Road Scholar : Home
California National Park Medley: From Giant Sequoias to Coast Redwoods

Program Number: 2811RJ
Start and End Dates:
9/7/2014 - 9/20/2014; 6/14/2016 - 6/26/2016; 9/13/2016 - 9/25/2016; 10/4/2016 - 10/16/2016;
Duration: 13 nights
Location: Burlingame, California
Price starting at: $2,999.00 - Price may vary based on date, departure city
Program Type: On the Road; National Parks; Natural History
Meals: 36; 13 Breakfasts, 11 Lunches, 12 Dinners    
Meal Options: Vegetarian    

Immerse yourself in California’s national parks — Sequoia/Kings Canyon, Yosemite, Lassen, Redwoods — and experience fascinating stops in Mono Lake, Lake Tahoe, Shasta Dam and Mendocino. This California adventure spotlights the state’s topographic and climatic diversity, from the desert of the Eastern Sierra, across the mountains to the rugged North Coast.


• Marvel at giant, ancient sequoias and redwoods, two very different and equally remarkable species of tree.
• With expert naturalists, experience Yosemite Valley and dine at the historic Wawona hotel.
• Visit the fumaroles and mud pots of Lassen Volcanic National Park, and journey to the base of Shasta Dam, the second-largest dam in the country.

Activity Particulars

Walking up to one mile, varied terrain; standing 60 minutes. Elevations will exceed 3,000 up to 9,000 feet.

Itinerary Summary

Arrival Burlingame, Calif., 1 night; coach to Fresno, 2 nights; coach to Yosemite National Park, 2 nights; coach to Lake Tahoe, Nev., 2 nights; coach to Redding, 1 night; coach to Eureka, 2 nights; coach to Mendocino, 2 nights; coach to Burlingame, departure.

Coordinated by Road Scholar.

Sequoia National Park

The second national park designated in this country, Sequoia National Park encompasses vast and magnificent terrain. From mountain peaks, deep canyons and immense Redwood trees, this park is a gem among gems.


A bustling suburb set between San Francisco Bay and the foothills of the Pacific Coast Range, Burlingame affords great views of San Francisco to the north from the walking paths along the bay.


Eureka is the largest city on California’s North Coast. It is located on Humboldt Bay, about 270 miles north of San Francisco. The city takes its name from the state motto, supposedly exclaimed upon the discovery of gold in California. Eureka is surrounded by the most extensive preserves of the world’s tallest tree: the California redwood.


Perched on a scenic headland surrounded by the Pacific Ocean, Mendocino is a thriving artist colony and a popular weekend getaway for residents of San Francisco, 200 miles south. Once the location of the TV series, “Murder, She Wrote,” the town has several parks and nature reserves that offer panoramic views and good birdwatching.

Redwood National Park

You probably know that Redwood National Forest has the world’s tallest trees, but did you know that the park also protects vast prairies, oak woodlands and nearly 40 miles of wild coastline? Here, banana slugs, gray whales, Douglas fir, black bears and sea anemones are equally at home with the Giant Redwoods.

Lassen National Park

The hydrothermal features of this northeastern California park include boiling mud pots and bubbling sulfur pools, indicating the geothermal activity just beneath the surface of the pristine lakes and backcountry trails. Stunning views of the Cascades and Sacramento Valley unfold in all directions from the top of Lassen Peak.

Mono Lake

 Located in California's spectacular Eastern Sierra, Mono Lake is one of our nation’s most sublimely beautiful locations, reflecting the snow-capped Sierra Nevada in its shimmering blue waters. The nearby volcanoes, ghost towns and trout-filled streams make this area a true wonderland.

Lake Tahoe (Nevada)

The eastern side of the 1,000-foot-deep Lake Tahoe offers close access to Mount Rose Wilderness area, nestled between the Sierra Nevada and the Great Basin, as well as the Tahoe Rim Trail and numerous historic sites documenting the human heritage of this mountainous region.

Kings Canyon National Park

Kings Canyon National Park lies in the California’s southern Sierra Nevada range. Huge mountains, rugged foothills, deep canyons, vast caverns and the world’s largest trees testify to nature’s size, beauty and diversity. The most famous section of Kings Canyon is the General Grant Grove, home of some of the biggest giant sequoias on the planet.

San Francisco

A stunning city with a colorful past and vibrant present, San Francisco offers legendary landmarks — the Golden Gate Bridge, Fisherman’s Wharf, cable cars and elegant Victorian homes — along with spectacular cityscapes and views of bay and bridges.

Carson City

In 1859, gold and silver were found in nearby Comstock Lode — simultaneously, Carson City became a bustling commercial center in the heart of the Old West. Today, Nevada’s capital city is a center for the state’s politics, and is near prime locations for skiing in the Sierra Nevada Mountains.

Comfortable hotels and lodges.

Road Scholar Instructors
These instructors are participating on at least one date of this program. Please note that changes may occur.
David Lukas

David Lukas is a naturalist and writer based in the Sierra Nevada. He has been teaching natural history and bird programs for 16 years and is the author of "Wild Birds of California," and the co-author of "Sierra Nevada Natural History." He is currently at work on a field guide to birds of the Sierra Nevada. David has traveled the world extensively, spending a year in Borneo as a member of the Harvard Research Team and in the Peruvian Amazon under the auspices of the Smithsonian Institution.
Frank Helling

Frank Helling is an active adventurer and naturalist who has spent much of his life “sauntering” in the footsteps of the great mountaineer, philosopher and nature writer John Muir. He has backpacked, hiked and climbed in the Sierras, Rockies, Cascades, Alps, Alaska, Hawaii and the deserts of the American Southwest. A former high school science teacher, Frank has also worked as a ranger and naturalist in Kings Canyon National Park and as a professional wilderness instructor.
Mark McLaughlin

