68 miles hike at Ansel Adams Wilderness - Day 1

Together with a good friend I did 4 days backpacking hike, 68 miles long hiking trip at the High Sierra.

Starting our hike at Tuolumne Meadows, Yosemite National Park, and hiking from there southeast into the amazing Ansel Adams Wilderness.


We did this hike at August 28-31, 2021.


The following days Blog Posts:




The National Park and wilderness control the number of day-hikers getting into the wilderness. We got Yosemite wilderness permits for 2 hikers few months in advance where the only available starting point was at Mono Pass Trailhead, few miles east on highway 120. The limitation of this entering point is that it almost at the edge of the Yosemite Park, another aspect related to this specific starting point is that you must sleep your first night outside of the park boundaries.



What I took with me to the hike (a short list):

- We are using one tent for two hikers, sleeping bag, sleeping pad and warm cloth.

- Each of us carry a bear canister as it mandatory in many Sierra parks and wilderness.

- Food for 5 days of hiking, unfortunately we always carry to much food with us, we need to learn how to reduce the amount of food we are taking with us.

- I’m eating mainly nuts mix, some power bars, beef jerky, yellow-cheese, and trail mix. I’m not using any prepared meals, so I do not need to boil water for dinner.

- Water filtering devices and up to 3.5 liter of water that we can carry with us if needed. This was a dry winter, so we did not know in advance the situation with available water, but it turned out that we had plenty of water sources along the trails.

- Garmin Inreach explorer+ for safety, ease of mind and emergency communication.

- I brought my 90D DSLR camera with my 18-400mm Zoom

- I was using for the first time Alltrail app all day (download the maps in advance, I want to measure the distance and pace as well as for navigation), brought with me a large external battery for the phone charging (this 2,000 mA battery can probably be good for 10 days of charging).

- Paper trail map of the area (even when we had the Alltrail and GPS map, always take with you a paper map).



Mid / Late summer is California notorious fire season, unfortunately we are seeing more and more of those huge fires happening at the last few years…

At the same time of our hike there were 2 large wildfires at the forests near lake Tahoe (80 miles to the north). Just prior to our trip smoke cover the area, we were concern from the air quality (had bad smoke hiking experience a year ago). Wind coming from the east clear the smoke, so our trip was not affected from the fires at all.

A day after we finished our hike they close all of California forest for hikers, taking the forest rangers and maintenance teams to help fighting the fires.

The 4 days hike map:



The Hike:


I will try to describe our hike, day by day…. It will be challenging to convey the nature beauty, our feeling, and emotions but I will try.


Day 1:

Start: Lyell Canyon Trailhead, Tuolumne Meadows Wilderness Center, Yosemite

End: Alger Lakes, Ansel Adams Wilderness

Statistics: 18 miles, +4330ft / -2380ft


Waking up at 4am, 4 hours drive will bring us to Yosemite Tuolumne Meadows, highway 120.

We arrived at Yosemite Tuolumne Meadows Wilderness Center, we received our wilderness permit and had the short session with the ranger that explained the wilderness regulations (what to do and what not to do).

Than we parked our car at Lyell Canyon Trailhead parking lot and finally start our hike.

We start our hike taking the trail east parallel to the road, after 2.6 miles the trail cross the road, here we did not find the trail junction with the trail we planned to take. Looks like that this is unmaintained trail that is not marked on the official map but we saw it in some web-based maps.

We progress into the wood in the direction of the trail trying to find it, after advancing and few zigzags we manage to find this old unmaintained trail heading east.

5.2 miles from our starting point, we reach the Tioga pass road (highway 120) and to our official hike starting point, Mono Pass Trailhead, as stated in our permit.

We cross the road and head south along Parker Pass Creek, this section was easy climbing for another 5.5 miles. At some point the elevation is high and trees are not growing.

The trail progress up the open landscape all the way up to Parker pass. This is not a difficult pass to hike.

We were already 10 miles into our hike and short on water, we filled our water at the first shallow lake at the pass and start to descend down to the other side of the pass.

The downhill trail is passing along it way few streams and few small lakes, this valley is covered with red color rocks.

Right after crossing Parker Creek at the lower section, we started the 2 miles long steep climb to Koip Peak Pass.

The trail zigzag with many switchbacks up the mountain slop's going almost straight up for a mile or so and only than we manage to see the mountain pass itself. This was our most challenging hike section for the entire trip. We were tired from the early morning wake up, doing already 13 miles of hiking and this was our first day where our body is still not use to the hike.

We made it to the windy mountain pass and we rested at the pass getting some protection from the cold wind behind a small rock shelter.

After the short rest we start to went down at the other side of the pass. Once we cross the pass we saw, way down below, our night camping destination, Alger lakes.

We reach the lake at around 7pm, just before sunset. We had enough daylight to find excellent campsite near the lake and get organized for our dinner.

It was fully dark at 8pm and we soon went to sleep, it was a good night sleep…

Additional Pictures from the same day: