Vogelsang Peak is located in the Cathedral Range of Yosemite NP. Because it lies off the main crest of the Cathedral Range, it offers a dramatic view of nearly the entire range from Cathedral Peak to the northwest to Simmons Peak towards the southeast. In addition, it offers a commanding view of the Merced drainage to the west and a sweeping view of the Clark Range. To the north can be seen most of the peaks in Northern Yosemite as far as the Sawtooth Range. And on the horizon to the east can be seen the major summits of the Kuna Crest from Mt. Dana to Blacktop Peak.
Because of its proximity to the Vogelsang High Sierra Camp, it is a very popular climb in the summer. It seems almost everyone who visits the camp makes a pilgrimage to the summit. One of the park employees, a cook at the camp, recorded dozens of ascents during one summer.
Most of the climbs to the summit are scrambles in the class 2-3 range done on the peak's East Face. The west side has dramatic cliffs with several class 5.9-10 routes described in the literature.
The nearest trailhead is at Tuolumne Meadows, about 9 miles to the north. From the JMT trailhead in Tuolumne Meadows, hike south on the JMT. After several miles, take the Rafferty Creek Trail to Vogelsang HS Camp. From there, take the trail towards Vogelsang Pass. Most routes to the summit leave the trail somewhere between the outlet of Vogelsang Lake and Vogelsang Pass.
Permits are not required for day hikes, but Wilderness permits are required for overnight visits. These can be obtained from any ranger station in the park. The nearest location is the permit building just east of the Tuolmne Meadows campground. It is just off the road that leads to the Tuolumne Lodge, on the right hand side.
For more information, check out the Tuolumne Meadows Logistics page.
Climbing is generally done May-Oct. Before and after this time Highway 120 is closed. There can be much snow on the ground in May and June, so check ahead and plan accordingly if you intend to climb at this time. Late in October the highway is often open but closed to overnight parking - dayhikes to Vogelsang can still be done easily. In early season when there is much snow on the ground, Vogelsang is more difficult undertaking due to the abundance of snow between Tuolumne Pass and the summit.
Allowed in all parts of the surrounding Wilderness with appropriate overnight permit. For more information, check out the Tuolumne Meadows Logistics page.
Good campsites are located along Rafferty Creek and in the vicinity of Tuolumne Pass & Vogelsang HS Camp. Closer camping can be found at Vogelsang Lake, but there are few trees and the area is more exposed to the sun.
For those looking for deluxe accomodations, look no further than the nearby Vogelsang HS Camp:
(12 cabins, total occupancy 42) - Located along Fletcher Creek, just beyond Fletcher Lake, Vogelsang is often named as one of the favorite spots in Yosemite by many a veteran visitor. Featuring a rock kitchen and dining tent, this is truly an alpine setting. Elevation: 10,300 ft.
"The name was given to the peak in 1907 by H. C. Benson, in honor of Charles A. Vogelsang, for many years executve officer of the State Fish and Game Commission. Although named for a man, the name is singularly fitting to the beautiful place, since in older German in means 'a meadow in which birds sing'."
- Erwin Gudde, California Place Names
"Farquhar (Place Names, p. 99) stated that Col. Benson named these features for Alexander Theodore Vogelsang, president of the California State Board of Fish and Game Commissioners, 1896-1901. However, Charles Adolphus Vogelsang (a brother) wrote Farquhar that Benson named the peak for him, in 1907. He was the executive officer of Fish and Game, 1901-10, 1919-22. (Letter, Oct. 20, 1930, in Farquhar files.) 'My recollection is that Col. Benson gave the name for ATV, but CAV may be right.' (Farquhar files.) In 1932 the BGN ratified these names and also 'Vogelsang Pass,' which is generally known by that name but is not on the map. It is 1/2 mile south of Vogelsang Lake.
- Peter Browning, Place Names of the Sierra Nevada
"Lieutenant Benson was especially interested in propagating trout in the lakes and streams of the [Yosemite] Park and to that end cooperated with the State Fish and Game Commisioners, whose names were given to lakes Babcock, Emeric, Fletcher, Murdock, and Vogelsang."
- Francis Farquhar, History of the Sierra Nevada