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Please note: This expert may not be available for every date of this program.
Activity note: Hotel check-in from 3:00 p.m.
Afternoon: Program Registration: After you have your room assignment, come over to the Road Scholar table to register with the program staff and get your welcome packet containing your name-tag, up-to-date schedule that reflects any last-minute changes, and other important information. If you arrive late, please ask for your packet when you check in. The Group Leader will greet everyone and lead introductions. Get to know your fellow participants in a session we call Crossing Points and discover what you share beyond a love of lifelong learning.
Dinner: In our private room at the hotel, enjoy a plated meal with salad, entrée, rolls and butter, dessert, and beverage choices including fresh brewed coffee, assorted hot teas, and water; other beverages available for purchase.
Evening: After dinner, the group leader will review the program theme, the up-to-date daily schedule and any changes, discuss safety guidelines, emergency procedures, roles and responsibilities, and answer any questions you may have. Dinner on day 3 is on your own in Yosemite National Park. Dining options will be listed in the “Yosemite Guide”, which you can view online at http://www.nps.gov/yose/planyourvisit/guide.htm. If you are interested in eating dinner at The Majestic Yosemite Hotel Dining Room, please be advised that “Proper attire is kindly requested for dinner.” Gentlemen are asked to wear collared shirts and long pants. Ladies are asked to wear dresses or skirts / slacks and blouses. Make reservations by calling (209) 372-1489. Indicated times are approximate; program activities and schedules may need to change due to local circumstances. In the event of changes, we will alert you as quickly as possible. Thank you for your understanding. We have set aside some free time in the schedule for your personal independent exploration. The Group Leader will often be available during free time to accompany informal excursions, activities, or meals that have been excluded from the program cost. You are welcome to join if you like, with any associated costs on your own. Settle in and get a good night’s rest for the day ahead.
Activity note: The drive to Yosemite National Park is about 275 miles, approximately 5 1/2 hours. The short walk around the Pioneer Yosemite History Center is on a dirt trail.
Breakfast: Breakfast buffet in hotel restaurant offers a selection of eggs, bacon, sausage, breakfast potatoes, hot and cold cereals, fruit, yogurts, and fresh baked breakfast breads, plus assorted juices, coffee, tea, and water.
Morning: After checking out of the hotel, we board our motorcoach for a full day field trip to Yosemite National Park. Without question, Yosemite is one of America's most beautiful and best known of our national parks. Designated as the country’s third national park in October 1890, Yosemite Valley has been preserved since 1864. For the first time in history, Congress set land aside for the preservation and recreation for all people, and the national park concept was born.
Lunch: At Big Trees Lodge (formerly the historic Wawona Hotel), enjoy a 3-course plated meal with salad, entrée, and dessert plus choice of milk, coffee, tea, or water; other beverages available for purchase. Located 4 miles from the park’s southern entrance, Wawona was a popular stagecoach stop for passengers traveling to and from Yosemite Valley in the 1800s.
Afternoon: Next, we’ll walk to Pioneer Yosemite History Center which commemorates Yosemite’s human experience. Each of the historic structures was originally in a different part of Yosemite, and brought to this location in the 1950s-60s as representations of different eras and different chapters in the story of Yosemite. On a self-guided walk, learn individual stories of people who helped establish the park from Galen Clark to the U.S. Cavalry. Please note: The Pioneer Yosemite History Center replaced the previously planned visit to the Mariposa Grove. The Mariposa Grove is scheduled to remain closed until fall 2017 as part of a major restoration project. Aboard the motorcoach, we continue into Yosemite Valley with a stop at Tunnel View. This renowned scenic overlook offers some of the most iconic views of the park including Bridalveil Falls, El Capitan, Half Dome, and the broad expanses of Yosemite Valley — an outstanding photo opportunity. Moving on, we will check in to Yosemite Valley Lodge, the accommodation closest to Yosemite Falls.
Dinner: At the Yosemite Food Court, dinner coupons will be used to purchase hot or cold entrées, pasta dishes, grilled items, pizzas, sandwiches, or salads at different stations. Assorted beverages such as milk, soft drinks, coffee, tea and water are available. Alcohol beverages are available for purchase.
