4352
California
Four Jewels: Sequoia, Kings Canyon, Yosemite and Death Valley National Parks
Witness awe-inspiring nature, grand artifacts of geography, ancient flora and unique fauna as you immerse yourself in four of California’s most stunning National Parks.
Rating (4.87)
Program No. 4352RJ
Length
9 days
Starts at
2,599
Special Offer
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9 days
8 nights
22 meals
8 B 8 L 6 D
Getting There
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DAY
1
Registration, Orientation, Welcome Dinner
Los Angeles Airport Area
D
Courtyard Los Angeles LAX/Century Boulevard

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. We 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. For several meals on this program, we ask you to pre-order your preferred entrée. Please see the “Notes” section for details. You will have two nights on your own while at Yosemite Park to dine where you choose. 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 Ahwahnee 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 or slacks and blouses. Make reservations by calling (209) 372-1489. Unlike most hotel-based Road Scholar programs, the Four Jewels program is a rigorous, moving adventure in which participants will be on the road every day with access to your rooms at the beginning and end of each day. All transportation will be via private motorcoach unless specified otherwise. We have set aside some free time in the schedule for your personal independent exploration. Program activities, schedules, and personnel 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.

Dinner: At the hotel enjoy a plated meal plus water, coffee, and tea; other beverages available for purchase.

Evening: Enjoy the remainder of the evening getting to know your fellow participants and discovering what you share beyond a love of lifelong learning.

DAY
2
Sequoia National Park, General Sherman Tree
Sierra Nevada Mountains - Sequoia & Kings Canyon National Park
B,L,D
Montecito Sequoia Lodge

Activity note: The ride is approximately 3 1/2 hours with several stops to stretch our legs; No elevator at Montecito Sequoia Lodge.

Breakfast: At the hotel, we’ll enjoy a buffet featuring an assortment of hot and cold breakfast items plus coffee, tea, assorted juices, and water.

Morning: From the hotel, we’ll depart via private motorcoach to Sequoia National Park. On this transfer, we’ll travel a major north-south route which bisects the entire LA metropolitan area. Journey through rugged mountains before reaching the scheduled rest stop at Pyramid Lake. After the rest stop, travel through the farms, orchards, and vineyards of the San Joaquin Valley.

Lunch: Enjoy a buffet lunch with a variety of hot and cold items plus water, coffee, tea, soda, and lemonade.

Afternoon: Upon arrival in Sequoia National Park, visit the Giant Forest Museum featuring exhibits on giant sequoia ecology and the General Sherman Tree. Estimated to be between 2,300–2,700 years old, the General Sherman Tree is the largest currently living tree in the world. Sequoia National Park was established in 1890 and encompasses a vertical relief of nearly 13,000 feet with the highest point in the lower 48 states, Mount Whitney. The park is south of and contiguous with Kings Canyon National Park.

Dinner: In the Montecito Sequoia Lodge dining room, enjoy a hearty buffet plus water, coffee, and tea.

Evening: At the hotel, the Group Leader will lead an educational presentation.

DAY
3
Kings Canyon National Park, Roaring Falls, Zumwalt Meadows
Sierra Nevada Mountains - Sequoia & Kings Canyon National Park
B,L,D
Montecito Sequoia Lodge

Activity note: Walking distances up to 1 mile on smooth, flat terrain.

Breakfast: In the Montecito Sequoia Lodge dining room, we’ll enjoy a hot buffet plus water, coffee, tea, and juice.

Morning: Visit the Kings Canyon Visitor Center in Grant Grove Village before continuing onto General Grant Tree, one of the five largest trees on earth. Located in the General Grant Grove and named after General Ulysses S. Grant, the giant sequoia is arguably the largest living creature on Earth. A relative of the coastal redwood – the tallest tree on Earth – the giant sequoia reaches a height of well over 200 feet and can live to several thousand years old. The General Grant Tree is estimated to be close to 1,700 years old while the General Sherman Tree is estimated to be between 2,600 to 2,700 years old.

Lunch: Bag lunch provided by Montecito Sequoia Lodge in Kings Canyon featuring the sandwich selected previously, bag of chips, granola bar, fruit, and bottled water. (See "Notes" section for details.)

