7 days

Yosemite, Lake Tahoe & Monterey Walk

Yosemite, Lake Tahoe & Monterey Walk

Lake Tahoe

El Capitan

Vernal Falls

Yosemite National Park

Mariposa Grove

San Francisco

Trip rating
  • Swap the bohemian delights of San Francisco for the chilled wilds of Monterey, Yosemite and Lake Tahoe on this week-long journey that takes in pristine walking trails, whale watching, cascading waterfalls, towering cliff faces and lazing by the lake. Combine this with great company and a wonderful combination of activity and leisure, and you have an awesome adventure in a spectacular part of the US.

    Why we love it

    • Explore the deep blue Lake Tahoe, surrounded by pristine mountain peaks
    • Yosemite is a UNESCO World Heritage site and also one of the greatest and most revered national parks in USA
    • Yosemite is home to the black bear, towering mountains, cascading waterfalls, the giant sequoia tree, the mighty Half Dome and some of the most breathtaking walking trails
    • Discover the coastal city of Monterey and enjoy a whale-watching cruise
    • Walk in the redwood forests on the Ewoldsen Trail in Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park
    • Tour San Francisco


    Day 1 - San Francisco - Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park - Monterey

    • You will depart California’s most iconic city, San Francisco, at 7:30 am and make your way via Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park to Monterey.
    • Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park provides the Ewoldsen Trail, one of the best day hikes in the area. This beautiful trail traces oak woodlands and redwood forest typical of a Big Sur hillside. The ocean and mountain views from Buzzard's Roost are exceptional. (Walking time: approximately 2.5 hours)
    • In the afternoon you'll travel down to the beautiful coastal city of Monterey where you are free to catch up on some R&R, hit the shops or explore the city and restaurants at night.
    Monterey Hotel or similar

    Day 2 - Monterey - Yosemite National Park

    • From Monterey join a whale-watching cruise in search of whales (blue and humpback), dolphins, porpoises, sea birds, sea lions and sea otters. the cruise lasts for two and a half hours and leaves at approx 9:30am.
    • Your journey then continues to Yosemite National Park, a World Heritage site and absolute treasure! Yosemite embodies the spirit of America’s natural parks and its rugged, towering peaks and magnificent waterfalls have been immortalised by countless visitors. The most famous was photographer Ansel Adams, whose gallery is located in the heart of Yosemite Valley. You will make a stop there on your exploration of the park.
    • The trails of the park are as varied as the landscape. Today you will hike the Tuolumne Meadows Trail, which is a gentle, dome-studded sub-alpine meadow section of the Tuolumne River in the eastern section of Yosemite National Park. The trail rises steeply for 1.2 km (0.75 miles) to a signed junction before reaching the top of Lembert Dome for a spectacular view of Tuolumne Meadows and surrounding peaks.
    • You will continue straight to visit both Dog Lake and Lembert Dome. Your walk covers a distance of 6.4 km (4 miles) for the round trip.
    • (Walking time: approximately 4 hours)
    Yosemite View Lodge or similar

    Day 3-5 - Yosemite National Park

    • This morning you will walk the Mist Trail, arguably one of the most outstanding moderate day hikes from the Yosemite Valley. The falls on the Merced River are amongst the few to maintain flow through the summer and the trail to them is one of the most spectacular in all of the national park. With a 305 metres (1000 ft) ascent and an 11.2 km (7 miles) round trip (approx. 5 hours), the path to the top of Vernal Falls is incredible.
    • As well as the views of the two falls and the rounded backside of Half Dome, a highlight of this walk is the steep climb itself from the base of the falls. You will understand how Mist Trail got its name on this walk - you'll get wet! Return from Nevada Fall on the John Muir Trail, enjoying perfect afternoon views. (Walking time: approximately 5 hours).
    • Another day you'll travel to Tunnel View, which provides one of the most famous views of Yosemite Valley. You will be able to see El Capitan and Bridalveil Falls rising from Yosemite Valley with Half Dome in the background.
    • You can enjoy a guided two-mile (3.2 km) walk to Mariposa Grove and walk amongst the shadows of ancient giant sequoias - some of the largest trees on earth. (Walking time: approximately 1-1½ hours)
    Yosemite View Lodge or similar

    Day 6 - Lake Tahoe

    • Make your way to the Sierra Nevada mountains and Lake Tahoe, the second deepest lake in USA. With a maximum depth of 501 metres (1644 ft), it is also one of the largest and deepest freshwater lakes in the world.
    • Lake Tahoe is home to pristine forests, beautiful mountain vistas and some lively night life. Formed roughly two million years ago and shaped during the Ice Age, the lake is actually located right on the border of California and Nevada and sits on an altitude of 1897 metres (6225 ft) above sea level.
    • During the day, we explore the local hiking trails as our guide takes us off the beaten path to capture some panoramic views of the thick pine and fir forest below tree-line.
    • You can join an optional catamaran sunset cruise, where you can sip champagne as the sun drops into the lake and behind the mountain peaks.
    • At night we have the chance to sample one of California’s local wines or handcrafted beers or try our luck at one of the casinos.
    Montbleu Tahoe or similar

    Day 7 - Lake Tahoe - San Francisco

    • You will depart Lake Tahoe and make your way back to San Francisco. On arrival back in San Francisco you'll enjoy a short orientation tour that takes you to some great vantage points over the city before continuing on to enjoy a close-up view of the spectacular Golden Gate Bridge. Completed in 1937, this iconic suspension bridge stretches for 2.7 km (1.7 miles) and is probably the most photographed bridge in the world.
    • Your tour concludes upon arrival back in San Francisco at approximately 5pm. Optional post-tour accommodation is available at our San Francisco hotel - please inquire when booking your tour. If you are planning to fly out of San Francisco tonight, please do not book a flight that departs before 9pm (21:00 hrs).
  • What to Know

    What's Included

    • The services of two professional tour leaders
    • Guided day hikes in Lake Tahoe and Yosemite National Park
    • Guided walk on the Ewoldsen Trail in Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park
    • Transport in a customised vehicle

    Not Included

    • International flights
    • Airport transfers
    • Airport departure taxes
    • Visas
    • Insurance
    • Meals
    • Any optional tours and activities
    • Tips
    • Items of a personal nature
  • Past Travellers' Ratings & Comments

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Trip at a glance

Trip Code PNPYL
Group size 5 - 12
Start City: San Francisco, California, United States
End City: San Francisco, California, United States
Style: Small Group

What to know

1. This trip is run by our experienced sister company Grand American Adventures.

2. A good level of general fitness is required. We may be walking on uneven terrain for between 2-5 hours per day.

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