First, let me say that I enjoy your trip reports, gear reviews and especially the photographs. I also love kids and your adventures with them are a joy to read. Your website inspires me to want to get out West and experience the wilderness. With that in mind, I have the opportunity to attend a wedding just outside the South Entrance to Yosemite National Park the weekend of Veterans Day. I have never been to Yosemite and I would hate to miss an opportunity to see the sights. I would like to stay a few days after the wedding to hike and possibly backpack. Do you have any suggestions for dayhikes and perhaps someplace to camp?

I have started reading Jeffrey Schaffer’s book and he says, “After October 15 I don’t backpack more than a few miles from a trailhead, since if a snowstorm does hit and drop a foot or two of snow, I can still plod back to my car.” That sounds like excellent advice and putting safety first. I will probably be by myself unless I can get one of my sons to stay, so I may or may not want to venture into the wilderness alone on an overnight trip. Being alone in bear country doesn’t sound fun. I am 67 years old, live in Illinois (low altitude and no bears), in good health and am not looking for hikes with 4,000+ foot elevation gains or lots of snow if possible. Any suggestions would be appreciated.

I also emailed the park and shown below is their reply:


“If the Tioga Road is still open and we haven’t had snow, some trails off the Glacier Point and Tioga Roads, which are all described in that book, could be good options (it may be chilly up there). If we have had snow (but the road is still open), it’s probably not a great idea to use those trails because even a little snow can completely obscure the trails. Otherwise, trails on the floor of Yosemite Valley should be nice if the weather has been dry. You can also hike just partway up the Yosemite Falls Trail (to Columbia Rock), Four Mile Trail, and Mist or John Muir Trails.”


Antioch, IL

Hi, I’m Michael Lanza, creator of The Big Outside, which has made several top outdoors blog lists. Click here to sign up for my FREE email newsletter. Join The Big Outside to get full access to all of my blog’s stories. Click here to learn how I can help you plan your next trip. Please follow my adventures on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Youtube.


John Muir Trail below Cathedral Peak, Yosemite National Park.
John Muir Trail below Cathedral Peak, Yosemite National Park.


Thank you so much for your list of great suggestions for visiting Yosemite in November. I am really looking forward to my trip. I can see that one trip to Yosemite will only give me a brief picture of the opportunities that exist there. I will send you a trip report after I return home.

It is amazing that you take the time to help individuals like me as well as all those who read your website. I hope to be able to thank you in person some day. Please tell your wife and children that the time you spend sharing your knowledge and experiences with others provides us with help and enjoyment.


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You’re very welcome. Yes, by visiting Yosemite you will commit yourself to a lifetime of wanting to keep returning. I’ve been several times and I’m still working on my list of things to do there. Have fun and I’d love to hear how your trip goes.



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