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Reservations and Permits

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  • staehpj1
    I am sure this has been asked a lot, but despite having read quite a few threads on this, I am still kind of torn about the whole reservation and permit thing.
    Message 1 of 10 , Jan 19, 2013
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      I am sure this has been asked a lot, but despite having read quite a few threads on this, I am still kind of torn about the whole reservation and permit thing. I have decided that I want to spend 5-7 days adjusting to the altitude so I would probably arrive in the Yosemite Valley that far ahead of time. I figure that would give me some flexibility with regard to getting a walk up permit.

      I am planning to start a N-S JMT thru hike around August 1st, give or take a week.

      I am unsure of how best to manage the logistics. I plan to arrive by plane and then bus and wonder how best to manage getting a camp site. Do folks manage to get by without having reservations? I would be perfectly happy spending my time in the valley in Camp 4 if I can be fairly sure of getting in. I would plan on getting there on a weekday, which I figure would increase my chances. I guess worst case I could probably find someone who would let me cowboy camp or bivy camp in their site.

      So do I need to bite the bullet and get advance permits and reservations for the Valley? It seems to me that would mean committing to flying on a particular day and buying the tickets several months in advance. It would also probably mean I couldn't fly stand by, which I may or may not want to do depending on ticket prices.
    • rnagarajan
      Regarding Yosemite Valley campground reservations, I plan to book a site at Upper Pines when reservations open for my early September trip on April 15. The
      Message 2 of 10 , Jan 19, 2013
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        Regarding Yosemite Valley campground reservations, I plan to book a site at Upper Pines when reservations open for my early September trip on April 15. The following link provides information on the first day to reserve camp sites. For your trip it looks like you will want to reserve on March 15. The campground probably fills on the first day reservations open.

        http://www.nps.gov/yose/planyourvisit/camping.htm

        Personally I wouldn't want to try my luck with Camp 4. I plan on 2-3 nights in the Valley before starting my hike and I hope to reserve a wilderness permit In advance as well.



        --- In johnmuirtrail@yahoogroups.com, "staehpj1" wrote:
        >
        > I am sure this has been asked a lot, but despite having read quite a few threads on this, I am still kind of torn about the whole reservation and permit thing. I have decided that I want to spend 5-7 days adjusting to the altitude so I would probably arrive in the Yosemite Valley that far ahead of time. I figure that would give me some flexibility with regard to getting a walk up permit.
        >
        > I am planning to start a N-S JMT thru hike around August 1st, give or take a week.
        >
        > I am unsure of how best to manage the logistics. I plan to arrive by plane and then bus and wonder how best to manage getting a camp site. Do folks manage to get by without having reservations? I would be perfectly happy spending my time in the valley in Camp 4 if I can be fairly sure of getting in. I would plan on getting there on a weekday, which I figure would increase my chances. I guess worst case I could probably find someone who would let me cowboy camp or bivy camp in their site.
        >
        > So do I need to bite the bullet and get advance permits and reservations for the Valley? It seems to me that would mean committing to flying on a particular day and buying the tickets several months in advance. It would also probably mean I couldn't fly stand by, which I may or may not want to do depending on ticket prices.
        >
      • charliepolecat
        This past year the rangers were firm about not spending more than one night at the backpackers camp, and all the other camp sites were full and had been for
        Message 3 of 10 , Jan 19, 2013
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          This past year the rangers were firm about not spending more than one night at the backpackers camp, and all the other camp sites were full and had been for months. So I'm not sure if you could hang-around for several days if you do not want to commit yourself to early reservations for either a camp site or permit.

          And if you started queuing for a walk-in permit the first day, and got one, you have to start walking.



