Highlights: Our Young Adventurer’s 6 day Summer Youth Programs are designed for the younger participants, ages 11-13, who are both new or experienced backpackers. These summer youth adventure camps start in Tuolumne Meadows on Sundays and in Yosemite Valley on Mondays. Both programs end in Yosemite Valley. These programs will offer shorter hiking distances and an introduction to camping, backpacking, and the outdoors amongst the natural geological formations surrounding us in the Yosemite high country.
Day 1: Meet your Guides/Counselors at 12pm. Get acquainted with the group and with gear. Tuolumne Meadows highlights and history. Camp in the Tuolumne Meadows Backpackers camp. Evening campfire to strengthen bonds while setting goals, enjoying s’mores, and sharing stories and smiles!
Day 2: After morning circle time (stretches and goal setting) we will catch the morning shuttle to the trailhead near Tenaya Lake. Take in the views at Tenaya Lake (8,150’) before hiking up a total of 3.3 moderate miles to May Lake. May Lake is a high alpine lake at 9,329’. The designated backpackers campsites are along the south shore of the lake. There are seasonally operating flush toilets and a fresh water tap here. A side hike of 1.5 miles to the top of Mount Hoffman (10,850’) is available this afternoon. (Mount Hoffman is the geographical center of Yosemite National Park and was also John Muir’s favorite summit view.) Also at this location: swading, group games, and taking in an amazing sunset on the secret bluff which looks east across the Yosemite high country.
Day 3: Hike to Glen Aulin. This hike is a moderate 8-mile hike mostly downhill. We will break this hike into segments with breaks at awesome watering holes and creeks. Once we arrive at Glen Aulin, we will celebrate our hike with a dip in the Tuolumne River right besides the White Cascade. Dinner and Evening campfire.
Day 4: On this day, participants will hike (without packs) and explore the Tuolumne River gorge down river from Glen Aulin. This river and valley was formed very similarly to Yosemite Valley. We will visit California Falls, Le Conte Falls, and the well-known Waterwheel Falls before returning to Glen Aulin. Total round-trip hike is approx. 6-miles. Dinner followed by a memorable sunset looking down river along the Tuolumne from a rock perched above Glen Aulin.
Day 5: On day 5 we will return to Tuolumne meadows by hiking alongside the Tuolumne River for approximately 5.7 miles. We will then catch the bus to Yosemite Valley where we will stay in the Backpackers Camp for our final night which can involve an evening night hike and searching for the lights of climbers on the granite monoliths around us.
Day 6: After breakfast and packing-up we will head on a short hike to the secret Indian Caves in Yosemite Valley. Here we will spend some time exploring and bringing conclusion to our time together. We will return to Curry Village for unpacking and pizza!
Note: Remember this is only a sample itinerary.
Other: On all of our summer youth programs we have 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!