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Red Peak Loop

 Red Peak Yosemite Backpack SYMG

About the trip

The Red Peak Pass Loop is a 52-mile route through the heart of Yosemite. It spends equal time in the most remote and also most iconic regions of the park. Highlights include the rugged Red Peak Pass, hiking alongside the cascading “Wild and Scenic” Merced River, and a lakeside camp beneath the ice fields of the stunning Ottoway Lakes Basin. Expect challenging days, incredible scenery, and memories that will last a lifetime.


5 nights tent camping, one night at Half Dome Village within Yosemite Valley in tented cabins with shared bathrooms.


We supply all group camping gear (stoves, cookware, water filters, group first aid kit, etc.). We can also supply personal camping equipment (backpacks, sleeping bags, sleeping pads, trekking poles, and tents)upon request with no additional fee. You are welcome to bring your own personal camping equipment if you prefer. A detailed gear list will be sent to you upon registration.


We provide meals starting with lunch on day one through lunch and trail snacks the last day. Our "Backcountry Gourmet" meals have been acclaimed in Sunset Magazine. We take pride in providing excellent meals even in remote surroundings.


Meals (as noted above), group camping gear (as noted above), personal camping equipment (as listed above), accommodations (as noted above), Trailhead shuttle on Day 1, applicable permits, professional mountain guide(s), pre-trip planning packet, and trip support from our friendly office staff.


Personal clothing and footwear, personal gear not listed under “Equipment” above, meals while in the front country, tips for guides (10-20% of trip cost is customary), and optional trip cancellation insurance 


Training is paramount to the enjoyment and success of your trip. We recommend exercising in the months prior to your trip to bolster sustained cardiovascular/aerobic activities as well as core and leg strength. Day hikes with a full backpack, preferably on hilly, off road terrain, is the best way to train for our trips. Activities such as cycling and step-master type machines are also excellent and preferable to a routine comprised solely of running.

Full Itinerary

Day 1:

Check in to Half Dome Village within spectacular Yosemite Valley anytime after 5pm. Meet your guide and group at 6pm on the porch of the Mountain Shop in Half Dome Village for a short meet-and-greet and trip orientation. Dinner tonight is on your own at one several local restaurants.

Day 2:

After an early breakfast on your own, you’ll meet your guide at 8:30 am on the porch of the Half Dome Village Mountain Shop. There, we’ll do a final gear check and pack our backpacks. We’ll board the trailhead shuttle at 10:30 for the 1-hour transfer to the trailhead. We’ll then lace up our boots and hit the trail. Today sees us into the Illilouette Creek drainage, and we’ll camp along the banks of the Clark Fork below the towering Mt Clark (11,522’). 7 miles

Day 3:

From the Clark Fork, we’ll climb gradually all day under the shadow of the imposing peaks of the Clark Range. Below Red Peak, we’ll turn toward the main ridge, eventually arriving at the spectacular Ottoway Lakes. We’ll have time to swim and clean up beneath the ice fields of the upper mountain basin. This is where, in the late 1800’s, John Muir himself discovered the first “living glacier” of the High Sierra. 9 miles.

Day 4:

Today we’ll hit the trail to tackle what is surely the most challenging part of our route: Red Peak Pass. At 11,200’ the pass grants us access back to the northern part of the Clark Range and into the Red Devil Lakes Basin and it is also renowned as the highest point on-trail in Yosemite. We’ll travel through alpine meadows of the upper lakes basin, eventually joining the Merced River below Triple Divide Peak (11,611’). We’ll make camp there, among the flowering meadows and Lodgepole Pines. 8 miles

Day 5:

Leaving our alpine meadow, we’ll spend today descending along the designated “Wild and Scenic” Merced River. Along the way we’ll encounter plenty of wildflower meadows, waterfalls and swimming holes to distract us. In the afternoon we’ll arrive to the Merced Lake area where we will make camp. 10 miles

Day 6:

After another hearty breakfast we’ll pack up and continue following the trail downstream. You’ll notice how the river is much more substantial here after absorbing the flows of the many side creeks and drainages of the upper basin. Roaring whitewater and rushing cascades dominate our day as we head toward Little Yosemite Valley. We’ll pitch our tents there for the final evening, and we can enjoy a late afternoon swim at the beach along the Merced River. 9 miles

Day 7:

We'll be up and out of camp early today and, donning our packs one final time, we’ll follow the trail to Yosemite Valley. The final stretches of our route are as exceptional as the rest, past the rushing Vernal and Nevada Waterfalls along the famous Mist Trail. Expect to exit the trailhead by about lunchtime, where hot showers and cold drinks await. 4 miles


*Similar trips include: Yosemite High Passes LoopYosemite Grand TraverseRae Lakes Loop

Trip Details

7 days, 6 nights

Group size
3-10 participants with 1-2 mountain guides

Trip Rating

$1,395 per person for a group size of 3-10 ppl

price based on shared room occupancy
Single Lodging Supplement (when available): Requested Single $180; Forced Single $90

Dates For Trip in 2018
July 30-August 5, 2018
August 13-August 19, 2018
Custom dates & pricing available!


Hi Colby

Mission accomplished and many, many thanks for making it possible.

Zeki had an amazing experience with diverse weather, plenty of wildlife, and campfires with freshly caught trout. Chris and he covered more miles than the original plan and seemed to get along well. I'm sure we will be back to explore more of Yosemite. With thanks and best wishes, GB.

-Ghillie B- 2015