Yosemite Volunteer Trip

Marvel at the granite peaks and waterfalls of this "temple of nature" as you renovate trails and restore fragile natural resources with other like-minded volunteers.

Yosemite National Park is beyond awesome!

Join our volunteer trip to help protect this iconic UNESCO World Heritage site.

Experience this “temple of nature” with other like-minded volunteers and work alongside expert National Park Service trail crew to help renovate trails and restore fragile natural resources. See the sights. Hear the sounds. Feel the love as you travel with PURPOSE!

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Yosemite Volunteer Trip – Details

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project activities | itinerary | price | trip reviews | trip reports | safety

Volunteer 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 is pleased to offer this exciting opportunity to protect a national treasure.

Look through the tabs on the left for more details about the itinerary, price and gear list or to read reviews and prior trip reports




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. in a campground in the heart of Yosemite Valley. Here, you’ll get an overview of scheduled projects, as well as training in proper tool use. We stay in the 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.

$1,090 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.)

Price includes:

  • 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:

Payment Terms
A deposit of $400 per person is required at the time of signup; final payment is due 90 days prior to departure. The payment and refund policy can be found here.

Group Size: 10 – 14 plus trip leaders

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Average rating:  
 50 reviews
 by Newton Chu
Yosemite May 2023

Conservation VIP does an amazing job of coordinating and hosting interesting volunteers from all walks of life. Trip leaders Danielle and Pam were gracious leaders who did their best to guide us through a week of uncertainty due to the rising flood waters of the Merced River during the massive spring thaw of May. Even though our trip was subject to daily reports of the possibility of an evacuation, Danielle and Pam were calm and cool leaders who kept us informed and focused on our conservation work each day. The caterers were exceptional and prepared tasty breakfasts and dinners all week long. It was hard to believe we were camping! Additionally, the campsite in Upper Pines was very convenient to showers and clean restrooms. The evening campfires were a nice way to spend the evening with our new friends who worked hard and supported each other in our daily tasks which included a lot of fence post and rail removal, repair and replacement. Our National Park Service charge was Eamon Schneider and he was a great instructor and supervisor, a real credit to Yosemite National Park. Being able to open the new ADA ramps to Bridal Veil Falls to the public for the first time was a special moment that we will always treasure. In sum, a behind the scenes working adventure with terrific new friends and top-notch leaders, excellent food and facilities, and the incredible beauty of Yosemite Valley. You really cannot ask for a better way to give back to the park. Thanks Conservation VIP! We look forward traveling with you again!

 by Nancy H
Yosemite May 2023

First time to Yosemite and first camping experience in decades. I will forever be spoiled by this experience. To see the park with such magnificent waterfalls due to the significant snowpack from this past winter was a treat and to work in view of Yosemite Falls and at the base of Bridal Vail Falls felt more like a privilege. Aemon, our NPS leader, was flexible in finding us jobs that were meaningful and rewarding. We learned how to (re)build split rail fencing and our group enabled everyone to try new skills. Danielle and Pam were true leaders communicating the daily activities, promoting teamwork and safety awareness. From Day 1 they were transparent about the risk that flood levels could affect our week, so each day was a gift and a reason to get as much done as possible. As a result, we would squeeze in small hikes before or after each workday and collapsed each night over dinner and the campfire. And who ever heard of shrimp scampi and key lime pie on a camping trip?! Our caterers Kerry and Dawn are wonderful, and every meal was excellent. I look forward to my next adventure with Conservation VIP, reuniting with friends and making new ones.

 by Berndine Li
Yosemite May 2023

The Yosemite trip turned out to positively exceed my expectations! Despite some uncertainties prior to the trip, everything worked out. The combination of a breathtaking location during an exceptional year ( I've never seen so much water in Yosemite) , the great friends, good work and delicious food, made it a trip to remember. We mostly repaired and removed fencing in the valley and were able to open a portion Bridal Veil Falls trail that had been closed for 3 years. I'll never look at fencing the same again! I loved the hard work and learned a lot. Our leaders Danielle and Pam made it all come together. Thanks also to our wonderful caterers Carrie and Dawn (sp?) and Amen (sp?) and Johnny from the park services!

 by Thomas
Yosemite May 2023

We had a good time, good food and two strong guys to help us build fences, remove fences and open up Bridal Vail Falls. Next time we need strong guys to help us

 by Matt
Yosemite May 2023

Good leadership and excellent Group dynamics. NPS people were fun to work with. Thank you ConservationVIP, for pulling this trip off, with such skill and grace. The Merced River was at Flood stage and we had a trip of a life time, experiencing That much water flowing through in the valley. The water falls were memorable. May is a good time to travel to Yosemite …… and the camping was fun.

