Yosemite And Sequoia: John Muir’s California

  • 8 Days / 7 Nights
  • May to October
  • Roundtrip scheduled flights
  • Accommodation for 7 nights as specified
  • 7 breakfasts, 5 lunches and 5 dinners
  • Air-conditioned motorcoach transportation
  • Services of a Tauck Tour Director
  • Classic tour

From £4500 per person based on twin occupancy of standard rooms in low season. Other prices are available on request.

Day 1

Arrive San Francisco

Depart the UK on your chosen scheduled flight to San Francisco. Upon arrival, transfer to your hotel The Westin St Francis, the elegant Grand Dame of Union Square, ideally located amidst the city’s attractions. This evening, enjoy a welcome cocktail reception and dinner.

Day 2

Muir Woods

This morning you cross the city for a visit to the Presidio, a former Army base and now a National Historic Landmark rich with history; the base was home to the “Buffalo Soldiers,” the African-American cavalry troops who earned their fighting reputation in the Indian Wars, and were among the U.S. troops who served as the earliest caretakers of the national parks. From here, a short drive over the Golden Gate Bridge brings you under the green canopy of Muir Woods, a coastal redwood forest preserved as a national monument. These towering ancient trees, some 20 stories high, are among the last remnants of a fog-shrouded primeval forest that once blanketed the northern coast. Following lunch in the picturesque town of Sausalito, you hop aboard a ferry for the return trip to San Francisco. After docking at the historic Ferry Building terminal with its famous clock tower and arcade of shops and cafés, the remainder of the day is free for you to explore the sights.

Day 3

Sequoia National Park

Before there was a National Park Service, the job of policing and protecting the national parks belonged to the U.S. Army. At Sequoia and Yosemite, the parks’ guardians were the Buffalo Soldiers, who rode out every spring from the Presidio, crossing 300 miles on horseback to the Sierra Nevada. Your route follows the Buffalo Soldiers’ path across the agricultural Central Valley. A stop for lunch is made in Fresno before making the 7,000-foot climb to Sequoia National Park. In the afternoon, an expert from the Sequoia Field Institute describes how John Muir found and documented the “Giant Forest” in 1875, offering a perfect introduction to the park. This evening at your lodge, a naturalist guides you through the spectacular constellations that fill the night skies.

Wuksachi Lodge (Breakfast, lunch and dinner included)
Day 4

Sequoia National Park

Today begins with a privately guided walk among ancient Giant Sequoias soaring to the height of skyscrapers. Walking through the Giant Forest Grove you’ll see the General Sherman Tree, estimated to be over 2,500 years old (and still growing) before strolling beautifully restored Round Meadow. Enjoy a private barbeque lunch before taking a tour of Sequoia National Park accompanied by a guide who will tell you stories of Muir, Charles Young and other park pioneers. Climb the steps to the top of Moro Rock for stunning views of the park and Great Western Divide. The rest of the day is yours to explore as you wish.

Wuksachi Lodge (Breakfast, lunch and dinner included)
Day 5

Yosemite National Park

Today you leave Wuksachi Lodge and journey to Fresno and the south entrance to Yosemite National Park. Your Yosemite tour begins with a film by Ken Burns describing Muir’s passion for the Yosemite Valley, and his activism to preserve it for future generations. Lunch is at the Wawona Hotel, an inn that was once a stagecoach stop, where you’ll meet a National Park Service ranger for a private lecture on the unique history and legacy of Yosemite National Park. Next, visit Glacier Point for a stirring view of the Valley, overlooking Half Dome and a panorama of glacier-formed peaks. It was on this spot in 1903 that John Muir stood with Teddy Roosevelt during a private tour of the area and persuaded the President that Yosemite should be under federal protection as a National Park. This evening, settle into your room at The Majestic Yosemite Hotel, a historic masterpiece of stone, timber and soaring stained glass windows in the heart of Yosemite, and dine at leisure.

The Ahwahnee (was Majestic Hotel) (Breakfast, lunch and dinner included)
Day 6

Yosemite National Park

‘Yosemite is the grandest of all the special temples of Nature I was ever permitted to enter’ wrote Muir, who regarded such settings of awesome natural beauty as sacred places with restorative powers, ‘where the galling harness of civilization drops off and wounds heal, ere we are aware’. Today you discover the park’s power on a guided Yosemite tour in a special open-air vehicle. The afternoon is yours to enjoy the park at your own pace, with optional activities including biking, a hike over the footbridge at Vernal Falls, and a visit to the Yosemite Indian Cultural Museum and Village.

The Ahwahnee (was Majestic Hotel) (Breakfast included)
Day 7

San Francisco

This morning you depart Yosemite for the return to San Francisco, first visiting the Mariposa Museum and then driving across the populous Central Valley with a stop for lunch. Filmed narratives by Ken Burns and Dayton Duncan weave together the past seven days of history and nature, with insights you won’t get anywhere else. One of the stories you’ll hear relates to Hetch Hetchy Reservoir, a glacial valley that Muir fought unsuccessfully to save. In the 1920s, the federal government allowed its river to be dammed, turning the valley into a reservoir for the city of San Francisco – a campaign continues today to restore the valley to its original state. This afternoon you arrive at The Fairmont San Francisco, a Beaux Arts-style, premier hotel on Nob Hill, listed on the National Registry of Historic Places. In the evening, celebrate your journey with a farewell cocktail reception and dinner.

Day 8

Journey Home

Spend your final morning in San Francisco, perhaps shopping for souvenirs before taking your transfer to the airport for your flight back to the UK.

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