Guided Backpacking Trips

Guided Backpacking Trips

Backpacking in Yosemite and the High Sierra

The Yosemite Wilderness and the Sierra Nevada contain some of the most beautiful mountain scenery in the world. With our carefully crafted itineraries, we’ll show you the best that these special places have to offer including the John Muir Trail and Mt. Whitney. Whether you’re new to the backpacking scene or a seasoned expeditioner, our trips take you away from the crowded highways so you can truly experience the freedom of the hills.

All of our guided backpacking trips can also be scheduled as a private custom trip with your dates and itinerary.

Plan a custom backpacking trip with SYMG

Find your Trip

Backpacking Trip Filters

Trip Duration


Departure Month

Yosemite Grand Traverse Backpack -
Yosemite Grand Traverse Backpack
8 days

World's Top 15 Trails by National Geographic
Traverse through the heart of remote Yosemite Wilderness
Summit Clouds Rest and camp beneath Cathedral Peak
July 9 - 16
August 20 - 27
September 10 - 17
July 8 - 15
August 19 - 26
September 9 - 16
John Muir Trail -
John Muir Trail
23 days

Explore world-class scenery of the High Sierra
Traverse 3 national parks & summit Mt. Whitney
Experience stunning alpine landscapes
July 9 - 31
August 6 - 28
July 8 - 30
August 5 - 27
John Muir Trail: Rae Lakes Loop -
John Muir Trail: Rae Lakes Loop
8 days

Hike a famous section of the John Muir Trail
View panoramic vistas from the top of Glen Pass (11,926')
Explore Rae Lakes & 60 Lakes Basin
July 23 - 30
July 22 - 29
John Muir Trail Northbound: Florence Lake to Yosemite Valley -
John Muir Trail Northbound: Florence Lake to Yosemite Valley
13 days

Enjoy stunning "postcard country" of the Ritter Range
Hike the JMT's iconic northern section
Traverse high-mountain passes: Selden, Silver and Donahue
September 10 - 22
September 9 - 21
Trans-Sierra Trail to Mt. Whitney -
Trans-Sierra Trail to Mt. Whitney
10 Days

Cross the Great Western Divide via Colby Pass (11,960')
Summit Mt. Whitney, highest point in the contiguous US
Experience the heart of Sequoia-Kings Canyon backcountry
August 25 - Sep 3
August 24 - Sep 2
Red Peak Pass Loop -
Red Peak Pass Loop
7 days

Explore the heart of Yosemite Wilderness
Hike Red Peak Pass (11,078'), the highest point on trail in Yosemite Wilderness
Enjoy Ottoway Lakes and the Headwaters of the Merced River
July 31 - Aug 6
August 14 - 20
Yosemite High Passes Loop -
Yosemite High Passes Loop
8 days

Summit 4 high elevation passes
Camp at pristine Alpine Lakes
Hike through remote areas of Southern Yosemite wilderness
July 17 - 24
August 7 - 14
July 16 - 23
August 6 - 13
Alpine Lakes -
Alpine Lakes
5 days
Moderate / Basecamp

Explore the high country basin in Ansel Adams Wilderness
Summit a 10,000'+ peak on Yosemite's border
Relax & enjoy beautiful Alpine Lakes
June 22 - 26
July 27 - 31
August 10 - 14
August 31 - Sep 4
June 21 - 25
July 26 - 30
August 9 - 13
August 30 - Sep 3
Yosemite Falls Loop -
Yosemite Falls Loop
3 days

See the best views of iconic Yosemite Falls
Traverse the North Rim of Yosemite Valley
See Half Dome from unique, up close angles
May 28 - 30
June 3 - 5
June 24 - 26
May 27 - 29
June 2 - 4
June 23 - 25
Half Dome Backpack -
Half Dome Backpack
4 or 5 days

Summit Half Dome, Yosemite's icon (8,845')
Camp at the famous Little Yosemite Valley
Hike on the JMT and Mist Trail
June 15 - 19
July 6 - 10
September 14 - 18
June 14 - 18
July 5 - 9
September 13 - 17
Half Dome and Clouds Rest Backpack -
Half Dome and Clouds Rest Backpack
4 or 5 days

