Our trip begins today in Fresno, California, where we meet our guides and fellow hikers at 8am at the host hotel. After a warm welcome and brief orientation, we jump in our private van and begin the two-hour drive to the Mariposa Grove of Giant Sequoias in Yosemite National Park. The largest and most spectacular grove of redwoods in Yosemite, Mariposa contains more than 500 mature giant sequoia trees, their gorgeous red-barked trunks soaring over 200 feet into the Sierra sky. Our hike leads us into the heart of this magnificent grove and allows ample time to photograph and wander among these awe-inspiring arboreal giants. Our next stop is Tunnel View, an iconic viewpoint that provides our first awe-inspiring panoramas of the magnificent Yosemite Valley. Later this afternoon, a short van ride takes us to our campsite in Yosemite Valley where we set up camp before digging into a delicious guide-prepared dinner. For the night owls among us, a crackling campfire provides heat and light for evening conversation and contemplation. Lunch and dinner included.
Hiking: 5?7 miles, Elevation gain/loss: minimal; Van transfer: 3 hours
On our way to the trailhead this morning, we gaze out at Yosemite Valley?s iconic peaks and the towering walls that comprise this epic granite landscape beloved by John Muir, Ansel Adams, Royal Robbins and a host of other renowned explorers and adventurers. Today?s exhilarating hike up the Mist Trail climbs granite staircases built alongside the cascading Vernal and Nevada Falls, to the top of 600-foot-high Nevada Falls itself. On the descent, we follow in the footsteps of John Muir, hiking along his namesake trail and enjoying exceptional views of Half Dome, Mount Broderick and Liberty Cap. After our hike, we visit the Yosemite Valley Visitor Center before returning to camp, where we can kick back and catch up on some vacation reading or just hang with our new hiking buddies. After dinner, a good night?s sleep is only a few steps away in our large, comfortable tents. All meals included.
Hiking: 9 miles, Elevation gain/loss: 2,200'
Awaken to the first rays of sunshine and the smell of freshly brewed coffee before digging into a tasty hot breakfast?fuel for today?s adventure. For our grand finale, we?ve planned a double-header hike to Sentinel Dome (8,123?) and Taft Point (7,503?). This pair of stellar south rim viewpoints offer some of the best bird?s eye panoramas of Yosemite Valley and the rugged high peaks of the Sierra Crest, stretching out towards the distant horizon. After a picnic lunch on trail, we return to our van and make a final photo stop at magnificent Glacier Point before setting out for the drive back to Fresno. Our adventure ends upon our return to Fresno at approximately 4pm this afternoon. Please do not schedule any departing flights from Fresno prior to 6:30pm this evening. Breakfast and lunch included.
Hiking: 5 miles, Elevation gain/loss: 1,050'; Van transfer: 3 hours