Program Overview: The Tioga Road traces thousands of years of human history, from the travel and trade routes of Indigenous people to the paved highway we drive today. On this weekend Yosemite Field School course, you’ll take a hike back in time along this famous corridor across the Sierra Nevada.
The journey begins with a Friday evening gathering at Tuolumne Meadows Campground, where you’ll meet your naturalist guide and fellow adventurers, go over the weekend itinerary, and learn about the early days of the Mono Indian Trail. On Saturday, spend the day in the Tuolumne Meadows area, covering about 5 easy-paced miles as you follow the footsteps of 19th-century miners, herders, explorers and homesteaders. On Sunday, drive east to Tioga Pass for a 5-mile hike in the Gaylor Lakes Basin, where you’ll explore how the mining industry followed the promise of mineral windfalls into a rugged, high-elevation area and transformed a long-used trail into the Great Sierra Wagon Road. End the weekend with a look at the modern Tioga Road, from Stephen Mather’s 1915 purchase of the route for public use, to its later realignment and its present-day use as a popular passage across the mountains.
While this program will be packed with history, you’ll have plenty of opportunities to enjoy summer scenery, reconnect with nature, and learn about the plants and animals that live in the high country!
Know Before You Go
- When: Friday, August 27 (evening program at 7:30 pm), Saturday, August, 28 and Sunday, August 29 (9 am to around 4 pm each day).
- Where: Tuolumne Meadows and Gaylor Lakes
- Registration includes: Evening program and guided day hikes, park entry (as needed), and three nights of tent camping at a shared group site at Tuolumne Meadows Campground (August 27, 28 and 29). There is no discount if you choose not to use the included gate pass or campsite.
- Lodging options: Tent camping included. Camping dates cannot be adjusted. No additional lodging options have been arranged for this program, but guests are welcomed to find their own alternate accommodations if desired.
- Experience level: No experience necessary, but participants should be physically fit and prepared to hike 4–5 miles per day at high elevation.
COVID-19: We have implemented special safety measures to keep participants and instructors safe during the ongoing pandemic. For example, participants will hike single-file and keep moving to avoid crowding the trail, and instructors will stop to offer interpretation only when there is ample space to stay at least six feet apart. Please review our COVID-19 procedures for details.