Mark McLaughlin is a weather historian who lives on the north shore of Lake Tahoe. He has appeared on the History Channel program, “History’s Mysteries,” to talk about the “Storm King” — the unpredictable weather in the Sierra. An award-winning non-fiction writer as well as an entertaining and popular lecturer, Mark has authored two volumes of “Sierra Stories” and recently published “Western Train Adventures.”
Meals and Lodgings
   Hilton SFO Bayfront
  Burlingame, CA 1 night
   Holiday Inn Fresno
  Fresno, CA 2 nights
   Yosemite Lodge at the Falls
  Yosemite, CA 2 nights
   Carson City Plaza Hotel
  Carson City, Nevada 3 nights
   Red Lion Inn Hotel Redding
  Redding, California 1 night
   Red Lion Hotel Eureka
  Eureka, California 2 nights
   Mendocino Hotel and Garden Suites
  Mendocino, California 2 nights
 Hilton SFO Bayfront
Type: Full Service Hotel
  Description: Hilton SFO Bayfront is ideally located just four miles from San Francisco Airport in the contemporary neighborhood of Burlingame, CA, a short drive from downtown San Francisco. The hotel offers inspiring views overlooking San Francisco Bay and nearby there's a scenic walking path where guests can enjoy a stroll along the Bay. The charming downtown section of Burlingame is filled with plenty of shopping and dining options.
  Contact info: 600 Airport Blvd.
Burlingame, CA 94010 USA
phone: 650-340-8500
  Room amenities: Each guest room contains a 42 inch flat screen HDTV with complimentary HBO(R), in-room movie channels, on-demand movies, cable, CNN and ESPN. All rooms are equipped with a coffee maker and tea service, hairdryer, iron/ironing board, arm chair with ottoman, clock radio with MP3 connection, curved shower rod, non-allergenic feather pillows, safe, visual strobe for the hearing-impaired, bathroom amenities and telephone featuring auto wakeup, voicemail, and a dataport. 24-hour housekeeping is standard and evening room service is available. Guests receive USA Today daily, Monday through Friday. Complimentary WiFi internet access is available in all guest rooms.
  Facility amenities: The Hilton SFO Bayfront is a 100% smoke-free hotel. It offers guests many fine amenities including the California culinary-inspired restaurant, Windows on the Bay, which provides sweeping views of San Francisco Bay. Guests can also enjoy their favorite cocktail in the relaxed atmosphere of the hotel's Lobby Lounge. The hotel features an indoor heated pool and a state-of-the-art fitness center as well as a 24-hour business center. Guests may plug in their iPod, camera or laptop to an in-room system. The hotel provides complimentary shuttle service to and from SFO and to downtown Burlingame. WIRELESS INTERNET ACCESS: Complimentary WiFi internet access is available in the lobby and guest rooms.
  Smoking allowed: No
  Elevators available: Yes
  Additional nights prior: Based on availability Call the hotel for current room rates, or go to and enter dates that are before or after program, then go to menu on left side of screen and click on link at the bottom that says "Have a special code"; on the next screen enter the corporate account number: 2747104 and click update information. The Road Scholar preferred rates, if available, will be shown under the regular hotel rates.
  Check in time: 3:00 PM

 Holiday Inn Fresno
Type: Full Service Hotel
  Description: Nestled in Central California's scenic San Joaquin Valley, the Holiday Inn Fresno Airport hotel is a gateway to Sequoia/Kings Canyon and Yosemite National Parks. This full-service hotel is centrally located near the city's most exciting attractions, sports entertainment, universities, museums and shops.
  Contact info: 5090 East Clinton Way
Fresno, CA 93727 USA
phone: 559-252-3611
  Room amenities: The hotel has 210 contemporary guest rooms and suites, each equipped with 32" flat screen cable TVs, complimentary high speed wireless internet, coffee/tea makers, iron/ironing board, hair dryer, and complimentary toiletries.
  Facility amenities: The hotel features an indoor atrium heated pool and seasonal outdoor swimming pool, on-site restaurant and bar, and a modern fitness center. Additional amenities include a modern business center, room service, ATM machine, on-site laundry facilities and same-day dry cleaning service. There is no elevator to the second floor, however, the hotel provides 24-hour bell service to assist guests with luggage. WIRELESS INTERNET ACCESS: Complimentary high speed wireless internet is available throughout the hotel and in all guest rooms.
  Smoking allowed: No

 Yosemite Lodge at the Falls
Type: Lodge
  Description: As the closest property to Yosemite Falls, Yosemite Lodge at the Falls is an idyllic spot for families, group retreats and visitors seeking the comforts of a hotel after an exciting day exploring the wilderness. In 1998, the main complex was redesigned with an emphasis on glass and wood detailing to blend harmoniously with its surroundings. Landscaping of indigenous trees, shrubs and wildflowers further reflect the natural beauty of Yosemite Valley. An outdoor amphitheater located in the center of Yosemite Lodge at the Falls features nightly ranger/naturalist programs, slide presentations and scenic movies during the summer.
  Contact info: 9006 Yosemite Lodge Drive
Yosemite National Park, CA 95389 USA
phone: 209-372-1274
  Room amenities: Road Scholar participants will enjoy the comfort of the Lodge rooms which open to a patio or a balcony. All guest rooms have a private bathroom, dressing area, hair dryer, activity table, telephone and television with select programming. The bedding configuration is two double beds. The lodge offers daily maid service. No cooking is allowed in the rooms. Guest rooms do not have air conditioning. NOTE: Road Scholar participants MUST provide a credit card or cash deposit when checking in to cover any incidental expenses which may be incurred during their stay.
  Facility amenities: Yosemite Lodge at The Falls has a total of 249 rooms. It is composed of 226 "lodge rooms", 19 "standard rooms", and 4 "family rooms." Instead of having every room in a single building, the rooms are spread out over a total of 15 separate buildings, each with anywhere from nine to thirty-six rooms. There are 1 to 2 floors, depending on the building. NOTE: There are no elevators in any of the buildings. Guests must climb stairs to sleeping rooms on the 2nd floor. The Lodge offers an array of amenities and services to meet your needs. Casual dining is available at The Mountain Room Restaurant serving signature California cuisine such as steaks, seafood, chicken and pasta dishes. A full bar is also available. For cocktails and lighter fare, visit the adjacent Mountain Room Lounge. The Food Court offers hot and cold entrees and desserts for breakfast, lunch and dinner. The Coffee Corner, located in the Food Court, has a variety of hot and cold coffee and tea drinks, bagels and pastries, and hand-dipped ice cream. A laundromat is located by the shower house at Housekeeping Camp Services and is open all year from 8AM-10PM. YOSEMITE LODGE WI-FI INTERNET ACCESS: Wireless access is complimentary to all Yosemite Lodge guests upon check-in, including guest rooms and conference spaces. An ATM is located in the lobby near the tour desk. The Yosemite Lodge Gift Shop sells sundries, newspapers, gift items, magazines, books, posters, snacks, jewelry and apparel. The Nature Shop offers unique sculptures, original photographs by Yosemite's leading professionals, one-of-a-kind Native American art, as well as apparel, music and videos. A full-service post office, including parcel post, is available onsite. The Lodge offers a heated outdoor swimming pool that is open daily from Memorial Day through Labor Day, weather permitting. Free shuttle service to various locations in Yosemite Valley is accessible from Yosemite Lodge at the Falls.
  Smoking allowed: No

