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Experience Level



1-3 miles/day


4,000 feet

Registration Fee


Program Overview: Over three days we’ll share the multicultural background that has contributed and continues to contribute to the development of Yosemite National Park. The discussion will include the Indigenous people who have occupied this area for thousands of years and continue to do so, the Euro-Americans who wrestled it away from them and started to commercialize it, the army, including Buffalo Soldiers, who protected it, and the Chinese immigrants who quietly enhanced it.

How many voices do you need to breathe life into a place? How many layers of color do you use to paint a masterpiece? How many stories combine to tell the epic of Yosemite National Park? Join Brian Shoor as he shares stories of the people whose actions defined this park. In this program, we’ll journey throughout the park to hear those voices tell us of their success and hardships. There will be stories to make you smile and laugh; stories to make you angry and uncomfortable; and stories of undaunted courage and triumph.

Friday will be an overview of different cultures in Wawona.  See the resources available that support a thriving community. We’ll identify plants and animals that served as food, medicine, homes, and more. These resources continue to be used today to support the local Seven Associated Tribes with Yosemite. We’ll discuss the events that led to the persecution of those people and the rise of Euro-American development. Exploring the Yosemite History Center will lead to stories of survival, stewardship, and progress. During our walk we will learn of individuals from all over the world and why they came to Yosemite.

Saturday we’ll travel to Yosemite Valley. Starting at the Visitor Center, we’ll revisit the First Peoples of this Valley and walk through their village. From there, we’ll head to Cook’s Meadow, and you’ll learn about some of the unsung heroes who affected the community. The day will continue to the Ahwahnee Hotel to dive into a historic tour of this National Historic Landmark.

On Sunday, explore Yosemite Valley with a tribal representative who will be sharing past and present information on what is happening within Yosemite with the local tribes.  This includes learning about their annual traditions and ceremonies that continue to this day.  You’ll learn about the tribal uses for plants, trees, and how intuition is used to observe the landscape.  Along with, understand the cultural differences of various ways to look at the landscape.

Sunday evening, learn about something that unites ALL the people of Yosemite, even today: the stars in the sky. All cultures have stories about what it is they see above them. We’ll share some of those stories as we watch for shooting stars, satellites, and even love among the cosmos.

Learn more about what is happening today with local Tribal efforts through Yosemite Conservancy, whose donors support building Wahhoga Village. The valley as a whole is considered by Tribal members to be the spiritual center of the homelands; Wahhoga has been designated as a contemporary place for Tribal education and annual ceremony and, eventually, public education. Through the Southern Sierra Miwuk Nation’s 501c3 Non-Profit American Indian Council Mariposa County (AICMC), the tribe is able to provide health, education, social services and cultural activities to its members. In addition they have a legal team petitioning for Federal Recognition to become a certified government to strengthen programs that preserve culture through practice. Lastly, proceeds from this program will also go to the AICMC.

Know Before You Go:

  • Program dates: Friday, September 27 through Sunday, September 29, 10am-4pm each day.
  • Program location: Wawona and Yosemite Valley
  • What’s included: Three full days of guided instruction by a Yosemite Naturalist, 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 September 26 after 12pm and depart September 30 by 11am. There are two shared campsites among all the participants. We guarantee tent camping only. If you choose to bring a recreational vehicle, we cannot guarantee you will have a parking spot. Please be prepared to tent camp. A picnic table, bear locker and firepit are provided at each site. Campsites fit 6 people per site.
  • Campground Location: Upper Pines in Yosemite Valley
  • Lodging: Upgrade to Yosemite Lodge for an additional fee. Lodging dates match camping dates. Lodging blocks expire 30 days prior to the program. Details on using our Group Code will be emailed to you immediately after registering.
  • Experience level: All levels welcome.

What’s not included:

  • Gear or meals during your program.
  • Camping gear or meals in the shared campsites.
  • Transportation.

View a suggested packing list.