Yosemite National Park is home to some of the most magnificent scenery in the American West. During leisurely hikes, discover imposing sequoia trees, towering cliffs, expansive vistas, and cascading waterfalls that comprise this World Heritage site, located in northern California.

Starting at: $4,675 Make a Reservation Ask Us A Question or Call 855-330-1542
 El Capitan, Yosemite National Park, with Half Dome in the distance  Bridalveil Falls, Yosemite National Park  El Capitan in Yosemite National Park. Credit: Manish Mamtani  The beauty of Yosemite National Park  Yosemite National Park.  Credit: Jordan Pulmano

Treasures of Yosemite

7 days from $4,675

Yosemite National Park is home to some of the most magnificent scenery in the American West. During leisurely hikes, discover imposing sequoia trees, towering cliffs, expansive vistas, and cascading waterfalls that comprise this World Heritage site, located in northern California.

or Call 855-330-1542

Overview

Yosemite National Park is home to some of the most magnificent scenery in the American West. During leisurely hikes, discover imposing sequoia trees, towering cliffs, expansive vistas, and cascading waterfalls that comprise this World Heritage site, located in northern California.

Highlights Include

  • Classic Sites: Walk amid the giant sequoias of Mariposa Grove, home to some 500 giant trees hundreds of feet tall. Then travel into the heart of Yosemite to witness the classic features of El Capitan, Half Dome, and Sentinel Peak. For many, Half Dome is the park’s signature landmark, with walls etched by vertical joints and the trails of past glaciers. Others find it to be Bridalveil Falls and Lower Yosemite Falls.
  • John Muir and Ansel Adams: Learn about the legacies of the important naturalist and photographer and their roles in preserving California’s Sierra Nevada. Plus, hear about conservation efforts to protect the park’s majestic character and visit the Pioneer History Museum.
  • Yosemite’s High Country: Drive over Tioga Pass Road and take easy hikes with incredible views of the valley below or explore Hetch Hetchy Valley. Depending on weather, highlights could include Mono Lake, Tuolumne Meadows, Tenaya Lake, and Olmsted Point.
  • Historic Lodges: Stay at the National Historic Landmark Wawona Hotel and Yosemite Valley Lodge, both located within the park. Plus, enjoy a tour of the historic Ahwahnee Hotel, followed by a festive farewell dinner in the dining room.

Please note: The date for the June 2021 departure has changed since the printing of our catalog. It was originally advertised as June 12-18, 2021. The updated dates are June 5-11, 2021.

Itinerary

Day 1 — Fresno, California to Yosemite National Park

Arrive during the afternoon into Fresno, California and Fresno Yosemite International Airport. Transfer to the Best Western Fresno Airport for check-in. There are no scheduled activities this evening with time to relax before beginning your journey tomorrow morning. A complimentary shuttle from the airport is available for arriving guests.

Day 2 — Yosemite National Park

After breakfast meet your Smithsonian Journeys Expert and Tour Staff in the lobby of the hotel begin your journey. On your drive from Fresno into the park hear about the special history of the region. Abraham Lincoln signed the Yosemite Grant in 1864 protecting the valley from development, and Yosemite National Park was designated by an Act of Congress in 1890. John Muir helped draw the park’s proposed boundaries, so the towering cliffs, expansive vistas, abundant waterfalls, and important wildlife habitat are all part of Muir’s legacy. Upon arrival in Yosemite National Park enjoy a short hike to stretch your legs and “get grounded” in this incredible landscape. Then visit the Yosemite Pioneer Museum to learn about human history at Yosemite. Check-in for two nights at the classic Wawona Hotel, which is cradled between the Mariposa Grove of giant sequoias and Yosemite Valley. (B,L,D)

Walks/Hikes: Lewis Creek Trail (0.5-3 miles roundtrip, easy)

