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Experience Level



4-5 miles/day


8,600-9,600 feet

Registration Fee


Introduction to Backpacking: Cathedral Lakes

Program Overview: Are you new to backpacking? Have you been a few times but are still a little unsure about how to set out on your own? This trip is for people just getting their foot on the trail. Our naturalist guide will call each participant ahead of time to discuss gear and trip expectations. On the trip the naturalist will go over everything from: trip planning, map reading, very basic first aid, different types of gear, choosing a campsite, campsite safety, cooking and food options, dealing with wildlife, and how to enjoy the mountains safely and confidently. A perfect trip for anyone wanting to start exploring the wilds of the world safely!

This is an easy to moderate trail with amazing views, stunning alpine lakes, and great camping spots.

For many of us, we seek out connection to nature in wild places — and that extends to the wilderness of the night sky. On this trip we will show you how to safely and confidently enjoy the backcountry, and help you connect with the wonders of the night sky. Learning about the different constellations and how to use the stars to help navigate and orient your self in the back county. On this trip we will be in the remote wilderness, and the absence of light pollution will give us a spectacularly clear view of the night sky.

Know Before You Go:

  • Program dates: Friday, July 21 evening meeting 7:30pm-9pm. Start hike at 9am Saturday, July 22 and exit Sunday, July 23 by 4pm.
  • Program location: Cathedral Lakes out of Tuolumne Meadows
  • What’s included: An evening meeting and two 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 July 21 after 12pm and must depart July 22. After the backpack, participants can arrive on July 23 after 12pm and depart July 24 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: White Wolf
  • Lodging: N/A
  • Experience level: All levels welcome, must be physically fit to walk at elevation with a backpack.

What’s not included:

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

View a suggested packing list including gear rental options.