This trail guide is provided & sponsored by Southern Yosemite Mountain Guides.
This trail has everything you are looking for in your Yosemite trip – dynamic, cascading waterfalls, granite cliffs and valleys, lush meadows, lively forests, and a place to “commune with nature” as John Muir had written. The Glen Aulin trail is nothing short of magic.
The trail begins with an easy/moderate meander a alongside the Tuolumne River. The half-mile approach from the parking area offers kiosks noting ecology, zoology, historical and geological features you might come across in the coming miles. About four miles down the trail steepens a bit, descending cobblestone steps that will bring you to the backpacker’s camp. It is here that you’ll encounter acrobatic waterfalls, before emerging into the famed meadows of Glen Aulin.
Take it from John Muir himself, 1869: “This is the most spacious and delightful high pleasure-ground I have yet seen… And though lying in the sky, the surrounding mountains are so much higher, one feels protected as if in a grand hall.”
SYMG Guide’s Tips:
There a few things that you will want to remember when walking this trail.
1) This trip is best mid-late summer, when the wildflowers are in full bloom and after the mosquito’s have done their thing.
2) The trail follows the Tuolumne River. If you are interested in a swim, there are some quiet, slow moving sections and pools for you to take a dip. Bathing suits are recommended since this is a somewhat popular trail.
3) The best part of this trip is exploring around the river and meadows, taking your time as you go. You may be so intrigued that you will want to stay out longer than you plan, so take plenty of provisions such as sun screen, extra water (or a filter), a warm layer, and plenty of food.
All the joy of backpacking and none of the hassle! Glen Aulin is a beautiful High Sierra camp accessible after a moderate day hike. Typically open June through September, this beautiful backcountry camp is close to Waterwheel Fall and provides you with a tent to sleep in an a hearty meal. This is glamping at it’s best!
If you would like to Book a stay at the Glen Aulin high sierra camp be sure to reserve ahead of time. Overnight stay in Glen Aulin for backpackers and campers you will need to secure a wilderness permit for this trail. Please note* This is one of the most popular trails in Yosemite National Park and it reservations fill up fast.
Photos by Joseph O’Mara and Southern Yosemite Mountain Guides
You can download a free Yosemite National Park trailhead map here
For individual Yosemite National Park topographic maps by sector click here
Find more about Southern Yosemite Mountain Guides services on their website here.