TravelThis Breathtaking New Hike in Yosemite Isn't for the Faint of Heart
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Yosemite National Park may be nearing 130 years old, but that doesn’t mean there’s nothing left to explore.
Yosemite became a National Park way back on Oct. 1, 1890. Since then, day trippers, over-nighters, and extreme backpackers have tried their best to cover every square inch of the park in pursuit of a little peace and quite. But, just this week, a new trail was discovered by professional backpacker Andrew Skurka.
And sure, this path isn’t for the faint of heart. After all, it is what The San Francisco Chronicle called a 94-mile “quad buster.” But, it is something new.
“Its scenery and off-trail travel make for a consistent world-class backpacking experience,” Skurka told The Chronicle about his new hike, which he found after spending nine days in the backcountry. “Its terrain is physically challenging but never contrived or stupidly hard.”
Beyond Yosemite: State parks to seek out off the beaten vacation path
The government shutdown earlier this year brought with it many hardships for millions of Americans who depended on those missing pay checks to feed and clothe their families. On a less drastic note, it also brought - among a laundry list of other things - the closure of the country's national parks. That meant a not-open-for-business sign on majestic Yosemite and Yellowstone; on the exotic Everglades and the stark Death Valley; on the spectacular Grand Canyon and Mammoth Cave. And while assuredly, these closures didn't impact the public like the loss of wages, they represented a significant loss to the nation's psyche.
The new trail, The Chronicle reported, is what is known as a “high route.” That means it’s an off-trail path that typically “contours around deep valleys and climbs over steep passes in high-elevation regions.”
Though ropes aren’t needed for the new trail it should be noted that there are areas on the hike where there are steep drop-offs that could result in injury.
To get to the new route hikers can approach from several different well-defined paths. Tuolumne Meadows, along Tioga Road, serves as a central point of access to the route, which also stems both north and south.
As The Chronicle noted, the route takes hikers off trail through some of the most remote parts of the park and up steep talus passes. Along the way the route stays above forested valleys, providing those brave enough to try it with stunning views. In total, the route covers more than 28,000 vertical feet of elevation gain.
A guide to Yosemite National Park
Travel essentials for visiting California's epic home of El Capitan and Half Dome.
Still, even with this remarkable new find, Skurka stayed humble about it all. “I’m by no means the first person to have linked things together,” he said. “I guarantee, people who’ve been Yosemite aficionados for 30 years have done large sections of this route.”
Think you’re brave enough to try Skurka’s find? Check out the route map on The Chronicle now.
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