Trip Overview

Trip Overview

  • On a guided hike in Sequoia National Park, learn how National Geographic deeded tracts of giant trees here to the National Parks Service for safekeeping in 1916.
  • Discover the glacially carved landscapes of Yosemite National Park, and hike trails to breathtaking views of Half Dome and El Capitan.
  • Gain insights on local flora and fauna alongside naturalists in Sequoia and Yosemite National Parks.
  • Enjoy awe-inspiring views of Kings Canyon—one of the U.S.’s deepest canyons—and discover why John Muir called it “a rival to Yosemite.”

Itinerary

Itinerary

Marvel at the natural splendor of California as you delve deep into its incredible national parks. Gaze up at 100-foot-tall sand dunes and the towering trees of Sequoia National Park. Be surprised by the abundance of life that flourishes amid the depths of Death Valley, spot glacial erratics in Yosemite Valley, and watch for endangered Sierra Nevada bighorn sheep roaming the Great Western Divide. Bookend the adventure amid the glitz of Las Vegas and the cultural vibrancy of San Francisco.

This trip is operated in collaboration with G Adventures.

Day 1: Las Vegas
Arrive at any time.
Accommodations:Golden Nugget - Gold Tower (or similar)
Day 2: Las Vegas/Death Valley National Park
Enjoy a scenic drive through the desert to Death Valley National Park—the lowest, hottest, and driest place in North America. Experience the extremes of this landscape as you pass through the multi-hued badlands of Twenty Mule Team Canyon, take a break to listen to the eroded rock salt at the craggy Devils Golf Course, and descend into Badwater Basin, cradled 282 feet below sea level. Cap off the day at Zabriskie Point as the sun sets over the distinctive Furnace Creek formation.
Meals Included:Breakfast
Accommodations:Furnace Creek Ranch (or similar)
Day 3: Death Valley National Park/Sequoia National Park
Begin the day searching for animal tracks amid the otherworldly landscape of Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes, where shifting sands soar up to 100 feet high. Then discover Father Crowley Vista Point, where an easy hike offers an epic payoff: a sweeping view over Rainbow Canyon and Panamint Valley. Keep an eye out for fighter jets practicing between the cliffs. Continue around the Sierra Nevada mountains to California’s Sequoia National Park.
Meals Included:Breakfast
Day 4: Sequoia National Park
Enjoy a full day to explore the legendary trees of Sequoia National Park. Walk in the shadow of its formidable giants—including General Sherman, the planet’s largest known living single-stem tree—alongside a naturalist from Sequoia Parks Conservancy. On an afternoon hike along Big Tree Trail, hear how, in 1916, National Geographic deeded tracts of giant trees here to the National Parks Service for safekeeping. This evening, return to the park for an evening of stargazing with a local expert; or, if skies are cloudy, set out on a nighttime walk to witness nocturnal life.
Meals Included:Breakfast
Day 5: Sequoia National Park/Kings Canyon National Park
Embark on a spectacular drive, watching as the scenery changes from towering sequoias to one of the deepest canyons in the United States. On a journey from Grant Grove to Cedar Grove, be awed by the glacially carved Kings Canyon, and keep an eye out for the endangered Sierra Nevada bighorn sheep and other majestic wildlife.
Meals Included:Breakfast
Day 6: Kings Canyon National Park/Yosemite National Park
Head north through the Sierras to the south entrance of Yosemite National Park, a natural wonderland of picturesque valleys and ancient granite formations. Stop at the trailhead to Sentinel Dome and climb to the pinnacle for a picnic lunch and breathtaking 360-degree views of Half Dome, El Capitan, and Yosemite Falls. Or, go on a hike in the old-growth forest of Mariposa Grove. Continue to Glacier Point for another dramatic vista—and a closer view at iconic Half Dome.
Meals Included:Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 7: Yosemite National Park
This morning, join a Yosemite Conservancy naturalist on a guided excursion around the park, gaining an insider’s perspective on the human, natural, and geological history of the region. Hike through the heart of Yosemite while hearing about its flora and fauna, and learn how this rugged backcountry became the U.S.’s first protected state park in 1864—and, with the help of John Muir, a national park in 1890. Enjoy the rest of the day on your own; choose your own adventure amid majestic waterfalls, crystal-clear lakes, lush meadows, and pristine groves. Keep an eye out for glacial erratics, rock climbers, and a diversity of wildlife. Opt to visit the Ansel Adams Studio or relax by the river with Half Dome as the backdrop.
Meals Included:Breakfast
Day 8: Yosemite National Park/San Francisco
Pass through the Central Valley of California, stopping at a local farm stand to sample some of the region's best produce. Drive over the Bay Bridge on the way into one of America's most vibrant cities, San Francisco. Settle into the hotel before heading out on a CEO-led guided driving tour of the city. Take in the epic view from atop Twin Peaks, walk across a portion of the spectacular Golden Gate Bridge, and stroll past the Painted Ladies—a “postcard row” of Victorian houses that stand as symbols of the city. This evening, consider joining an optional sunset sail in the San Francisco Bay, departing from Fisherman’s Wharf to glide past notorious Alcatraz Island and underneath the spectacular Golden Gate Bridge.
Meals Included:Breakfast
Day 9: San Francisco
Depart at any time.
Meals Included:Breakfast