough hike even for relatively out-of-shape hikers so look at some trail maps prior to hitting the path.
Alighty friendos, there’s some basic overview of a few hikes in Yosemite and Sequoia Nat’l Parks. IF you have any q’s or want more specifics on the hikes make sure to reach out in the comments or contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org – I’m always available to answer questions!
So, for now… What’s your favorite hike?