Yosemite School Programs | Environmental Science

School & Group Environmental Science at Yosemite

Immersed in deep valleys, grand meadows, and ancient sequoias, students study human impacts on nature, build confidence, and form new connections with each other and the natural world.

Yosemite 150th anniversary


On October 1, 2015, the park will commemorate the 125th anniversary of the establishment of Yosemite National Park. Find out more about Yosemite's history and commemorative events on the Yosemite anniversary website.


NatureBridge at Yosemite
P.O. Box 487
Yosemite National Park, CA 95389
209-379-9510 (fax)


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Bay Area to Curry Village (pdf)

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Los Angeles Area to Curry Village (pdf)

Los Angleles Area to Crane Flat (pdf)

Driving in Yosemite

Please follow NatureBridge and National Park Service directions. GPS does not work correctly in the Park.

Sample Day

One of the best ways to get a sense of a student’s NatureBridge experience is to check out our daily schedule. Below is a rough sketch of a typical day for a environmental science participant.

6:30–7:15 a.m. Wake up  

Students rise each morning and walk out of their cabins into one of the most stunning natural environments on the continent. They will use this time to shower, dress, and prepare for their day.

7:15–8 a.m. Breakfast

Meals are served either buffet-style or family style, with numerous options to satisfy even the pickiest of eaters! Education on food and natural resources are integrated into meals in fun and engaging ways. 

8:30 or 9 a.m. Morning meeting

Teachers can opt to begin their day of hiking and learning at either 8:30 a.m. or 9 a.m. At this time, students, teachers, and chaperones meet their NatureBridge educator in the cabin area prepared for the instructional day. 

8:30/9 a.m.–4 p.m.  Instructional day

During the instructional day, your school splits into trail groups that average 12 students per group plus one or two teachers and chaperones. The NatureBridge environmental science educator assigned to your trail group will work with the same group every day. The educators provide the activities and curriculum, and chaperones assist in group management and with the behavioral needs of individual students. Lunch is typically eaten out on the trail. Each day’s learning adventures are customized to meet the academic and social goals your school has set. Some examples of popular instructional days:

  • Hiking in Yosemite Valley while learning about the geological processes that formed the Sierra Nevada mountain range and Yosemite Valley.
  • Snowshoeing or cross country skiing in High Sierra meadows while learning about the winter adaptations of the plants and animals that live there.
  • Completing team-building challenges and exploring lessons on leadership while hiking to the top of one of Yosemite Valley’s waterfalls. 
  • Hiking in a giant sequoia forest while learning about the unique ecological interconnections that support these ancient and rare trees.

There are limitless opportunities for learning and exploration in Yosemite, so we encourage schools to consider attending for a full five-day program whenever possible! 

4–6 p.m. Recreation time

Students can use this time to shower and change, work on journals, or play outside. A school may also use this time for structured learning activities. Teachers and chaperones supervise during recreation time.

5–6 p.m. Dinner

The food we serve is nutritious, plentiful and kid-friendly. Meals such as pasta with marinara sauce, burrito bar, meat and vegetarian chili, and the ever-popular pizza frequently appear on our dinner menu.

7:00–8:00 p.m. or 8:00–9:00 p.m. Evening program

Evening programs complement the material being presented during your day. These large-group programs are engaging, educational, and inspiring. Students may engage in a town-hall style debate about the Hetch Hetchy Dam, learn about the history of art in Yosemite, take a night hike, or see a presentation about black bears.

9–10 p.m. Off to bed

This is the time for students to use bathrooms, change clothes, and brush their teeth. Teachers and chaperones supervise students during this time. The NatureBridge field safety officer is available to assist chaperones with any issues that arise. Lights out is at 10 p.m. 

Seasonal opportunities

June through October

June through October is the season for the high country. Bus trips to visit these spectacular destinations can be arranged in the warmer months.

May through September

May through September is the time for the ultimate wilderness adventure: backpacking in Yosemite National Park. We have limited space to accommodate groups interested in backpacking during the warmer months.

January through March

January through March is cross-country ski and showshoe season. You can make arrangements to ski or snowshoe while staying at our Crane Flat campus or by making a trip to Yosemite’s historic Badger Pass Ski Area (a.k.a. Yosemite Ski & Snowboard Area).

Each day is a new learning adventure!

Yosemite National Park offers infinite destinations and learning opportunities. The more days your group spends with NatureBridge, the deeper the students will connect with Yosemite, with each other, and with themselves.

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Need-based scholarships are available. Find more funding ideas and download a scholarship application in the Funding Ideas drawer of the Plan Your Program page of our website.  


A Proud Partner of the National Park Service
Yosemite School Programs | Environmental Science | NatureBridge


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