Evening: At leisure.
Activity note: The walk into El Capitan Meadow is on a dirt path in a flat meadow and the distance is about 100-150 feet. The paved trail from Bridalveil Falls parking area to base of waterfall is 1/2 mile roundtrip with approximately 80 foot elevation gain. Happy Isles Trail is 1/2 mile round trip on even ground.
Breakfast: A breakfast buffet in the Lodge's dining room will include an assortment of muffins and baked goods, scrambled eggs, breakfast potatoes, fresh fruit salad, bacon, sausage, French toast or waffles, hot or cold cereals, coffee, tea, juice, and water.
Morning: Our on-board instructor will lead us on a field trip through Yosemite Valley which is world-famous for its impressive waterfalls, cliffs and unusual rock formations. The first stop is El Capitan Meadow. From the meadow, use your binoculars and scan for climbers on El Cap, 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. Our second stop is Bridalveil Falls for a walk to the base of the falls. Plunging 620 feet, Bridalveil thunders in the spring but during the rest of the year its light, swaying flow resembles a “bridal veil.”
Lunch: At The Majestic Yosemite Hotel, we’ll have a plated 3-course lunch with salad, entrée, and dessert. This hotel opened in 1927 as The Ahwanee and is a major attraction for Yosemite visitors. Its dining room has a 34-foot-high beamed ceiling, large sugar pine trestles, granite pillars, and floor-to-ceiling windows.
Afternoon: We’ll walk outside for a talk about The Majestic Yosemite Hotel. Known for its magnificent façade and architecture, the hotel was designed to complement its natural surroundings: Yosemite Falls, Half Dome and Glacier Point. Ride the free Yosemite Valley Shuttle bus to Happy Isles, a pair of islands in the Merced River at the east end of Yosemite Valley. Starting from the Happy Isles trailhead, we’ll walk the trail with our naturalist.
Dinner: This meal has been excluded from the program cost and is on your own to enjoy what you like. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions and give directions. You have a variety of dining options at Yosemite Valley Lodge, The Majestic Yosemite Hotel, Yosemite Village, or Half Dome Village.
Evening: At leisure.
Activity note: At Tenaya Lake, walk approximately 1/10th mile on paved path to beach. Additional opportunities may be available depending on local conditions at the time of the program; the Group Leader will discuss prior to the field trip.
Breakfast: At the Lodge.
Morning: En route to our field trip through Yosemite high country, our on-board instructor provides narrative that touches on many aspects of the natural and human history along Tioga Pass Road to Olmstead Point, Tenaya Lake, and Tuolumne Meadows. Tioga Pass Road offers a 39-mile scenic drive between Crane Flat and Tuolumne Meadows through forests and past meadows, lakes, and granite domes. Olmsted Point looks down on Yosemite Valley from the east--and from a very different angle. Tenaya Lake is a magnificent High Sierra lake surrounded by granite domes, lodgepole forests and Yosemite’s vast wilderness. Tuolumne Meadows is a large, open sub-alpine meadow graced by the winding Tuolumne River and surrounded by majestic peaks and domes.
Lunch: Picnic lunch in Tuolumne Meadows area will include sandwich, fresh fruit, chips, trail mix, cookie and bottled water.
Afternoon: We’ll return to Yosemite Valley where you’ll have the remainder of the afternoon free for relaxation or personal independent exploration. Refer to the “Yosemite Guide” paper for ideas of where to go and what to do. The Group Leader will also be happy to offer suggestions and give directions.
Dinner: A dinner buffet at the Lodge will include various items such as salads, fish, chicken, rice, potatoes, vegetable medley and a selection of desserts and beverages.
Evening: Enjoy a living history program, An Evening with John Muir. Born in Scotland in 1838, Muir emigrated to the U.S. with his family in 1849. During his lifetime, he was a farmer, inventor, sheepherder, explorer, botanist, and writer but he is best known as America's most famous and influential naturalist, conservationist, and founder of the Sierra Club. Often called the “Father of our National Park System,” Muir’s writings and efforts resulted in Congress creating Yosemite National Park.