          --- In johnmuirtrail@yahoogroups.com, "staehpj1" wrote:
          >
          > I am sure this has been asked a lot, but despite having read quite a few threads on this, I am still kind of torn about the whole reservation and permit thing. I have decided that I want to spend 5-7 days adjusting to the altitude so I would probably arrive in the Yosemite Valley that far ahead of time. I figure that would give me some flexibility with regard to getting a walk up permit.
          >
          > I am planning to start a N-S JMT thru hike around August 1st, give or take a week.
          >
          > I am unsure of how best to manage the logistics. I plan to arrive by plane and then bus and wonder how best to manage getting a camp site. Do folks manage to get by without having reservations? I would be perfectly happy spending my time in the valley in Camp 4 if I can be fairly sure of getting in. I would plan on getting there on a weekday, which I figure would increase my chances. I guess worst case I could probably find someone who would let me cowboy camp or bivy camp in their site.
          >
          > So do I need to bite the bullet and get advance permits and reservations for the Valley? It seems to me that would mean committing to flying on a particular day and buying the tickets several months in advance. It would also probably mean I couldn't fly stand by, which I may or may not want to do depending on ticket prices.
          >
        • Bill Heiser
          I got a walk-up permit for my SoBo JMT trip this past summer. The night before I stayed just outside the park, then drove in to get in line at Camp 4 around
          Message 4 of 10 , Jan 19, 2013
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            I got a walk-up permit for my SoBo JMT trip this past summer.  The night before I stayed just outside the park, then drove in to get in line at Camp 4 around 530am.  There was quite a crowd there already (including one very large group).  I did end up getting a site after waiting a couple hours for the ranger kiosk to open.  Registration in the campground is "per person", and the ranger assigns you to a site.  I was solo & ended up sharing a site with a couple other parties.

            The tricky part is to find a way to get there in time to get in line in time to register for a campsite, especially if you're traveling by public transit and arriving later in the day.

            January 19, 2013 11:40 AM
             

            I am sure this has been asked a lot, but despite having read quite a few threads on this, I am still kind of torn about the whole reservation and permit thing. I have decided that I want to spend 5-7 days adjusting to the altitude so I would probably arrive in the Yosemite Valley that far ahead of time. I figure that would give me some flexibility with regard to getting a walk up permit.

            I am planning to start a N-S JMT thru hike around August 1st, give or take a week.

            I am unsure of how best to manage the logistics. I plan to arrive by plane and then bus and wonder how best to manage getting a camp site. Do folks manage to get by without having reservations? I would be perfectly happy spending my time in the valley in Camp 4 if I can be fairly sure of getting in. I would plan on getting there on a weekday, which I figure would increase my chances. I guess worst case I could probably find someone who would let me cowboy camp or bivy camp in their site.

            So do I need to bite the bullet and get advance permits and reservations for the Valley? It seems to me that would mean committing to flying on a particular day and buying the tickets several months in advance. It would also probably mean I couldn't fly stand by, which I may or may not want to do depending on ticket prices.

        • jmy98012
          Just FYI: Camp 4 and Backpackers camp are two different places. Camp 4 is mostly where the rock climbers hang out and camp. Backpackers camp is a walk in on
          Message 5 of 10 , Jan 19, 2013
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            Just FYI:

            Camp 4 and "Backpackers" camp are two different places.

            Camp 4 is mostly where the rock climbers hang out and camp.

            Backpackers camp is a walk in on the other side of the river from North Pines.
            There are no reservations needed. Supposed to be one night only...night before or after your hike.
            We did end up staying two nights in backpackers camp last summer. Ranger's
            did not say anything. This was mid-August.

            Janis "Garnet Turtle"
          • staehpj1
            ... Camp 4 doesn t take reservations so it is never full for months. I think there are some openings pretty much every day and there are times where there are
            Message 6 of 10 , Jan 19, 2013
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              > This past year the rangers were firm about not spending more than one night at the backpackers camp, and all the other camp sites were full and had been for months.

              Camp 4 doesn't take reservations so it is never full for months. I think there are some openings pretty much every day and there are times where there are more folks in line than openings. We did not have a problem getting a spot in Camp 4 when we were there before. It is first come first served but getting there and getting in line at the crack of dawn without a car or bike might be a problem.