 Carson City Plaza Hotel
Type: Full Service Hotel
  Description: The Carson City Plaza Hotel and Event Center is centrally located in the heart of downtown Carson City, just 20 minutes from the shores of Lake Tahoe. The Plaza is within walking distance of various restaurants, Nevada’s government and business district, and historic sites such as the Nevada State Museum, rated one the best regional museums in the United States.
  Contact info: 801 South Carson
Carson City, NV 89701 USA
phone: 775-883-9500
  Room amenities: Guest rooms are furnished with pillowtop beds, air conditioning, LCD flat screen cable TV, clock radio w/ MP3 connection, microwave, small refrigerator, hair dryer, free Wi-Fi, coffee maker, iron/ironing board (on request), ergonomic desk chair, and windows that open. Bathrooms offer shower/tub combinations and complimentary toiletries.
  Facility amenities: The hotel is a smoke-free property featuring a family friendly atmosphere, small fitness center, business services, same-day dry cleaning service, and an onsite guest laundry with multiple washers and dryers as well as a laundry supplies. WIRELESS INTERNET ACCESS: Complimentary high-speed Wi-Fi is available in all guest rooms and in most public areas of the facility.
  Smoking allowed: No
  Elevators available: Yes

 Red Lion Inn Hotel Redding
Type: Hotel
  Description: The Red Lion Hotel Redding is situated at the gateway to Northern California's recreational playground, just a short drive from some of California's most dramatic natural wonders including Mt. Shasta and the pristine Trinity Mountains. Mt. Lassen Volcanic State Park and the Sundial Bridge are only minutes away. The hotel is conveniently located near the downtown area, Redding Convention Center and Mt. Shasta Mall.
  Contact info: 1830 Hilltop Drive
Redding, CA 96002 USA
phone: 530-221-8700
  Room amenities: Guest rooms feature plush pillowtop beds, free wireless Internet access, work desk and chair, alarm clock/radio, coffee maker, iron with board, hairdryer, and Premium Cable or Satellite TV, and eco-friendly bath amenities.
  Facility amenities: The hotel has 192 spacious guest rooms with private balconies or patios and features a seasonal outdoor pool, whirlpool and fitness center. Additional amenities include an on-site restaurant, business services, complimentary newspapers in the lobby, same-day dry cleaning service, and a safe deposit box at the front desk. WIRELESS INTERNET ACCESS: The hotel offers complimentary Wi-Fi in guest rooms and public spaces within the hotel.
  Smoking allowed: No

 Red Lion Hotel Eureka
Type: Full Service Hotel
  Description: Conveniently located off Highway 101 near the towering Redwoods of Northern California, the Red Lion Hotel Eureka is ideally situated near the Pacific Ocean. The state and national Redwood parks are just minutes away. The hotel is within easy walking distance of the beautiful Victorian Seaport of Old Town Eureka, which is filled with boutique shops and art galleries.
  Contact info: 1929 Fourth Street
Eureka, CA 95501 USA
phone: 707-445-0844
  Room amenities: The spacious guest rooms are furnished with comfortable pillowtop beds. Amenities include free wireless Internet access, work desk and chair, alarm clock/radio, coffee maker, refrigerator, microwave, iron/ironing board, hairdryer and Premium Cable or Satellite TV. Eco-Friendly bath amenities are provided.
  Facility amenities: The Red Lion Hotel has 175 spacious guest rooms and features an outdoor pool, whirlpool and fitness center, room service, on-site ATM, and same-day laundry and dry cleaning valet service. The hotel restaurant, the Pacific Grill, serves distinctive Northwest cuisine. Complimentary newspapers are available in the lobby. WIRELESS INTERNET ACCESS: The hotel offers complimentary Wi-Fi throughout the facility including all guest rooms.
  Smoking allowed: No
  Elevators available: Yes

 Mendocino Hotel and Garden Suites
Type: Hotel
  Description: The Mendocino Hotel, a restored Victorian building with beautiful antiques and two award-winning restaurants, is situated in the picturesque village of Mendocino overlooking the Pacific Ocean and Mendocino Headlands. Located on the rugged North Coast of California, about 4 hours north of San Francisco, it is part of the highly scenic Andersen Valley, home of over three dozen boutique wineries. The hotel and town of only 1200 inhabitants is registered in the National Historic Trust.
  Contact info: 45080 Main Street
Mendocino, CA 95460 USA
phone: 800-548-0513
  Room amenities: The hotel's 51 guest rooms were renovated in 2006 and are equipped with hair dryers, phones, irons/ ironing boards, and cozy down comforters. Many have balconies and fireplaces.
  Facility amenities: This full-service hotel, located in the heart of the Mendocino Historic Preservation District, offers Concierge and 24-hour Front Desk service; bellman service from 8AM till 9PM; room service from 8AM till 9PM; free daily copy of the New York Times Digest; safe deposit boxes; on-site parking; and in-house massage and spa services situated on two acres of lush Victorian gardens. Guests will also enjoy the on-site Mendocino Creamery Ice Cream Parlor. The Mendocino Hotel features two award-winning restaurants and a bar which offer guests a choice of casual, bistro, or fine dining as well as a heated outdoor garden terrace. The Mendocino Hotel has been a recipient of the Award of Excellence from WINE SPECTATOR for the past eleven consecutive years. WIRELESS INTERNET ACCESS: High-speed wireless Internet access is available in the lobby area.
  Smoking allowed: No
  Additional nights after: Please call hotel. The hotel is usually fully booked on weekends. If participants choose to stay after the program, they must arrange their own return transportation to SFO.
  Check out time: 12:00 PM

