Yosemite High Passes Loop - Guided Backpacking Trips

Yosemite High Passes Loop

Activity Level
Trip Length
7 days
Group Size
up to 12 guests

Yosemite High Passes Loop


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Haley Woods
Haley Woods

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(800) 231-4575
Summit 4 high elevation passes
Camp at pristine Alpine Lakes
Hike through remote areas of Southern Yosemite wilderness

The high-country lakes, peaks, and passes of Yosemite are truly spectacular and on this 50 mile loop we'll hike deep into the heart of this alpine environment. We'll travel mostly on trail while topping out over 4 high mountain passes -including Red Peak Pass at 11,180', the highest trail pass in Yosemite. Enjoying astounding views of Yosemite and the High Sierra in some of the least visited areas of the park make this trip yet another SYMG classic.

2022 Trip Dates

July 18 - 24, 2022
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August 8 - 14, 2022
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2023 Trip Dates

July 17 - 23, 2023
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August 7 - 13, 2023
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$2,095 per person
Price based on shared hotel occupancy
Single Room Supplement:
Requested $255, Forced $128

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Trip Itinerary

Yosemite High Passes Loop Itinerary - Day 1 - Meet Your Guide in Bass Lake, CA

Check in to the Pines Resort on beautiful Bass Lake anytime after 4pm. Meet your guide and group at 6pm in the main lobby for a short meet-and-greet and trip orientation. Dinner tonight is on your own at one of the many local restaurants.

Yosemite High Passes Loop Itinerary - Day 2 - Hike to Rutherford Lake

After an early breakfast on your own (there is a nice bakery in the Pines village), we’ll meet you at 8am to drive to the nearby trailhead (7,600’). The drive, which takes about an hour, is your responsibility to and from the trailhead. The hike to our camp in the upper reaches of the Fernandez Lakes Basin (8,900’) will be roughly 8 miles. That evening there may be time to swim while your guide prepares dinner beneath the high peaks. The day ends with stargazing and storytelling.

8 miles, Elevation: +2766'/ -577'

Yosemite High Passes Loop Itinerary - Day 3 - Climb Fernandez Pass & Merced Pass

Today is a big day as we hike up and over the Fernandez Pass (10,000’) and glimpse views of the distant Half Dome from Merced Pass (9,600’). These are the 2 lowest of the 4 passes we'll conquer on this trip! Our final destination is Upper Merced Pass Lake (8,920’).

10 miles, Elevation: +1621'/ -2356'

Yosemite High Passes Loop Itinerary - Day 4 - Stop by Ottoway Lakes, hike over Red Peak Pass

Today’s hike is a grand one, through the Ottoway Lakes cirque and over the incredible Red Peak Pass (11,180’) nestled high within Yosemite’s Clark Range. From there, we’ll descend into the Red Devil Lakes basin (10,000’) with expansive views of the Clark Range and Triple Divide Peak.

8 miles, Elevation: +2976'/ -2047'

Yosemite High Passes Loop Itinerary - Day 5 - Camp at Lake 10k

After our delicious backcountry breakfast, we’ll start heading southeast towards the border of Yosemite, winding our way through creek drainages and wildflower-strewn meadows. We’ll make an easy crossing of the Triple Fork of the Merced before climbing to our camp at Lake 10K, known for amazing sunsets.

7 miles, Elevation: +1414'/ -1316'

Yosemite High Passes Loop Itinerary - Day 6 - Climb Post Peak Pass

We’ll wake this morning and begin our ascent toward Post Peak Pass (10,750’). Along the way we’ll be greeted with sweeping views of the glaciated Ritter Range as we traverse the ridgeline that makes up Yosemite’s southern boundary. After the pass, we’ll finish our day and drop about 1,100’ to the Staniford Lakes Basin within the Ansel Adams Wilderness.

10 miles, Elevation: +1713'/ -2851'

After breakfast, we’ll pack up and hike the remaining distance to the trailhead where we started a week earlier. Expect a 12-1pm departure from the high country.

6 miles, Elevation: +571'/ -1916'

What's Included


  • 1st night's lodging at the Pines Resort in Bass Lake
  • 6 nights of wilderness tent camping (permits included)


  • All group gear including stoves, cookware, water filters, group first aid kit, etc.
  • Personal backpacking gear provided by request: backpacks, sleeping bags, sleeping pads, trekking poles, and tents


  • Personal transportation required
  • Follow guide in your own vehicle to remote trailhead and back on Day 2 and Day 5


  • Starting with lunch on Day 2 and ending with lunch on Day 7
  • Backcountry gourmet meals including trail snacks
  • Hot tea or coffee served each morning

A Few More Notes

Travel & Logistics

This trip begins and ends in Bass Lake, CA. Plan to arrive at the hotel before 6pm so you can meet your guides and group for your trip orientation. Transportation is not included in this departure, so you will need your own vehicle to get you to the Pines Resort as well as driving to and from the trailhead. We'll return to Bass Lake between 2-3pm.

Training & Preparation

This is one of our more strenuous trips and is one that we do not recommend for those who are new to backpacking. Plan to carry a fully weighted backpack for 6 trail days without a resupply. It is essential to come prepared! To ensure the most enjoyable and successful experience out on the trail, we recommend a rigorous training plan leading up to your trip, focusing on:

  • Endurance, cardio, and aerobic activities
  • Core and leg strength (don't forget those abs and quads)!
  • Day hikes or short overnight trips with a weighted pack (30-35lbs) to train for both the physical and mental aspects of backpacking
  • Cycling, running, step-master or stairs are great cross-training
  • Include hilly terrain and steep climbs whenever possible

Looking for more tips? Check out our blog here!

Prior Experience

We strongly encourage having recent backpacking experience or practice before embarking on this trip. The most successful people on these trips have completed a previous backpacking trip carrying a fully weighted pack (35-40lbs) for 3-5 days. If you do not have this experience, we recommend having a comparable level of fitness and committing to a detailed training plan. you could also consider joining us on a "shake-out" trip prior to the Yosemite High Passes Loop.

What's Not Included
  • Transportation to and from trailhead and lodging
  • Personal clothing & footwear
  • Dinner on the first night in Bass Lake
  • Recommended 10%-20% gratuity for guides
  • Trip Insurance (strongly recommended)
  • Airfare
  • Voluntary or involuntary evacuations

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