Torrential waterfalls and towering granite walls draw thousands of visitors into Yosemite National Park each summer. The majority of visitors only stay for a day; however, a small group of free-spirited individuals will spend the summer in the park working as seasonal employees.

While some of them moved in for the world-class climbing right outside their yurts and others are looking for some quiet time away from the city, one thing is certain: They are on a long-term paid vacation in one of America’s most popular national parks.

All photos by the author.


Jamie Cherry, team leader/hiker, Gainsville, Florida

Jamie has worked in the park for two seasons; hiking is her passion and she does it just about every week.
“I love being able to explore the park so easily. People come to Yosemite from all over the world. I am fortunate to be able to call it home.”


David & Holly Dennis, visitor center information assistants/climbers & hikers, Monterey, California

“When you live here all summer the park becomes more than your home, you truly become attached to it. Meeting new people from all over the world in such wonderful scenery is our favorite aspect about being able to live in Yosemite.”


Trevor Ruiz, junior cook/leisurely climbs & boulders, Boise, Idaho

Trevor started working as a seasonal employee for the summer, but after five months his manager offered him a full-time position.
“I wanted to take a break from school, and staying in a boring hometown wasn’t really an option. My best friend convinced me to come to Yosemite.”


Nathan Pacheco, cashier/climber, San Jon, New Mexico

Nathan spends almost all of his free time bouldering. Whenever he gets more than a couple of days off he can be found climbing the granite walls that surround the valley.
“Wanted to surf, but the swell went flat one day. With the park (Yosemite) only a few hours away I decided to make the drive; I lived out of Camp 4 and climbed until I ran out of money, then decided to apply for a job. Been here since.”


Courtney Nigh, buss girl/semiprofessional hanger outer, Visalia, California

Courtney applied to work in Yosemite at the last possible minute. She was only supposed to stay for three months but fast forward two years and she still lives in Yosemite.
“Taking long walks and finding quiet spots is my favorite pastime.”


Cayla Eggemeyer, receptionist/hiker, Santa Barbara, California

Cayla took the suggestion from a family member who had previously worked in the park and moved in. Now she can be found riding her bicycle or hiking one of the many trails throughout the park.
“I came to get away from everything for a little while and having the park as your backyard really helps the cause.”


Taylor Sincich, cashier/big wall climber, Clearwater, Florida

After getting a philosophy degree from the University of Florida, Taylor wanted to climb as much as possible. Since moving into Yosemite, he has sent routes in Half Dome, El Capitan (Yosemite’s most prominent climbs), Liberty Cap, and others.
“I basically get pay to climb and live in Yosemite Valley. I love waking up and looking at half dome every day.”