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“High Sierra Camps Yosemite Location Yes Staff So-So”

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Yosemite High Sierra Camps
Reviewed 19 August 2014

In the past month, I visited both Vogelsang and Glen Aulin high sierra camps of Yosemite. There are 7 camps, May Lake, Sunrise, Merced Lake and Tuolumne Meadows too, but I've only done 2 of them, I did Glen Aulin once before 4 years ago.

The locations of the camps are amazing, I highly recommend this way to see the uncrowded natural beauty of the back country without the heavy load. To string multiple camps together into a hiking trip, you have to enter a lottery, they are very popular. Or you can just go for 2 or 3 nights at a single (or two) camps, and get a more full experience at each location.

I prefer to spend 2 or 3 nights at a single camp, and really take it all in and do day hikes on my layover days, instead of a marathon hiking trip. With bed and bedding and 2 meals a day, you only have to carry a day pack, it is perfect for non-backpacker hiking loving folks like me.

The staff really varies from camp to camp, some have virtually no knowledge of Yosemite and the Sierra and are unable to answer the simplest questions. A few I've encountered are a fount of knowledge, and friendly. But many are rather stand offish, seeming to consider themselves too special to be bothered to interact with their guests. A higher standard of professionalism and knowledge throughout the camps would improve the service a lot. The park concessionaire runs the camps and seems only to care about making money by filling beds, not actually representing the Yosemite back country well.

Room Tip: Be prepared to share a cabin with strangers, that is how the camps work (unless you are a group that...
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  • Stayed: July 2014, travelled with friends
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4  Thank CTBCalifornia
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviewed 17 August 2014

This was the last of the 5 camps for me to visit. It is a short hike from the trailhead parking (1.2 miles) and relatively easy. I took my wife (who does not like to hike very far) and other family members with me and we all enjoyed our stay. The views are outstanding and the staff is very friendly and welcoming.

Room Tip: Tents are assigned by the staff and they try to keep groups together. If you are in a party of 2 you...
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  • Stayed: August 2014, travelled with family
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1  Thank PM93513
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 10 August 2014

The high Sierra camps are the best way to see yosemite. Fabulous setting, great food, fun interaction with fellow nature lovers. I only wish I had stayed longer! Makes the back country accessible to mere mortals.

  • Stayed: August 2014, travelled with friends
    • Sleep Quality
    • Service
3  Thank raley123
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 1 August 2014

Just got back from a 5 day Ranger guided High SierraLoop trip. Travelled with husband and 11 yr old son. We started at Tuolomne Meadows Lodge then hit Sunrise, Lake Merced (2nights) and Vogelsang. Loved the whole experience. We are day hikers, not campers or backpackers. Managed to whittle our stuff down to 17 lbs (11 yr old) to 25 lbs (adults) in our packs. Not needing to take tents, food, sleeping bag etc helped. We each took a silk sleeping bag liner and the tent camps supplied 2-3 blankets and a duvet each night, plus a greatly appreciated clean white facecloth! Take a camp towel of your own tho'. Vogelsang, sunrise and Tuolomne Meadows all had nice little wood stoves. We were chilly at night but never cold. The hiking was all on very well marked paths with great trail markers. With just a map you could not get lost. Lots of elevation gain over the days and one long 13 mile day of mostly down hill (Sunrise to Lake Merced). At Vogelsang we did the pass route which takes you up to 10,600' before dropping down to 10,100' at the camp. Biggest surprise was the swimming. Great mountain lakes each day. I never did use the showers at the Sierra camps as I managed to wash my hair and get rid of the sweat and trail grime in a lake or river each night. Really, really great! The food is served family style, is plentiful and tasty. Pork, salmon, chicken, etc. each night had a soup, salad and about 2-3 veggies as well as dessert and bread. All home made and hearty. Not exactly gourmet but exactly what you need and want after a day on the go. Breakfast was eggs, pancakes, bacon sausage etc. plus some hot cereal each morning too. Packed lunch was the sparsest meal. I loved the vegetarian wraps or sandwiches. Lots of people had PB&J, often with banana, also offered a meat option. Then you got an apple,and a trail mix pack. You can buy extra candy bars etc at each camp or pack extra. Frankly I'd fork out the $ and not carry the extra weight. Take 2 water bottles or a really good hydration system. We each went through about 2 litres of water on the trail each day. Now to our Ranger. Jana Walker was excellent. There were 10 of us on the hike (4 dropped out after day 1 for health reasons-1 in the party was struggling so they bailed. But Jana arranged for them to hike the easy way up and meet us at Vogelsang the last night.). Everyone from our 11 yr old through 2 teens and then on up to early 70s managed fine just at different paces. Jana accommodated for all of it. She was also an encyclopaedia of knowledge about everything from the trees,x flowers, geological formations, history of the region and park and aboriginal history. This was exactly the reason we went with the guided hike. Without Jana we would have missed so much, just walking by and not understanding. Plus, she knows then secret places, waterfalls, best views etc. each night she did a campfire talk on some aspect of the park. It was excellent. Some have complained about the cleanliness of the camps. We were completely fine with it. Be clear this is camping not a 5 star hotel. But this is about 4 star camping. There are canvas tents with stoves, beds, blankets etc. there is hot, tasty plentiful food. There is running water to wash up, brush teeth, have shower (not every camp, but many). There are toilets (flush at Merced and Tuolomne,composting at Sunrise and Vogelsang). Take flip flops for showers and remember YOU ARE CAMPING! Merced Lake had a big sink and clothes line so you could rinse out clothes and leave them to dry. Being the biggest and best equipped many people seem to elect to spend 2-3 nights at Merced. There are lots of day hikes to do from thereThe staff at each camp has it's own ethos. They are all lovely. We had songs sung to us, drumming, and heard about all the folks who chose to work in the camps each summer...one 89 yr old regaled us with her stories of her 72 consecutive summers in Yosemite! Plus, we met so many others from all over. Many of the campers (who are carrying their tents etc) elect to come for a meal or two at the tent camps. It was great to meet them, hear what they were up to and learn their camping tricks...and just how they manage to carry all the stuff we were not! It was a wonderful week, made even better by having our Ranger leader. Will remember it for a life time. We do want to come back some time and do the two camps we missed. Glen Aulin and May Lake are both north of the Tioga Road. Next time!

