High Sierra Camps

The High Sierra Camps are nine rustic lodging facilities located in two national parks and a national monument in California's Sierra Nevada mountain range. Open most years from June or July to September, they are staffed camps with tent cabins and food service facilities. The backcountry camps receive their supplies by pack mules.

Seven camps are located in Yosemite National Park. Five of these camps are located off the road in the wilderness, and are accessible only by hiking or by horseback riding. Six of the camps are arranged along a loop trail 51.0 miles (82.1 km) long, and each camp can be reached in sequence in a one-day hike from the previous camp.


The Yosemite High Sierra Camps are a very popular option for avid hikers wishing to experience Yosemite National Park. Because of the demand, a lottery system for reservations is in effect. Applications are accepted in September and October for the following year. If you are hiking with another couple, both can submit an application - hopefully this will help you be successful. We are hiking with our friends from Sacramento, California (Gary & Bobbie Keill) - their application wasn't selected, fortunately our application was.

Our Hike

We decided not to complete the circle route but instead start at Tuolumne Meadows, travel to Vogelsang campsite then on to Merced Lake.  From there we would hike back down into Yosemite Valley.  Our first day would have us starting at 8,000ft and hiking up to Vogelsang at 10,000ft.  Average temperature in July - low 70's (22c) during the day and low 40's (6c) at night.  We tried to keep our packs under 20 pounds which included 1 to 1.5 litres of water.  Although meals and tents were provided at the campsites, we still had to pack clothing and gear for four days of hiking.  Sturdy and comfortable hiking shoes and hiking poles pretty much important on this outing.


When you stay at Yosemite's High Sierra Camps, you’ll enjoy family-style breakfast and dinner with your fellow hikers. Every day, breakfast is served at 7:30 in the morning and dinner served at 6:30 in the evening. For an additional fee, lunches (for your next day’s excursion) can be provided - just order the night before. 

Suggested packing list for hiking the High Sierra Camps

  • Synthetic materials such as polyester fleece or natural wool blends
  • Casual footwear (sandals) while at camp
  • Hiking Boots
  • Hiking Gloves
  • Winter Gloves
  • Ball cap or knit cap
  • Rain Gear
  • Shorts or Warm Pants
  • T-Shirts for Hiking
  • Swimsuit
  • Woolen Socks
  • Thermal underwear
  • Sunglasses

Gear & Equipment 

  • Sleeping bags and/or liners are required
  • Water bottle
  • Flashlight/Headlamp
  • Batteries
  • Towels
  • Backpack
  • Trekking Poles
  • Navigation System (Map or GPS)
  • Matches/Lighter
  • Binoculars
  • Whistle
  • Guidebook
  • Tarp - for weather
  • Snacks 


  • Sunscreen
  • Toothbrush
  • Toothpaste
  • Toilet Paper
  • Mosquito repellent
  • Lip Balm
  • First-Aid Kit
  • Waste bags


Posts from this trip.