Giant sequoias, waterfalls, and welcoming trails
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|Trip Length||6 days/5 nights|
|Price||From $2,995 to $3,395|
|If you have questions about this journey or would like to receive a detailed trip brochure, call 800-445-2995 or click here.|
Day 1 (Fresno, Yosemite National Park) Get to know your traveling companions on the 2-hour drive to the south entrance of Yosemite National Park, one of our nation’s most cherished landscapes, featuring towering cliffs, expansive vistas, abundant waterfalls and important wildlife habitat. Accommodations for the next two nights are at the classic Wawona Hotel, cradled between the majestic Mariposa Grove of giant sequoias and Yosemite Valley. The Victorian hotel complex was built in the 1870s and is a National Historic Landmark.
Day 2 (Yosemite National Park) Walking among the giant sequoias of the Mariposa Grove is a soul-stirring experience. This is the largest grove of giant sequoias in Yosemite, with some 500 trees. One of those trees, the famous Grizzly Giant, is 209 feet tall, has a diameter of 25.5 feet, and is probably around 2,000 years old. This afternoon are joined by a historian for a tour of the Pioneer History Center, which is on the grounds of the hotel. Our historical interpreter will tell us about the rich history of the park, and point out key features of the Wawona Hotel.
Day 3 (Yosemite National Park) This morning we make our way into the heart of Yosemite Valley for a look at El Capitan, Half Dome, Sentinel Peak, and other iconic and breathtaking natural attractions. Our guide will lead us on some amazing hikes, that might include Glacier Point, Bridalveil Fall, and Lower Yosemite Falls. We may visit some of John Muir’s favorite spots, mentioned in his journals, as we find our own favorite spot to pause and enjoy the view.
Day 4 (Yosemite National Park) Most of this day is dedicated to hiking and valley exploration. "Guide's choice" trails might include the "mist trail" to Vernal Falls, Muir Trail, Mirror Lake, or Cook's Meadow. Later we can drop by the Yosemite Valley Visitor Center and you can also stop in at the Ansel Adams Gallery. Last thing this afternoon is a delightful private tour of the distinguished Ahwahnee Hotel.
Day 5 (Yosemite National Park) Conditions and our guide’s sense of serendipity dictate where we explore and hike today—all still within the park. One possibility is the Hetch Hetchy Valley, where a controversial dam in 1925 raised the ultimately futile objections of John Muir and others from the budding conservation movement. Another option would take us up the Tioga Road to Tuolumne Meadows, with its great views of the Cathedral Range. This is the largest subalpine meadow in the Sierra Nevada, and we could enjoy any number of hikes in this gorgeous part of the park. Tonight is our festive farewell dinner in the Ahwahnee's elegant dining room.
Day 6 (Fresno for departures home) Catch breakfast at the hotel and shuttle to the airport for connections home.