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Difficulty descriptions are by nature very subjective. The categories below represent generalized distinctions in terrain, level of commitment, time spent at elevation and overall trip duration. Level of commitment refers to the ability to opt out of activities such as peak ascents from a base camp. A committing trip requires a daily mileage to be completed each day.
These trips typically travel on groomed trails at a leisurely pace. You can expect maintained trails, gentle grades and more flexibility in terms of your destination for the day. Hikers will carry mainly the essentials in a light daypack and travel anywhere from 3 to 8 miles depending on the trip or preference.
These include hiking, backpacking, or stock-supported trips that take place mostly on maintained trails to get to camp. These trips hike into a set basecamp and then offer optional destinations with varying degrees of challenge. You can expect modest climbs on uneven terrain. Total distances are often 4-7 miles of hiking per day over 3-4 days of hiking.
These trips include on- and off-trail hiking or backpacking or stock-supported trips. The trails can consist of uneven terrain with modest to difficult climbs and some steep passes (gains of 1000-2000’). These trips are typically 3-5 days in duration but can be longer. For backpacking trips, they can include carrying a fully weighted pack (30-42lbs) and travel 6-10 miles per day.
These trips include on- and off-trail hiking, backpacking or stock-supported trips with uneven terrain and steep grades and passes. These trips are more physically and mentally challenging and usually 7-8 days in duration. For backpacking trips, pack weight will consist of (30-40lbs). Because these types of trips have a required mileage to complete each day, the level of commitment is high. Trips in this category spend significant time at higher elevations and often cover 8-12+ miles per day with average gains/losses of 1,500-3,000’ per day. The most successful people on these trips have some prior overnight backcountry experience.
These trips include on- and off-trail hiking or backpacking on uneven terrain with steep grades. These trips travel 10-12+ miles per day and can vary from 8-21 days in length. Given the mileage and duration, there is an increased amount of physical and mental challenge throughout the trip. Pack weights will consist of 35-45lbs depending on the resupply schedule. Because these types of trips have a required mileage to complete each day, the level of commitment to reach your destination is high. The most successful people on these trips have extensive overnight backcountry experience.
We will be spending the day hiking and sightseeing within Yosemite Valley. Yosemite is steeped in history, being the former home of some of America’s foremost conservationists including John Muir and Ansel Adams and is one of America’s first National Parks. Within Yosemite Valley reside three of the world’s highest waterfalls, the wild and scenic Merced River and the giant granite monoliths Half Dome and El Capitan. We offer a variety of hiking options to any of Yosemite’s iconic destinations, including Bridalveil Falls, the Mist Trail, and Yosemite Falls. All trips are catered to your personal interests.
SYMG guides are professional, highly experienced and enjoyable people to be around. All have spent years perfecting their interpretive and mountain skills in and around Yosemite and look forward to not only teaching and guiding you in these spectacular locations, but getting to know you as well. Your guide is there to help you have the most fulfilling day possible in Yosemite. Tell your guide your goals and s/he will do their best to meet your needs in a safe and enjoyable manner. All SYMG guides are professionally trained and hold advanced medical certifications. Gratuities are accepted and appreciated for a job well done.
Equipment: The guide(s) carries a map, water filter, first aid and emergency items. Some guides may also carry binoculars, bird books, and/or other natural history guides for your use.
Your Cost Includes: Guide.
Not Included: Transportation, Personal gear, lunch and water, tips for guides.
Meals: No meals are provided. Bring snacks & light lunch food, as well as 2 liters of water
Preparation: Hiking and reading literature on the Yosemite area to familiarize yourself with the flora and fauna of the area, as well as the region's natural history.
Itinerary: Your guide will meet you at your hotel or other designated location in the Yosemite area. You'll provide your own transportation for the day, if applicable. Your guide will ask you about your personal interests, experience, and level of fitness to customize the day to your preferences. Some possible options are:
An easy day of short hikes in and around Yosemite Valley such as: absorbing the fantastic Bridalveil Falls (617'), hiking to the top of Vernal Falls (317’), getting up close and personal with the highest waterfalls in North America, Yosemite Falls (2,425'), and stopping at El Capitan Meadow to spot climbers on the largest granite monolith in the world.
Moderate hiking to truly off-the-beaten-path locations that offer unique perspectives of Yosemite’s iconic landmarks, including a special, seldom-seen spot, leading to the best perspective of Yosemite Valley, with views of Vernal, Nevada, Yosemite, and Illilouette Falls.
A moderate hike up the world famous Mist Trail past Vernal (317') and Nevada Falls (594'), returning down the John Muir Trail, with scenic vistas overlooking Yosemite Valley.
A strenuous hike up Upper Yosemite Falls Trail, possibly continuing up to the summit of Eagle Peak with spectacular panoramas of the peaks of High Sierra and a unique, seldom-seen perspective of Yosemite Valley.
Thanks so much for contacting Kelsey regarding the backpack for us. It totally saved the day. I just wanted to offer some feedback and let you know how much we appreciated Kelsey as our guide yesterday. He was fantastically knowledgable and such a lovely guy too. It was a real pleasure spending the day with him and we were especially appreciative of how Kelsey included our son throughout the day. Rory was totally at ease and loved every minute of it, as did we!
Thanks again. We will definitely be recommending SYMG and will be back to Yosemite as soon as we can.
-Nadyne McKie, April 2018
We're just back in UK from our trip to Yosemite which included a day hike with Fred Ackerman.
Just want to say how great he was. Our group was of mixed hiking abilities-I was definitely the slowest but he accommodated our pace completely and made our hike up Mist Trail and back down the John Muir a very memorable experience.
Fred was fun and knowledgeable and we learnt a lot about the geology, fauna and flora of Yosemite and he was full of top tips about the best viewpoints.
A brilliant day which we thoroughly enjoyed-thanks Fred!
We'll definitely use SYMG for any future trips.
-Annie May - July 2015
Recently my family and I had the opportunity to hike the Panorama Trail with Pete Devine. We absolutely loved the experience, and it was by far the highlight of our entire trip. Pete is an excellent guide and ambassador for SYMG. His extensive knowledge of Yosemite, the trails, and the wildlife made the trip even more memorable. I will definitely recommend SYMG for anyone wanting the best outdoor experience possible of Yosemite and the Sierra Nevadas.
--Kory Krista - Yosemite Day Hike, June 2014
Hi Ian, I just wanted to extend my thanks for organising the tour this past Sunday and wanted to let you know that we all thought Patrick was just wonderful. The guided tour was better than I could have anticipated thanks to Patrick's awesome personality and obvious knowledge of the area. We had a fabulous time and appreciated his patience and expertise.
-- Vicky Dal M. - Yosemite Day Tour, February 2012
My daughter and I learned so much, and our guide Mike let us get close enough to feel the mist from Vernal Falls...we had so much fun! Can't say enough good things about him...and he had such a thorough knowledge of Yosemite and the surrounding area. Wonderful experience! I will definitely use SYMG again!
-Misty A., Texas