in Yosemite

Current Conditions

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NatureBridge is excited to welcome environmental science programs back to Yosemite for the 2023-2024 school year! Check back for seasonal updates and as conditions evolve throughout the year.

Fire is a natural and critical part of California landscapes. While fires are possible throughout the year, peak fire season in Central California usually begins in June or July and runs through late October or November. NatureBridge closely monitors emerging fires in the Yosemite area and associated air quality concerns.  

The Yosemite Director Team meets consistently to assess current conditions and ensure it is safe to run programs. Decisions are made in partnership with the National Park Service and other park partners. Should conditions necessitate a change in program, NatureBridge will be in touch with the School Group Coordinator with updates and next steps. Please reach out directly to your school contact for updates on potential program changes. 

9/23/23 UPDATE: NatureBridge is monitoring the potential for a government shutdown in October. There are no anticipated changes to programming at this point, however, the operations team will be in touch with affected schools if programs become impacted. 

Fall Program Activities #

NatureBridge educators will lead groups in engaging, collaborative, authentic learning experiences in a safe and supportive environment. Participants should be prepared to hike up to five miles a day. Days on trail may include:

  • Conducting a hands-on science investigation such as water quality testing
  • Participating in a National Park Service stewardship project, like conifer removal or macroinvertebrate biomonitoring
  • Hiking off the Valley floor along a trail to a waterfall or scrambling on granite boulders
  • Exploring the rich cultural history and geologic features of the park

Curry Village Lodging #

Curry Village is located in the heart of Yosemite Valley. Iconic views of Yosemite Falls and granite monoliths can be seen in every direction. This lodging location is open to the public through October, so participants will be using shared spaces with park visitors, in addition to other NatureBridge participants. 

Students will sleep in heated tents with two single beds and one double bed (four students per tent). Chaperones are placed in tents next to students (three chaperones per tent). Bathrooms and shower houses are within walking distance from tents. Although there are linens, participants are encouraged to bring pillows, sleeping bags, and towels for extra comfort. 

Refer to Lodging FAQs for additional information on lodging at Curry Village. 

Crane Flat Lodging #

Crane Flat campus is located on HWY 120, away from the hustle and bustle of Yosemite Valley. The rustic setting is peaceful and away from stores, large crowds and other distractions. 

The campus offers bunk-style lodging with two sets of dorms. Students share gender-aligned sleeping spaces with chaperones. Participants are required to bring pillows, sleeping bags and towels, as these items are not provided. Crane Flat's capacity is 60 participants total. A group may have sole use of the campus or share common spaces with one other NatureBridge group, depending on group sizes. 

Refer to Lodging FAQs for additional information on lodging at Crane Flat.  

Meals #

All meals are provided by NatureBridge during your program. Crane Flat programs enjoy delicious, healthy foods prepared by NatureBridge cooks and Curry Village meals are provided by Yosemite Hospitality. Breakfasts and dinners are served in the site dining hall and lunch is eaten out on trail. Most dietary restrictions can be accommodated. Refer to Food Allergy FAQs for more details. 

Prepare for Your Program #

Resources are available to prepare yourself and/or your student for a NatureBridge program. Our Students, Families & Chaperones page has a wealth of information including a list of forms required for all NatureBridge participants, student and adult chaperone expectations, a packing list and links to other helpful resources. 

  • Hydration: Late summer in Yosemite can reach temperatures in the mid-90's. It is extremely important to pack extra water bottles to ensure that participants have the ability to carry enough water to stay hydrated for a whole day in the field. We recommend a 2-3 liter capacity for carrying water. 
  • Cooling Temperatures: As the summer transitions into fall, you can expect temperatures to drop into 70s, 60s, and 50s in the evenings and mornings. Be sure to review the suggested packing list and include long pants, warm pajamas, a warm hat, and extra layers to be prepared for all weather. 
  • Bugs: Warmer temperatures create a welcoming environment for mosquitos and other bugs. Please prepare your students with plenty of bug spray and/or protective layers for the duration of their stay. If your student has a known allergy to insect stings, make sure they are prepared with the resources and medications they need to stay safe. 
  • Bear Safety: A common question that NatureBridge staff receive from parents/guardians is “Are there bears in Yosemite?” The short answer is “YES!” Yosemite National Park is home to around 300-500 black bears. During student orientation, students learn about black bears and what they should do if they encounter one. Curry Village and our Crane Flat campus are equipped with bear boxes where participants are instructed to put any food or “smelly” items to keep themselves (and the bears) safe. Seeing a bear can often be the highlight of a student's time in Yosemite and we do everything we can to prepare them to have a positive experience. Visit the Yosemite National Park Bears page for more information.