Natural Highlights of California USA

Natural Highlights of California

USA

Hiking
9 days
2020

Sat, May 02

Sun, May 10

€2,549

Still available

Book
More available dates (11)

Overview

Set out on a nine-day quest through some of California’s greatest national parks. From the arid, sun-scorched landscapes of Death Valley to the astonishing giant redwoods of Sequoia National Park and Yosemite's awe-inspiring panorama of granite domes, this adventure covers a lot of ground – and almost every type of terrain imaginable.

Map

Itinerary

Day 1Las Vegas
Arrive at any time. There are no planned activities today until the evening welcome meeting, so check out the strip or get tickets to a show for this evening.
Day 2Las Vegas/Death Valley National Park
Leave the glitz and glamour of Las Vegas behind and travel to Death Valley National Park — the lowest, hottest, and driest place in North America. Marvel at the extremes of this landscape as you pass mountains, valleys, badlands, salt flats, dunes, and more. Drive through the spectacular landscape of Death Valley. Stop at Zabriskie Point and hike the short distance to the vista, one of the most photographed spots in the park. Take in the views of diverse geological features as far as the eye can see. Next, descend into Badwater Basin, the lowest, hottest, driest point in North America that sits 282 feet below sea level. Continue to the Furnace Creek Visitor Center for a further look into this unique park. Marvel at the 18-hole golf course adjacent to our hotel inside the park, an oasis in the middle of the desert.
Day 3Death Valley National Park/Yosemite National Park
Before leaving the park, make a final stop at Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes. Then sit back and enjoy the views on this full day drive via the mountain town of Bishop and across the Sierra Nevada Mountains of California, along the famed Tioga Pass and through Yosemite Valley in the National Park. Pass through Bishop, one of "America's Coolest Mountain Towns", surrounded by the peaks of the Sierra Nevadas which soar more than 14,000 ft (4,593m) in elevation. Pass Mono Lake and the Tufa Towers on the way to the entrance of Yosemite National Park. Travel Tioga Pass, descending into the valley, lined with alpine lakes, granite monoliths, and giant trees. Stop at Olmsted Point, named after the architect of the valley floor, for the first view of Half Dome. Travel through the valley past El Capitan, Yosemite Falls, Bridalveil Fall, and Tunnel View for some of the most picturesque features the US has to offer.
Day 4Yosemite National Park
With our CEO, explore stunning Yosemite National Park in the High Sierra. Explore on foot to view majestic waterfalls, crystal clear lakes, lush green meadows, and walk among pristine groves in Yosemite. Keep and eye out for glacial erratics, rock climbers and the diverse wildlife, including black bears, within the park. Carved by glaciers, Yosemite National Park became the first protected state park in the US in 1864. It took until 1890 to gain National Park status, with the work of John Muir. Though 95% of the park is backcountry, there is still plenty to explore via hikes or the shuttle system. Spend the day hiking amongst Giant Sequoias, granite cliffs, and rushing waterfalls and understand why around 4 million people come to the park each year.
Day 5Yosemite National Park/Sequoia National Park
Depart early and walk through California’s Sequoia National Park alongside a naturalist. Learn about these impressive giant trees and opt to enjoy a picnic lunch on the trail. Drive to Big Tree Trail for an afternoon hike and learn about how National Geographic deeded tracts of giant trees in the heart of the park to the National Parks Service for safekeeping. This evening, we return to the park for an evening of stargazing with an expert from the Sequoia Parks Conservancy (SPC).
Day 6Sequoia National Park/Monterey
Depart the Sierra Nevadas and travel from one of California's mountain ranges to the other. Reaching the waters edge, stop to view elephant seals at Piedras Blancas Elephant Seal Rookery before driving north on the PCH, the famous Pacific Coast Highway. Stop along the way for lunch in a little seaside town. Marvel at the dramatic vistas as the waves crash into where the cliffs meet the shore. Continue through Big Sur, past famous bridges and lighthouses, get out and stretch and even opt to feel the sand between your toes. Enjoy the day soaking in part of the most beautiful coastline this National Scenic Byway has to offer en route to Monterey.
Day 7Monterey
Visit the Monterey Bay Aquarium on a tour specially arranged for National Geographic Journeys travellers. Get an inside look at the workings of this world-class organization and find out how the Aquarium’s mission aligns with that of National Geographic. After, enjoy a free afternoon. Opt to go whale watching, try the famous clam chowder, walk or bike the Monterey Bay Coastal Trail or wander historic Fisherman's Wharf and Cannery Row.
Day 8Monterey/San Francisco
Continue on a scenic coastal drive along the Pacific Coast Highway to San Francisco for our final evening. Catch a glimpse of the Golden Gate Bridge on the way into one of America's most popular cities. Opt to take a cable car ride over the steep hills or explore the city by bicycle.
Day 9San Francisco
Depart at any time.

Accommodation

Hotels (8 nts).

What's Included

Your Journeys Highlight Moment: Sequoia NP Hike, Sequoia National Park Your Journeys Highlight Moment: Sequoia Parks Conservancy Stargazing, Sequoia National Park Your Journeys Highlight Moment: Monterey Aquarium Exclusive, Monterey. All national park fees. Yosemite NP excursion. Death Valley NP visit. All transport between destinations and to/from included activities.

