Spending three nights in Yosemite National Park means two full days of exploration. With so many options on what to do, you’ll be spoilt for choice.. Discover another side to Yosemite’s towering granite cliffs, redwood forests and epic night skies by hiking one of its lesser-known trails – Hetch Hetchy – with your local leader.. Soak up the scenery on a relaxing visit to a natural hot spring near the township of Bishop. It’s the perfect way to relax and get to know your travel pals.. With a knowledgeable leader and driver getting you from place to place, all you’ve got to worry about is snapping the best photo and getting the most out of your Californian road trip.
City, coast, hot springs, national parks and a whole load of wide-open roads – take on Vegas to San Fran in just six days with a Lonely Planet Experience, powered by Intrepid. Stop by Sierra Nevada to soak in local hot springs and pass by Mono and Tenaya lakes on your way to the extraordinary Yosemite National Park. With two full days spent here, marvel at Half Dome and hike the Hetch Hetchy Valley with your small group, plus reap the benefits of the freedom to explore at your own pace. Once you wind up along the culture-filled harbourside of San Francisco, you’ll have found your calling. The Western USA is a place for dreamers – let one be you.
Breakfast Included: Lunches Included: Dinner Included:
Welcome to the USA! There are no planned activities until your welcome meeting in the hotel lobby at 6 pm. Las Vegas may be the gambling capital of the world, but there's plenty to do if gambling isn't your thing. Hit the shops, feel your stomach drop on a rooftop roller coaster or simply stroll along the Strip, soaking up the glitz and gaudiness. We recommend you arrive a few days early to make the most of this exciting city. After the welcome meeting, perhaps feast on an 'all you can eat' buffet, check out one of the many shows on offer – book in advance if you can, to get the best deals – or party the night away in a Vegas nightclub.
Sierra Nevada / Keough Hot Springs
Leave the bright lights of Vegas behind and drive into the Eastern Sierra Nevada toward the quaint town of Bishop. On arrival, check out the town or perhaps treat yourself to the crispy cookies or ‘bear claws’ at Erick Schat’s German bakery. Later this afternoon, join the group for a soothing soak in a natural hot spring – perfect for those wanting to relax before an action-packed few days in Yosemite. Tonight, you’ll camp under the stars in Bishop.
Yosemite National Park
Prepare for some spectacular mountain scenery as you depart from Bishop and head west to Yosemite National Park. This morning, stop at crystal clear lakes – including Mono and Tenaya – before continuing through the Tioga Pass (snow levels permitting) into the heart of the Sierra Nevada Mountains. Stop by Olmstead Point to marvel at Yosemite’s natural wonder, Half Dome, before arriving at one of the most famous parks in the USA. Yosemite's colossal granite cliffs, cascading waterfalls (depending on the season) and redwood forests attract visitors from all over the world. You'll spend three nights in the park, meaning you have two full days to explore. The total driving time today is approximately 5 hours.
Yosemite National Park
Start today with an orientation tour of the village before heading out for a free day of exploration. There are plenty of hikes available, each varying in steepness and difficulty. Hike The Mist Trail to Nevada Falls (2–5 hours) or to the serene Mirror Lake (45 minutes). Keep an eye out for squirrels and perhaps even a bear along the way. You might prefer to hire a bike and explore Yosemite Valley, visiting the park's museum, photo gallery, shops and restaurants along the way. In the heat of summer, a relaxing float down the Merced River followed by a few drinks at the park's cafe is just the trick.
Yosemite National Park
Today there’s a chance to explore a different side of the park as you join your leader on a guided hike to Hetch Hetchy Valley. Tucked away in the northwest corner of Yosemite, Hetch Hetchy is a wilderness of cascading waterfalls, towering cliff faces and beautiful wildflowers. Boasting one of the longest hiking seasons in the park, the ecologically diverse valley attracts a fraction of the visitors in comparison to other more well-known hiking spots in Yosemite – which means it’s an ideal area for those who have extra time to explore the park in depth.
Leave Yosemite behind today and drive west to San Francisco (approximately 4 hours). The 'City by the Bay' has a beautiful setting and a vibrant, multicultural heart. You might like to check out the vintage stores along funky Haight Street, catch the tram down to the waterfront or take an Adventure Cat Bay Cruise. The trip finishes on arrival into San Francisco after a stop to check out the Golden Gate Bridge, and no accommodation is provided tonight. As there's a great deal to do in San Francisco, we recommend you stay a couple of extra days to make the most of the city. If you do wish to spend extra time in San Francisco, we'll be happy to help you book additional accommodation (subject to availability).