 by Lee Ann R
Yosemite September 2022

My time in Yosemite was so wonderful as to be nearly indescribable. I can’t say enough about the organization of the project, our trip leaders and their leadership, the NPS employees and our caterers, not to mention the beautiful campsite. We worked hard, but the effort was far exceeded by the rewards we realized (and the wealth of delicious food that sustained us). Most important, I truly feel that the work we did was valued and will contribute to the future enjoyment by visitors to this amazing national park. I am excited to return to Yosemite with Conservation VIP and will plan to do other Conservation VIP trips.

 by Kristi M
Yosemite September 2022

A great learning experience in one of the most beautiful places in the world. Our leaders and Nat’l Park Service guys were knowledgeable about the work we participated in and all had great attitudes towards why we were there. If you like work, mixed in w/fun and are into star gazing, then this is for you!

 by Casey Miller
Yosemite September 2022

This trip just gave and gave and keeps on giving. To begin with, and to state the obvious, Yosemite is one of the prettiest places on earth and for a week it was both my home and place of work. Each day began at our secluded campground hidden deep in the valley, amid tall pines with the Merced whispering in the background as morning sunlight inched its way down a 3,000 foot granite wall. The day ended after a sumptuous meal with our weary group gathered around a campfire under a diamond-studded night sky. In between, we worked among magnificence a flatlander like me usually only dreams about. The work was hard yet worthwhile. It also provided instant gratification. All week long as we drove around the park we saw our projects: a rebuilt split-rail fence here, a partially reconstructed backcountry trail there, a restored landscape where we’d removed human-made scars, an upgraded trail through the valley floor, and so forth. Visitors noticed too. Dozens of times a day passersby stopped to thank us. Once near Lower Yosemite a group of 30 or so Taiwanese visitors stopped and applauded. It was very gratifying. It’s been a long time since I’ve gotten so much satisfaction from work. I expect it will be a while before that glow of satisfaction dims. I carry great memories too of my dedicated co-workers. Our group leaders, Shelley and Norman, kept us safe, informed and motivated. They embody the merits of volunteerism and are exemplary ambassadors for Conservation VIP. Our young Park Service crew chiefs had a seemingly endless store of knowledge about the park’s history, operations and activities. If we had a question, they usually had an answer and a colorful story to go along with it. They were patient and detailed in explaining our tasks and teaching us all necessary skills. I’ll never look at a trail or any natural resource the same way again. Their love of the park was infectious. They made me long to be young and pursuing a passion. I cannot praise them highly enough. The same goes for my fellow volunteers, who welcomed me into their worlds and ceaselessly entertained and inspired me. I will hold them close forever. Millions of people visit Yosemite each year. Unwittingly or in some cases wittingly they leave their mark. The Park Service does not have nearly enough resources to do everything necessary. The improvements we made this week were tiny in the scope of work to be done, but they were valuable improvements nonetheless as the park is in a little bit better shape in some places. We did good work and I’m proud of it. I hope to return to help out again and I’m going to encourage my friends and family to join me. The park needs all the help we can give.

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The key to staying comfortable while on an active trip is layering. To get maximum comfort with minimum weight, you need versatile layers that mix and match to create the right amount of insulation, ventilation and weather protection. The gear list has been created to help you in choosing your equipment for the trip. View the Gear List PDF.


ConservationVIP has always focused on our volunteers’ safety. The COVID-19 pandemic has heightened that focus. Traveling with COVID-19 safety concerns requires some extra planning and flexibility both for trip leaders and trip participants!

Participants will have to comply with the regulations established by the State of California and the National Park Service at the time of travel. We cannot predict what those regulations may be at the time of the trip.

While on the trip, participants will also have to follow procedures such as mask-wearing and social distancing as instructed by the trip leader. More specific safety instructions will be provided to those registered for the trip.











About Yosemite National Park

One of the first wilderness parks in the United States, Yosemite is famous for its granite cliffs and waterfalls, giant sequoia groves and spectacular vistas and hikes. It is home to hundreds of wildlife species and over a thousand plant species. Yosemite National Park displays the grandeur and glory of nature’s finest work.

“It is by far the grandest of all the special temples of Nature
I was ever permitted to enter.” —John Muir

In 2007, Conservation Volunteers International Program supported the creation of a “Sister Park” partnership between Yosemite National Park in California and Torres del Paine National Park in Patagonia, Chile. Sister parks encourage parks, communities and volunteers to work together to protect important natural resources and environments.

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