Travel Details
  Start of Program:
Registration is between 3:30-5:00PM in the hotel lobby. Orientation begins at 5:30PM, dinner at 6:00PM with self introductions at 7:00PM. You will be staying at Hilton SFO Bayfront that night.
  End of Program:
Program ends at approximately 3:00PM with drop-offs at San Francisco International Airport and the Hilton SFO Hotel in Burlingame. Flights should be scheduled after 6PM in case of delays and security. You will be staying at Mendocino Hotel and Garden Suites the night before.
  Required documents:
The Participant Information Form is required. On the enclosed Participant Information Form (PIF), please indicate to us the name of your roommate/traveling companion. Also let us know if you are traveling with other individuals and wish to be assigned a room near them. Photo ID
  Parking availability:
If you are driving to the program and wish to park your car at the hotel for the duration of the program, the Hilton SFO Bayfront Hotel in Burlingame provides complimentary parking for Road Scholar participants for up to 14 days.
To Start of Program
  Location:  Burlingame, CA
  Nearest city or town:  San Francisco, CA
  Nearest highway: US Hwy 101
  Nearest airport:  San Francisco International
  From End of Program
  Location: Burlingame, CA
    (Additional transportation information same as above)
Travel Details

Oakland Airport to Hilton SFO hotel


From Airport




Commercial Van/Shuttle
phone: 800-258-3826
Advanced Reservations Required


Per Person/One Way:


Around $43 one-way, but check current rates
Prices are subject to change.


Travel Time:


Approx. 45 minutes 




29 miles from Oakland Airport to hotel


SuperShuttle offers shared van service from Oakland Airport to the hotel. Advance reservations are recommended. Call 800-258-3826 or visit for online reservations and rates.


San Francisco Airport to Hilton SFO hotel


From Airport




Hotel Shuttle
Hilton SFO Bayfront Hotel Van
phone: 650-340-8500


Per Person/One Way:


Complimentary hotel shuttle
Prices are subject to change.


Travel Time:


15 minutes from SFO to the hotel 




4 miles from SFO to the hotel


The hotel shuttle runs every 20 minutes. Exit SFO on Departure level and cross intersection to wait for shuttle to come by within 20 minutes. Look for black shuttle which reads, HILTON SAN FRANCISCO AIRPORT BAYFRONT/EMBASSY SUITES. ALTERNATE TRANSPORTATION from SFO: Taxis depart from the designated taxi zones located at the roadway center islands on the Arrivals/Baggage Claim Level of all terminals.

Driving Directions
  From San Franciso International Airport to Hilton SFO hotel Exit airport 101 South towards San Jose. Take Broadway/Burlingame exit. Take 2nd right to overpass to other side of freeway. At the first light turn right and at the next light, turn left onto Airport Blvd. Hilton hotel is approximately one mile ahead at 600 Airport Blvd.
  From the East to Hilton SFO Hotel Take Highway 80 West to Highway 101 South. Proceed southbound on US Highway 101. Travel past San Francisco Airport to the Broadway/Burlingame Exit. Take the second right and travel over the freeway overpass to the other side of the freeway. At the first light turn right and at the next light, turn left onto Airport Blvd. The hotel is approximately one mile ahead.
  From the North to Hilton SFO Hotel Proceed southbound on US Highway 101. Travel past San Francisco Airport to the Broadway/Burlingame Exit. Take the second right and travel over the freeway overpass to the other side of the freeway. At the first light turn right and at the next light, turn left onto Airport Blvd. The hotel is approximately one mile ahead.
  From the South to Hilton SFO Hotel Travel northbound on US Highway 101. Exit onto Anza Boulevard. Turn right at the traffic light onto Airport Boulevard. The hotel is approximately one quarter mile ahead on the left.
Elevation Note: Sequoia, Yosemite and Lassen National Parks, and Lake Tahoe elevations will exceed 3000' up to 9000'

The prices listed for commercial services and facilities that are not included in the program cost, such as airport shuttles or extra nights lodging, are subject to change without notice. Since Road Scholar cannot guarantee the accuracy of these prices, we strongly suggest contacting the companies directly for the most up-to-date information.

Daily Schedule

Day 1: Independent Arrivals/ Registration/ Program Orientation
(Sunday, September 7)

Note: Participants should be physically fit and in good health. We will often be traveling at elevations from 3,000 to 9,000 ft with opportunities for hiking. Be prepared to walk one mile unattended, walk on paved/dirt paths, hilly and flat terrain and stand for up to 30 minutes on guided walks. Daily schedule requires one to get on and off the bus 4-8 times/day.Since porterage is not included, you will be responsible for transferring your luggage to/from the motor coach to/from your room.

 Afternoon: HOTEL CHECK-IN: Check into Hilton San Francisco Airport Bayfront Hotel after 3:00PM.

PROGRAM REGISTRATION: After you have your room assignment, come over to the Road Scholar table to register with the program staff and pick up your arrival packet which we'll review during our orientation session.

ORIENTATION: We'll have an overview of the program ahead and review the up-to-date schedule, responsibilities, safety guidelines, emergency procedures, any other administrative issues, and answer your questions. Please be aware that local circumstances may require adjusting program elements. In the event of changes, we will notify you as quickly as possible. We appreciate your understanding.

 Dinner: Dinner at hotel

Menus are contracted for the program and are designed to offer balanced, healthy meals for the participants. This program offers two choices for meals: standard and vegetarian. We are unable to customize menus for individuals. However, we have found that by requesting sauces and dressing to be served on the side, we are able to accommodate various food intolerances and allergies. Vegetarian meals must be requested in advance on your Participant Information Form. Unfortunately, there are no other special meal options. Participants with special dietary needs should be prepared to avoid certain foods or supplement the regular meal plan as needed.

 Evening: CROSSING POINTS: Participants introduce themselves to the rest of the group.

Enjoy the remainder of the evening getting to know your fellow participants and discovering what you share beyond a love of lifelong learning.

