Work with National Park Service trail crew to help improve and maintain trails in Yosemite Valley. Restore fragile natural resources damaged by visitor use, while enjoying vistas of the incredible granite walls. Yosemite Valley is 4,000 feet above sea level, which can pose a challenge for some, though past volunteers were a wide range of ages and abilities. No prior trail maintenance or restoration experience is required. We train you in all aspects of the work. As always, your education and safety are priorities. Tasks vary, but you should be able to hike up to two miles a day on mountainous terrain with some steep ascents and uneven trails, move soil or rock with a shovel, pull unwanted vegetation, and carry stones.
You may: use a pick or shovel to contour trail tread to shed water, cut and move vegetative plugs or branches to camouflage abandoned trails and slow running water, remove rocks or abandoned asphalt from the trail tread with rock bars, clip vegetation with a lopper or hand saw to improve trail safety, and/or move crushed rock or stone to create a dry walking surface.
Yosemite Valley is a wonderful place to volunteer. Conservation Volunteers International Program, in cooperation with REI Adventures, is pleased to offer this exciting opportunity to protect a national treasure.
What follows is a general description of activities you can expect on the Yosemite itinerary. Please note, however, that every trip is unique. Because local conditions and the Park’s needs continually evolve, detailed plans are often finalized or revised after the group arrives and the trip leaders review the conditions at the site in light of the capabilities and special interests of the volunteers. As volunteers successfully complete conservation and restoration activities, new activities or areas can be targeted on subsequent days, which may result in a modified Yosemite itinerary.
Day 1: We meet for orientation at 2:30 p.m. at the Yellow Pine Volunteer Campground in the middle of Yosemite Valley. Here, you’ll get an overview of scheduled projects, as well as training in proper tool use. We stay in the Yellow Pine Campground the entire trip. Hot breakfasts and dinners (including meat and vegetarian options) are prepared and served from a mobile kitchen at our campsite.
Days 2 – 5: We begin the day with breakfast, then prepare our own box lunches from the ingredients provided. We then travel a short distance to the day’s project in Yosemite Valley. We work from 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. with an hour off for lunch. We return to camp for dinner and relaxation.
Day 6: On this rest day, trip participants are free to explore Yosemite or relax in the campground.
Day 7: The project ends after breakfast this morning. You may stay longer by making reservations at other campgrounds or lodging in the park.
Note: Although we do our very best to adhere to the schedule above, the itinerary is subject to change for numerous reasons beyond our control, including weather and terrain conditions. Work locations may vary with each volunteer expedition according to the needs of park rangers at the time the expedition takes place.
$990 for seven days
(Note: Your trip expense may be tax-deductible. Please see our Frequently Asked Questions page and consult your tax advisor for details.)
- all meals from dinner on Day 1 through breakfast on Day 7
- campground reservations
- project leadership and support staff
- group tools
- transportation to and from worksites
- orientation and training
- park entrance fees
Price does not include:
- transportation to/from Yellow Pine Campground, Yosemite National Park
- camping gear (you must bring your own tent, sleeping bag and sleeping pad)
- cost of medical immunizations
- insurance (emergency medical and evacuation insurance is mandatory for this trip and can usually be purchased for $25 through REI Adventures)
- excess baggage charges
- airport taxes
- alcoholic beverages or soft drinks
- gratuities and personal items