Women of Color Wilderness Retreat

Yosemite 4-day Yoga Backpacking Trip

with Chelsea Griffie and Miho Aida
Women of Color Wilderness Retreat
Date: August 06, 2015 - August 09, 2015
Location: Yosemite National Park Wilderness
Early Bird Price: $550 by June 6, 2015
Regular Price: $600
Type of Program:


Join an incredible community of inspired women on the backcountry trip of a lifetime! Learn the skills of backpacking accompanied by yoga practice and creative writing exercises to help you explore your inner and outer landscapes.

We’ve found that women — and specifically women of color — are highly under-represented in the backcountry. In this four-day course, we hope to share our love for the Yosemite wilderness by introducing women of color to the beauty of its backcountry in a supportive environment. Our amazing, experienced instructors create a safe space for learning, while inspiring participants to go beyond their comfort zones for an empowering and rewarding experience.

Our core curriculum of yoga and reflection is incorporated on this trip as much as weather and time allow. Outdoor yoga classes on glacially polished granite expanses allow us to unwind after a day of hiking. Balanced Rock values time set aside for journal-writing and sharing in order to reflect on personal growth and achievements during the trip. There will be plenty of time to savor, and enjoy the mountain landscape of the high sierra.

As featured in Outdoor Afro: Black Women DO Camp – Experience Yosemite this Summer! Our annual Women of Color Backpacking Retreat began in 2004 and, to our knowledge, remains the only program of its kind for women of color in the country. Tuition assistance is available.

Want to donate to help support our Women of Color programs? Click here.


  • Backpacking, hiking, and camp-craft skills
  • Shared adventure with other women of color
  • Outdoor yoga, journal writing, and personal reflection
  • Immersion in granite peaks and forests of the Yosemite wilderness
  • Fresh meals include local and organic ingredients


Thursday, August 6
We will meet at the Ten Lakes Trailhead at 9 am on our first morning. We will take time for introductions and trip orientation. Next we will have thorough instruction on what and how to pack our packs and then be on our merry way. The hike to our first camp at Grant Lakes is about 5.8 miles and a gradual up-hill. This hike will take us the entirety of the day. We will stop for breaks and to enjoy the scenery. We’ll enjoy a delicious dinner after yoga as the Range of Light, bathed in alpenglow, lives up to its reputation. Evenings may include fireside stories, music, or gazing at the Milky Way from the cozy comfort of your sleeping bag.

Friday, August 7
The next day allows us to adapt to the natural rhythms of the planet, and flow with the specific needs and desires of the group. We will move our camp 1.5 miles to Ten Lakes. We may now feel a settling into our new home among granite domes and peaceful lake waters. In addition to the adventure of backpacking, each day provides opportunities for swimming in alpine lakes, day hikes to sweeping views of the High Sierra, or perhaps relaxing lake-side. Evenings are set aside for intentional discussion, wilderness education, creative journaling, music-making, or quiet contemplation around the campfire.

Saturday, August 8
We will enjoy a long summer days with a lovely hike, yoga session and/or meditation session. We may choose to summit a nearby alpine peak and enjoy a lovely evening under the stars. We will continue to cover topics such as: instruction in backcountry travel skills, Leave No Trace, hiking and camp-craft, and instructor area of specialty.

Sunday, August 9
Our last morning, we will enjoy a final yoga class and meditation before sharing our final breakfast together in the field. Then we will pack our backpacks and begin our hike back to the Ten Lakes Trailhead. After putting closure on our journey together, we will aim to conclude by 2 p.m.

Note on Itinerary: This schedule is an outline. It is subject to change depending on the needs of the group and allowing for spontaneous inspiration. Almost all of the activities offered are optional. This program operates rain or shine.

Full orientation letter for this trip available here
Packing list available here

Price Includes

Professional instruction and guiding, campground and permit fees, first-aid supplies, and group gear for backpacking and camping. Balanced Rock provides delicious and high-quality meals, cooking gear, and water purification supplies.

Not Included

Transportation to and from your hometown to Yosemite, park entrance fees, and personal items.