4-Day Yosemite Valley North Rim Backpacking
Soaring peaks, tough climbs, epic views, and all of the SHE-nanigans! During your 4-Day Yosemite Valley North Rim Backpacking adventure, you’ll tour through the best of Yosemite National Park starting with unbelievable views of El Capitan and Half Dome from Yosemite Valley! Brave the ‘Switchbacks-to-the-Sky’ one of the toughest trails in the park, take a dip in the icy-cold runoff of Yosemite Creek, bask in the beauty of Half Dome’s reflection in Mirror Lake, and stand atop North Dome, all alongside your new BFFs!
GUIDED BACKPACKING IN YOSEMITE NATIONAL PARK
With your small group and experienced Explorer Chick Guide, you will climb steep, challenging trails along the North Rim. You will hike 20 miles and over 5800 feet of elevation gain over three days. Overlooking dramatic vistas of the Yosemite Valley (some badass level stuff), you’ll visit the park’s tallest waterfall, peer into the reflection of Mirror Lake and see Half Dome looking back at you; hike to the top of North Dome for some of the most iconic and sweeping views of the valley below; sleep under the stars near Snow and Yosemite Creeks, and catch a sunrise at Indian Arch.
Don’t worry, we’ll take care of the logistics, permits, food and equipment. You just bring your hiker booty!
SNOW CREEK TRAIL: Switchbacks to the Sky
Your Explorer Chick Guide will lead you and your small group on an epic adventure along one of the most challenging but rewarding trails in the park: the Snow Creek Trail. During your trek you will champ the Switchbacks to the Sky to hike above the famed Yosemite Valley along the North Rim with an eagle eye’s view of the jaw-dropping scenery below. You will visit the park’s only granite arch, and explore the park’s tallest waterfall from top to bottom.
Your route will be less crowded than the many of the others in the park, allowing you time and space to take in all of the gorgeousness including views of Half Dome, Clouds Rest, Tenaya Canyon and Mount Watkins. Yes, there’s serious mileage and elevation gains. Worth it? Hell yes!
BACKPACKING EQUIPMENT PROVIDED
Don’t have backpacking equipment, but can beast the stairs? Perfect. Explorer Chick has you covered with:
- Shared Tents
- Sleeping bag
- Sleeping pad
- Trekking poles
- Shared cookware
All you need to do is to show up ready for backpacking SHE-nanigans and you’ll get that National Parks bucket list checked.
- Backpack 4 days/3 nights exploring Yosemite National Park along the North Rim with views of Tenaya Canyon, Half Dome, El Capitan, Clouds Rest, and Mount Watkins
- Stand at the top of North Dome for the best face-to-face views of Half Dome in the park
- Climb 3000+ feet along Snow Creek Trail with sweeping views of the Yosemite Valley including towering peaks, steep cliffs, winding rivers, immense waterfalls and lush forest
- Peer into Mirror Lake to see a perfect reflection of Half Dome and the surrounding scenery
- View the tallest waterfall in Yosemite National Park: Yosemite Falls
- Catch a sunrise at Indian Arch, the only granite arch in Yosemite
- Share stories of the day while chowing down on a yummy backcountry dinner with your Explorer Chick sisters.
- Enjoy down time at camp to read a book, lizard on a river rock, take a chilly dip, or sneak in a nap.
- Disconnect to reconnect! Leave behind the constant contact and use your phone solely for capturing moments.
Simply show up to a fully-planned backpacking trip. We’ll take care of everything including snagging the nearly impossible to obtain permits.
- Relax with a comprehensive itinerary that makes the logistics, permits, navigation, meal planning, gear, and everything in-between easy.
- Geek out with supportive and encouraging Explorer Chicks on a private, women-only, small group adventure tour.
Yosemite National Park Wilderness Permits are very competitive and we are not always successful in securing permits.
Your trip dates are not confirmed until we have secured Permits. We will know approximately 4 months in advance of your trip departure.
You will receive notification from Explorer Chick via email with updates on your permit status.
