Highlights: Our 13-day Yosemite Adventure Camp is designed for participants ages 13-18, who are both new and experienced to backpacking. Most trips travel a total of 60-75 miles while camping and hiking beside high alpine lakes, rivers, waterfalls, and meadows. Most trips have an opportunity to summit a major peak, travel off-trail, and/or enjoy the natural geological formations and backcountry waterfalls. Risk-taking, challenges, among fun and support from others leads to a positive adventure for all. Our 13-day adventure camp offers a great alternative to those seeking a more grand adventure and a more defined connection to nature.
Day 1: Meet your Guides/Counselors between 12-1pm. Get acquainted with the group and with gear. Group orientation and relocation to the Yosemite Backpackers Campsite for the evening. Yosemite Valley tour including geological and natural highlights. Evening activities and campfire to strengthen bonds while goal setting and an introduction to the Yosemite wilderness and history through storytelling.
Day 2: After taking the morning shuttle to the high country we will head out on the trail through the Tuolumne Meadows and following the river downstream for 6-miles to Glen Aulin High Sierra Camp at 7840′. Participants will enjoy the natural water features and exploring in this area.
Day 3: After morning circle time (stretches, map review, goal setting, etc.) we will continue weaving our way down the Tuolumne River gorge while appreciating the natural art that the glaciers left behind. We will hike about 7-miles today to a site along the Tuolumne River and across from the Cathedral Creek cascade which joins the Tuolumne River in this location at approximately 5600′.
Day 4: Today we will awake to granite walls all around us as we prepare with morning stretches and circle time. Today’s hike will continue another 7-miles to Pate Valley at 4380′ which is the west end of the Grand Canyon of the Tuolumne. This valley is a meadow area which may have been along an old Indian trading route.
Day 5: Day 5 will also begin early as we have a more strenuous day today of uphill trail as we leave the Tuolumne River Gorge and head to White Wolf. This almost 10-mile uphill hike will ascend nearly 3500′ to White Wolf at 7,875′. Once here we will celebrate our achievement with ice cream, real toilets, and a re-supply of food and clean clothes.
Day 6: After a much needed rest and relaxation we will head back east for 5.5 miles along a more moderate trail before a lunch break at the Ten Lakes trail junction at 8,240′. After lunch we will begin our uphill segment of the day climbing nearly 1400′ over the next 2.8 miles to the Ten Lakes Pass at 9,620′. After taking in the view we will drop down approximately 600 feet over the next mile to camp besides one of the lakes in the Ten Lakes basin.
Day 7: We will wind our way out of the Ten Lakes basin dropping into the South Fork of the Tuolumne at nearly 8800′. Total hiking will be approximately 6-miles.
Day 8: Today, after awaking in a very remote site, we will head approximately 8.5 miles to May Lake at 9,329′, passing and rounding Tuolumne Peak and many spectacular high country views along the way.
Day 9: Today, is our much needed “Zero” day with packs. This means no milage with packs on today. Instead we will partake in a morning scramble to the top of Mount Hoffman at 10,850′. This is approximately a 4-mile round-trip from May Lake. Mount Hoffman is the geographical center of Yosemite and offers one of the best views in all of the park. This afternoon participants will have a chance to swade, fish, relax on May Lake before afternoon activities and dinner. An awesome sunset experience will be had on the bluff above our campsite.
Day 10: Today we will leave May Lake and follow the Snow Creek to the rim of the Yosemite Valley. We will travel a total of 8-miles to a campsite at 6720′ directly across the valley from Half Dome. Another spectacular sunset location for our last night together in the wilderness.
Day 11: We will hike a moderate 10-miles round-trip to enjoy the view and accomplishment from reaching the top of North Dome at 7542′. North Dome looks over the Yosemite Valley. We will return to our campsite by Snow Creek.
Day 12: On our last day we will descend to Yosemite Valley via the Snow Creek Trail. We will drop from nearly 2600′ in 2.6-miles. We will then hike past Mirror Lake (now Mirror Meadow) on level ground for our last 2.5 miles before we head to the Backpackers camp for our last night together.
Day 13: After packing up camp we will do a final bonding activity together as we explore the secret Indian Caves. We will then return to Curry Village. Here we will unpack and celebrate with pizza and beverages before we say our ‘See-ya Laters”.
Note: Remember this is only a sample itinerary. Also, on our Monday through Saturday programs we will be camping in a Yosemite Valley front-country campsite. This means we can accommodate late arrivals on this first day as communicated in advance. All 13-day trips will have a re-supply half-way through the trip. Participants are encouraged to pack an extra duffle bag with clean socks, shirts, underwear, etc.
Other: On all youth programs, we have a daily circle time in the morning where youth engage in group games, share highlights, offer praise to each other, stretch, review maps and day itineraries, and set individual and group goals for the day. Also, whether breaking on the trail or in the afternoon or evening in the campsite, our guides also facilitate additional opportunities for youth to develop a personal connection with nature. Problem-solving and initiative games are common as are smiles. Additional outdoor skills are gained as we practice Leave no Trace principles and promote environmental stewardship throughout the length of the program.
Our Monday through Saturday program both begins and ends in Half Dome Village within Yosemite Valley. Drop-off is Mondays at 12pm and pick-up is on Saturdays at 12-1pm in the Half Dome Village pizza patio.
Scholarship Application – Every youth deserves this opportunity!
“The trip was well organized, the food was good, the leaders were extremely knowledgeable and engaged all of the kids. He is already talking about next year. This trip is highly recommended for adventurous souls!”