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Follow in the footsteps of Ansel Adams in one of North America's most spectacular national parks. Find a unique angle on sites he made famous, including El Capitan and Half Dome. Trace Adams' legacy at the Ansel Adams Gallery, long owned by his family. Capture the spirit of the California Gold Rush on a photo shoot in historic Mariposa and discover creative ways to frame the massive sequoias of Mariposa Grove.
Explore and photograph the spectacular vistas of Yosemite, from the dramatic crag of El Capitan and the towering face of Half Dome to the landscapes of Hetch Hetchy
Walk through a sequoia grove and photograph the Sequoiadendron giganteum, the largest living organism 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 (L,D)
Day 3 — Glacier Point
Today, actively explore and photograph breathtaking views of Yosemite Valley and the Southern Sierras from Glacier Point. Journey north to magnificent Yosemite Valley and ascend to Glacier Point for optimal opportunities to photograph the 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. Then go on an optional hike on the valley floor before a picnic lunch. 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 for a morning hike from El Capitan Meadow to Swinging Bridge, where we’ll stop for a picnic. The afternoon is yours to independently explore the valley. This evening, enjoy dinner at the Majestic Yosemite Hotel, followed by stargazing from the Great Lawn.
Majestic Yosemite Hotel (B,L,D)
Day 5 — Yosemite Valley
Embark on a photo hike to Lower Yosemite Fall or opt for a more strenuous climb to top of Vernal Fall. 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 for spectacular photographic opportunities. 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 for a talk on geocaching.
Evergreen Lodge (B,L,D)
Day 7 — Hetch Hetchy
Explore and photograph 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)
Recently named one of the world's most influential nature photographers by Outdoor Photography magazine, Peter Essick has been a frequent contributor to National Geographic magazine for 25 years. His photographs move beyond mere documentation to reveal, through careful composition, both natural places and the human impact of development on the land. He has photographed stories on the Ansel Adams Wilderness, Patagonia, and national parks in Australia, Finland, and Portugal. Peter is the author of two books, The Ansel Adams Wilderness and Our Beautiful, Fragile World. A frequent public speaker, he has won many journalistic awards, and his photographs have been exhibited in the United States and in Europe.