Accommodations: Hilton SFO Bayfront
Meals Included: Dinner

Day 2: San Francisco to Fresno/San Juan Bautista/San Luis Reservoir
(Monday, September 8)

Note: Unlike most hotel-based programs, the 'California National Park Medley' program is a rigorous, moving adventure in which participants will be 'on the road' every day with access to your rooms at the beginning and end of each day. When completing your Participant Information Form, please note if you have any difficulty in climbing stairs as there is no elevator at the Holiday Inn Fresno, Yosemite Lodge at the Falls, Red Lion Inn Redding and Mendocino hotels.

 Breakfast: Breakfast at hotel
 Morning: FIELD TRIP: Board the motor coach for trip to Fresno.First stop is a guided visit to the Mission and State Park at San Juan Bautista. The park is part of a nationally recognized historic landmark adjacent to a portion of California's 15th Spanish era mission. This mission was one of four established in the summer of 1797 and the fifteenth of the twenty-one missions in Alta, California
 Lunch: Lunch in San Juan Bautista on your own
 Afternoon: We continue our trip with a stop at San Luis Reservoir, beginning our exploration of water issues in California. The dam was constructed as a storage reservoir for the federal Central Valley Project and the California State Water Project. It stores runoff water from the Delta that would otherwise flow into the ocean.
 Dinner: Dinner at hotel
 Evening: An Evening with John Muir
Accommodations: Holiday Inn Fresno
Meals Included: Breakfast, Dinner

Day 3: Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks
(Tuesday, September 9)

Note: The General Sherman Tree Trail is a paved walk, 0.4 mile one-way, with some stairs. It starts at a 7000 ft. elevation with a 212 ft. drop as you walk the trail. The trail to General Grant Tree is a gently-graded, paved one-third of a mile loop walk through the sequoia grove

 Breakfast: Breakfast at hotel
 Morning: FIELD TRIP: We begin our field trip to Sequoia/Kings Canyon National Parks with our knowledgeable on-board instructor. We visit the General Sherman Tree and Grant Grove. Sequoia was established on September 25, 1890. It spans 404,063 acres, encompassing a vertical relief of nearly 13,000 feet with the highest point in the lower 48 states, Mount Whitney. The park is south of and contiguous with Kings Canyon National Park.
 Lunch: Picnic lunch at Sequoia/Kings Canyon National Park
 Afternoon: We continue our field trip in Kings Canyon National Park. Although Congress created these two parks at different times, Sequoia and Kings Canyon share miles of boundary and are managed as one park. Sequoia was the second national park designated in this country. General Grant National Park, the forerunner of Kings Canyon, was third.
 Dinner: Dinner at hotel
Accommodations: Holiday Inn Fresno
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 4: Yosemite National Park/Lunch at Wawona Hotel
(Wednesday, September 10)

Note: The walk around Pioneer Village is on uneven, dirt terrain

 Breakfast: Breakfast at hotel
 Morning: FIELD TRIP: Board the motor coach for trip to Yosemite National Park.
 Lunch: Lunch at the historic Wawona Hotel. The Wawona Hotel, a National Historic Landmark, rests upon verdant meadows and beside rushing streams. The tranquility of this Victorian-style lodge in Yosemite makes it a favorite of those who prefer a relaxed environment and the gracious charm of a bygone era.
 Afternoon: FIELD TRIP: After lunch, with a guide, we'll visit the Pioneer Village History Center near Wawona Hotel.This ‘village’ is assembled from structures that were originally found in different locations throughout the park and moved to Wawona in the 1950’s and 60’s. Each building represents a different chapter in Yosemite’s story.

We board the motor coach and continue to Yosemite Valley with a stop at Tunnel View for a photo op of the world famous view of the Valley.

 Dinner: Dinner at the Yosemite Lodge at the Falls Food Court. Dinner coupon will have an $19 value. Purchases over $19 will be an out-of-pocket expense of the individual.
Accommodations: Yosemite Lodge at the Falls
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 5: Yosemite National Park
(Thursday, September 11)

Note: The walk into the El Capitan Meadow is on a dirt path in a flat meadow and the distance is about 100-150 ft. The walk to the base of Bridalveil Fall is 1 mile roundtrip, but up a steep trail (up to 24% slope). Part of the trail is dirt and somewhat rocky but the rest of the trail is paved. The flat paved loop at Lower Yosemite Falls is about 1 mile roundtrip. Happy Isles Trail is 0.5 miles round trip from trailhead on flat, partly paved trail; trailhead elevation 4,000 feet

 Breakfast: Breakfast at Yosemite Lodge at the Falls.
 Morning: FIELD TRIP: Our on-board instructor leads us on a field trip through Yosemite Valley which is world-famous for its impressive waterfalls, cliffs and unusual rock formations.

First stop is El Capitan Meadow for a straight up view of El Capitan, a favorite for experienced rock climbers. Rising more than 3,000 feet above the Valley floor, it is the largest monolith of granite in the world.

Second stop is Bridalveil Fall for a walk to the base of the falls.

 Lunch: Lunch on your own

Dining options will be listed in the “Yosemite Guide”, the park newspaper which is published several times a year. You may view a current copy of the newspaper online at

Ride the free Yosemite Valley Shuttle to the Ahwahnee Lodge, Curry Village Pavilion Buffet, or eat at the Yosemite Lodge at the Falls Mountain Room or Food Court.

 Afternoon: During your free afternoon, visit the Visitor's Center, Yosemite Museum, the Ansel Adams Gallery, take a hike on you own or join the instructor for a hike to Happy Isles.
 Dinner: Dinner at the Yosemite Lodge at the Falls
Accommodations: Yosemite Lodge at the Falls
Meals Included: Breakfast, Dinner

Day 6: Yosemite National Park/Tioga Pass to Mono Lake/Carson City, Nevada
(Friday, September 12)

Note: Walk from bus to Olmsted Point viewing site is 200 ft on paved road. Tenaya Lake stop for optional 0.5 mi walk on dirt trail. At Tuolumne Meadows, bathroom is 100 yards slight incline and visitors center is 300 yards up steep slope. Picnic benches for lunch at Mono Lake Park are 200 yards from bus. Optional walk to view Tofus/bird viewing area is 0.5 mi on wood walkway. Mono Lake Visitors Center is 50 yards from bus on paved road. Refreshment stop is 100 feet walk from bus on paved surface.

