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California

Seasons of Magic in Yosemite: Splendor in the Sierra Nevada

Program No. 1197RJ
Gain a deeper understanding of Yosemite as you explore natural wonders, visit a historic hotel and learn the story of how art helped establish one of America's first national parks.

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Prefer to enroll or inquire by phone? 800-454-5768
climate
Plan ahead.
What kind of weather can you expect? Take a look!
itinerary
Please Note:
The itinerary for this program is different on certain dates.
Select your type of room
Price will update based on selection
Prices displayed below are based on per person,doubleoccupancy.
Activity Level: Keep the Pace (3)
DATES & starting prices
PRICES
Sep 10 - Sep 15, 2023
Starting at
1,599
Sep 1 - Sep 6, 2024
Starting at
1,749
Oct 6 - Oct 11, 2024
Starting at
1,749
Activity Level: Keep the Pace (3)
DATES & starting prices
PRICES
Sep 10 - Sep 15, 2023
Starting at
1,899
Sep 1 - Sep 6, 2024
Starting at
2,069
Oct 6 - Oct 11, 2024
Starting at
2,069
Activity Level: Outdoor: No Sweat (8)
DATES & starting prices
PRICES
Oct 1 - Oct 6, 2023
Starting at
1,599
Nov 19 - Nov 24, 2023
Starting at
1,549
Itinerary Note

Wine and dine focus. Special meals include lunch at the elegant Ahwahnee Hotel, dinner at the historic Wawona Hotel and a Thanksgiving buffet. Experience Yosemite without the maddening crowds and in the beauty of her winter coat! And be sure to pack yours, as temperatures will range from 20-50 °F and you may see some snow. Our field trip vehicles are equipped for any weather, but keep in mind that snowy conditions may lengthen travel time.

May 5 - May 10, 2024
Starting at
1,749
May 12 - May 17, 2024
Starting at
1,749
May 19 - May 24, 2024
Starting at
1,749
Jun 2 - Jun 7, 2024
Starting at
1,749
Nov 24 - Nov 29, 2024
Starting at
1,749
Itinerary Note

Wine and dine focus. Special meals include lunch at the elegant Ahwahnee Hotel, dinner at the historic Wawona Hotel and a Thanksgiving buffet. Experience Yosemite without the maddening crowds and in the beauty of her winter coat! And be sure to pack yours, as temperatures will range from 20-50 °F and you may see some snow. Our field trip vehicles are equipped for any weather, but keep in mind that snowy conditions may lengthen travel time.

Dec 27 - Jan 1, 2025
Starting at
1,899
Itinerary Note

Celebrate the New Year with three field trips into Yosemite, lunch at the Ahwahnee Hotel and a banquet dinner at The Wawona Hotel. Experience Yosemite without the maddening crowds and in the beauty of her winter coat! And be sure to pack yours, as temperatures will range from 20-50 °F and you may see some snow. Our field trip vehicles are equipped for any weather, but keep in mind that snowy conditions may lengthen travel time.

Activity Level: Outdoor: No Sweat (8)
DATES & starting prices
PRICES
Oct 1 - Oct 6, 2023
Starting at
1,899
Nov 19 - Nov 24, 2023
Starting at
1,849
Itinerary Note

Wine and dine focus. Special meals include lunch at the elegant Ahwahnee Hotel, dinner at the historic Wawona Hotel and a Thanksgiving buffet. Experience Yosemite without the maddening crowds and in the beauty of her winter coat! And be sure to pack yours, as temperatures will range from 20-50 °F and you may see some snow. Our field trip vehicles are equipped for any weather, but keep in mind that snowy conditions may lengthen travel time.

May 5 - May 10, 2024
Starting at
2,069
May 12 - May 17, 2024
Starting at
2,069
May 19 - May 24, 2024
Starting at
2,069
Jun 2 - Jun 7, 2024
Starting at
2,069
Nov 24 - Nov 29, 2024
Starting at
2,069
Itinerary Note

Wine and dine focus. Special meals include lunch at the elegant Ahwahnee Hotel, dinner at the historic Wawona Hotel and a Thanksgiving buffet. Experience Yosemite without the maddening crowds and in the beauty of her winter coat! And be sure to pack yours, as temperatures will range from 20-50 °F and you may see some snow. Our field trip vehicles are equipped for any weather, but keep in mind that snowy conditions may lengthen travel time.

