This Yosemite adventure provides a wealth of information and experience on the geology, history, weather, biology, and beauty of this magnificent national park.
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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: Check-in with the hotel front desk to receive your room key. Walk to the Road Scholar table to register with the program staff and get your welcome packet containing your up-to-date schedule that reflects any last-minute changes and other important information. Please ask for your packet when you check in, if you arrive late. 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 San Francisco inspired 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: 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. We will alert you as quickly as possible in the event of itinerary changes. 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 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 Fall parking area to base of waterfall is 1/2 mile roundtrip with approximately 80 foot elevation gain.
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: Once we check out of the hotel, we will board our motorcoach for Yosemite National Park which is about a 5 hour drive from Brisbane, CA. Yosemite is one of America's most beautiful and most visited 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. There will be one rest stop en route in California's Central Valley.
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: 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 Fall 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.” Our last stop takes us to Sentinel Bridge with a classic view of Half Dome framed by pine trees. We will check in to Yosemite Valley Lodge, the accommodation closest to Yosemite Falls.
Dinner: Your group leader will give you a voucher to use at any establishment in Yosemite for dinner. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions and give directions or you could use the suggestions listed in your program folder. 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: The drive to the Mariposa Grove is about 30 miles and takes about 1 hour on a curvy mountain road. The hike into Mariposa Grove is about 2- 3 miles roundtrip on a wooden boardwalk. The Lower Yosemite Fall Trail is a 1 mile loop on a paved path.
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: We will visit the Mariposa Grove of Giant Sequoias which contains about 500 mature giant sequoias. Giant sequoias are perhaps the largest living things on Earth and may exceed 3,000 years in age. Reopened on June 15, 2018, the Mariposa Grove restoration project aimed to restore the grove's dynamic ecology and increase the grove's resilience. Many visitors from around the world are eager to visit the beloved grove of trees that has been closed for the last three years. Be prepared to share your experience with other arboreal enthusiasts who may be craning their necks to see the sequoias for the first time. Your patience with the opening and new infrastructure is appreciated. Keep an eye out for the sequoia saplings that have taken root with the absence of people. The bus driver will park the bus near the shuttle stop at the Mariposa Grove Welcome Center where restrooms are located. The group will board the National Park Service bus that will take the group into the grove and to the start of the wooden boardwalk to see the sequoia trees. Our naturalist will guide us through the grove and explain giant sequoia ecology and our connection with these large trees.
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: Aboard the motorcoach, we journey back 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 Fall, El Capitan, Half Dome, and the broad expanses of Yosemite Valley — an outstanding photo opportunity. After we return to Yosemite Valley Lodge, join our naturalist for a walk to the base of Lower Yosemite Fall on a paved path with a slight incline. The path is 1 mile round trip. If the water levels are high in the valley, be prepared for a large spray at the base of the fall which could leave you drenched and walkways slick.
Dinner: This meal has been excluded from the program cost and is on your own to enjoy the valley. 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: Weather permitting (see Yosemite Road Closures in the "Special Notes" section for details), 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: We will board the motorcoach for a day in the subalpine environment of the High Sierras. Our on-board instructor will provide a 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, 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: Weather permitting (see Yosemite Road Closures in the "Special Notes" section for details), 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 a wrap, 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: We will board the motorcoach after we check-out of the hotel 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!
This Yosemite adventure provides a wealth of information and experience on the geology, history, weather, biology, and beauty of this magnificent national park.
Outstanding trip! Yosemite is beautiful and this "Best of" trip keeps you in the heart of it. For free time - the shuttle service is excellent.
