Action | May 17, 2019 2:45 pm

A Backpacker Created a Brand-New 94-Mile Hiking Route in Yosemite

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A Backpacker Created a Brand-New 94-Mile Hiking Route in Yosemite

The year Yosemite National Park was established, the population of New York City was only 1.5M, the Brooklyn Bridegrooms (Who?!) beat the Louisville Colonels in the World Series and Pablo Picasso turned nine. In its 128-year history, the park’s trails and sights have been religiously catalogued, from John Muir’s charts in the early days to your niece’s Instagram page last summer.

So it’s a bit of a surprise that Yosemite still has something left to explore. And yet, a 38-year-old professional backpacker named Andrew Skurka has managed to create a brand new 94-mile hiking route within the park. Called the Yosemite High Route, the journey cuts through the upper headwaters of the Tuolumne and Merced Waters, stretching from Grace Meadow in the north to Quartzite Park in the south.

According to Skurka, 70 percent of the route is off-trail. Hikers will be far away from other visitors to the park, even rangers, and be rewarded in kind with remote canyons and lakes all to themselves.

But it isn’t for everyone. Skurka claims it isn’t “stupidly hard,” but he’s also a professional backpacker. Anyone attempting the thru-hike will have to descend up to 630 vertical feet per mile. It necessitates serious mountaineering experience, previous familiarity with high routes (like the Sierra High Route) and a permit from the National Park Service, which you can secure here.

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