If we are not able to secure a permit for your dates, we’ll work with you to rebook to a new date or issue you a refund for full amount paid.
There are several beautiful and classic backpacking routes available to us, and these routes may vary when circumstances or conditions warrant. Although our route will not be confirmed until we receive our permits, we can assure you an epic Explorer Chick experience in the backcountry full of the SHE-nanigans, sisterhood, and support that make our experiences so unique.
Do not book travel arrangements until you have received confirmation from Explorer Chick.
DAY 1 – CURRY VILLAGE
Kick off your Yosemite guided backpacking adventure at the Backpackers Camp in Yosemite Valley. You’ll meet your Explorer Chick Guide at 5pm for our Welcome Orientation followed by dinner. Your guide will distribute gear, fit your packs, perform a duffel shuffle, and share details for your upcoming adventure. Afterwards, you’ll get to know your Explorer Chick sisters over a camp meal fit for a queen before settling in for the night at the Backpackers camp.
Meals: Welcome Dinner
DAY 2 – SWITCHBACKS-TO-THE-SKY
Breakfast is served before packing up camp and leaving the valley behind. Today is a doozy with mileage, big elevation gains and spectacular scenery! We’ll get those hearts racing from exhaustion and from the exhilaration of cliffside drops (don’t worry, you can stand clear if you want!). This lung-busting stretch offers the most memorable views of Tenaya Creek Canyon to the face of Half Dome.
We’ll set up camp at Snow Creek before enjoying a relaxing evening. Saunter off for some afternoon hiking in the surrounding area, enjoy a good book, lizard on a sunny rock, or take a chilly dip to rinse off the day’s dirt in. A hearty dinner and overshares cap off the evening!
Backpacking: 5.7 miles, +3,256 ft
Meals: B, L, D
DAY 3 – ARCH, DOME, CREEK
Wake up and fuel up! We’re catching the sunrise at Indian Arch, the only natural granite arch in all of the Sierra Nevada! Can someone say photo op? From here we will continue to North Dome. You haven’t really seen Half Dome or Clouds Rest until you’ve stood on North Dome and looked across the valley at its beauty. Queue *Ooh Ahh.* Are your legs and feet tired now? No worries, we’re making our way to Yosemite Creek just in time for a refreshing dip to rinse off the dirt of the day! We’ll enjoy dinner and lay our sleepy heads here for the night.
Backpacking: 8.8 miles, +2,081 ft
Meals: B, L, D
DAY 4 – YOSEMITE FALLS + DEPARTURE
Let’s wake our tired legs out of their slumber, pack up camp and hit the dusty trail towards the tallest waterfall in the park, and one of the largest in North America, Yosemite Falls. This monster waterfall drops 2,425 feet and is an absolute sight to see. Lucky for us, we get to witness it from above, and below! Don’t worry, there’ll be plenty of opportunity for Glamour Shots and picturesque snack stops before emerging from the wilderness. Excessive goodbye hugging is encouraged.
We will be out of the backcountry at approximately 5pm (This is not guaranteed).
Backpacking: 5.5 miles, +486 ft
Meals: B, L
- 4 days/3 nights guided backpacking in Yosemite National Park with shared tents – 2 per tent.
- Gear Included:
- Shared Tents
- Sleeping bag
- Sleeping pad
- Trekking poles
- Shared cookware
- Backcountry Permit
- A commemorative Explorer Chick shirt.
- A detailed Travel Guide upon booking with everything you need to know for your trip.
- The freedom to enjoy your vacation and mindlessly wander!
- 1 experienced Explorer Chick Guide ensuring your trip is seamless and unforgettable!
- Small Group experience! Your Explorer Chick Adventure is exclusive and limited to 5 women.
*Packages do NOT include your transportation to Yosemite National Park or your park entrance fees, alcoholic beverages, costs for additional activities, Travel Insurance, and Explorer Chick Leader tips.
