We have modified, postponed or canceled many Conservancy programs, events and operations. For details, see our COVID-19 response and our new Outdoor Adventure safety procedures. Yosemite is open. Park entry requires reservations. See the Yosemite National Park site for details and reservations.

75° F

Experience Level



10-15 miles/day


8,600–12,500 feet.

Registration Fee


Enjoy a rare opportunity to backpack to the park’s highest peak, Mount Lyell, home to what was once Yosemite’s largest glacier. Research funded by Conservancy donors shows that this ice body has recently ceased centuries of motion and, therefore, is no longer considered a glacier. Experience a remote, rugged part of the Yosemite Wilderness as you learn about the history of glaciation in the Sierra Nevada and how shifting conditions are affecting Yosemite’s glacial ice. Your reward for this strenuous hike, braving strong wind, and sun at high elevation will be to set foot on the former glacier and gain a deeper understanding of the park’s geologic past and future.

Included with your registration: 

  • Three full days of guided backpacking from Tuolumne Meadows (8 am on Friday, July 31 to approximately 5 pm on Sunday, August 2, depending on the speed of the group), plus an introductory evening meeting (7:30 pm on Thursday, July 30 at Tuolumne Meadows Campground Office).
  • Park entry (as needed).
  • Bear-canister rental and Yosemite Wilderness permit.
  • Two nights of shared tent camping at Tuolumne Meadows Backpackers Campground before and after the trip, as needed (Thursday, July 30 and Sunday, August 2).
    • Our limited camping sites are for participants only. The sites are shared. Tents only. We cannot adjust the dates.

Please note: Participants must have prior backpacking experience and be very physically fit. Most people are significantly tested by the altitude and steep off-trail travel. This adventure entails 20 miles of hiking round-trip, plus a 6-mile day hike, with some off-trail travel on steep, rugged terrain. 

View a suggested packing list.