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Nestled within California’s Sierra Nevada mountain range lies a land of glacier-polished granite domes, picture-perfect valleys, and waterfalls that tumble from high above. From the towering sequoia stands of the Mariposa Grove to the dramatic granite crag of El Capitan, the sheer grandeur of these landscapes takes your breath away. Spend seven days in the land that inspired John Muir and Ansel Adams, exploring magnificent sequoia groves; hiking along valleys, alpine meadows, and waterfalls; and soaking up the unparalleled beauty of Yosemite.
Experience the iconic landscapes of Yosemite, from the dramatic crag of El Capitan and the plunging waterfalls of the Yosemite Valley to the verdant landscapes of Hetch Hetchy Valley
Gaze up at the legendary giant sequoias on a guided walk through a sequoia grove that is home to Sequoiadendron giganteum, the largest living organisms on earth by volume
Trace the history of Yosemite and the lives of two of its greatest champions, John Muir and Ansel Adams, during talks by local experts
Stay at lodges that reflect the local character, including the incomparable Majestic Yosemite Hotel, a National Historical Landmark
Itinerary - 7 Days
Day 1 — San Francisco, California
Arrive in San Francisco and transfer to our hotel for an evening at leisure.
Sir Francis Drake Hotel
Day 2 — Mariposa
Drive into the Sierra Nevada foothills on our way to the gold rush town of Mariposa. Visit the renowned Mariposa Museum and History Center, exploring
the old stamp mill, the blacksmith shop,
and newspaper press. After a picnic
lunch, enter the realm of Sequoiadendron
giganteum, the largest living organism
by volume, on a guided walk through
a giant sequoia grove. Check into
our lodge near the south entrance of
Tenaya Lodge (B,L,D)
Day 3 — Glacier Point
Journey north to magnificent Yosemite Valley and ascend to Glacier Point for sweeping vistas of El Capitan and Half Dome. Hear about the park’s geology and walk the granite slopes of Sentinel Dome if you wish. Arrive at our lodge this afternoon and learn about its art and architecture on a guided tour.
Majestic Yosemite Hotel (B,L)
Day 4 — Yosemite Valley
Join a naturalist from the Yosemite Conservancy for a morning walk to learn more about the park's history and geology before enjoying a picnic lunch. The afternoon is yours to independently explore the valley.
Majestic Yosemite Hotel (B,L,D)
Day 5 — Yosemite Valley
Hike to Mirror Lake or opt for a more strenuous climb to the top of Vernal Falls. Later, pay a visit to the Ansel Adams Gallery, founded as an artists’ studio in 1902 by Harry Best, whose daughter Adams later married. Evergreen Lodge (B,D)
Day 6 — Tuolumne Meadows
Head into the vast, high-mountain meadows above the Tuolumne River today. Walk to Soda Springs and see an exhibit on John Muir and the region’s early residents at the historic Parsons Memorial Lodge. Gaze up at Lembert Dome, a popular climbing spot, and go for a hike in the area if you wish. Or return to the lodge to try geocaching, an international treasure hunting game. Evergreen Lodge (B,L,D)
Day 7 — Hetch Hetchy/San Francisco
Explore the beautiful Hetch Hetchy Valley, submerged by the construction of the O’Shaughnessy Dam in the 1920s and 1930s and now the site of a proposed cutting-edge environmental restoration project. Enjoy a farm-to-table lunch on our way back to San Francisco. (B,L)
Geographer, educator, and author Stephen F. Cunha spent ten years as a national park ranger in Yosemite and Alaska. Now a geography professor at California's Humboldt State University, he studies diverse landscapes around the world. He is the author of National Geographic's Our Fifty States and How to Ace the National Geographic Bee: The Official Study Guide. For more than a decade, he directed the California Geographic Alliance, which promotes geographic education and literacy among California teachers, students, and the public. Stephen spent four years developing the Pamir National Park in eastern Tajikistan, which was named a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2013. He recently received the California State University system’s highest award for exemplary contributions and achievements in the Social and Behavioral Sciences and Public Service.
Travelers should be in good health and comfortable walking or standing for extended periods of time. Daily activities may include city walking tours, visits to sites, game drives on bumpy roads, or easy hikes.
Click here for a description of all activity levels.