Choose Your Pace: Hiking Yosemite Up Close and Personal

Hike at the pace you choose each day and see authentic Yosemite with experts. Discover giant sequoias and glacially carved valleys, and learn the story of this national treasure.
Rating (4.93)
Program No. 13977RJ
6 days
Starts at

At a Glance

Those who really want to know Yosemite must explore its wonders on foot. Follow in the footsteps of pioneers like John Muir, the father of Yosemite National Park, and Galen Clark, its Guardian, not to mention the Native Americans who first inhabited this enchanting land. Explore Yosemite’s unique glacially-carved valleys, granite monoliths, waterfalls and lush meadows in small groups divided by desired difficulty and learn about geology and natural history during on-site lectures.
Activity Level
Outdoor: Choose Your Pace
Each day, choose from either a moderate or challenging hike based on your desired level of challenge and pace. The moderate hikes range from 5-6 miles and the challenging hikes range from 6-9 miles on varied terrain. Elevations of 3,100–8,100 feet.
Small Group
Small Group
Love to learn and explore in a small-group setting? These adventures offer small, personal experiences with groups of 10 to 24 participants.

Best of all, you'll ...

  • With instructors who are expert Yosemite hikers, trek major trails in the Glacier Point, Yosemite Valley areas of Yosemite National Park and Mariposa Grove.
  • Learn about the geology, flora, fauna and human history of this "queen of the national parks."
  • Explore the complexities of managing Yosemite National Park from the perspective of those who have worked in the park.

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. If Glacier Point road is closed due to snow, Yosemite Falls and Columbia Rock destinations on the Valley Floor will be offered.
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.
Living on the Wind: Across the Hemisphere with Migratory Birds.
by Scott Weidensaul
The Geologic Story of Yosemite National Park
by King N Huber
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.
My First Summer in the Sierra
by John Muir
Touch the Earth: A Self-Portrait of the Indian Existence
by McLuhan, T. C.
Field Guide to Birds of North America
by John W Fitzpatrick
The Invention of Nature; Alexander Von Humboldt's New World.
by Andrea Wulf
The King of California: J.G. Boswell and the Making of a Secret American
by Mark Arax
A Field Guide to Mammals
by William H Burt
The Secret Knowledge of Water
by Craig Childs
Westering ManL The Life of Joseph Walker
by Bil Gilbert
Conifers of California
by Ronald M Lanner
Black Elk Speaks
by John Neihardt
The Journey Home
by Edward Abbey
Shattered Air: A True Account of Catastrophe and Courage on Yosemite’s Half Dome
by Bob Madgic
Cadillac Desert: The American West and its Disappearing Water
by Marc Reisner
Mountain Sage
by Elizabeth Stone O'Neill
Up and Down California in 1860-1864: The Journal of William H Brewer
by William Brewer
William Neill Blog
by http://www.williamneill.com/blog/
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.
Mountaineering in the Sierra Nevada
by Clarence King
Jedediah Smith and the Opening of the West
by Dale L Morgan
The Geologic Story of Yosemite National Park.
by Huber, N. King.
Geologic History of Yosemite
Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed
by jared Diamond
"Ansel Adams and the American Landscape"
by Jonathan Spaulding
High Odyssey: The First Solo Winter Assault of Mt. Whitney and the Muir Trail Area
by Gene Rose
Sisters of the Earth
by Lorraine Anderson
Salt: A World History
by Mark Kurlansky
Sierra Nevada Natural History: An Illustrated Handbook.
by Tracy I Storer
Winter WorldL The Ingenuity of Animal Survival
by Bernd Heinrich
A Sand County Almanac
by Aldo Leopold
Gloryland: A Novel
by Shelton Johnson
An Illustrated Flora of Yosemite National Park
by Botti, Stephen J
An Illustrated Flora of Yosemite National Park. El Portal, California:
A Sierra Club Naturalist's Guide to the Sierra Nevada
by Stephen Whitney
Assembling California
by John McPhee
Galen Clark: Yosemite Guardian
by Shirley Sargent
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.
FLO: A Biography of Frederick Law Olmsted
by Laura Wood Roper
Flowering Shrubs of Yosemite and the Sierra Nevada
by Shirley Spencer
Garden of the Sun: A History of the San Joaquin Valley: 1772-1939.
by Wallace Smith
History of the Sierra Nevada
by Francis Farqhar
The Land of Little Rain
by Mary Austin
The Incomparable Valley: a Geologic Interpretation of the Yosemite.
by Francois E Matthes
Challenge of the Big Trees
by William C Tweed
Shaping the Sierra: Nature, Culture, and Conflict in the Changing West
by Timothy Duane
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 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.
Guns, Germs and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies
by Jared Diamond
A Journal of Ramblings Through the High Sierra of California by the University Excursion Party
by Joseph Le Conte
The San Joaquin – A River Betrayed
by Gene Rose
Uncertain Path; A Search for the Future of National Parks
by William C Tweed
Botany of Desire: A Plant’s-Eye View of the World
by Michael Pollan
The Hour of Land; A Personal Topography of America's National Parks.
by Terry Tempest Williams
They Saw the Elephant: Women in the California Gold Rush
by Jo Ann Levy
On the Loose
by Jerry & Renny Russell
Desert Solitaire
by Edward Abbey
The Star Thrower
by Loren Eiseley
Sierra Nevada Wildflowers
by Karen Wiese
The Photographer's Guide to Yosemite
by Michael Frye
Secrets of the Oak Woodlands; Plants and Animals Among California's Oaks
by Kate Marianchild
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.
Oaks of California
by Bruce M Pavlik
Nature’s Army: When Soldiers Fought for Yosemite
by Harvey Meyerson
The Education of Little Tree
by Forrest Carter
The Earth Speaks: An Acclimatization Journal
by Steve Van Matre
The Wild Muir: Twenty-two of John Muir's Greatest Adventures
by John Muir
Mountains Without Handrails: Reflections on the National Parks
by Joseph L Sax
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.
Wildflowers of the Sierra Nevada and the Central Valley
by Laird R Blackwell

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