Caltech Y-Hike to Yosemite
Preorientation Adventure












The annual Y-Hike to the Sierras is a spectacular way to begin your Caltech Adventure!

On the Y-Hike, organized and led by current Caltech students, you will camp and hike, and potentially backpack depending on interest and availability in one of the most spectacular natural places in the world – Yosemite National Park.  Whether climbing the stunning steps of the mist trail to Vernal and Nevada falls, taking in the expansive views of Glacier Point or Clouds Rest high above the valley floor, admiring the reflection of Half Dome in the Merced River, marveling at the sheer volume of a giant sequoia tree, or just enjoying the simplest side of nature, Yosemite never seems to disappoint. 


On the Y-Hike our group will divide into smaller student led teams for outings based on participant trip preference - so everyone from the novice to the seasoned outdoor enthusiast is welcome to join in on the Y-Hike. Past groups included new and returning students, undergraduate and graduate students, as well as women and men. The Y-Hike is a great way to meet other students.


                Our Dates:    Tuesday to Sunday - September 17th to 22nd 
               To Sign Up:

               The Cost:      $200


Please complete the registration form to sign up. The deadline for on-line applications is July 24th… however, spaces are limited and applicants are accepted on a first come first served basis, so sign up early.

You should get a receipt indicating that we have received your form once you have submitted it.  We will send you another confirmation indicating your status as a trip participant by the end of July with additional information you will need to prepare for the trip and instructions for making payments. If you have any questions, feel free to contact the Caltech Y: or (626) 395-6163.

















Wednesday, July 24th is the deadline for applications to the Y-Hike, but spaces are limited and applicants accepted on a first come first serve basis… so make sure to sign-up early.  Priority will be given to new students. You will receive a confirmation via email.


Tuesday, September 17th, 2:00 PM is our Mandatory Orientation and Packing Session for all Y-Hike participants. You must attend this meeting to go on the trip.  Dinner will be provided and we should be done by 6:00 pm for those going home for the night or needing to pick up some last second equipment.  
We will be meeting at the Caltech Y (#128 on the Map) – 505 S. Wilson Avenue.  
Packing and Equipment List Here


Note:  While we will not be able to postpone our trip, if you are fasting for Yom Kippur you can still join us and we will be sure to place you in a group best suited to your needs and the schedule.


Wednesday, September 18th, 7:00 AM is our meet time to depart for Yosemite. We will be gone for four nights. 
Meals while camping will be provided, but we will make fast food stops while traveling to and from Yosemite that will be your responsibility.


Sunday, September 22nd - Return to campus.  We will arrive mid-afternoon just in time for Orientation activities.  If parents are planning to be here on Sunday for new student check in, be advised that we will not be back until mid-afternoon.





















When should I arrive on campus?  It is essential that you be here for the mandatory Orientation and Packing time Tuesday, September 17th – starting early afternoon… but you can arrive early if that works better for your travel plans.  There are typically a few who arrive the day before.


Where can I stay before the trip?  Those who are local, including grad students who’ve checked in, usually return to their own lodgings at night.  Most of those coming from farther away choose to “camp-in” on the floor at our office.  Our office is located in a small house with restrooms, a few couches, and a carpeted floor. 


What should I do with my stuff?  Those of you arriving with items for the year – items you aren’t taking with you on the trek - can lock them in one of our offices or rooms at the Caltech Y while you are on the trip.


When can I get into my room?  Undergrad check-in is Sunday, September 22nd.  Early check-in is typically available through the Housing Office for a fee.  It may even be possible to check in prior to the trip if you want, but there is a daily fee each day you are in prior to the official check-in date.  If your parents plan to here and you would like them to have access to your room to drop off supplies prior to our return, you will be able to grant them approval to access your room on Sunday before we return.
Grad check-in is separate and most incoming grads are in prior to the trip.


Who will be in my hiking group?  We will be hiking a wide variety of trails, and availing ourselves of a range of park amenities, on our days there – so may be in different groupings on different days.  Each hiking group will include leaders and new students.  The groups are typically co-ed with a mix of Grads and UGs… although from time to time we may have a single gender or class groups.


How difficult will the treks be?  You will be placed in a group with others who have a similar preference for trek difficulty and who have made a similar assessment of their experience / fitness level as you have.   Since it is hiking and/or backpacking in the high sierras it is not a walk in the park, routes will be selected to provide easier or more difficult treks based on the sign ups.  Easier routes will likely still present some challenge while those selecting strenuous will be reminded that our focus is on getting to know one another while appreciating an amazing setting… not just checking off peaks.  The leaders are also prepared to make adjustments based on participant abilities on the trail as needed. 


Who leads the hiking groups?  Most of our leaders are current Caltech students who have participated on the Y-Hike, or one of our other outdoor adventures, at one point themselves… however from time to time we also have alumni, staff, and/or other students who have experience but never went with us as a participant.  Our leaders are not professional guides, but are experienced in the wilderness.  The Y-Hike, like other Y programs, is student led.


What equipment will I need?  The Y will have all the group equipment (tents, stoves, etc.) you need and can also provide you with a backpack, sleeping bag and sleeping pad if you don’t have your own.  See the packing list for a complete list of recommendations for personal attire and gear.  Packing and Equipment List Here 


What is the Caltech Y anyway?  The Caltech Y is a student driven, non-profit organization affiliated with Caltech.  We were founded in 1916 as a student club, affiliated with the YMCA, to provide programs planned by, and for, students… and to promote leadership development and self-discovery.  While the Caltech Y is no longer affiliated with the YMCA, has added a staff and Board of Directors, the spirit of our founding remains – student led opportunities that enrich student life and challenge students to be engaged citizens of the world. 

Contact Us


MC: C1-128

Pasadena, CA 91125


PHONE: (626) 395-6163

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505 S. Wilson Ave.

Pasadena, CA 91106

HOURS: Mon - Fri  9am - 5pm 

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