 Breakfast: Breakfast at Yosemite Lodge at the Falls.
 Morning: FIELD TRIP: We board the motor coach and begin our trip across Yosemite's high country over Tioga Pass (el. 9,943 ft.) which serves as the eastern entry point for Yosemite National Park. It is the highest highway pass in California and in the Sierra Nevada. The view from Olmsted Point looks southwest into Yosemite. Tenaya Lake offers an opportunity to stretch our legs and take in the gorgeous views from its shore. We continue through Tuolumne Meadows, a gentle, dome-studded section along the Tuolumne River.
 Lunch: Picnic lunch on the way to Carson City, Nevada
 Afternoon: After lunch, visit Mono Lake, an oasis in the dry Great Basin and a vital habitat for millions of migratory and nesting birds. Mono Lake is unique. For starters, it's old--at least 700,000 years old and one of the oldest continuously existing lakes on the continent. Fed by huge glaciers during the last Ice Age, Mono Lake was 60 times larger than the 66 square miles it covers today. Mono Lake is naturally salty and alkaline because it has no outlet. The only way water leaves is via evaporation.

We continue to Carson City, Nevada's territorial and state capital, which has a rich and colorful frontier past. Carson City was founded as a community in 1858, seven years after the first settlement of Eagle Station trading post in 1851. Carson City is named for the famous frontiersman and scout Christopher "Kit" Carson.

 Dinner: Dinner on your own at one of the restaurants within walking distance of the hotel
 Evening: Free time to explore Carson City
Accommodations: Carson City Plaza Hotel
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch

Day 7: Nevada State Museum/Virginia City/Fourth Ward School
(Saturday, September 13)

Note: Walk to Nevada State Museum from Nugget Casino is 100 yards on flat paved road. Short walk, 100 ft, to 4th Ward School in Virginia City is on rough gravel surface; steps to school room are steep. Peace Officers Museum is 100 feet from bus on gravel/dirt road. Walk in Virginia City is optional on a flat paved surface as well as wooden walkway.

 Breakfast: Breakfast at Plaza Hotel
 Morning: Free morning to write postcards or do laundry either at the hotel or at a local laundromat with transportation provided by the bus.
 Lunch: We have a full buffet lunch at the Nugget Casino.
 Afternoon: FIELD TRIP: Visit the Nevada State Museum which was originally erected in 1870 as the U.S. Mint, and coined more than $49,000,000 until 1893. Now a museum, it hosts about 250,000 visitors each year.

Then it's on to Virginia City, one of the largest National Historical Landmarks in the country. The city held the attention of the world with its mining industry for more than half a century, pouring over $700 million in gold and silver into an ever-expanding nation.

The Fourth Ward School is the last school standing of its kind. Follow students’ footsteps through the authentically preserved 1876 Victorian school building. Sit in the same wooden desks as the children and teachers did from 1876 to 1936.

 Dinner: Dinner at local restaurant
 Evening: CLASS: Meet the author of a definitive book on the Donner Party who shares their dramatic story with us.
Accommodations: Carson City Plaza Hotel
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 8: Taylor Creek/Cruise on Lake Tahoe/Heavenly Valley Gondola Ride
(Sunday, September 14)

Note: Walk from bus to the ranger's station is 200 yards on a flat paved road. Tahoe Stream Bed walk is 0.5 mi one way on slightly hilly and paved surface. Walk from bus to board Dixie Queen boat is 0.25 mi on flat paved road and boardwalk. Steep stairs on boat to access lunch area. Walk to gondola is 0.25 mi and walk from the gondola to Harrah's for dinner is 0.5 mi; both on flat paved road.

 Breakfast: Breakfast at Plaza Hotel
 Morning: FIELD TRIP: Board the motor coach for Lake Tahoe Basin. Meet our instructor at Taylor Creek to observe the Taylor Creek Stream Chamber and to visit the Mt. Tallac Historic Site.
 Lunch: At Zephyr Cove, board the Dixie Queen for a buffet lunch.
 Afternoon: FIELD TRIP: Tahoe's classic blue skies, deeper blue lake, snow-capped mountains, alpine forests and the area's wide array of cultural and historical riches are among the great sightseeing pleasures of the world. The cruise on the Dixie Queen takes us across the lake to famous Emerald Bay.

Complete our exploration of the Tahoe Basin with a gondola ride at Heavenly Valley for a spectacular view of the Lake Tahoe Basin.

 Dinner: Buffet dinner at a hotel at the lake
Accommodations: Carson City Plaza Hotel
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 9: Lassen National Park/Sun Dial Bridge
(Monday, September 15)

Note: Following walks with respective distances are all on flat, paved surfaces: to Lassen Visitors Center 0.25 mi one way; to smoking fumaroles 200 yards; to Hill Bump Point 2000 yards; to Loomis Museum and Visitors Center 200 yards. Optional hike on Lily Pond Trail is 1 mi on a hilly dirt trail.

 Breakfast: Breakfast at Plaza Hotel
 Morning: FIELD TRIP: Board the motor coach for the trip to Lassen National Park. To visit Lassen Volcanic National Park is to witness a brief moment in the ancient battle between the earth shaping forces of creation and destruction in Northern California. Although Lassen is primarily known for its volcanic geology, the park boasts a rich diversity of plant and animal life.
 Lunch: Lunch at Lassen National Park Visitors Center Cafe
 Afternoon: We continue our drive through the park, stopping at the Loomis Museum for a ranger lecture and to view exhibits. B.F. Loomis documented Lassen Peak's most recent eruption cycle and promoted the park's establishment. Artifacts and photographs of the 1914-1915 eruption are on display in the Loomis Museum. You may wish to take an optional walk on the nearby Lily Pond Nature Trail, an easy 1 mile round trip.
 Dinner: Dinner at a local restaurant
 Evening: FIELD TRIP: Visit Turtle Bay Park and Sundial Bridge. The Sundial Bridge at Turtle Bay crosses the Sacramento River in the heart of Redding. Opened July 4, 2004, the bridge links the north and south campuses of Turtle Bay Exploration Park. In addition to being a functional work of art, the Sundial Bridge is a technical marvel as well. Renowned Spanish architect and engineer Santiago Calatrava conceived the Sundial Bridge’s unusual design, his first free-standing bridge in the United States.
Accommodations: Red Lion Inn Hotel Redding
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 10: Shasta Dam/Weaverville/Trinity Alps
(Tuesday, September 16)

Note: Most of the walks are on a flat, paved surface. The tour of Shasta Dam involves walking on a paved surface with a slight slope for 1 mile one way.

