2016 Pilgrimage to Yosemite National Park

Thursday, July 21 - Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Photo of Tie Sing(Left) courtesy of US Geological Survey, Hikers to the summit of Sing Peak in 2014 (top right), Hikers to the summit of Sing Peak in 2013 (bottom right).

2016 Pilgrimage to Yosemite National Park

Scheduled Events (as of April 26, 2016)

Download Pilgrimage to Yosemite and Mt. Sing Flyer

The National Park Service is celebrating its 100th Birthday this year.  Help commemorate the contributions of Chinese in building many of the roads and railways through the Sierra Nevada range, in working in historic lodges and lumber industry, and in contributing to the early history of our National Parks.

For the fourth year, the Chinese Historical Society of Southern California is helping to sponsor an annual pilgrimage to historic sites in Yosemite National Park.  The dates and events for this year are:

Thursday, July 21

  • Campsites at Wawona Campground available to volunteers (this year we will be using two family campsites, not the group campsite).

Friday, July 22 - Tioga Road Area

  • At 10:30, National Park Ranger Yenyen Chan will lead a hike to May Lake, walking a part of the original Tioga Road completed in 1883 by Chinese road builders. The  trail begins along the original road at around 9000' above sea level and ascends 400 feet in 1.2 miles to May Lake.  The trailhead is located about two miles north off Tioga Road.  The turn off from Tioga Road is  about four miles West of Tenaya Lake.  As in all hikes and walks carry water and drink it often. Pack a lunch and be ready to hike a total of about three miles with an elevation gain of 500 feet, the estimated return time to the trailhead is 2:00 P.M..
  • Optional extension to the May Lake hike to Mount Hoffmann (10,850' elevation) for the adventurous. For those interested, Frank Lai will lead a group to this peak which is the geographic center of the park. The hike is an additional 3.5 miles off trail round trip from May Lake and another 1,500' elevation gain with an estimated return time to the trailhead of around 5:30 P.M..

Saturday, July 23 - Wawona Area

  • At 10:00 A.M. meet the parking lot near the "Grey Barn" in the historic district, just past the store in Wawona to car pool/walk to historic sites where Chinese built roadways in the area. This will involve short walks.
  • Meet at 12:00 Noon at the Wawona Community Center for an informal discussion with experts on the Chinese and Asian Americans in the building of the facilities in the Sierra.  "Bring your own lunch"  to the picnic tables at the Center, a little over a mile from Wawona Road (the main highway) on Chilnualna Falls Road. The center is on the right near the school and before the Redwood Cabins.
  • At 2:00 P.M., come to the "Grey Barn" to hear a presentation by Sue Fawn Chung, author of Chinese in the Woods a recently published book about logging and lumbering in the American West which is revising an important chapter in the history of labor in the Sierras.
  • At 3:00 P.M., also at the Grey Barn, hear Annette Bay Pimentel, author of Mountain Chef, the true story of a Chinese American mountain man who helped inspire the creation of the National Park Service. This children's book about Tie Sing is just becoming available, in time for the 100th Birthday of the National Park Service.
  • Pot Luck Dinner at 6:00 P.M. at the Wawona Community Center on Chilnualna Road.  A networking opportunity to promote the stories of Chinese and Asian Americans contributions to building the west. Possible campfire program to follow. Please RSVP at this EventBrite site .

Sunday, July 24 - Yosemite Valley Area

  • Meet at 10:00 A.M., the Bridalvail Falls parking lot for a hike to a portion along the historic Wawona Road to see a rock work and road construction completed by Chinese. This hike will take about a hour and total of a two mile hike on trails.
  • Spend the rest of the day in the Valley to explore the many natural and historic attractions.

Monday - Wednesday, July 25-27 - Pilgrimage to Sing Peak

  • A three day backpacking trip which involves a day going off trail to climb to the top of Sing Peak (10,500' elevation), named after the famous chef of the Mather Mountain Party.  Limited to those who are signed up on teams which have Wilderness Permits.

Save these dates and make reservations for accommodations in or around Wawona, July 22nd to 24th now!  Summer months are some of the busiest times in the Park and reservations are filled early.

If you are interested in this project or want to volunteer and stay in a group campsite or participate in the backpacking trip, contact the Chinese Historical Society of Southern California at chssc@hotmail.com  or Jack Shu at jkshu@cox.net .

Links to related stories:

A Glimpse Into Yosemite's Chinese History (You Tube video)

What does race have to do with this Yosemite hike? (Article)

Yosemite National Park Holds History Event "Sing Peak Pilgrimage: Contributions of Chinese Americans in Yosemite" (Article)