Getting on/off a motorcoach; driving about 275 miles, approximately 5.5 hours riding time; one rest stop en route. Walking about 1/2 mile throughout the day; dirt paths, flat meadow, paved trail from Bridalveil Fall parking area to base of waterfall. Elevation gain approximately 80 feet. Bring binoculars if you have them.
At the hotel.
We will check out of the hotel, board a motorcoach, and ride to Yosemite National Park in central California. The “gold rush” of 1849 wreaked havoc on the environment, followed by extensive commercial exploitation. In response, President Lincoln designated Yosemite Valley a public trust in 1864, the first time the U.S. government protected land from private development and for public enjoyment. Yellowstone became America’s first national park in 1872. Today, it is one of America’s most beautiful and most visited national parks.
At a local restaurant.
We will ride to the historic Ahwahnee Hotel where our naturalist will tell us about the classic architecture and the various historic characters that stayed at the elegant hotel. Next, our naturalist will lead a field trip through Yosemite Valley, world-famous for its impressive waterfalls, cliffs, and unusual rock formations. We will learn about the valley’s glacial past that carved the grand walls we see today. Our first stop will be El Capitan Meadow. From the meadow, use binoculars to scan for climbers on El Capitan, one of the world’s most popular climbs. Rising more than 3,000 feet above the Valley floor, it is the largest granite monolith in the world. The first ascent on El Capitan was made by Warren Harding in 1958 and records continue to be broken. We will ride on to Tunnel View that gives us a bird’s eye view of the Valley with El Capitan, Bridalveil Fall, and Half Dome. It is one of the more iconic scenes of Yosemite. Riding by Bridalveil Fall, we’ll see it plunge 620 feet. Bridalveil thunders in the spring but during the rest of the year its light, swaying flow resembles a “bridal veil.” It is one of the many waterfalls that can appear in Yosemite Valley. We’ll then ride on to our hotel and check in.
We will have vouchers provided to use at Base Camp Eatery in Yosemite Valley Lodge.
At leisure. There are many opportunities to enjoy the park independently after dark. Use the “Yosemite Guide” to find out what programs are being offered. Programs offered by the National Park are free of charge. https://www.nps.gov/yose/planyourvisit/guide.htm Programs at the Yosemite Theater require a ticket that can be purchased the day of at the visitor center bookstore or on-line at https://yosemite.org/experience/theater/.