Yosemite Valley Hiking – Lodge Based

Trip Length5 Days
Group Size4-12
Activity level
Starting from
$3,349 for REI Members
$3,679 for non-members
DeparturesApr 2024-Oct 2024

Spend five days hiking in one of America’s most iconic national parks, perfectly timed with the changing of the seasons.

Visitors have come from far and wide to see Yosemite Valley ever since it became an established landmark in 1890. The classic granite features, thunderous waterfalls and stunning landscapes are much revered by adventurers and naturalists alike. This trip provides a chance to explore the storied valley from end to end.

Each sunrise brings a new hike to conquer and a new natural wonder to behold. Gaze up at the vertical 3,000’ granite face of El Capitan. Take in the impossibly high waterfalls as they plummet thousands of feet from the rim of the valley.

This adventure focuses on celebrating the changing seasons in Yosemite. Our visits are timed to coincide with peak waterfall flow in the spring and the kaleidoscopic display of fall color from the park’s aspen, dogwood, oak and maple trees. From the granite monuments to the valley meadows, spring blossoms to fall colors, this adventure is perfectly designed to showcase the very best of Yosemite Valley.

The changing seasons provide beautiful eruptions of color and fewer park visitors—an ideal time to visit Yosemite.

Trip Highlights

  • Enjoy the best of Yosemite on a lodge based adventure.
  • See the Valley Floor Loop and Mist Trail with expert local guides
  • Hike to Vernal, Nevada and Yosemite Falls for outstanding views
  • Springtime offers abundant waterfalls and fall provides golden foliage
  • Gaze up at two iconic granite monoliths, Half Dome and El Capitan


This trip is rated Moderate [3].  Trip members should be capable of hiking up to 9 miles while carrying a daypack that weighs 10-15 pounds on trails with elevation gains/losses of up to 2,700'. Trails will include some steep sections, stairs, and exposed overlooks. The trip guides will brief trip members on the rigorousness and exposure of each hike prior to setting out. Most excursions take place between 4,000-8,000' in elevation.

  • Hiking

What's Included

Accommodations based on double occupancy for 4 nights; meals from lunch on Day 1 to lunch on Day 5; one group transfer from Fresno to Yosemite National Park on Day 1 and one return transfer to Fresno on Day 5; vehicle support; guide leadership; park entrance fees.


Lodge: 4 nights.

Your Adventure Itinerary

Itinerary map for Yosemite Valley Hiking – Lodge Based
Day 1

Hike to a hidden viewpoint to see Yosemite Valley’s natural wonders

We meet our guides in Fresno, California, this morning and transfer to Yosemite National Park, where we enjoy a picnic lunch at the iconic Tunnel View entrance. We enjoy a picnic lunch with incredible views into the Valley as our guides provide insight and interpretation. Our first hike from El Captain Meadow along the old Big Oak Flat Road is an ideal introduction to a park where grandeur is the norm and awe is the expectation. In the afternoon we settle into our private lodgings and gather for a home-cooked dinner and orientation of the week ahead. Lunch and dinner included.

Hiking: Up to 3 miles at elevations of 5,000-5,700’. Elevation gain/loss up to 700'. Transfers: 2 hours.

Day 2

Hike to Mirror Lake and along Tenaya Canyon with views of Half Dome

This morning we circumnavigate the valley floor beneath the soaring granite walls of Tenaya Canyon. Beginning at the Ahwahnee Hotel, we hike to Mirror Lake on a trail sheltered by the cover of quiet woods. Mirror Lake offers a jaw-dropping view of Half Dome soaring 5,000’ directly above us. Exploring in the spring months, we see that Mirror Lake has plenty of water and the reflections of the surrounding cliffs are excellent. Trips in the autumn provide beautiful colors that create captivating reflections along Tenaya Creek. Our hike takes us to the very end of Tenaya Canyon, below Clouds Rest, where we gaze up at the steep granite walls around us. Returning to our lodgings, we have dinner and perhaps sit out on the lodge’s deck for stargazing. All meals included.

Hiking: 7 miles at elevations of 4,000-4,300’. Elevation gain/loss: 300’.

Day 3

The Mist Trail’s granite stairs bring us to Vernal and Nevada Falls

We transfer to Happy Isles to tackle what is arguably Yosemite’s signature hike: the Vernal Fall and Nevada Fall Loop. We follow our guides up the park’s “giant staircase” where we are rewarded with close-up views of these two falls and numerous geological features. Negotiating hundreds of granite stairs that take us through the misty rainbow created by the 317’ Vernal Fall, we continue on to the top of 594’ Nevada Fall. The vistas of two famous rock monuments, Liberty Cap and the back side of Half Dome, combined with the sweeping scenery of Yosemite Valley, are spectacular. Hiking back to the valley floor, we follow a short stretch of the fabled John Muir Trail and relish a final glimpse of Yosemite’s impressive granite formations. We return to our accommodations for dinner.

Hiking: Up to 7 miles at elevations at elevations of 4,000-6,000’. Elevation gain/loss: up to 2,000’.

Day 4

Follow the switchbacks to the top of Yosemite Falls for dramatic vistas

Our goal is the top of Yosemite Falls, a one-of-a-kind hike with panoramic views of the Valley and the lower and upper falls. We hike one of the park’s oldest trails, built between 1873 and 1877, to the top of North America’s tallest waterfall. The falls cascade 2,425 feet to the valley floor and, if the sunlight and water droplets cooperate, we may see a single or even a rare double rainbow. En route to the top, we pause at Columbia Rock for a snack and to take in the rewarding views of the valley, Half Dome and Sentinel Rock. The trail is rocky and steep with numerous switchbacks, so we take our time. Reaching the top, we pause to appreciate the surrounding views while listening to the sounds of the massive waterfall. Returning to the Valley floor, we transfer back to our accommodations for another delicious dinner prepared by our guides. All meals included.

Hiking: 7.2 miles at elevations of 3,967-6,526’. Elevation gain/loss: 2,559’.

Day 5

Hike the Mariposa Grove of Giant Sequoias, then return to Fresno

We load our luggage into the support vehicle, then drive to the Mariposa Grove of Giant Sequoia, the largest and most impressive grove of giant sequoias in the park. After our hike through the grove we say farewell to Yosemite National Park and return to Fresno. Breakfast and lunch included.

Hiking: Up to 5 miles at elevations of 5,600-6,800'. Elevation gain/loss up to 1,200'. Transfers: 2.5 hours.

Itinerary map for Yosemite Valley Hiking – Lodge Based

Gear List

The key to staying comfortable while on an active trip is layering. To get maximum comfort with minimum weight, you need versatile layers that mix and match to create the right amount of insulation, ventilation and weather protection. This gear list has been created to help you in choosing your equipment for the trip. Try to bring only what is necessary as this will help you and the field staff.

Already booked this trip? Sign into your online traveler profile for a more detailed list of what you'll need.

REI members can shop for gently used gear online or at most REI stores. Members can also trade in pre-loved used gear online or at any REI store in exchange for REI gift card credit. Check out Re/Supply at REI to learn more.

Provided by REI

What to pack

Contact Us

Feel free to give us a call at 1 (800) 622-2236 should you have any questions regarding the gear list. The staff at our stores and Direct Sales ( 1 (800) 426-4840 ) will also be happy to help you with gear questions. Or check out REI Expert Advice , which has great information to help you prepare for your trip.

Trip specifics may change over time. Reviews reflect the version of the trip that was active at the time the reviewer took it. Please review the itinerary as described above and call our team for any additional details.