Summit two Yosemite icons, Half Dome (8,845') & Clouds Rest (9,926')
Camp at the famous Little Yosemite Valley
Hike on the John Muir Trail and Mist Trail
June 29 - Jul 3
August 31 - Sep 4
High Tour -
High Tour
4 days
Moderate / Basecamp

Explore alpine lake basins in Ansel Adams Wilderness
Summit a 10,000'+ peak with views of Yosemite Wildnerness
Relax & enjoy beautiful a stunning Alpine Lake
August 18 - 21
August 17 - 20
Sierra High Route -
Sierra High Route
7-26 days

Experience the "freedom of the hills" traveling this classic cross-country route through the High Sierra
Enjoy the alpine country traveling on and off trail through class II and class III terrain
Follow sections of Steve Roper's published route, away from crowded trails
September 11 - 17
September 10 - 16
Hiking with Packstock

Custom & Private Trips

At SYMG, we specialize in planning and executing every type of outdoor experience. From expedition style John Muir Trail backpacking trips to family-oriented adventure camping, we tailor fit each detail to you!

Plan your private trip

Planning Your Guided Backpacking Trip

Backpacking Questions

The best training for hiking is... hiking! So, get outside and enjoy some local trails (preferably with elevation gain and loss). Also, think about striking a balance between cardio and strength training. Cycling, running, and swimming are fantastic. Gym workouts focusing on your leg muscles are great, as is training on stadium bleachers for those in flat areas. Daily stretching with Pilates or Yoga is also wonderful training when used in conjunction with the above. Our trips have a range of challenge levels, so you'll want to develop a training plan that best suits the nature of your trip. Our office is happy to provide training tips and recommendations specific to your trip!

SYMG is happy to outfit you with the following high-quality gear free of charge at your request:

  • Backpack (Deuter)
  • Sleeping Bag (Mountain Hardwear, Marmot, Kelty, etc.)
  • Sleeping Pad (Thermarest)
  • Tent (Mountain Hardwear, Marmot, Kelty, etc.)
  • Trekking Poles (Leki)

If you prefer to bring your own backpack, tent, sleeping bag and pad, you are welcome to for fit and familiarity. SYMG will also provide all group gear needed for multi-day departures including:

  • Water Filters
  • Stoves
  • Cookware
  • Group Shelter
  • Emergency GPS device
  • Group Bathroom Kit (trowel & toilet paper)
  • Bear Cans (backpacking) or Bear Proof Panniers (Horsepacking)
  • Camp Stools (Horsepacking only)

When you register for one of our trips, we will send you a full pre-trip package that includes a gear and clothing list specific to your trip.

During the summer months, average temperatures in the backcountry (7,000-10,000’) range between 65-75°F during the day and 30-40°F at night. Multi-day storm systems are rare, however, rain or snow showers can happen any afternoon in the summer, so it is important to bring proper rain gear.  Each part of the season has different historical characteristics. Here’s a link to our favorite and most accurate high elevation forecast: NOAA Yosemite High Country Weather. For day trips in and around Yosemite Valley (4,000’), you can expect warmer temperatures (averaging mid 70s- high 80s°F and lows of 40-50°F) Yosemite Valley Weather.

We take pride in our efforts as a full-service outfitter. As our guest, you are only responsible for setting up and taking down your tent, packing your personal gear, and filtering your water. Of course, our guides are always available to assist. Other camp chores such as cooking, cleaning, hauling water, packing up/down of camp, etc are left to the guides, leaving you to relax and enjoy the backcountry.

On the trail, each group has its own dynamic and pace. Every group has folks who are faster, and folks who are slower. The guides excel at pacing the group appropriately, taking into account the ability of all participants. Typically, the group behaves sort of like an accordion. That is, there’s room to spread out and get into your own hiking groove. The guide, who is always in the lead (and another guide in the back on fuller trips), will periodically bring the group back together at trail intersections, lunchtime, tricky spots, or at points of interest.

