Route: High Sierra Camp Loop (CA)

California, US
47.7 mi
Vertical Gain
7,750 ft

A 49-mile loop that visits 6 of Yosemite's High Sierra Camps. Starting from Tuolumne Lodge and going clockwise: Vogelsang, Merced Lake, Sunrise, May Lake, Glen Aulin and back to the Tuolumne Lodge trailhead. After Vogelsang, there are two options to take for a route to Merced Lake; I took the outermost path over Vogelsang Pass. 

Jason Hill asked about the route:

Does anyone have any info on running the High Sierra Camp loop from Tuolumne, West on PCT and and then returning along the John Muir Trail? We can't seem to find any recaps or intel on running this loop - it is such an iconic part of Yosemite that it must have done it before, no?

Sue Johnston responded:

Hey Jason, I "ran" this loop solo in July 2009. Started at Tuolumne and went clockwise. Am traveling right now and don't have access to my records, but seem to remember doing the 50'ish mile loop in ~14 hours or so, with lots of stops to gawk at the spectacular scenery.

That day I met a group of 3 guys who were attempting to do the loop counter-clockwise, but pretty sure they bailed as I never saw them a second time.

Other ultra types must be doing this loop, but like you, I haven't heard of many. You can get good water at the 5 (or is it 6?) camps as well as streams along the way, but I carried all my own food as I was/am unsure whether non-customers are allowed to purchase snacks.

You cross the road roughly halfway, so it's conceivable that you could put some aid out if you're self-supported. Just remember to put it in a bear-resistant canister -- the bears in Yosemite are freakishly smart. :o

The High Sierra Camp Loop reminded me a lot of the White Mtn. Hut Traverse in NH, which I have completed 4 times, but the latter is a few hours slower given the technicality of the terrain.

Good luck. Bring sunscreen!

GPS Track


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On 8.19.20 I will attempt an FKT on the High Sierra Loop (supported) beginning from Toulumne Meadows Lodge parking lot and going clockwise, following the GPX file from Sara Aranda (going over Vogelsang Pass). I will live-track my attempt with a Garmin InReach ( and also record with my Garmin Fenix6 Plus to post following the attempt. I will run solo, with only one point of contact with my "crew" at Sunrise Lakes trailhead/Tioga Road (mile ~31). I plan to start around 6 AM.

Update: Abandoned attempt at 33 miles. Due to forest fires in the area, smoke levels in the park made air quality levels unhealthy.