Here are 10 unique Yosemite adventures you can enjoy in the park this summer

There’s lots to experience in the vast Yosemite National Park, home to nearly 1,200 square miles of Sierra Nevada wilderness. Yosemite Conservancy, the park’s main philanthropic partner, has many outdoor adventures planned this year to help visitors make the most of the place.

And, registration fees for the trips support Yosemite. The nonprofit conservancy has donated $125 million to the park for more than 640 completed projects, including restoring trails and habitat, educational programs, and protecting vulnerable wildlife.

“I can’t say enough about the caliber of the education that will come from going out with a conservancy naturalist,” said Adonia Ripple, the conservancy’s director of Yosemite operations. “Even someone who feels like they know the park quite well can be greatly enriched by this local knowledge and unique way to connect to the park.”

Below is a list of some of the Yosemite Conservancy adventures planned for 2019.

Watercolor Weekend: Capture Valley Scenery: Paint Yosemite scenery while sharpening watercolor techniques during this three-day workshop led by professional artist Steve Curl. (Friday, June 14 to Sunday, June 16. $329)

Visitors look down into Yosemite Valley from Taft Point Thursday, May 26, 2016 in Yosemite National Park. ERIC PAUL ZAMORA

Dine and Discover: Full Moon Hike to Taft Point: Admire sweeping views in a bright granite moonscape during an evening introduction to a remarkable viewpoint above Yosemite Valley. (Saturday, June 15. $99)

Intro to Backpacking: Yosemite Valley’s South Rim: Learn the basics of backpacking during a 9-mile hike along the Pohono Trail, which follows the rim above Yosemite Valley, with breathtaking views from many points. (Friday, June 21 to Sunday, June 23. $279)

Overnight Under the Milky Way: Experience Yosemite under the stars during an easy one-night, 3-mile guided backpacking trip up Ostrander Lake Trail off Glacier Point Road. (Thursday, July 4 to Friday, July 5. $129)

Women’s Backpack: Yosemite Creek and Eagle Peak: Explore Yosemite’s high country during a two-night, women-only guided backpacking trip. (Thursday, July 18 to Sunday, July 21. $299)

Hal Klieforth, 81, looks at Lyell glacier in Yosemite National Park, California, Sept. 24, 2008. As a 23-year-old in 1950, Klieforth hiked to the Lyell glacier summit with four friends. RANDY PENCH Sacramento Bee file photo

Backpack to a former glacier: August 1, 2019 to August 4, 2019 This challenging backpacking adventure goes to Mount Lyell, once home to Lyell Glacier. Researchers say the ice body has recently ceased its centuries of motion and therefore is no longer considered a glacier. (Thursday, Aug. 1 to Sunday, Aug. 4. $299)

Bighorn Sheep Backpack: A High Sierra backpacking adventure that explores the mountain habitat of endangered Sierra Nevada bighorn sheep and explains how Yosemite is working to restore the population. (Thursday, Aug. 22 to Sunday, Aug. 25. $389).

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Helen Coats looks at a large basket made by her grandmother, Lucy Telles, on display in the Indian Cultural Museum in Yosemite Valley, summer 2014. In the background are an array of smaller traditional baskets, cradleboards and clothing also made by Telles. CARMEN GEORGE

Yosemite Miwok-Paiute Basketry Workshop: Learn traditional basket-weaving techniques from a Yosemite legend, Julia Parker, during a three-day workshop. (Friday, Sept. 27 to Sunday, Sept. 29. $429)

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Yosemite With Your Dog: Share a Yosemite adventure with your canine companion and fellow dog lovers. (Sunday, Oct. 13. $99)

Autumn Light Photography: Three full days of guided outdoor photography in Yosemite Valley and surrounding areas, led by two professional photographers. (Thursday, Oct. 17 to Sunday, Oct. 20. $449)

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Nov. 11, 2014: Late afternoon sunshine hits El Capitan in the background as the Yosemite Valley displays brilliant fall colors around the Merced River on a warm autumn day. This image was made through a high dynamic range process or HDR. Using a tripod, bracketed exposures were made that were both over-exposed and under-exposed. Those images were merged together in Photoshop and then color-corrected normally. This allowed the bright highlights of El Capitan as well as the shadow areas on the river to keep from becoming too dark or too light. Craig Kohlruss’ photo was honored with a second place award by the California Newspaper Publishers Association. CRAIG KOHLRUSS

A full list of Yosemite Conservancy outdoor adventures can be found online at

Registration can be done online at, by emailing, or calling 209-379-2317 ext. 10.

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Carmen George is a features and news reporter for The Fresno Bee. Her stories have been recognized with Best of the West, George F. Gruner, and McClatchy President’s awards, and nine first or second place awards from the California News Publishers Association. She has a passion for sharing people’s stories to highlight issues and promote greater understanding.