Yosemite's wilderness is varied and offers day hiking and backpacking experiences for both the seasoned hiker and the novice. About 800 miles of trails offer a variety of climate, elevation, and spectacular scenery. Near the crest of the Sierra you can take both long and short trips at elevations above 9,000 feet. The higher regions offer a cool climate, while lower elevations are warmer and drier.
To protect Yosemite's wilderness, there are quotas for overnight use. Free wilderness permits are required and are available at ranger stations and visitor centers. Be sure to read the information you receive with your permit and observe all regulations. Above all, remember to keep your impact to a minimum. Additionally, you will need appropriate equipment and good footgear.
During winter the wilderness is receiving increased mountaineering use. Cross-country skiing and snow-shoeing have grown in popularity and open up a new world for the backpacker. The high country is a wonderland. Deep snow covers the land, and summer landmarks may be unrecognizable. But winter in the wilderness is more demanding than summer. Good equipment, warm clothing, and proper planning are essential to assure a safe and comfortable trip into the harsh Sierra winter environment. Backcountry travel both summer and winter, can be gratifying. However you are experiencing the mountains on their terms, and the mountains are not forgiving to the careless or unprepared.