Backpack & Paint: May Lake, June 22-25, 2023

Backpack & Paint: May Lake, June 22-25, 2023

Experience Level



1-3 miles/day


9,270 ft.

Registration Fee


If you enjoy watercolor painting and backpacking, this is the trip for you! On this three-day, two-night backpacking trip, you will learn to bring your art into the wilderness and paint on location, recording your experience in the mountains with watercolor. Join one of our naturalist guides and our guest instructor Nikki Frumkin for a weekend adventure to scenic May Lake, where we’ll explore and capture the energy and movement of Yosemite’s high peaks and lakes. You will learn how to minimize your impact on your surroundings and apply a Leave No Trace backpacker’s mindset to create a wilderness-friendly, portable art supply kit.

As you learn, you’ll enjoy breathtaking views of May Lake, where we’ll camp for two nights. Stunning views of May Lake and Mt. Hoffman will inspire your art. By the time you hop off the trail, you’ll have the skills to plan your next wilderness adventure and the inspiration to add to your art journal! The mountains inspire big feelings and emotions, and Nikki is excited to help you explore them through watercolor.

Some drawing, painting, and backpacking experience is helpful for this art retreat, but all levels are welcome. If you’re not sure if this workshop is the right fit for you, get in touch, we’re happy to help!


  • When: June 22 through June 25
  • Where: May Lake
  • Hiking: The group will paint at different locations throughout the retreat; please be prepared to walk 1-3 miles/day, as not all locations will be accessible by car. 
  • Registration includes: Three days of progressive learning and painting en plein air with artist Nikki Frumkin, park entry (as needed), and four nights of backpacking in Yosemite’s wilderness. 
    • There is no discount if you choose not to use the included gate pass.
    • We can’t allow unregistered friends or family of participants on this trip. Backcountry permits and lodging arrangements for unregistered friends and family are the responsibility of participants.

View the supply list and a suggested packing list for this backpacking trip/art retreat combo.

COVID-19: We have implemented special safety measures to keep art class participants and instructors safe during the ongoing pandemic. Please review our COVID-19 procedures for details.


More Details and Registration: 
Backpack & Paint: May Lake — Yosemite Conservancy

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