Afternoon: After lunch, we’ll visit Roaring River Falls during a relaxing hike. Created by the snowmelt running through the canyon, the falls drop nearly 40 feet off a narrow ledge into the pool below. As we leisurely make our way to the Falls, we’ll have excellent views of the Kings River and the surrounding granite cliffs, including Grand Sentinel (8,518ft) and North Dome (8,717ft) while receiving commentary about the natural history and storytelling.

Dinner: Buffet dinner in Montecito Sequoia Lodge dining room plus water, coffee, and tea.

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. He was also involved in the creation of the Grand Canyon, Kings Canyon, Petrified Forest, and Mount Rainier National Parks.

DAY
4
Yosemite, Lunch at Wawona Hotel, Yosemite Valley Views
Sierra Nevada Mountains - Yosemite National Park
B,L
Yosemite Valley Lodge

Activity note: Ride is approximately 3 hours. We’ll stop along the way for lunch and to stretch; Short walks around Pioneer Village and hotel grounds; No elevator at Yosemite Lodge at the Falls.

Breakfast: In the Montecito Sequoia Lodge dining room.

Morning: We’ll head out from the hotel and make our way to Yosemite National Park. On our drive, we will pass through the cities of Fresno and Oakhurst.

Lunch: At the historic Wawona Hotel, enjoy a plated lunch with salad, bread and butter, entrée with sides, and dessert. Coffee, tea, milk, and water included; Other beverages are available for purchase. The Wawona Hotel, a National Historic Landmark, rests upon verdant meadows and besides rushing streams. The tranquility of this Victorian-style lodge in Yosemite makes it a favorite of those who prefer a relaxed environment and the gracious charm of a bygone era.

Afternoon: The motorcoach will stop at Tunnel View, which offers a photo op of the world famous view of the Valley. Considered one of the most iconic symbols of Yosemite, the Half Dome rises more than 5,000 feet above the valley floor and is a favorite hiking trail, with as many as 50,000 visitors per year.

Dinner: This meal has been excluded from the program cost and is on your own to enjoy what you like in Yosemite Village, at The Ahwahnee, Yosemite Lodge or Curry Village. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions and give directions. If you are interested in eating dinner at the Ahwahnee Hotel Dining Room, it is best to make reservations ahead of time for Tuesday.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
5
Yosemite National Park, Valley Visitors Center
Sierra Nevada Mountains - Yosemite National Park
B,L
Yosemite Valley Lodge

Activity note: Walking distances up to 1 mile with some steep and elevated terrain before the Bridalveil Falls viewpoint.

Breakfast: At the Yosemite Lodge at the Falls, enjoy a buffet style breakfast offering muffins and baked goods, fresh fruit salad, scrambled eggs, potatoes, bacon and sausage, French toast, granola plus milk, coffee, tea, juice, and water.

Morning: Start the day at the Visitors Center to view the "Spirit of Yosemite", a 23-minute film about Yosemite National Park, and explore the exhibits. 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 and the Mariposa Grove of Giant Sequoias have 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. At the Visitors Center, a Ranger will further introduce us to Yosemite National Park.

Lunch: Bag lunch provided by the hotel restaurant.

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. You may want to return to the Visitor's Center, visit the Yosemite Museum, the Ansel Adams Gallery, take a hike on you own or join the instructor for a hike to Happy Isles.

Dinner: This meal has been excluded from the program cost and is on your own to enjoy what you like in Yosemite Village, at The Ahwahnee, Yosemite Lodge or Curry Village. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions and give directions.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
6
Tioga Pass, Tuolumne Meadows, Mono Basin Visitors Center
Sierra Nevada Mountains - Owens Valley
B,L,D
Dow Hotel & Dow Villa Motel

Activity note: Ride is no more than 5 hours. We’ll make stops along the way to stretch; No elevator at Dow Hotel & Dow Villa Motel; Easy walk on flat surface to Lone Pine Film History.

Breakfast: At Yosemite Lodge at the Falls.

Morning: We’ll hop on the motorcoach and depart Yosemite for Lone Pine via the scenic Tioga Road, the park’s trans-Sierra Nevada crossing. We’ll stop at Olmstead Point for a scenic overlook and enjoy an easy walk at Tuolumne Meadows located in the heart of Yosemite’s high country.