Room Tip: All tents look comfy at the end of a long hike! If you are not in a party of 4 you will likely end...
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  • Stayed: July 2014, travelled with family
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9  Thank s0j0urner
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 1 August 2014

The Yosemite High Sierra Camps are special gems. Each has its own character, due to staff, setting, and fellow visitors. I love that it is possible to be out in the wilderness, in the beautiful scenery of Yosemite National Park, but just carry a day pack with personal belongings and water (of course you should also be prepared with layers, rain gear, first aid,flashlight etc to be safe!). The hikes between camps are amazing, with constantly-changing scenery, and each step is to be savored and enjoyed. If you are short of breath, stop and look around you and you will be grateful to be alive!

The camps themselves are nothing fancy, but very comfortable. You are assigned a tent cabin with a bed, blankets, pillow, and towel. You can provide either a sleeping bag, or better yet since it is lighter weight to carry, a sleep sack. If you are a group fewer than 4, you will share a cabin, but don't worry, it really is okay and part of the overall experience. Each time I've stayed, the staff have demonstrated great knowledge about, and passion for, the camps, and are more than happy to share both with the guests. You are away from it all, where at night you can see stars, or in some cases the pink alpenglow on the mountains and / or spectacular sunsets (Glen Aulin and Vogelsang) or wake early to gorgeous sunrises reflected on calm water (May Lake). Meals are tasty, healthy, and plentiful with some amazing dishes or desserts thrown in by staff who might use a treasured family recipe. Meeting fellow hikers is also a highlight, and several times have found surprising "small world" connections with fellow travelers. I always leave happy, refreshed, and grateful that these special places exist! More importantly I hope I am lucky enough to return!

Room Tip: Rooms are assigned based on the gender and number of travelers in your group. If you really don'...
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  • Stayed: July 2014, travelled with family
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3  Thank mtngirl50
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 27 July 2014

Yosemite High Sierra Camps are a bucket list destination. At May Lake the mountain and the Big Dipper were reflected in the lake during our middle of the night stroll to the flush toilets in the backpacker's campground. We had meals only at all the camps we stayed in, reducing the amount of food we needed to carry. We slept to the sound of the waterfall and saw an incredible sunset at Glen Aulin.The fire in our cabin at Tuolumne Meadows was cozy during an afternoon thunderstorm where we resupplied for the second half of our hike. Back on the trail, we hiked through a thunderstorm to Vogelsang and camped in the shadow of the granite monolith next to the camp. The outline of the mountain pushed all the way up to the Milky Way on that starry night. At Merced, the circle of tent cabins in a pine forest welcomed us at the only High Sierra where we secured reservations for cabins and meals. Big canyon views opened up on the way to Little Yosemite Valley and Nevada and Vernal Falls roared on the hike to Yosemite Valley. A great trip!

  • Stayed: July 2014, travelled with friends
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
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1  Thank tcnordquist
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 27 July 2014

The High Sierra Camps in Yosemite offer an experience not duplicated anywhere else, to my knowledge. The scenery is unparalleled and the service is fantastic by back country standards.

This is a must experience for anyone who loves the outdoors and can endure moderate to strenuous hiking.

  • Stayed: July 2014, travelled solo
    • Location
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2  Thank LTS1969
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Yosemite High Sierra Camps

Address: Tenaya Lake, Yosemite National Park, CA
Region: United States > California > Yosemite National Park
Hotel Style:
Ranked #4 of 23 Speciality Lodging in Yosemite National Park
Number of rooms: 9
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Yosemite High Sierra Camps have been a popular destination in Yosemite National Park since they were first established. Because of the demand, we’ve created a lottery system for reservations. Applications are accepted in September and October for the following year. We email winners in the spring. ... more   less 
Also Known As:
Yosemite High Sierra Camps Hotel Yosemite National Park

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