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Experience Level



1-3 miles/day


4,800 - 6,000 ft.

Registration Fee


Come with us on an art backpack trip! On this three-day, two-night backpacking trip, you will learn to bring your art into the wilderness and paint on location, recording your experience in the mountains with watercolor. Join one of our naturalist guides and our guest instructor Nikki Frumkin for a weekend adventure to Alder Creek, where we’ll explore and capture the energy and movement of Yosemite’s forests, meadows, and streams. You will learn how to minimize your impact on your surroundings and apply a Leave No Trace backpacker’s mindset to create a wilderness-friendly, portable art supply kit. If you enjoy watercolor painting and backpacking, this is the trip for you.

As you learn, you’ll enjoy the serene surroundings of Alder Creek, where we’ll camp for two nights. Forests, meadows, and wildflowers will inspire your art. By the time you hop off the trail, you’ll have the skills to plan your next wilderness adventure and the inspiration to add to your art journal! The mountains inspire creativity and evoke emotions, which Nikki is excited to explore with you through watercolor.

Some drawing, painting, and backpacking experience is helpful for this art retreat, but all levels are welcome. If you’re not sure if this workshop is the right fit for you, email us at [email protected], we’re happy to help!


  • Program dates: June 20 through June 23
  • Program location: Trailhead starts along Hwy 41 near Mosquito Creek, take the Alder Creek Trail east of Hwy 41 to wilderness camp overnight (June 21 & 22).
  • What’s included:  An evening meeting (June 20), three full days of progressive learning and painting en plein air with artist Nikki Frumkin (June 21 – 23), park entry (as needed), and shared tent camping (camping dates cannot be altered). There is no discount if you choose not to use the included gate pass or campsite.
  • Camping dates: Participants can arrive on June 20 after 12pm and must depart June 21. After the backpack, participants can arrive on June 23 after 12pm and depart June 24 by 11am. There are two shared campsites among all the participants. Please be prepared to tent camp. A picnic table, bear locker and firepit are provided at each site. Campsites fit 6 people and 2 cars per site, with overflow parking nearby. Please note:
    • There is no discount if you choose not to use the included gate pass.
    • We can’t allow unregistered friends or family of participants on this trip. Backcountry permits and lodging arrangements for unregistered friends and family are the responsibility of participants.
  • Campground Location: Wawona Campground (June 20th and 23rd only)
  • Experience level: All levels welcome, must be physically fit to walk at high elevation with a backpack. Please be prepared to walk 1-3 miles/day.

What’s not included:

  • Gear or meals
  • Transportation

View the supplies list.
View travel tips.
View sample itinerary.