You can backpack from Tuolumne Meadows to White Wolf Lodge as a point to point backpack through the Grand Canyon of the Tuolumne. This trip is a real treat, and can also be done as a loop or an out-and back. The aesthetic of the point to point appeals to me, so we managed to return to the car with a facile hitchhike… but you can also take a shuttle bus from the White Wolf Lodge to Tuolumne. Here is the schedule. Other than that, logistically, it is very easy. You will want to arrange permits ahead of time online, and then you will be required to pick them up in person at the Tuolumne Meadows Wilderness Center. We did the 36 mile trip in 4 days, but it could easily be done in 3 days.
GPS Track for this Route Day 1
GPS Track for this Route Day 2
GPS Track for this Route Day 3
GPS Track for this Route Day 4
This is the overview of the route we took. It starts at Tuolumne Meadow (parking lot near Lembert Dome), and ends at White Wolf. To make this a point to point, you can take a bus from White Wolf back to Tuolumne Meadows, but the schedule is sparse – especially later in the season. We were looking at a several hour wait, so I walked to the highway and within a few minutes hitched a ride back to the car.
Immediately after leaving the parking lot, you find yourself walking beside the beautiful Tuolumne River
The Tuolmne River produces some good falls as you head towards Glen Aulin, such as Waterwheel Falls.
Fortunately, there are some bridge crossings over the Tuolumne River.
This is an area where the canyon gets more narrow – right near the confluence with Cathedral Creek.
Falls at Cathedral Creek
The view from within Muir Gorge
Falls at the Confluence of Register Creek and Rodgers Canyon
More views in the Grand Canyon of the Tuolumne
We were surprised to see a water snake swimming along
You leave the river and start heading up the Morrison Creek drainage at the head of the Hetch Hetchy Reservoir. Here you can see Hetch Hetchy in the distance.
We camped at Harden Lake, which was beautiful and deserted. This was a slightly late-season trip, and the camping was spectacular!