              When we arrived by bicycle on a bike tour through there I was allowed to spend one night in the backpackers camp, but had to move to Camp 4 after that one night. It sounds like that might be a problem if I arrive by bus. The thing is that it was hard to get consistent answers even when we were there.
            • charliepolecat
              I was referring to the camp sites near the backpackers camp. Sorry about that. Let s try to be nice. ;-) At the backpackers camp in July, the rangers were
              Message 7 of 10 , Jan 19, 2013
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                I was referring to the camp sites near the backpackers camp. Sorry about that. Let's try to be nice. ;-)

                At the backpackers camp in July, the rangers were checking permits and moving those off who did not have one, or who had been there more than one night or were camping outside the boundaries. I can only account for what I was experiencing and observing.



                >
                > > This past year the rangers were firm about not spending more than one night at the backpackers camp, and all the other camp sites were full and had been for months.
              • staehpj1
                ... If anything I said came off as not nice it wasn t intended that way. I am grateful for the comments, I just wanted to correct what I knew to not be
                Message 8 of 10 , Jan 19, 2013
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                  --- In johnmuirtrail@yahoogroups.com, "charliepolecat" wrote:
                  > Let's try to be nice. ;-)

                  If anything I said came off as not nice it wasn't intended that way. I am grateful for the comments, I just wanted to correct what I knew to not be correct. I assumed that you either did not know about Camp 4 or were just not thinking of it at the time. Definitely no offense was intended.
                • rnagarajan
                  Since the camping reservation window for dates after 6/15 in Yosemite Valley hasn t started yet, I think the simplest solution for those requiring more than
                  Message 9 of 10 , Jan 19, 2013
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                    Since the camping reservation window for dates after 6/15 in Yosemite Valley hasn't started yet, I think the simplest solution for those requiring more than the one night limit in the backpackers camp is to just reserve a regular car camping site on the first day reservations become available for their desired dates. The chances of getting a site are pretty good if this is done right when the recreation.gov window opens at 7am Pacific Time on the first day of availability. At $20/night it is reasonably cheap (compared to Curry Village) and reservations can be cancelled/refunded less a $10 cancellation fee if plans change.

                    I remember several trips to Tuolumne Meadows back in the early '90s where I would leave San Jose at 3am to get to the Tuolumne car campground in time to stand in line for a first-come-first-served site. The rest of my family would drive up later in the day once I secured a site. This worked great for every trip except one time and that ended up being a real mess ... since then I have always preferred reservations if I can plan far enough ahead. Less stress and uncertainty makes for a better vacation for me.
                  • robert shattuck
                    I want to spend 5-7 days adjusting to the altitude so . . . Pete, I ve been happily away from the office for a few days (skiing!) and while I ve been
                    Message 10 of 10 , Jan 22, 2013
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                      " I want to spend 5-7 days adjusting to the altitude so . . ." 

                      Pete, 

                      I've been happily away from the "office" for a few days (skiing!) and while I've been checking e-mail via mobile, it's no fun to ramble on, on  . . . I had to save your post if only to say, good on you for being able to take 5-7 just to acclimate. 

                      There was probably a very similar response to mine, in all the many I deleted, but . . . 

                      I don't think you need 5-7 days, sitting around in the valley to acclimate––if anything, the process of acclimating is really only moved forward by gaining altitude, albeit it, slowly for some, but for most a day or afternoon spent sweating away in the valley––hefting those $10 mugs of beer––and then a good slow start up and out of the valley and you're on your way. 

                      And then I'm  thinking that maybe you just have a very hard time with altitude, in which case, you might not want to attempt the trail at all, but doing it north to south is certainly the way to go. You can almost think of it as a very long acclimatization process, just so you can get up Whitney––although there are enough passes before that, that might shut you down. 

                      And as for reservations and getting a walk-in . . . The valley is a crowded place in August. Lots and lots of families, noise, and certainly a lack of reservable camp spots. I can't really comment on how hard it is though, to get a spot in the valley, but I have stayed in the Backpackers Camp, many times. And I have always done the trail as a "walk-in." 

