An Iconic Landscape

In the heart of California’s Sierra Nevada mountain range, Yosemite National Park is home to one of the world’s most striking and beloved landscapes. Towering granite domes, gushing waterfalls, and diverse forest and meadow habitats provide the perfect setting for endless exploration and exciting, hands-on environmental science research. This summer, you can avoid the crowds and see a side of Yosemite National Park that many will never encounter.

 
 happy high school students backpack through yosemite valley

14-day Yosemite Wilderness Expeditions

Dates: 
Session 1: June 24 - July 7, 2018
Session 2: July 15 - July 28, 2018
Ages: For students entering 10th, 11th, and 12th grade, or who have just graduated high school

Immerse yourself in backpacking, in environmental science, and in the wonder of exploring a national park on this exceptional two-week experience.

  • Embark on a 9-day backpacking expedition through Yosemite National Park.
  • Design and conduct your own science investigation.
  • Discover what it means to be a field scientist.
  • Learn, or improve, your backpacking skills.
  • Travel over peaks and mountain passes in the Yosemite Wilderness.
  • Form new friendships.
  • Hike 5-10 miles each day to a new campsite, carrying everything you need in a large backpack that weighs 40-50 lbs.
  • Strengthen your leadership skills.
  • Present your science investigations to National Park staff, NatureBridge educators, your family, and peers.

Students have used their NatureBridge summer backpacking experience and research for high school capstone projects, college entrance essays, and job resumes. This challenging and fun adventure will likely be one of your most meaningful and rewarding experiences. No backpacking experience is necessary and financial aid is available.

Cost: $2,646
Financial aid is available! Click here to learn more!

 empowering backpacking program for teenage girls

Armstrong Scholars Program

Dates: July 15-28, 2018
Ages: 15-18

Inspired by and in memory of former NatureBridge environmental science educator Joie Armstrong, the Armstrong Scholars program brings together young women, ages 15 to 18, for a truly empowering summer backpacking adventure in the High Sierra. The Armstrong Scholars Program has its own application process, click the "Learn more" button to be re-directed to the Armstrong Scholars website.

The Armstrong Scholars application period is closed for Summer 2018.

 

Fees and Financial Aid

(For NatureBridge Wilderness Expeditions only. Please refer to the Armstrong Scholars webpage for scholarship information.)

Enrollment & Tuition
Fees include all meals, lodging, and educational experiences. 

Financial Aid
NatureBridge is committed to making our programs financially accessible to all students. We are pleased to offer financial aid for families who qualify. To apply for financial aid, download and complete our financial aid application. Instructions for financial aid applicants are included on the financial aid application form. Financial aid decisions are based on the family's demonstrated need and the student's commitment to participating in one of our summer backpacking trips. 

 

Our Campus in Yosemite

Our Crane Flat campus is nestled in the forest on the northwest side of Yosemite National Park. The campus includes a cozy dining hall, a large dorm with bunk beds divided into male and female sections, a bathhouse, and a spacious outdoor area for group activities. The campus also has several trails that lead to local points of interest, like the famous Tuolumne Grove of Giant Sequoias.

 

 students play games in dorm area at crane flat campus in yosemite national park
 

Getting Here

 

We can’t wait to see you this summer!

Yosemite National Park is in the Sierra Nevada Mountains of California. It is your responsibility to get to and from Yosemite at the beginning and end of the course. Here are some travel options.

Complete travel information, including arrival and departure times for each course, is included in our Preparing for the 14-day Yosemite Wilderness Expedition document .

Plane

We offer a shuttle service to and from Fresno Yosemite International Airport on the first and last day of each session. This service costs $50 each way ($100 roundtrip) and is payable with registration through Eventbrite. Specific instructions on flight arrival and departure times can be found in the Preparing for the 14-day Yosemite Wilderness Expedition document. Public busing is available through YARTS from Fresno International Airport to Yosemite Valley. For bus schedules, search "YARTS Fresno."

Car

If you’re planning to drive, indicate this on your Eventbrite registration, or email Katie Draude, Summer Programs Manager, at kdraude@naturebridge.org so that we can help you arrange carpooling with other participants.

Map and Directions

Google Map of NatureBridge in Yosemite National Park. Route to Crane Flat Campus.

When you arrive at the park

Present your gate pass (you will receive this via email prior to your trip) at the park entrance to waive the park entrance fee. Tell the rangers at the gate that you are going to NatureBridge’s Crane Flat Campus (not Yosemite Valley), and they will direct you. Our Crane Flat Campus is on Highway 120, about one mile East of the Crane Flat gas station.

 

Getting Prepared: Information for Registered Participants

Ready, set, go!

Unless you are an experienced backpacker, the thought of living in the wilderness for over a week can be a little daunting. Rest assured that our environmental science educators have a great deal of experience leading wilderness expeditions and will be able to help you live happily and comfortably in the backcountry.

It is important that you arrive physically and emotionally prepared for the challenge. Our Preparing for the 14-day Yosemite Wilderness Expedition document will help with a complete packing list and guidelines for buying or renting the right equipment and clothing.

Registered Student Paperwork and Information

Registered participants must complete the NatureBridge Registration, Health Screen and Participant Agreement and the Student Contract.

Forms can be returned to the NatureBridge office by
Email - kdraude@naturebridge.org
Fax - 360.928.3046
Mail - NatureBridge
          Attn: Summer Backpacking
          c/o Katie Draude
          111 Barnes Point Road
          Port Angeles, WA 98363

NatureBridge Registration, Health Screen and Participant Agreement Participating students must visit a physician prior to the course to discuss the course and ascertain that their health is well-aligned with the demands of the course. This form must be signed by both a physician and the parent or guardian of the participant.

NatureBridge Student Contract: Participating students must read and sign this contract prior to the course.

Preparing for the 14-day Yosemite Wilderness Expedition: This document contains detailed travel information, a packing list, and helpful tips for preparing for the trip.