Outdoor Adventures FAQ

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How do I register?
Register through our website calendar by clicking on the program you have chosen, register by mail with our registration form or by phone at 209-379-2321.

Are there additional forms I need to register for a program?

Yes, every participant is required to complete a liability release form before attending a program. In addition, participants in backpacking trips will require a medical form.

What is included in the fees?

Your fee covers guiding services with a top-notch leader, park entrance fees, campground fees (a value of up to $20 per night where applicable), and backcountry and special use permit fees. They also include use of a bear-proof canister on all backpacking trips.  Please check specific adventures for other items covered by your fees.  Meals, transportation and equipment are not included unless specifically noted.

What information will I receive once I register?

Within two weeks of registration, you will receive a confirmation via email.  Approximately two months prior to the adventure, you will be mailed a complete information packet, which contains your fee waiver pass, detailed schedule, reading and materials list, and park information.

What is the typical program size?

To ensure a quality experience, we limit most adventures to 12-20 participants.  Adventures that require a more focused level of attention may be even smaller in size.  Conferences, festivals, and other large events are intended to accommodate larger groups of participants.

Where should I stay?

For participants registered in Yosemite Conservancy programs, fees cover the cost of camping (a value of up to $20 per night where applicable) at shared campsites.  If you would like to camp, please indicate this clearly on your registration form, or notify us at least 30 days in advance of the start date.

As an alternative to camping a limited number of rooms are available for participants at an additional cost through Delaware North Companies (DNC), the concessionaire that manages the park's lodging, food and retail operations.  If you choose this option we will provide you with the necessary room reservation form once you have registered (any unused reserved rooms revert to DNC 45 days before the program).

Other accommodation options are also available. We will be happy to provide you with a list of options upon request.

How do I get to Yosemite?
Most participants drive to Yosemite since it is some distance from urban areas.  Major airports near Yosemite include Fresno, San Francisco, Sacramento, and Reno (in summer). Public transportation arrangements can be made through Amtrak, Greyhound Bus, and YARTS (yarts.com). Please note that not all meeting sites are accessible by public transportation.

What should I expect from the weather?

Expect the unexpected! Weather conditions vary greatly in the Sierra Nevada, so be prepared for all conditions in all seasons.  Adventures are conducted rain or shine.  For road and weather information call the NPS 24-hour updated recording at 209-372-0200 or visit NPS Weather.

Here are some general weather overviews:
Yosemite Valley: The weather here can shift suddenly.  In May for example, days can be warm and sunny one day, and cold, wet and stormy the next. Temperatures range in the 70s, June temperatures are in the 80s. July and August are in the 90s and occasionally they reach 100°. In September the temperature returns to the 80s.

Wawona: May temperatures are in the 60s, June and September they are in the low 70s. July and August they are in the high 70s.

Tuolumne Meadows: Temperatures in mid-summer are usually in the 70s in the daytime and in the 30s at night.  Though skies are usually clear, thunderstorms can be a daily occurrence in summer afternoons.  Usually developing at higher elevations, thunderstorms form suddenly and can provide intense but brief downpours, lightning, thunder, hail, and gusty winds.  Typically, by nightfall skies are clear once again. 

How difficult will the hiking be?

Hiking is an integral part of practically every adventure, so you must be in good physical condition to attend. Backpacking programs require an even higher level of fitness, and if you wish to participate you will be required to complete a medical questionnaire before your space in the program can be confirmed.  The health and safety of all our participants is our priority, therefore for any program if you are unprepared or appear physically unable to complete the required activities, trip leaders reserve the right and responsibility to ask that you do not take part in the program in order to ensure the safety of the group.

All adventures have been rated according to the difficulty of the hiking. Daily hiking miles are listed in the description of all programs.  If you have questions regarding the demands of any program, please call the office and we will be happy to help you decide whether the program is a good fit.

For all Yosemite Conservancy Outdoor Adventures (except backpacking programs):

  • Easy: Involves short walks.
  • Moderate: (Generally) moderate hiking of less than five miles per day with elevation gain less than 1,000 feet.  
  • Difficult/Strenuous: (Generally) strenuous hiking with intense physical activity; hikes are over five miles per day with elevation gain over 1,000 feet.

For backpacking programs

  • Beginner: For people with no or limited backpacking experience.  Hikes (usually) limited to less than six miles per day with daily elevation gain of less than 1,000 feet.
  • Intermediate: For people who have prior backpacking experience.  Hikes (mostly) between 6-10 miles a day with daily elevation gain of over 1,000 feet.
  • Advanced: Participants must have extensive prior backpacking experience.  Hikes (generally) over 10 miles a day with daily elevation gain of over 1,000 feet.

