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Approaches to the Core Route

Waterwheel Falls. The Grand Canyon of the Tuolumne has countless slides, drops, and pools, and more swimming holes than there are summer days.

The “best stuff” on the Yosemite High Route spans 94 miles between:

  • Grace Meadow, near the northern park boundary; and the,
  • Base of Quartzite Peak, at the Merced River.

Between these two points, expect world-class scenery, engaging navigation, notable (but not contrived) physical challenge, and untrammeled wilderness. Before and after, expect something less, at least on average.

To reach Grace Meadow at the northern end of the Core Route, there are eight distinct approach routes. To reach the base of Quartzite Peak at the southern end of the Core Route, there are four. No approach is clearly the best — each has merits, but none are without flaws.

The Yosemite High Route Guide includes permit instructions, route descriptions, datasheets, and topographic maps for all twelve potential termini. You are encouraged to select the entry and exit points that best suit your interests, timeline, or resources.

The table below compares mileage and vertical for the termini options.

How far is the Yosemite High Route?

The exact distance of a Yosemite High Route thru-hike depends on the chosen approaches. There are 32 unique options. The shortest combination is 120 miles; the longest, 162 miles.

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