We had a wonderful time on our Yosemite trip. Mary Jackson and her husband, Drew, were fun to be with and made everything go as smoothly as possible. Michael Ross was interesting and informative as he served as the naturalist for the tour. It was also fun to meet John Muir as played by Frank Helling, and hear a little of his adventures. The only problems had to do with the food. One dinner was at 8:30 p.m., the picnic lunches were pretty bad, the dinner with John Muir was cold and in a room where the AC had not been turn on and our final lunch took three tries before a place was found to serve us. All of these should be addressed by Road Scholar. However most of us did not come on this trip for the gourmet meals and between Mary, Drew, Michael, Frank and our other fellow travelers, we had a great time and would certainly recommend this trip to others.
Yosemite is fabulous, Mary and Drew Jackson were perhaps the best group leaders I've had on any outing, and the other program participants were a joy. Once again, though, your vegetarian choices were terrible. Issues: 1. Plated meals leave us no choice - we bailed from four and bought our own meals, usually at the same venue. We packed cheese, crackers, fruits and nuts for our outings. Hotels and restaurants now routinely serve a variety of good vegetarian choices - the issue is what the Road Scholars staff orders for our vegetarian plated meals. 2. A salad and pasta primavera is not nutritionally adequate meal. We were served this four times in a six day program. It makes us second class citizens when others are served generous portions of salmon, chicken, beef, or sea food. 3. Your vegetarian options were almost all vegan. That would be okay if they had adequate vegan nutrition and flavor, but they did not. Some eggs, dairy, yoghurt, gardenburgers or other protein source would have helped those options. The soggy roasted vegetable wrap for a picnic lunch was the low point of nutrition and aesthetics. 4. No problems with breakfasts - eggs, yoghurt and the usual offerings work just fine. 5. This is the 6th Road Scholar program we've had this problem with. The vegetarian choices have been good to excellent on the cruises (Aegean Odyssey, Paul Gaugin, and the Great Lakes cruise), but even the land portions of those excursions were disappointing for vegetarian meals. 6. I am a physician with training in public health and also edited a health and nutrition newsletter ("Doctors Orders") for 20 years. I would be happy to discuss vegan and vegetarian nutrition and dietary options if your staff need help. 7. I recognize that the Road Scholar demographic has not as widely embraced vegetarian and vegan diets as other age groups. If you had more 30-something clients, you would already have fixed this. Christopher H. Coulter, MD, MPH 714-296-3333
Yosemite National Park should be experienced by everyone and more than once. The Road Scholar program does an excellent job of housing you right in the valley close to the magical places of the park. The program offers a nice balance of education on the park, its flora, its animal life and its history. But Mother Nature provides you the big stuff....waterfalls, granite walls, star-lit nights and a deep sense of spiritual uplift. Go experience Yosemite!!
Yosemite is an awe inspiring place. Don't miss seeing and experiencing it and do it with Road Scholar because they handle ALL the details for you and give to access to intructors, experiences and information you may not otherwise have.
Yosemite is a beautiful place with a rich history. Road scholar provided an excellent trip.
This trip exceeded my expectations! The big plus was to be able to stay in the park so that you could get up early and walk to Yosemite Falls or Cook's Grove before people came in the morning. You could attend Nature Conservancy programs on free nights, which were excellent. I saw the program on Search and Rescue. Very well organized and excellent educational speakers. Due to snow, programs had to be changed and the changes were excellent! I highly recommend this program.
This program is the best way to experience many of the amazing places in Yosemite, whether you have never seen it or are returning. We learned about the "energy of a tree", saw the world-famous "Tunnel" view at the best time of the day(in the afternoon), watched the climbers on El Capitan through a very long lens. Otherwise, they were not visible as they look very small from the ground! The light changes on Half Dome. and other locations were amazing. The open times and the park's free shuttle bus gave us all many opportunities for individual exploration and just time to absorb the beauty of nature. Even with all the visitors, we could feel alone at many places.
Yosemite is awesome. Our instructor David Lucas did a fantastic job giving us background on the history, geology, and flora and fauna at the park. It was great to be there in September when there were fewer people. We are going to need to return in May to see the waterfalls at their finest.