Day 3 — Yosemite National Park

Walking among the giant sequoias of the Mariposa Grove—some of the largest and oldest living things on earth—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. Learn about the ecology and conservation of the trees and the 3-year renovation project that wrapped up in spring 2018. Return to the hotel for lunch. The remainder of the afternoon will be spent exploring the southern portion of the park on choice hikes in the area. Dinner this evening is in the hotel lovely dining room, known for its culinary excellence and gracious ambiance. (B,L,D)

Walks/Hikes: Mariposa Grove Trail (2-6 miles out and back, moderate)

Day 4 —Yosemite National Park

This morning head into the heart of Yosemite Valley for a look at the classic features of El Capitan, Half Dome, Sentinel Peak, and other iconic and breathtaking natural attractions. You’ll take off on the best hikes based on weather and trail conditions. Destinations might include Bridalveil Fall, and Lower Yosemite Falls. Learn more about the renowned naturalist John Muir, a key figure in the creation of Yosemite National Park and in the wider American conservation movement. Stop at some of Muir’s favorite spots, mentioned in his journals. Unpack and relax at Yosemite Lodge, which is just a short walk from Yosemite Falls. The lodge offers a great vantage point to view the spectacular falls. (B,L,D) 

Walks/Hikes: Depending on timing, weather, and trail conditions, excursions today may include Mist Trail to Vernal Falls (3 miles roundtrip, easy), Cook’s Meadow Loop(1-mile loop, easy), Mirror Lakes Trail (2 miles roundtrip, easy to moderate), Sentinel Dome Trail (2.2 miles roundtrip, moderate), Washburn Overlook (20 stair steps, easy), Bridalveil Falls (0.5 miles roundtrip, easy)

Day 5 — Yosemite National Park

Weather will play a key role on where the group hikes today. One area is the Hetch Hetchy area, a glacial valley within the park that sees far fewer visitors than Yosemite valley. A controversial dam was built there in 1925, raising the ultimately futile objections of John Muir and others from the budding conservation movement. Hike to Wapama Falls along a quiet trail leading to the 1,000-foot two-part cascade. Another option is a drive up the Tioga Road to Tuolumne Meadows, with its high-elevation meadows and great views of the Cathedral Range. The Tuolumne River winds through the picturesque 2-mile long meadow, the largest subalpine meadow in the Sierra Nevada. Enjoy exploring this gorgeous part of the park. Return to the lodge to enjoy dinner at the Mountain Room Restaurant, with its impressive menu and striking views of Yosemite Falls. (B,L,D)

Walks/Hikes: Wapama Falls Trail (2-6 miles out and back moderate)

Day 6 —Yosemite National Park

Spend a full day exploring Yosemite Valley. Hikes may include the famed “mist trail” to Vernal Falls, Muir Trail, Mirror Lake, or Cook’s Meadow. Keep an eye out for wildlife all along the way. Later visit the Yosemite Valley Visitor Center and learn how the distinctive landscape was formed and how the park has evolved since it’s founding. Time permitting visit the rustic and historic Yosemite Museum. Make a stop at the Ansel Adams Gallery, see original Ansel Adams prints as well as contemporary photographs. Then we’ll enjoy a private tour of the majestic Yosemite Hotel (formerly Ahwahnee Hotel). Queens, presidents, and movie stars have stayed in this architectural junction of history, hospitality, and elegance. Enjoy a festive farewell dinner is in the hotel’s famously elegant dining room. (B,L,D)

Walks/Hikes: Excursions not completed on Day 4 may be offered again today and include Mist Trail to Vernal Falls (3 miles roundtrip, easy), Cook’s Meadow Loop(1-mile loop, easy), Mirror Lakes Trail (2 miles roundtrip, easy to moderate), Sentinel Dome Trail (2.2 miles roundtrip, moderate), Washburn Overlook (20 stair steps, easy), Bridalveil Falls (0.5 miles roundtrip, easy)

Day 7 – Departures home from Fresno

After breakfast depart Yosemite National Park for the return drive to Fresno and Fresno Yosemite International Airport for afternoon flights home. (B)

Included meals are denoted as follows: Breakfast (B), Lunch (L), Reception (R), Dinner (D)