High Sierra Institute

Far from urban distractions and surrounded by Sierra Nevada backcountry, the High Sierra Institute provides a unique opportunity for California and out-of-state students to study at a location with both natural beauty and ecological diversity. The Institute was established in 2000 via a partnership between the Yosemite Community College District and USDA Forest Service. The Institute is located at Baker Station, a historic California Department of Transportation maintenance station. At 6,200 feet in elevation, HSI operates under a special use permit on the Stanislaus National Forest and occupies a 2.5-acre area accessible to roughly 200,000 acres of high country meadows, forest, ponds and marshes just below Sonora Pass.

The diverse High Sierra Institute courses reflect holistic learning via the integration of academic concepts with place and experience. HSI offers learning experiences that enhance personal connections to place and reinforces the relationship between human culture and the environment surrounding and sustaining it.

The Institute has on-site living spaces for 36 students in the Bunk House and 15 additional spaces at on-site camp spots. There is a fully-functioning kitchen (gas BBQ included) and a modest bathroom facility with hot showers. That course participants live together creates a climate of intellectual exchange which builds strong group dynamics and enhances overall learning.

top of the canyon

middle of the canyon

bottom of the canyon
    Photography by Bill Anelli