 Breakfast: Breakfast at hotel
 Morning: FIELD TRIP: With a guide explore Shasta Dam, a curved gravity concrete dam on the Sacramento River above Redding built between 1938 and 1945. Like another curved gravity dam (Hoover Dam), it was a continuous pour concrete project, and in its day, ranked as one of the great civil engineering feats of the world. We depart and continue west to Weaverville, a historic Gold Rush town, nestled at the base of the magnificent Trinity Alps Wilderness area. The Old West did live large in Weaverville with gunfights, saloons and even bank robberies by notorious figures like Black Bart.
 Lunch: Lunch at a local restaurant
 Afternoon: There will be some time to stroll the streets and visit the J.J. Jackson Memorial Museum. Artifacts include mining equipment, Indian displays, Chinese exhibits, old bottles, early kitchen utensils used by the county's first settlers, and the memorabilia that reflect the area's gold mining roots. The museum’s collection provides the visitor an intimate look at all phases of the county’s rich history. We board the motor coach to continue our trip through the Trinity Alps to Eureka on the California Coast.
 Dinner: Dinner at a local restaurant
 Evening: Optional walk to Carson Mansion in historic Old Town Eureka. It is one of the most written about and photographed Victorian houses in California, and perhaps in the United States.
Accommodations: Red Lion Hotel Eureka
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 11: Redwood National Park Visitor's Center/Patrick's Point State Park
(Wednesday, September 17)

Note: Hike in the Redwoods is 1.5 miles on a dirt trail with a minor slope. All walks from bus to visitors centers and lunch are on falt paved surfaces. Visit to Sumeg Native American Village is 1 mile round trip on a dirt trail.

 Breakfast: Breakfast at hotel
 Morning: FIELD TRIP: Board the motor coach for the field trip to Redwood National Park and Prairie Creek State Park with our knowledgeable local on-board instructor. Our first stop is the Visitor's Center at Redwood National Park to view a film and exhibits. The ancient coast redwood ecosystem preserved in the parks contains some of the planet's most majestic forests. Prairie Creek State Park was set aside in the early 1920’s and is a sanctuary of old growth coast redwood. We'll hope to spot some of the Roosevelt elk who call the park and this northern California area their home.
 Lunch: Picnic lunch in a scenic setting
 Afternoon: Field trip continues to Patrick's Point State Park, with dense forests of spruce, hemlock, pine, fir and red alder stretching over an ocean headland. Visit the recreated Yurok seasonal village - "Sumêg" - consisting of traditional style family houses, a sweat house, changing houses, a redwood canoe, and a dance house.

On the return to Eureka, we'll visit picturesque Trinidad Harbor. Trinidad is California's smallest incorporated city (in 2000 the population was 311) and is noted for its spectacular coastline and remarkable offshore rocks.

 Dinner: Dinner at Samoa Cookhouse, the last surviving cookhouse in the West, serving food - lumber camp style!
 Evening: After dinner there’ll be time to look at all the pictures and exhibits chronicling the lumber industry that's so important to this area.
Accommodations: Red Lion Hotel Eureka
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 12: Humboldt Redwood State Park/Mendocino
(Thursday, September 18)

Note: Mendocino is a walking town. Everything is accessible by foot, but visitors should be prepared for a little uneven terrain and walking on paved sidewalks as well as dirt paths. Walking distance to various destinations is 3-4 blocks one way. Walking during free time is based on interest level. Participants should be able to walk half a mile without stopping.

 Breakfast: Breakfast at hotel
 Morning: FIELD TRIP: Board the motor coach to travel to Ferndale and step back in time as we view the magnificently preserved Victorian architecture. On the National Register of Historic Places, Ferndale's Main Street is a photographer's paradise.

We continue to Humboldt Redwoods State Park where we meet our guide for a short walk in the redwoods. Located along the Eel River, Humboldt Redwoods State Park contains some of the world's most majestic ancient redwood groves.

 Lunch: We eat our picnic lunch on the deck at the Visitor's Center surrounded by the beautiful redwoods.
 Afternoon: FIELD TRIP: We board the motor coach to head for Mendocino. We journey west to the California coast and travel south on breath-taking Hwy. 1 to Mendocino. Despite its small size, the town's scenic location on a headland surrounded by the Pacific Ocean has made it extremely popular as an artist colony and with vacationers. Many of its early settlers were New Englanders, as was true with many older Northern California towns. Its economy declined after 1940, and it became a somewhat isolated village until discovered by the region's art community. It has been the setting for numerous films including "Same Time Next Year" and "The Russians Are Coming" as well as the popular TV series "Murder She Wrote."
 Dinner: Dinner in Garden Room, Mendocino Hotel
 Evening: CLASS: Local expert presents a class on the Pomo Indians of the area.
Accommodations: Mendocino Hotel and Garden Suites
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 13: Pt. Cabrillo Lighthouse/Mendocino Botanical Gardens
(Friday, September 19)

Note: At the Pt. Cabrillo Lighthouse, bus will drive to lighthouse but be prepared to walk one city block from the lighthouse to the superintendent's 1930 style home. Walking at Mendocino Botanical Gardens depends upon interest level.

 Breakfast: Breakfast at Mendocino Hotel
 Morning: FIELD TRIP: We board the motor coach for Mendocino field trip. First stop is the Pt. Cabrillo Lighthouse. Because of the increased demand to ship lumber to San Francisco after the destruction in 1906, Congress appropriated $50,000 for a lighthouse on Point Cabrillo.

Next stop is the Botanical Garden which is the only public garden in the continental U.S. that sits directly on the Pacific Ocean. The mild maritime climate makes it a garden for all seasons, attracting gardeners and nature lovers alike.