The Yosemite Experience was awe inspiring! There is so much to see. My head was bent up to behold the beauty of El Capitan, Half Dome, Bridal Veil Falls, and the giant Sequoias in Mariposa Grove. Looking down, one beheld the beauty of the meadows, lakes, rivers and wildlife. A feast for the soul.
The serenity and the powerful majesty of Yosemite requires you to be there and experience it first hand. Coupled with naturalist Michael Elsohn Ross's gentle way of sharing in-depth knowledge about the park, this trip was a gem. August 2018 Jane
A well-planned and executed introduction to the marvels of Yosemite. Made me appreciate the work of people like Galen Clark, John Muir, and Theodore Roosevelt to preserve America's natural treasures. Visions of Yosemite endure because of programs like this, and people like we met in this program.
Visiting Yosemite National Park with Road Scholar was the perfect way to see and understand a true national treasure. The small group led by an organized and warm group leader met all my expectations. We saw and learned about all the important areas in the park.
If you wish to be awed and humbled by breathtaking beauty of the natural environment, this trip is for you. From fascinating history and inspiring stories of native Americans, pioneers, and environmental heroes to basic facts of the science of how the unique geology, flora and fauna of Yosemite Valley came to be. It's there for you.
This was a perfect trip. Iconic for sure! Trip leader Frank and naturalist-guide Pete were superb--welcoming, knowledgeable, accessible, professional. It was obvious that much planning had gone into making this week flow with various activities, both structured and open-ended. We never felt rushed nor neglected. Accommodations were fine. Certainly staying inside the park at the lodge made our stay very comfortable and efficient. There was a good balance of planned time and free time with lots of things to do, including simply watching the waterfalls or meandering the trails. It's a long bus ride from San Francisco to Yosemite; not sure why we don't just originate in Fresno instead as that would be much closer (other RS trips to Yosemite do start in Fresno). This place is a photographer's paradise. So glad we were here in the late spring as the waters were flowing everywhere--rivers, streams, waterfalls in full power. I would liked to have been able to talk directly to some of the rock-climbers as they prepare for El Capitan! Though there were many visitors, this park is so huge there was never a sense of its being overcrowded. Everyone always friendly and happy about being in this magnificent place. Hope you'll consider being part of the Yosemite Conservancy. Thank you, Frank and Pete, for this memorable week in Yosemite. We stayed around a week afterwards and rented a car to explore Sequoia NP and Kings Canyon NP on our own. This is a very doable combo to do RS in Yosemite, followed by week on your own at the other nearby NPs. And we have over 700 photographs to prove it! -Ben and Joyce
For someone that has never visited this park before, we could see the benefit of staying in the park. This is an awesome program and an excellent value.
Visiting Yosemite has been on my bucket list for many years. This year I finally got there, only to realize how much I had been missing. It is possible to get away from the crowds, to discover the peace and serenity of primal nature and to experience the grandeur of those magnificent trees. I urge everyone to do so.
My husband and I enjoyed this trip very much. Frank Baker (tour coordinator), Pete Devine (Conservancy Naturalist), Lee Stetson (John Muir portrayer) and David (bus driver) were all professional and optimized our time/experience at Yosemite. The moonbow on Lower Yosemite Falls and bear sighting near the visitor center were both unexpected and memorable. Spending 4 days in Yosemite near the Lower Yosemite Falls is a gift to yourself. It was an opportunity to slow down and breathe.
If you are an experienced photographer and want to capture moon bows, star trails over Yosemite Falls, sunsets of Half Dome, go on this trip during the late spring and bring your tripod! Staying in Yosemite Village made it easy to get to various photo sites nearby.
Excellent trip. Good group of fellow travelers, perfect weather, magnificent landscapes, and expert guides.
Experiencing the Park from the inside was magnificent. We had two great guides in Frank and Pete. The accommodations at Yosemite Lodge were good. Unfortunately the food services left a lot to be desired. On the first night there, we had a full moon and I saw a moon bow , something I never knew existed. Magical!
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.