Backpacking the beautiful Yosemite Valley to Grant Lake
Backpacking is such a delightful experience as you get to be immersive outdoor and stay connected nature. What better plan to backpack than Yosemite National Park's Ten Lakes Trail - you can decide to either camp at Grant Lake like we did or head over to Ten Lakes. We only got one other campers on Grant Lake, while the Ten Lakes was certainly much busier, number of backpackers we met on the way were heading to Ten Lakes. Depending on how you like your camping experience to be make your pick, each is equally beautiful.
Trip · 2-3 day backpacking trip
Distance ~12 miles round-trip
Elevation Range: 7,490′ – 9,635′
Elevation Gain: 2,590′
Permits · Reserve your spot in advance through rec.gov and pick up permit at one of the wilderness permit centers at Yosemite the day off or earlier.
Ideal Time · July to September (once the snow has melted!)
Pets · Not allowed on trails
Outdoorsy Tribe stayed the night before at Oakhurst and set off to pick up the permit from the Wilderness Office on Tioga Pass, past Tenaya Lake - the drive is beautiful. After the formalities and getting suggestions from the park rangers, we set off. The Yosemite Creek parking lot for overnight parking is on Tioga Pass and the Ten Lakes trailhead across the road - very easy to identify.
Yosemite National Park is a jewel, backpacking is a great way to experience this beauty
The starting parts of the trail went through 2020 Bluejay Fire which burned 6,922 acres, caused due to lighting. It's amazing to see what the fire can do and it's also amazing to notice the resilience of nature that starts to sprout again, rising from ashes. Lots of charred trees, with ground growth of flowers everywhere was heartwarming.
The forest, granite rock walls and the beautiful surrounding keep you company. Stay hydrated and take your time, given the heavy backpacks. The first 3-4 miles is relatively moderate and straightforward, once you get to the meadows, it's a good time to take a break and prepare for the climb up the steep portion of the trail.
Past the switchback and staircase portion of the trail, you are greeted into another small meadow with quite a few deers enjoying the afternoon sun. From here the trail levels out and junction that splits towards Ten Lakes and Grant Lake - depending on you pick go right for Grant Lake or head straight to Ten Lakes.
The views here are wonderful, visible in the distance is Mount Hoffman on west side of Tuolumne Peak and valley views. Just about 1 Miles from Grant Lake, the place was lush green, we had not imagined it to be so green. The only problem was bugs on this patch, so taking out and spraying the bug repellent was a good idea.
On arriving at Grant Lake we realized that we had the place all to ourselves. Explored a bit for the best location to set up camp, it was already 7PM by the time we arrive - setting up camp in daylight is always a good idea. Got the fire going and had our meals, we got the perfect setting with awesome lake views. Stargazing cannot be missed when you are in a spot like this with no other light for miles and miles - stunning is all I can say.
The next day was spent at the lake, relaxing, swimming and exploring the upper Grant Lake - be sure to download the maps for better route guidance.
The trail is well maintained and easy to navigate, it does have day hikers as well as backpackers so make sure you leave no trace behind and follow the park rules for storing all your food in bear safe cans, while we did not come across one, we know they were there, its their home and they were just sharing the space with us.
Learning's from the tribe - Tribe ended up taking some food that turned out to be not as edible and the younger members of the tribe were not comfortable eating - always carry only those brands that you like, wilderness is not the best place for experimentation.