                      I would bet that at the very worst, getting a solo walk-in might take you 2.5 days, but more than likely, you'll get one right then and there. 

                      Most JMTers who fly into San Francisco, spend the night and catch the 7 a.m. AMTRAK bus, which gets you  into the valley about 1:45 . . . again, done this a few times and only twice have I not gotten exactly what I wanted. 

                      Last year, knowing what I know, I took an even earlier AMTRAK bus out of SF––I think it departed around 5:30 a.m., and it of course increased my chances and yes, I got just what I wanted––to leave in the morning from Happy Isles––but I've also got this with the 1:45 arrival time. 

                      Luckily, I never, ever, plan on spending any more time than I have to in the valley: you might walk in there and get the "Golden Ticket" (that being exactly what you want) they might offer a permit for that very afternoon, or the next day from Glacier Point or Illilouette or . . . unless you've got the time, you can't really stand around and wait––just take what works best and get on the trail. 

                      If you can afford the patience and cash to sit around in the valley for several days and show up each day in the permit office and say, "no thanks, don't want that one," then great––otherwise have your boots on and be ready to lace them up and go. 

                      And as for the backpackers camp––I've said/gone through this a bunch of times, but you can get away with staying there two nights. I've done it only a few times and it's never been a problem. I don't even think I've seen the same ranger twice and unlike when you are standing there in the permit office and they're telling you all the rules, such as the stern warning that you can only stay in the BC one night (or to be precise, TWO, if you are returning to the valley when finished)  . . . 

                      The "rangers" in the office are telling you the rules––the rangers out on patrol are interpreting them and they know how it goes––they know that often, you don't get what you want and have to wait around another day. As long as you are friendly, pay your nightly fee, then they'll be fine, in my experience. 

                      And if I've had to stay there two nights, I've always just left my tent pitched in the same place, but if you're really worried, just move your tent––if only because I seriously doubt they memorize each and every tent, but seeing it in the same place might trigger some memory of your previous night's stay. 

                      And I've met a lot of hikers who've spent multiple nights there, who just stay away––they pay the fee (move the tent) tag the tent and are out carousing in the valley when the rangers come through––which they usually do at no specific time, but again, it's usually well past sunset and they're poking a flashlight in your face and are easy-going and willing to listen to whatever you have to say about your circumstances. They understand. 

                      Anyway, this is my unauthorized, "don't quote me" take on the whole permit thing . . . and lastly, again, if you're worried and need time to acclimate, go ahead and "$pend" several days in the valley, but I'll bet sitting there won't help as much as getting on the trail and just taking those first couple of days, nice and slow. 

                      BOB
                      http://www.summitpost.org/plans/view_activity.php?post_id=6480




                      To: johnmuirtrail@yahoogroups.com
                      From: Pete.Staehling@...
                      Date: Sat, 19 Jan 2013 19:40:22 +0000
                      Subject: [John Muir Trail] Reservations and Permits

                       
                      I am sure this has been asked a lot, but despite having read quite a few threads on this, I am still kind of torn about the whole reservation and permit thing. I have decided that I want to spend 5-7 days adjusting to the altitude so I would probably arrive in the Yosemite Valley that far ahead of time. I figure that would give me some flexibility with regard to getting a walk up permit.

                      I am planning to start a N-S JMT thru hike around August 1st, give or take a week.

                      I am unsure of how best to manage the logistics. I plan to arrive by plane and then bus and wonder how best to manage getting a camp site. Do folks manage to get by without having reservations? I would be perfectly happy spending my time in the valley in Camp 4 if I can be fairly sure of getting in. I would plan on getting there on a weekday, which I figure would increase my chances. I guess worst case I could probably find someone who would let me cowboy camp or bivy camp in their site.

                      So do I need to bite the bullet and get advance permits and reservations for the Valley? It seems to me that would mean committing to flying on a particular day and buying the tickets several months in advance. It would also probably mean I couldn't fly stand by, which I may or may not want to do depending on ticket prices.


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