Please note that while Yosemite remains open during the government shutdown, services and facilities are very limited, and certain areas of the park are closed.
If your 2019 resolutions include getting to know Yosemite better, you’ve come to the right blog. All year, we’ll be sharing fresh stories from the park — stories about wildlife and wilderness, history and adventures, and the people working behind the scenes, from rangers and researchers to some of our own staff.
To kick off the year, though, we put together a quick list of ways you can connect with Yosemite over the next 12 months — including from afar. As you browse these ideas, keep in mind that many of the activities, including our Outdoor and Custom Adventures, art workshops, theater shows and volunteer programs, are also ways to give back while you’re in the park: Your participation helps support important work in Yosemite. Grab your calendar and start planning your Yosemite year!
JANUARY – MARCH
– Join one of our naturalist guides for a snowshoe hike. Take in the views from Dewey Point, on the south rim of Yosemite Valley, or explore winter ecology among the giant sequoias in Mariposa Grove. Whichever destination you choose (and yes, you could do both!), you’ll learn snowshoeing skills, be treated to epic scenery, and get to dig into Sierra Nevadan nature and history with a local expert.
– Submit your application for one of our 2019 volunteer programs. Apply to spend a month in the Valley, Tuolumne Meadows or Wawona as one of our vital visitor information assistants, who play a key role in helping people make the most of their time in the park; or to join one of our weeklong work crews, who help out with trail rehabilitation, meadow restoration and other important hands-on projects.
– Get a gander at our 2019 grants — and get inspired to make a gift to help those projects happen! This year, your support will help the park revitalize wetlands, study the rare Sierra Nevada red fox, protect peregrine falcons, improve educational resources for visitors, and much more.
– As winter ebbs, celebrate the start of spring in the Valley with a weekend of watercolor painting under the guidance of a professional artist, a naturalist-led adventure along Yosemite’s historical stage coach roads, or a guided hike along the Merced River to see the season’s first wildflowers.
– Spend the last weekend of March connecting with fellow park-lovers at our annual Spring Gathering in Yosemite Valley. All donors who make a gift of at least $25 are invited to attend the family-friendly event, which features a variety of activities, including group hikes, project tours and a raffle. Don’t miss out on the fun: Make your annual donation now to secure your invitation!
APRIL – JUNE
– Make your spring trip to the park even more memorable by mixing art workshops or live theater into your Yosemite Valley itinerary. Or do both: Head to Happy Isles Art and Nature Center to enjoy a class with a professional artist during the day, and then make your way to Yosemite Village to see stories come to life on stage in the evening.
– Get a fresh perspective on spring in the park during a guided Outdoor Adventure. See spring snowmelt flowing through the park during a naturalist-led waterfall walk or rafting trip, or explore the lives of some of the plants and animals that depend on the Sierra water system, including birds, bats and wildflowers. Take a tip from Muir and “stay out ’til sundown” — well, after sundown — to see how the park transforms after dark. Join a naturalist for a moonlit evening at Taft Point, or learn to photograph the ephemeral moonbows that appear at some park waterfalls when conditions are right. If you’re up for a multinight excursion, sign up for a spring backpacking expedition! Our first trips of the year include an opportunity to become a certified “Leave No Trace” trainer, a jaunt along the Valley’s south rim tailored to beginners, and a trek to the top of Half Dome.
– Celebrate some of the many park-related special occasions that fall in spring and early summer (including John Muir’s birthday – April 21, Earth Day – April 22, National Park Week – April 20-28, and the anniversary of the 1864 Yosemite Grant Act – June 30) by making a gift to support projects in Yosemite.
– Read our spring/summer magazine, which is published in May. Check out the new issue online, or make a donation to make sure you get the print version in your mailbox.
– If you’ve participated in past Conservancy-led adventures, don’t miss our inaugural Outdoor Adventure reunion weekend in Tuolumne Meadows at the end of June.
JULY – SEPTEMBER
– Fill up your water bottle, grab a stash of your favorite trail snacks, and head to the mountains for a summer backpacking trip. Pick the trip that fits your schedule and style: casual excursions to destinations like North Dome and May Lake; longer treks to beloved backcountry spots, including Glen Aulin and Young Lakes; advanced adventures to remote parts of the Yosemite Wilderness, such as Mount Lyell and Amelia Earhart Peak; or a journey to (and up) the Half Dome cables.
– If you’d prefer to hit the trail without your camping supplies on your back, don’t miss our summer day hikes: Explore hidden high country lakes, learn about fly fishing and aquatic ecology, see what lives above Yosemite’s tree line, dig into Sierra Nevada geology, and more.
– Whether you’re hiking with a guide or on your own, in the Valley or deep in the backcountry, look for grant-funded work in action! Crews of park staff, volunteers, interns and California Conservation Corps members will be repairing trails and restoring habitat throughout the park, including by Pothole Dome, in eastern Yosemite Valley, and in more remote areas such as Rodgers Canyon and Ostrander Lake.
– Bringing young visitors to the park on summer vacation? Stop by Happy Isles for kids’ art classes and creative activities for all ages.
– Celebrate our organization’s 96th birthday (August 4), the National Park Service’s 103rd birthday (August 25), and National Public Lands Day (September 28). And in between, pitch in during Yosemite Facelift, the annual park-wide volunteer clean-up event that takes place every September!
– Look for our blue-shirted visitor information assistants at key locations, including in the Valley, Tuolumne Meadows and Wawona – and stop to say hello!
– Spend the last weekend of September learning about traditional basket-weaving with the legendary Julia Parker, as she leads a three-day workshop with her daughter (Lucy Parker) and granddaughter.
OCTOBER – DECEMBER
– Start the quiet season on a festive note: Honor Yosemite National Park’s 129th anniversary (October 1) with a special gift to show your support.
– Speaking of giving, mark your calendar for Giving Tuesday (December 3), and share your love of Yosemite with friends and family by creating a #GivingTuesday fundraiser on Facebook.
– Take advantage of the final weeks of our art and theater programs before they wrap up for the season at the end of October.
– Experience autumn with a Sierra Nevada expert: Learn to capture Yosemite’s autumn beauty on camera during a three-day photography workshop, discover the diverse woodpeckers that add percussive notes to the park’s soundscape, and enjoy a mid-December stroll among the giant sequoias in Mariposa Grove.
– Get in touch with our team to create a personalized autumn (or any season) adventure – or pick up a Custom Adventure gift certificate for a park-loving friend or family member.
– Look for our autumn/winter magazine online (and, if you’re a donor, in your mailbox) in November.
– Keep an eye on our website to catch the first snow of the season. Tioga and Glacier Point roads might close as winter nears, but you can always take a virtual trip to Sentinel Dome and the high country via our webcams (no strenuous skiing required).
– Get your holiday shopping done easily (and early) by picking up park-related books, apparel, field guides, games, and more from our online store or at one of our retail locations in the park. Even more incentive to shop with us: Your purchases will help support restoration, research and other projects in the park.
Whether or not you have Yosemite plans this year, we hope you stay connected with the park in every season, from wherever you are, by watching the webcams, following us on social media, checking out our magazine, learning about current projects in the park (and how you can support them), and, of course, reading the blog!