Lunch: Enjoy a bag lunch provided by hotel restaurant at the Mono Basin National Forest Scenic Area Visitors Center.

Afternoon: After lunch, drive to Lone Pine and check into the Dow Hotel.

Dinner: At a local restaurant in Lone Pine, we’ll have a plated meal featuring the entrée selected previously plus water, coffee, tea, and soda. (See "Notes" section for details.)

Evening: We’ll walk from the hotel to our program at the Lone Pine Film History Museum, where we will learn about the Hollywood history of this tiny dwelling in the California desert.

DAY
7
Manzanar Historic Site, Alabama Hills
Owens Valley - Death Valley National Park
B,L,D
Stovepipe Wells Resort

Activity note: Walking up to 1/2 mile on flat terrain.

Breakfast: At a local restaurant across the street from the hotel, we’ll have a plated meal plus water, coffee, tea, and juice.

Morning: Visit Manzanar National Historic Site Interpretive Center and view the 22-minute documentary “Remembering Manzanar”. Led by a Park Ranger, enjoy an expert led visit to the best preserved site where Japanese-Americans were incarcerated during WWII. On our ride through the Manzanar National Historic Site, see where just over 10,000 people were kept behind barbed wire and learn the stories of the 120,000 Japanese-Americans that were relocated to ten different sites by the War Relocation Authority in 1942.

Lunch: In the Manzanar Mess Hall, we will enjoy a catered lunch plus bottled water or tea.

Afternoon: Our day continues with an expert-led ride through the Alabama Hills, an area of granite boulders that is considered part of the Sierra Nevada mountains. They are considered their own range due to their features, which sharply contrast the rest of the Sierra Nevada range, containing Mount Whitney; the highest summit in the continental United States with a peak of just over 14,500 feet. The Alabama Hills are featured in many Hollywood films including "How the West was Won," "Gladiator," and "Iron Man." We’ll travel through Panamint Mountains on the way to Death Valley National Park where we’ll check into Stovepipe Wells, Death Valley National Park.

Dinner: At Stovepipe Wells, we’ll enjoy a buffet style dinner plus water, coffee, or tea.

Evening: At the hotel, the Group Leader will lead an educational presentation.

DAY
8
Zabriskie Point, Badwater, Death Valley Visitors Center
Owens Valley - Death Valley National Park
B,L,D
Stovepipe Wells Resort

Activity note: Walking will include distances up to 1 mile on mostly flat terrain.

Breakfast: At Stovepipe Wells, we’ll enjoy a hot breakfast buffet plus water, coffee, tea, and assorted juices.

Morning: From the hotel, we’ll take an all day field trip throughout Death Valley. The lowest point in North America, Death Valley receives its name from the extreme heat and limited rain that make it one of the most desolate places on the continent. Located in the northwest corner of the Mohave desert, it contains a diverse landscape from sand dunes and salt-flats to canyons and mountains.

Lunch: At the Wrangler Buffet at Furnace Creek Ranch enjoy a buffet plus water, coffee, tea, and assorted juices.

Afternoon: We’ll continue our visit around the sites of Death Valley.

Dinner: At Stovepipe Wells. Our farewell dinner features the entrées we selected previously. (See “Notes” section for details.)

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
9
Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes, Program Concludes
Los Angeles Airport Area
B,L

Activity note: Walking on sandy surfaces up mild inclines on the sand dunes. Ride to Los Angeles International Airport is approximately 4 hours.

Breakfast: At Stovepipe Wells.

Morning: From the hotel, we'll visit the Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes. These graceful desert dunes are among the best known in Death Valley National Park and are beautifully rippled from the wind, which is seemingly always blowing. While the highest dune rises less than 150 feet, they cover a broad expanse of space. They may be most famous as the location where the dune scenes were filmed in the Star Wars series. We’ll return to Stovepipe Wells after the Sand Dunes to depart for Los Angeles travelling though Trona, Ridgecrest and Mojave.

Lunch: At a local restaurant in Ridgecrest, we’ll have a plated meal featuring the entrées we selected previously plus water, coffee, tea, and soda. (See "Notes" section for details.)

Afternoon: When returning to the Courtyard Los Angeles LAX/Century Boulevard Hotel, an additional stop will be made at LAX for those who would like to be dropped off at the airport instead of the hotel. 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!






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