Activity note: From the Glacier Point parking lot, a paved trail, approximately 500 yards, leads uphill to restrooms, then flattens as it leads to the overlook. To reach the second overlook (optional), continue on the paved walkway to a series of terraced viewpoints reached via granite steps overlooking Valley. The loop is approximately a 1/2 mile.
Breakfast: At the Lodge.
Morning: Rounding out our Yosemite experience, we take a final field trip to Glacier Point, an overlook with a commanding view of Yosemite Valley, Half Dome, and the High Sierra. From the end of the road, we walk to the viewpoint. Many say this is the most spectacular viewpoint in the park.
Lunch: We’ll have a picnic lunch at Glacier Point or back in the Valley depending on local conditions at the time of the program, then return to the Lodge. Lunch will include sandwich, fresh fruit, chips, and bottled water.
Afternoon: Free Afternoon. Take this opportunity for personal independent exploration to see and do what interests you most. Please refer to the list of Free Time Opportunities. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions and give directions.
Dinner: Farewell dinner at the Lodge. Enjoy an Italian Food themed buffet with items such as salad, pasta, meatballs with sauce, chicken, vegetables, assorted breads, desserts, and coffee, iced tea, and lemonade. A glass of wine is included with this dinner.
Evening: At leisure. Say farewell to new Road Scholar friends and prepare for departure in the morning.
Activity note: The return trip is approximately 5 hours depending on traffic, and includes a stop for lunch.
Breakfast: At the Lodge.
Morning: After checking out of the hotel, we’ll board the motorcoach for the return trip to the hotel in Brisbane.
Lunch: En route to Brisbane, stop to have a sit-down plated lunch with entrée, dessert, coffee, hot and iced tea, and water.
Afternoon: We expect to arrive at the hotel in Brisbane by approximately 3:00 p.m. (depending on traffic). This concludes our program. We hope you enjoy all your Road Scholar learning adventures and look forward to having you on rewarding programs in the future. We encourage you to join our Facebook page and share photos of your program. Visit us at www.facebook.com/rsadventures. Best wishes for all your journeys!
Road Scholar is a great idea invented !
Great program for learning about and seeing Yosemite! Naturalist on the trip was wonderful and greatly enhanced the overall experience. Perfect trip to get an overview of the park and get to see the highlights.
I so enjoyed my Yosemite adventure. The staff, including our coach driver, and program participants were wonderful. The accommodations and meals were great. Karren
An outstanding program in an extraordinary place !
I have always wanted to visit Yosemite. I loved staying in the park and enjoying all it has to offer without working out the details like how to find parking and where to get meals. I learned so much from our instructor that really enhanced the experience. A beautiful place to visit and a wonderful trip.
Yosemite is a wonder . . . and wonderFUL under the guidance of Road Scholar. Getting around the park to see the many splendors of Yosemite is easy and informative. I recommend this tour to anyone who enjoys natural beauty in the company of a warm and intelligent guide who knows all about the environment of Yosemite and how it came to be created over time. Excellent!
If you are interested in John Muir & his role in the National Parks, this is a good program. If you are interested in simple learning AND experiencing Yosemite National Park AND learning about the early people of this area, again you will enjoy this program!
This was a stupendous trip! We had a talented and kind leader in Barbara, ably assisted by equally talented and kind Joey. They beautifully tended to all the important and myriad details that make a trip like this run smoothly. Our naturalist and guide, David was completely amazing! His wide-ranging knowledge of the area's geologic and human history was fascinating. He literally made the trip for us. Well, that and the incredible power and beauty of Nature. The thundering waterfalls, the rushing rivers, the pristine meadows, the azure skies with the billowing clouds each afternoon, and the towering granite mountains have to be seen to be believed. We are so grateful that we were able to make this trip, especially this year, after so much snow and rainfall. Thank you, Road Scholar, for another marvelous trip!
This trip is the best way to see Yosemite and all of its treasures. The leaders used their expertise to show us the best Yosemite features without any of the hassle of logistics. It was a most memorable experience!