*Does NOT include your Explorer Chick Guide’s Tips – Tipping your Explorer Chick Guide is optional, but customary. If you wish to recognize your Explorer Chick Guide for exceptional service we recommend you tip total 10-25% of your trip costs.
*Explorer Chick reserves the option to modify trip itineraries at the discretion of your tour director as necessary due to weather, conditions, illness, injury, group dynamics, or other unforeseen incidents*
You will receive a travel guide attached to your booking confirmation with the rendezvous point, travel recommendations, and all of the information you’ll need to prepare for your backpacking trip.
You will receive additional information on your trip route and itinerary 3-4 months before your trip start date via email.
Important: Do NOT book your airfare until we have confirmed your trip and permits to hike.
You are responsible for your own transportation to Yosemite National Park as well as the Park Entrance fee. Your park entrance fee is good for the next 7 days upon entry if you plan to spend extra time in the park.
Your permit for Backcountry Camping is included.
Arrival – Day 1: Arrive at Yosemite National Park at any time today before our official Orientation followed by a Welcome dinner at 5pm.
Departure Day- Day 4: – We will be out of the backcountry by approximately 5pm (This is not guaranteed).
Please confirm your trip is guaranteed before booking airfare.
Day 1 – Mmm, Dinner! – Easy
Day 2 – 5.7 miles, 3,256 ft elevation gain – Strenuous
Day 3 – 8.8 miles, 2,081 ft elevation gain – Strenuous
Day 4 – 5.5 miles, 486 ft elevation gain – Moderate
The Yosemite Backpacking tour is for experienced hikers and backpackers. This trip is not recommended for “off the couch” outdoor enthusiasts or beginners. Previous backpacking experience is strongly recommended.
Most of the Yosemite region lies above 7,500’ altitude. The trails are steep, varying, and challenging. The terrain can be rocky with dramatic elevation gains and losses. And, you’ll be doing it with a 30-35lb pack on your back.
You should very easily be able to hike on rough terrain at 2 miles per hour.
We strongly recommend training in advance for your backpacking trip. You should be training on rough and rugged terrain – not always perfectly paved sidewalks. Train how you play!
Find steps, a hill, or the Stairmaster and get to climbing! Your quads, booty, and calves will thank you. Train in all the weather – This even means rain!
Gradually build up your training pack weight and distances. Start with just your day pack for an hour hike a few days a week. Add distance, duration, and weight until you are able to carry the full required weight on a 6-7 hour hike leading up to your trip.
Train your tootsies! Do NOT show up with brand new hiking boots or trail shoes. You should be spending hours upon hours in your boots leading up to your adventure to break them in. Better to suffer blisters at home than to miss out due to painful hot spots on your feet. This is our number one injury. Do not let it happen to you!
We recommend staying well-hydrated before your trip to assist with mitigating altitude sickness.
Please consider your ability to meet the physical demands very seriously. It is for the safety of both you and our group. All Explorer Chicks will be required to sign an Acknowledgement of Physical Demands as part of their waiver upon booking.
Still not convinced that THIS is the adventure for you?
We’ve rounded up some of our most popular blog posts, so you can get to know us a bit better and learn what really goes down on your Explorer Chick Adventure.
- Remember How it Feels to Play
- You are NOT Alone
- The Power of Explorer Chick
- What Does an Explorer Chick Look Like?
- We are ALL IN
- We Do Dumb Stuff
- The Explorer Chick Purpose
- The Traveler vs. the Tourist
- 6 Benefits to Booking with a Tour Company
You can always reach us by email with more questions! Info@ExplorerChick.com
To protect your travel investment and your hide, we highly recommend purchasing travel insurance. World Nomads is our trusted travel insurance provider. Receive an no-hassle, online quote in less than 2 minutes.
Save $200 with Early Bird Pricing!
See our Discount page for Codes and Expirations!
Non-Refundable Deposit: $200 due at booking to secure your spot
Payment Plans Available: Email firstname.lastname@example.org after booking to set up your monthly payment plan.