Dec 27 - Jan 1, 2025
Starting at
2,249
Itinerary Note

Celebrate the New Year with three field trips into Yosemite, lunch at the Ahwahnee Hotel and a banquet dinner at The Wawona Hotel. Experience Yosemite without the maddening crowds and in the beauty of her winter coat! And be sure to pack yours, as temperatures will range from 20-50 °F and you may see some snow. Our field trip vehicles are equipped for any weather, but keep in mind that snowy conditions may lengthen travel time.

At a Glance

Experience the ever-changing beauty of Yosemite National Park and the expansive Sierra Nevada on an extraordinary adventure. Feel the mist of Bridalveil Fall. Delight in your first glimpse of Half Dome and Yosemite Valley from historic Tunnel View. Walk among towering sequoia trees. Led by an exceptional storyteller, hear the history of this legendary landscape and delve into its geology, wildlife and vegetation during fascinating field trips into Yosemite National Park.
Activity Level
Varies by date
Optional hiking up to three miles on gently sloping terrain. Elevations up to 7,000 feet.
Small Group
Small Group
Love to learn and explore in a small-group setting? These adventures offer small, personal experiences with groups of 13 to 24 participants.

Best of all, you’ll…

  • Stand before El Capitan, Bridalveil Fall and Yosemite Falls.
  • Walk trails that wind among giant sequoias, the world’s largest trees and some of the oldest living things on Earth.
  • Visit the Ansel Adams Gallery and Native American Village.