The High Sierra lakes and streams we travel in are notable for the fishing opportunities! High Sierra Lakes hold fish in the 6-15" range typically.  Brook (mostly) and Rainbow Trout are commonly caught but its also possible to catch German Brown and Golden Trout depending on your location. We typically recommend the practice of catch and release. If keeping fish, we recommend keeping fish over 12" and the Brooks only. You'll be responsible for cleaning your own fish and will need to discuss with your guide a plan for cooking and eating them. Each person will also need a CA Dept of fish and game fishing license which you can pre-purchase online.

As far as fly fishing gear. We recommend bringing a 3-7 piece, 4-6 weight rod for the lakes and streams of the Sierra. Hard cases for pack trips mandatory. Recommended fly patterns are:

  • Dry:  Elk Hair Caddis, size 14, 16, 18.  Adams, size 16, 18, 20. Royal Wulffs and Royal Coachmans, size 14, 16, 18. Stimulators, sz 10-12-14
  • Nymphs:  Hare's Ear, size 14, 16.  Pheasant Tail, size 16, 18, Wooley Buggers sz 8-12, Stone Flies sz. 8-12, Princes sz 10-12-14
  • In Fall add terrestrials: Ants, hoppers, beetles
  • 4x-6x tippets

If you use spinning rods, telescoping are best for packing. Small (1-2 lbs test is best). Lures should be barbless and single if possible, although treble hooks aren't mandatory. 

  • Recommended lures are: Small Mepps, Rooster Tales, etc. Mepps Trouter Kit Plain: Little Wolf Silver, #1 Thunder Bug May Fly-Gold, #0 Agilia Long Silver, #1 Black Fury Fourescent, #1 XD Silver Body/Silver Blade, #1 Agilia Gold Undressed

More Ways to Experience Yosemite & the High Sierra

Pack Supported Trekking

Pack Supported Trekking Trips

Want to get out in the backcountry but don't want to carry a heavy backpack? Then our Yosemite and High Sierra Pack Trips are just the thing for you! We don't hike with the mules each day, but they do pack our gear and provisions along the trail, leaving you to enjoy the day and explore with your professional guide. Plush camps, amazing food, world-class scenery, and engaging guides make SYMG's Horsepack supported trips through the Yosemite High Country a trip to remember. In addition to the Pack Trips we offer, we can also organize private departures of any of our trips, or even create a custom trip just for you.

Browse Pack Supported Trekking Trips
Rock Climbing

Guided Rock Climbing

Since 1991 we've been offering Guided Yosemite Climbing in the southern Yosemite high country. All of our day trips are privately arranged and your personal guide will cater the days to your own personal interests and abilities. From easy top-roping for the family to challenging multi-pitch trad and sport routes, we can do it all. And if you're looking to expand your own skill set, consider our Rock Climbing Instruction courses: the rock climbing skills day and rock climbing camps.

Browse Rock Climbing Trips
Yosemite Guided Hiking

Yosemite Hiking Tours

Since 1991 we've been offering Yosemite Hiking Adventures throughout the park. All of our day trips are privately arranged and your personal guide will cater the days to your own personal interests and abilities. Choose an interpretive day focusing on natural and cultural history walks to famous landmarks, or set out for a more challenging hiking day on one of Yosemite's long trails.

Browse Yosemite Guided Hiking Trips
Yosemite Camping

Guided Yosemite Camping Weekends

Join SYMG for Yosemite camping adventures focusing on hiking and rock climbing. Our professional guides cater the trips to your own personal interests and abilities, making these adventures a great choice for anyone. In addition the dates advertised, we can create custom trips for you based on your own preferences and timeframe. Great scenery, amazing food, well-provisioned camps, and fabulous guides make for an unforgettable experience.

Browse Yosemite Camping Trips

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Southern Yosemite Mountain Guides
Southern Yosemite
Mountain Guides
(800) 231-4575 Toll Free: (800) 231-4575 Local/International
+1 (559) 642-2817
Yosemite National Park, CA

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