Yosemite Backcountry

100 Miles, 4-Day Stage

In 2019, we knew Yosemite would be incredible. It was, but we were unprepared for how special it was to share so much of the park with folks from all across the country. This trip is not to be missed! 


  • Tuesday through Sunday — July 7 to 11, 2020  
  • Tuesday through Sunday — July 14 to 18, 2020


Yosemite needs no introduction. Her iconic and immense towers of glacially cut granite shock the mind and senses mind into awe and humility. While thousands of visitors flock to the National Park each year, few migrate far from the main valley floor.  We’ll end up there too, but only after running close to a 100 miles of wilderness trails. In short this run will summit both El Capitan and North Dome, flow with the river down the Grand Canyon of the Tuolumne, traverse the Tuolumne Backcountry, and explore a majestic landscape of mountain meadows, granite peaks, and pristine alpine lakes. 

Course Overview

Tuesday, Day 1: Meet in Yosemite 

We will meet runners at 4pm at the Crane Flat Campground. We will also operate a shuttle from the San Francisco airport to the meeting spot. That evening we will serve dinner and go over routes, risk management, and gear in preparation for the run. 

Wednesday, Day 2: Run from Tamarack Flat to Porcupine Flat, 22 Miles, Elevation Gain: 5967′ Loss: 4236′

This run starts right from camp. After an early breakfast, runners will head east following the north rim of the valley before summiting El Cap and North Dome. Here the trail turns due north along Indian Ridge and up the headwaters of Snow Creek. The final miles of trail bring runners directly into Porcupine Flat campground and the awaiting food, drinks, showers, and relaxation. This location will serve as a base camp for the next 3 nights. 

Thursday, Day 3: Run the Grand Canyon of the Tuolumne River, 28 Miles, Elevation Gain: 4994′ Loss: -5733′ 

After breakfast, it is a short shuttle from camp to Tuolumne Meadows and the trailhead accessing the Tuolumne River Canyon. The first 20 miles of the day follow the descending river grade through a deep canyon of carved granite. Here the trail reveals a ribbon of pools, waterfalls, and granite formations that will beckon the trail weary runner to pause and swim. At the Pate Valley, the trail turns south following Piute Creek and climbing out of the canyon to the Wolf Creek Lodge. Here a waiting Aspire shuttle will transport runners to the Porcupine Flat basecamp. 

Friday, Day 4: Run the Ten Lakes Basin, 23 Miles, Elevation Gain/Loss +6368′ -5620′ 

Its a short shuttle from camp to the Yosemite Creek trailhead. This run steadily climbs over 6 miles to Ten Lakes Pass. From this high point, the trail wanders through a spectacular landscape of alpine granite, meadows, and lakes. Circling around the north face of Tuolumne Peak, the trail skirts the Potty Dome Lakes and May Lake, finishing at Snow Flat. Here again the shuttle brings runners back into Porcupine Flat. 

Saturday, Day 5: Run from Tuolumne Meadows to Yosemite Valley, 28 Miles, Elevation Gain/Loss +6368′ -5620′ 

The final day of the trip brings runners out of the Tuolumne high country and into the splendor of the Yosemite Valley. Following sections of the John Muir Trail, crossing over Tuolumne Pass and Vogelsang Pass, and spending many blissful trail miles through alpine splendor. The trail follows Fletcher Creek into Merced Lake and parallels the Merced River through Little Yosemite Valley before the final finish at Glacier Point and the Yosemite Valley. Here runners will be greeted with a final celebratory meal. At evening tide we’ll transport runners back to waiting vehicles at Crane Flat Campground.

Sunday, Day 6: Shuttle to SanFrancisco

The Aspire shuttle back to the SanFrancisco Airport will depart Sunday morning. Estimated airport arrival time is 4pm.  


For topographical route information, elevation profiles, and a downloadable GPX file of the routes, visit our Caltopo Yosemite Backcountry Map.


This trip begins and ends at Crane Flat inside of Yosemite National Park. All inter-trail shuttles will be provided by Aspire. We also plan to provide a shuttle to and from the San Francisco airport on Tuesday and Sunday mornings, this shuttle is NOT included in the course fee. All those booking flights from San Fransisco should plan to for the shuttle to arrive at the airport at 4 pm. Runners driving personal vehicles to the start may leave leave them at the Crane Flat Campground.   


The accommodations for this trip will be “front country” car camping. The first night will be at Tamarack Flat Campground and Nights 2-4 will be staged out of a basecamp at Porcupine Flat with a final optional night at Crane Flat Campground on Sunday.  Aspire will provide lively camp amenities for a remote but comfortable “glamp” style experience. Runners will need to provide or rent a personal tent, sleeping bag, pad, etc. 

Course Info Packet

For details about the trails, complete itinerary information, packing and gear lists, menu and dietary information, safety protocols, and trip policies, we’ve prepared the Yosemite Backcountry Course Packet. To get the details share your email with us and we’ll send you a copy.


Early Bird Registration: $1400, ends December 31st 
Regular Registration: $1500, ends April 30st
Late Registration: $1600, closes July 12th


Trip Insurance

Every year we have at least one runner who due to injury, illness, or personal/familial circumstances can not participate in their registered trip.  While registrations can be transferred, Aspire does not issue refunds.  See our FAQ’s.  We strongly encourage each runner to purchase 3rd party trip insurance that will reimburse the cost of registration in the event that you are unable to participate in the event.