Four Jewels: Sequoia, Kings Canyon, Yosemite & Death Valley

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 (5)
Program No. 4352RJ
9 days
Starts at
Special Offer
Click on Dates & Prices below to see special offer details.
9 days
8 nights
24 meals
8B 8L 8D
Check-in, Registration, Orientation, Welcome Dinner
Sierra Nevada Mountains - Sequoia & Kings Canyon National Park
Sequoia National Park, General Sherman Tree
Sierra Nevada Mountains - Sequoia & Kings Canyon National Park
Kings Canyon National Park, Roaring Falls, Zumwalt Meadows
Sierra Nevada Mountains - Sequoia & Kings Canyon National Park
Wawona Hotel, Pioneer Village Center
Sierra Nevada Mountains - Yosemite National Park
Full-Day Yosemite National Park Field Trip
Sierra Nevada Mountains - Yosemite National Park
Manzanar Historic Site, Alabama Hills
Owens Valley - Death Valley National Park
Zabriskie Point, Badwater, Death Valley Visitor Center
Owens Valley - Death Valley National Park
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At a Glance

Sequoia, Kings Canyon, Yosemite, Death Valley: four spectacular American National Parks. Explore them from the mighty Sierra Nevada range to the stark allure of the Mojave Desert as on-site presentations delve into their geologic, human and natural histories.
Activity Level
Keep the Pace
Walking up to two miles on uneven terrain on paved and unpaved paths. Long distances by large motorcoach. Elevations range from 4,000-8,000 feet.

Best of all, you'll ...

  • Study the magnificent forest ecosystem of Sequoia, named for giant trees that can live for more than 2,000 years.
  • Admire granite monuments like El Capitan, Half Dome and Bridalveil Fall as you learn how Pleistocene glaciers carved the wonders of Yosemite Valley.
  • Visit Yosemite’s high-country areas, cross the Sierra Nevada to Mono Lake and Owens Valley and explore forbidding, dramatic, beautiful Death Valley.

General Notes

Includes long bus rides to reach rural sites. Max of 40 participants.
Featured Expert
All Experts
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Frank Helling
Frank Helling is an active adventurer and naturalist who has spent much of his life “sauntering” in the footsteps of the great mountaineer, philosopher and nature writer John Muir. He has backpacked, hiked and climbed in the Sierras, Rockies, Cascades, Alps, Alaska, Hawaii and the deserts of the American Southwest. A former high school science teacher, Frank has also worked as a ranger and naturalist in Kings Canyon National Park and as a professional wilderness instructor.

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

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Frank Helling
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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.
Water and Power
by William L. Kahrl
The author covers the politics, personalities, construction, opposition, and events leading up to the present situation in the Owens Valley.
Basin and Range
by John McPhee
This is a complex but fascinating explanation of basin-range geology.
John Muir, Son of the Wilderness
by Linnie Marsh Wolfe
Pulitizer Prize-winning biography of the great naturalist, John Muir
Sierra Nevada Natural History
by David Lukas, Tracy I. Storer, Robert L. Usinger
First published forty years ago, this handbook has become an enduring natural history classic, used by thousands to learn more about virtually every aspect of this spectacular mountain range--from its superb flora and fauna to its rugged topography. Comprehensive yet concise and portable, the book describes hundreds of species: trees and shrubs, flowering plants and ferns, fungi and lichens, insects and fish, amphibians and reptiles, and birds and mammals.
Cadillac Desert
by Marc Reisner
In this stunning work of history and investigative journalism, Reisner tells the story of conflicts over water policy in the West and the resulting damage to the land, wildlife and Indians.
Farewell to Manzanar
by Jeanne Wakatsuki
This is a moving account of a family interned in Manzanar during WW II.
Geology Underfoot in Death Valley and Owens Valley
by Robert P. Sharp
This volume provides an on-the-ground look at the processes sculpting the terrain of this region of extremes. Illustrated with photographs, maps, and diagrams, each geological vignette weaves the tale of a particular scene, feature, or relationship in the landscape.
Men to Match My Mountains
by Irving Stone
An engaging history of the West
Mountains of California
by John Muir
Enjoy these lyrical 1894 vignettes by John Muir, founder of the Sierra Club.
Land of Little Rain
by Mary Austin
This is a 1904 classic about the Eastern Sierra.

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