Consider the following factors when choosing a course that involves hiking

  • Your personal level of fitness.
  • The overall elevation of the hiking area: Tuolumne Meadows hikes start at 8,600 feet elevation; Tioga Pass 9,940 feet; Yosemite Valley and Wawona at 4,000 feet.  
  • Each hike's roundtrip mileage per day. 
  • The overall elevation gain or loss of a hike: If it is over 1,200 feet, the hike will be demanding.  
  • Winter adventures can become more challenging than usual when there is a lot of fresh snow.

What if I have to cancel?

Refunds will be given for cancellation requests received no later than 30 days before the starting date. A $25 cancellation fee will be retained for each registration. For cancellations made after the 30 day deadline, we cannot issue refunds for any reason. No exceptions can be made to this policy. We understand that unforeseen or emergency circumstances may arise, but our non-profit organization operates on a limited budget. We strongly urge you to obtain trip cancellation insurance through your local travel agent.

If Yosemite Conservancy cancels a trip, we will refund your fees fully, but cannot be responsible for the costs of any other travel or lodging you've arranged.

Where do I find more information on camping?

Yosemite Conservancy Shared Sites: Program descriptions indicate whether the registration fee includes a site at the Yosemite Conservancy shared campsites.  If you would like to bring a guest or family members you must make your own additional campsite reservations by calling 877-444-6777.

Camping on Your Own: To make campground reservations on your own for an additional fee, call 877-444-6777.  National Park Service campgrounds have cold running water and flush toilets, but there are no showers or electricity. Showers may be purchased through the concessionaire in most park locations.  Pets are not allowed on programs or in Yosemite Conservancy reserved campsites.

Where do I find more information on lodging?

Yosemite Conservancy Reserved Rooms: Program descriptions will indicate when a room with bath (and a few without) is available for participants for an additional cost at Yosemite Lodge, Curry Village, the Wawona Hotel or elsewhere.  See the specific program description for lodging location.

Delaware North Companies (DNC) requires our participants use a specific room reservation form to secure these bookings.  We will send this form to registrants.  Once you receive the form please complete and return with the first night's deposit to the return address on the form as soon as possible.  Unused rooms are dropped 45 days in advance of the program starting date.

Reserving a Room on Your Own:  If you would like to reserve a room on your own please call 801-559-4911 or check yosemitepark.com for reservations.  In addition, there are other accommodations outside Yosemite. Please call Yosemite Conservancy for more information at 209-379-2317 x 10.

Are meals included in the program?

Participants provide their own meals unless specified in the program description.

Are there bears in Yosemite?

Yes! Black bears have called Yosemite home for centuries. They are an essential part of the park ecosystem and it is very important that we do not interfere with their natural state.  To preserve bears and keep visitors safe we need to keep bears wild.

Bears that are encouraged to interact with humans through feeding can cause damage to automobiles and personal property by trying to access human food.  To prevent this please be sure to follow federal requirements for food storage while visiting the park campgrounds or room accommodations.  Never store food in your car. Each visitor plays an important role in keeping human food away from bears!

What's involved in backpacking trips?

The most important first step in your backpacking program is that you are well prepared. If you are backpacking for the first time we highly recommend that you read a backpacking book and/or find some informational videos online in advance.  You should be very comfortable with all aspect of backpacking, from basic first aid to training needed to prepare for a hike.

Participants provide all their own food and equipment, other than a bear-proof canister, which are mandatory and are provided. (You will receive a complete information packet, which contains your fee waiver pass, detailed schedule, reading and materials list and park information after registration.)

Backpacking trips are planned for all levels of skill ranging from introductory programs for beginners who are physically fit (or for those wanting to refresh their skills) to advanced hikers who are in excellent physical condition and have previous multi-day backpacking experience.

Even introductory trips involve hiking at high elevations and are very physically demanding. Each participant must be in excellent physical condition and prepared with proper gear in order to attend.

The health and safety of all our participants is our priority, therefore for any program if you are unprepared or appear physically unable to complete the required activities, trip leaders reserve the right and responsibility to ask that you do not participate in the program in order to ensure the safety of the group.

Can Yosemite Conservancy Outdoor Adventures arrange a special guided hike for my group?

We love doing this! We regularly plan and lead custom adventures for corporate groups, travel and tour companies, churches, universities, friends and families who come as a group. Call the program coordinator at 209-379-2321 if you would like us to arrange a special adventure for your group with one of our experienced naturalists.

There are size limits depending upon where the program takes place.

Custom Adventures

Do I need to donate to Yosemite Conservancy to Participate in an Outdoor Adventure?

No, but donors to Yosemite Conservancy do receive a 15% discount on all registration fees (along with a range of other benefits).

Donate today.

For more information contact adventures@yosemiteconservancy.org or call the program coordinator at 209-379-2321.