 Lunch: Picnic lunch allows you to explore the gardens at your leisure.
 Afternoon: After lunch we return to Mendocino where you may choose to walk along the headlands, visit the two museums or stroll the small town streets to visit galleries and interesting shops.
 Dinner: Dinner in Garden Room, Mendocino Hotel
Accommodations: Mendocino Hotel and Garden Suites
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 14: Cross Golden Gate Bridge/Return to San Francisco Airport and Hilton SFO Hotel/Independent Departures
(Saturday, September 20)
 Breakfast: Breakfast at Mendocino Hotel
 Morning: Board the motor coach for the return trip to San Francisco.
 Lunch: Lunch en route to SFO and Burlingame
 Afternoon: Program ends after the drop off at San Francisco Airport at approximately 3:00PM, followed by the return to the Hilton SFO Hotel in Burlingame. The return time of 3:00PM at SFO is not guaranteed.

This concludes the program. We hope you have enjoyed our 'California National Park Medley: From Giant Sequoias to Coast Redwoods' program and will join us for other rewarding adventures in the future. Best wishes for all your journeys!

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch

Free Time Opportunities
  Mendocino, California Mendocino Visitors Guide
From the coastal villages and windswept cliffs of Highway 1 to the cozy inns and luxury spas sprinkled among towering redwoods and the wine country, learn more about the beauties of Mendocino County, CA when you visit this website where you can order a copy of the ultimate Mendocino County Insiders Visitors Guide. For additional information, visit
  Burlingame, CA San Francisco Visitor Information Center
900 Market Street

San Francisco, CA 94102

Phone: (415) 391-2000

This is a well-designed website featuring an online Visitor's Guide and packed with information about lodging, restaurants, attractions and San Francisco's diverse and colorful neighborhoods. For additional information, visit

  San Mateo County Convention & Visitors Bureau
111 Anza Blvd., Ste. 410

Burlingame, CA 94010

Order your free Visitor's Guide to the San Mateo County/Silicon Valley area, which is located on a 60-mile peninsula immediately south of San Francisco. It's bordered on the east by San Francisco Bay, and on the west by the Pacific Ocean and encompasses over 450 square miles. Order your free guide online or by calling (800) 288-4748. For additional information, visit

  Fresno, CA Fresno Convention and Visitors Bureau
1550 E. Shaw Ave. Suite 101

Fresno, CA 93710

Phone 800-788-0836

Learn more about California's sixth largest city which also serves as a gateway to the state's most spectacular national parks--Kings Canyon, Yosemite, and Sequoia National Park--as well as local tourism informaiton. For additional information, visit

  Eureka, California Eureka Chamber of Commerce
2112 Broadway

Eureka, CA 95501

Phone: 707-442-3738

Learn more about the Victorian seaport City of Eureka and the rich cultural and historic character of the area. Download or view the online Visitor Guide that's fileld with current tourist information. For additional information, visit

  Carson City, Nevada Carson City Convention and Visitors Bureau
Request or view the Carson City Visitor Planner online. The website is packed with information about historic, cultural and natural attractions in the Silver State of Nevada as well as lodging, restaurant and entertainment info. Participants will have the opportunity to visit the state capital buildings and several nearby casinos during their stay in Carson City. For additional information, visit
  Yosemite, CA Yosemite/DNC Parks & Resorts
This site is managed by the park's primary concessioner, DNC Parks & Resorts at Yosemite, and provides the most current information on lodging, dining and activities inside the park. For additional information, visit
Important information about your itinerary: Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and completeness of the information featured on this website. Itineraries are based on our best information at this time. Circumstances beyond our control may require us to adjust itineraries or other details. We regret any inconvenience this may cause and appreciate your understanding. Information will be sent to you from your Program Provider approximately three weeks prior to the program start date. The prices listed for commercial services and facilities that are not included in the program cost, such as airport shuttles or extra nights lodging, are subject to change without notice. Since Road Scholar cannot guarantee the accuracy of these prices, we strongly suggest contacting the companies directly for the most up-to-date information.

Suggested Reading List

Early Mendocino Coast (Images of America: California)

Author: Katie M. Tahia

Description: Sorting through thousands of images in Mendocino County photo historian Robert Lee's collection and exploring the resources of the Mendocino County Museum, and other sites, historian Katy M. Tahja allows viewers to see the Mendocino coast of 100 years ago.

Sequoia & Kings Canyon: The Story Behind the Scenery

Author: William C. Tweed

Description: This book explores the realm of the giant sequoias, the largest living things on earth, from sequoia botany to the geology, history, and wildlife of both parks.

Park Profiles: Yosemite

Author: National Geographic

Description: Author Kenneth Brower details the captivating variety of Yosemite's plants and animals, chronicles how rivers of ice shaped the valley and relates the saga of the park through its first one hundred years.

Lassen Volcanic: The Story Behind the Scenery

Author: Ellis Richard, Mary Lu Moore

Description: This book is considered an oustanding introduction to Lassen National Park in which the author (a former Lassen National Park ranger) tells the human, geological and botanical story of the park area in an entertaining way.

Lake Tahoe: A Fragile Beauty

Author: Thomas Bachand

Description: Thomas Bachand's stunning photographs of Lake Tahoe document a gorgeous, and changing, environment. Bachand's work reveals the delicate balance between conservation and recreation as images of both majestic landscapes and development are juxtaposed.

The Wild Trees

Author: Richard Preston

Description: In The Wild Trees, Richard Preston unfolds the spellbinding story of Steve Sillett, Marie Antoine, and the tiny group of daring botanists and amateur naturalists that dared to climb and explore the unknown and hauntingly beautiful world hidden in the canopy of the giant redwood trees.

Roar and the Silence: A History of Virginia City

Author: Ronald M. James

Description: Ronald James's brilliant account of the Comstock's long and eventful history examines every aspect of Comstock and Virginia City and employs information gleaned from hundreds of written sources, interviews, archeological research, computer analysis, folklore, gender studies, physical geography, and architectural and art history.

Mountains of California

Author: John Muir

Description: "The Mountains of California was John Muir's first book, published in 1894, and was an instant success. This book contains not just some of the best nature writing, but for its vividness, immediacy and vision some of the best writing in English in any genre." ~ Martin Dickson

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