General Notes

The Retreat Difference: This unique, often basic and no-frills experience at a Road Scholar Retreat includes opportunities for early morning exercise, interaction with the local community for insight into local life, an authentic farm-to-table or locally sourced meal, a live performance or event, and a value-priced single room.
Visit the Road Scholar Bookshop
You can find many of the books we recommend at the Road Scholar store on bookshop.org, a website that supports local bookstores.
Black Elk Speaks
by John Neihardt
William Neill Blog
by http://www.williamneill.com/blog/
Nature’s Army: When Soldiers Fought for Yosemite
by Harvey Meyerson
The Invention of Nature; Alexander Von Humboldt's New World.
by Andrea Wulf
Shattered Air: A True Account of Catastrophe and Courage on Yosemite’s Half Dome
by Bob Madgic
Conifers of California
by Ronald M Lanner
The Hour of Land; A Personal Topography of America's National Parks.
by Terry Tempest Williams
The Earth Speaks: An Acclimatization Journal
by Steve Van Matre
Cadillac Desert: The American West and its Disappearing Water
by Marc Reisner
Salt: A World History
by Mark Kurlansky
Desert Solitaire
by Edward Abbey
FLO: A Biography of Frederick Law Olmsted
by Laura Wood Roper
Mountaineering in the Sierra Nevada
by Clarence King
Flowering Shrubs of Yosemite and the Sierra Nevada.
by Spencer, Shirley.
While the trees of Yosemite thrill visitors and the wildflowers often steal the show, every year the blue elderberry, the snowberry, the American dogwood, and dozens of other shrubs bloom in a glory all their own. This lovely volume, with inspired watercolors showing the fruit, flowers, and foliage of the plants, pays these shrubs full homage. Complete with useful information for plant identification, this book serves as a welcome and needed introduction to some of Yosemite's wildflowers.
The Geologic Story of Yosemite National Park.
by Huber, N. King.
Geologic History of Yosemite
. Gloryland: A Novel.
by Johnson, Shelton
This books is roughly based on the life of his great-grandfather who was a buffalo soldier and one of those who patrolled Yosemite NP around the turn of the century to protect it from poachers, loggers, miners, etc. Born on Emancipation Day, 1863, to a sharecropping family of African and Indian blood, Elijah Yancy never lived as a slave, but his self-image as a free person is at war with his surroundings: Spartanburg, South Carolina, in the Reconstructed South. Shelton Johnson is an interpretive ranger for Yosemite National Park. His area of expertise is the Buffalo Soldiers and their influence on the early history of Yosemite and the west.
The Land of Little Rain
by Mary Austin
Up and Down California in 1860-1864: The Journal of William H Brewer
by William Brewer
The San Joaquin – A River Betrayed
by Gene Rose
My First Summer in the Sierra
by Muir, John.
The first of John Muir's books. This inspirational book allows the reader to understand John Muir's desire to protect and preserve Yosemite.
Living on the Wind: Across the Hemisphere with Migratory Birds.
by Scott Weidensaul
A Sierra Club Naturalist’s Guide to the Sierra Nevada.
by Whitney, Stephen
. Stephen Whitney has taken most of the University of California Press guides and books and done an excellent job of condensing a wide range of biotic and abiotic topics. I highly recommend this guide to anyone interested in the Sierra Nevada, whether a teacher, backpacker, student, or amateur naturalist.
Jedediah Smith and the Opening of the West
by Dale L Morgan
The Incomparable Valley: a Geologic Interpretation of the Yosemite.
by Francois E Matthes
High Odyssey: The First Solo Winter Assault of Mt. Whitney and the Muir Trail Area
by Gene Rose
They Saw the Elephant: Women in the California Gold Rush
by Jo Ann Levy
Assembling California
by John McPhee
Oaks of California
by Bruce M Pavlik
Flowering Shrubs of Yosemite and the Sierra Nevada
by Shirley Spencer
The Star Thrower
by Loren Eiseley
A Journal of Ramblings Through the High Sierra of California by the University Excursion Party
by Joseph Le Conte
Wildflowers of the Sierra Nevada and the Central Valley
by Laird R Blackwell
A Field Guide to Mammals
by William H Burt
High Odyssey: The First Solo Winter Assault of Mt. Whitney and the Muir Trail Area.
by Rose, Gene.
Anyone who loves mountains, and especially the Sierra Nevada, will find this a great addition to the library. It documents the little known winter solo ski trip over the entire John Muir trail, from Mt. Whitney to Yosemite, by Orland Bartholemew in 1928-29. The author expertly crafts the story from old notes and a diary.
On the Loose
by Jerry & Renny Russell
Winter WorldL The Ingenuity of Animal Survival
by Bernd Heinrich
A Sand County Almanac
by Aldo Leopold
Sisters of the Earth
by Lorraine Anderson
Secrets of the Oak Woodlands; Plants and Animals Among California's Oaks
by Kate Marianchild
An Illustrated Flora of Yosemite National Park
by Botti, Stephen J
An Illustrated Flora of Yosemite National Park. El Portal, California:
"Ansel Adams and the American Landscape"
by Jonathan Spaulding
Westering ManL The Life of Joseph Walker
by Bil Gilbert
Mountains Without Handrails: Reflections on the National Parks
by Joseph L Sax
Guns, Germs and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies
by Jared Diamond
Mountain Sage
by Elizabeth Stone O'Neill
Uncertain Path; A Search for the Future of National Parks
by William C Tweed
Sierra Nevada Wildflowers
by Karen Wiese
The Photographer's Guide to Yosemite
by Michael Frye
www.michaelfrye.com
A Sierra Club Naturalist's Guide to the Sierra Nevada
by Stephen Whitney
Touch the Earth: A Self-Portrait of the Indian Existence
by McLuhan, T. C.
History of the Sierra Nevada
by Francis Farqhar
Botany of Desire: A Plant’s-Eye View of the World
by Michael Pollan
Field Guide to Birds of North America
by John W Fitzpatrick
The King of California: J.G. Boswell and the Making of a Secret American
by Mark Arax
The Geologic Story of Yosemite National Park
by King N Huber
Garden of the Sun: A History of the San Joaquin Valley: 1772-1939.
by Wallace Smith
The Wild Muir: Twenty-two of John Muir's Greatest Adventures
by John Muir
Sierra Nevada Natural History: An Illustrated Handbook.
by Tracy I Storer
Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed
by jared Diamond
Shaping the Sierra: Nature, Culture, and Conflict in the Changing West
by Timothy Duane
Galen Clark: Yosemite Guardian
by Shirley Sargent
My First Summer in the Sierra
by John Muir
Challenge of the Big Trees
by William C Tweed
The Journey Home
by Edward Abbey
The Education of Little Tree
by Forrest Carter
The Secret Knowledge of Water
by Craig Childs
Yosemite: Volume One
by William Neill
Our expert instructor highly recommends William Neill's blog and ebook. Find the blog at www.williamneill.com/blog/ and Find his ebook at www.williamneill.com/store/ebooks/yosemite-volume1/index.html
Gloryland: A Novel
by Shelton Johnson
The Wild Muir: Twenty-two of John Muir’s Greatest Adventures.
by Muir, John.
Short stories from John Muir that creates an understanding of John Muir.





Important registration tip:
If you want to attend the live lecture, please do not wait until the last minute to enroll.
If you enroll after a lecture is complete, we’ll send you a recording of the event.