A tour with Road Scholar is the best way to travel. We had excellent tour leaders, Shelia Toner and David Lukas. They were great, very knowledgeable and informative. David the bus driver got us to places even though Yosemite was packed with vehicles. The 200% snowfall was a benefit for the beautiful waterfalls, rivers and creeks. To top it off we had a room with Yosemite Falls close by. It was awesome!
The program at Yosemite was brilliant. The leaders, Mary Jackson and David Lukas were a superb team and added enormously to the experience. Mary as the group leader gave new meaning to efficiency and expertise in making sure that every detail ran smoothly. David, as naturalist, was truly superb in his knowledge, accessibility, willingness to entertain all manner of questions and comments and to do so in a very welcoming, engaging, and inclusive way. I will tell everyone I know about this experience and encourage them to participate in Road Scholar activities. A big shout out to bus driver David, too, who was the essence of kindness, knowledge and a terrific driver. Jim Killacky, Greensboro.
Program was exactly as stated for activity level, meals, lodging and general information. We were the oldest on this trip but had a totally wonderful time. Highly recommend for any age.
This trip was AMAZING. Our group leader Mary was so geniune and personable. Our instructor David was youthful, exuberant and knowledgeable. What a WONDERFUL experience. Thanks Road Scholar.
This was our first RS trip. I was pleasantly gratified to find that the ease of traveling and the learning involved gave me an experience quite other than that of traveling on our own. Though I would enjoy a smaller group, I thought the group conversations and friendships enhanced our Yosemite experience. It was thrilling to see the falls after a weekend of rain prior to our visit.
This trip exceeded my expectations in every way. The beauty of the park, the wonderful tour guides and instructors, the meals, the accommodations and finally, the WEATHER. Late October turned to be a perfect time to visit Yosemite.
A great trip giving a thorough overview of the park, including details about geology, history and wildlife. If you decide to do more hiking during your free time,I would recommend hiking boots and poles!
The Yosemite experience is well worth the money! The scenery is spectacular and Dave Lukas, our guide, was the best. You will go home with an unforgettable experience.
Prepared to be amazed and astounded by the sheer beauty and immensity of nature's wonders so magnificently on display in the Yosemite.
While the Yosemite trip expanded my intellectual knowledge, my heart and spirit were expanded, as well. Such a gift of people, place and experience. Cindy Chicoine
This experience with Road Scholar met all my expectations. This is the first time I have traveled by myself and I felt confident with all of the information they provided.
The Yosemite Program was a real treat. I enjoyed it so much, I would like to repeat it again some time in the future.
I will have to do this later since time does not permit it now. Thanks
If you are looking for a top-notch excursion to a National Park, this Yosemite experience with Road Scholar must be at the top of your list.
This trip was fantastic. Staying in Yosemite Valley made a huge difference and even for that reason alone, I would recommend this particular trip--it's worth the extra money. In addition, having the naturalist, David Lukas, with us enriched our experience tremendously. We got to see and learn so much more than we would on our own. The program is very well thought out. Yosemite is a special place--take this trip and you'll be glad you did.
Excellent tour of Yosemite, very well organized, you'll learn about the geology and ecosystem of this beautiful park, even with an over load of visitors.
This was a well organized and fascinating trip. Information provided on the history of the park and the environment was extremely good.
What an adventure! Yosemite Falls was in full action, the weather was perfect, and our guides shared their knowledge giving minute details about the park- it's flora and fauna. Outstanding!
Yosemite Valley is very crowded with cars in the summer. By going on this program we had experts/teachers to explain the geology which created Yosemite, the fauna, and historical figures who created the park and other national parks. We also were taken by a comfortable bus to many venues in the park we never would have found on our own in a car given the current traffic and parking issues. This is a high quality program which can be enjoyed by those who want to see the wonders of the Yosemite and learn in relative comfort. John from Virginia
Road Scholar takes the worry out of travel...caring and excellent service. It offers the best overall selection of the Sierra Nevada (Yosemite) itinerary. It employs knowledgeable tour guides, excellent driver and above all, provides subject matter experts about Yosemite.