National Parks of the Sierra Nevada: Yosemite, King's Canyon and Sequoia

Discover three of the nation’s most treasured national parks, exploring waterfalls in King’s Canyon, the world’s largest trees in Sequoia and the many must-see sites of Yosemite.
Rating (5)
Program No. 20197RJ
6 days
Starts at

At a Glance

Breathe crystal-clear air in an in-depth exploration of all three of these iconic national parks. Enjoy field trips where you’ll experience the major attractions of King’s Canyon, Sequoia and Yosemite National Parks as you learn about animal life, astronomy, botany, geology, native plants, park issues and the influence of famed naturalist John Muir.
Activity Level
Let's Go!
Hikes anywhere from 2 to 6 miles a day. Elevations up to 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 ...

  • In Kings Canyon, be part of history at Muir's Rock, the place where John Muir frequently addressed the Sierra Club, and visit Roaring River Falls and Zumwalt Meadow, which showcase fabulous granite walls.
  • In Sequoia, experience Congress Loop to encounter the General Grant Tree, the largest tree by mass in the world, and take in the vast landscape of the Great Western Divide and the San Joaquin Valley.
  • In Yosemite, stop at Tunnel View for your breathtaking first glimpse of Half Dome, and stand before natural and man made marvels like El Capitan, Bridalveil Fall, Sentinel Bridge and Yosemite Falls.

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.
Featured Expert
All Experts
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Debbie Sebastian
Debbie Sebastian has lived in Oakhurst, the southern gateway to Yosemite National Park, for 38 years. After retiring as a high school math and journalism teacher, she has continued to pursue her passion for writing, photography, hiking, grandmothering and volunteering. Backpacking trips with family and friends have crossed the Sierras to Devil’s Postpile and back. Day hikes have allowed her to access numerous Yosemite National Park and nearby destinations.

Please note: This expert may not be available for every date of this program.

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Steven Cochrane
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Debbie Sebastian
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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.
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.
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.
An Illustrated Flora of Yosemite National Park
by Botti, Stephen J
An Illustrated Flora of Yosemite National Park. El Portal, California:
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.
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.
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.
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.

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