Meals Included

8 breakfasts, 2 dinners

What to Take

You will be on the move a lot, so our advice is to pack as lightly as possible. For days in the outdoors, we recommend the use of lightweight, breathable, moisture-wicking fabrics made of wool or synthetic fibers. Cotton is not recommended for days spent hiking as it does not allow for heat or moisture to enter or escape, and it will not dry easily once wet. We recommend using a backpack for your convenience, or a medium-sized suitcase if you prefer. Heavy luggage is not recommended for the health of the CEO, who will take a lead in loading the storage trailer. Due to space in the trailer, we will not be able to accommodate more than one piece of main luggage per person. A good size day-pack (20-35L) is also essential to carry your personal gear for the day, as access to luggage between destinations will be limited. This daypack will be used to carry your personal gear for the day, your lunch and a water bottle. It is important to pack clothes for warm days and cool evenings, as well as a light jacket. A set of smart casual clothes is also advisable.

Map

Itinerary

Day 1Las Vegas
Arrive at any time. There are no planned activities today until the evening welcome meeting, so check out the strip or get tickets to a show for this evening.
Day 2Las Vegas/Death Valley National Park
Leave the glitz and glamour of Las Vegas behind and travel to Death Valley National Park — the lowest, hottest, and driest place in North America. Marvel at the extremes of this landscape as you pass mountains, valleys, badlands, salt flats, dunes, and more. Drive through the spectacular landscape of Death Valley. Stop at Zabriskie Point and hike the short distance to the vista, one of the most photographed spots in the park. Take in the views of diverse geological features as far as the eye can see. Next, descend into Badwater Basin, the lowest, hottest, driest point in North America that sits 282 feet below sea level. Continue to the Furnace Creek Visitor Center for a further look into this unique park. Marvel at the 18-hole golf course adjacent to our hotel inside the park, an oasis in the middle of the desert.
Day 3Death Valley National Park/Yosemite National Park
Before leaving the park, make a final stop at Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes. Then sit back and enjoy the views on this full day drive via the mountain town of Bishop and across the Sierra Nevada Mountains of California, along the famed Tioga Pass and through Yosemite Valley in the National Park. Pass through Bishop, one of "America's Coolest Mountain Towns", surrounded by the peaks of the Sierra Nevadas which soar more than 14,000 ft (4,593m) in elevation. Pass Mono Lake and the Tufa Towers on the way to the entrance of Yosemite National Park. Travel Tioga Pass, descending into the valley, lined with alpine lakes, granite monoliths, and giant trees. Stop at Olmsted Point, named after the architect of the valley floor, for the first view of Half Dome. Travel through the valley past El Capitan, Yosemite Falls, Bridalveil Fall, and Tunnel View for some of the most picturesque features the US has to offer.
Day 4Yosemite National Park
With our CEO, explore stunning Yosemite National Park in the High Sierra. Explore on foot to view majestic waterfalls, crystal clear lakes, lush green meadows, and walk among pristine groves in Yosemite. Keep and eye out for glacial erratics, rock climbers and the diverse wildlife, including black bears, within the park. Carved by glaciers, Yosemite National Park became the first protected state park in the US in 1864. It took until 1890 to gain National Park status, with the work of John Muir. Though 95% of the park is backcountry, there is still plenty to explore via hikes or the shuttle system. Spend the day hiking amongst Giant Sequoias, granite cliffs, and rushing waterfalls and understand why around 4 million people come to the park each year.
Day 5Yosemite National Park/Sequoia National Park
Depart early and walk through California’s Sequoia National Park alongside a naturalist. Learn about these impressive giant trees and opt to enjoy a picnic lunch on the trail. Drive to Big Tree Trail for an afternoon hike and learn about how National Geographic deeded tracts of giant trees in the heart of the park to the National Parks Service for safekeeping. This evening, we return to the park for an evening of stargazing with an expert from the Sequoia Parks Conservancy (SPC).
Day 6Sequoia National Park/Monterey
Depart the Sierra Nevadas and travel from one of California's mountain ranges to the other. Reaching the waters edge, stop to view elephant seals at Piedras Blancas Elephant Seal Rookery before driving north on the PCH, the famous Pacific Coast Highway. Stop along the way for lunch in a little seaside town. Marvel at the dramatic vistas as the waves crash into where the cliffs meet the shore. Continue through Big Sur, past famous bridges and lighthouses, get out and stretch and even opt to feel the sand between your toes. Enjoy the day soaking in part of the most beautiful coastline this National Scenic Byway has to offer en route to Monterey.
Day 7Monterey
Visit the Monterey Bay Aquarium on a tour specially arranged for National Geographic Journeys travellers. Get an inside look at the workings of this world-class organization and find out how the Aquarium’s mission aligns with that of National Geographic. After, enjoy a free afternoon. Opt to go whale watching, try the famous clam chowder, walk or bike the Monterey Bay Coastal Trail or wander historic Fisherman's Wharf and Cannery Row.
Day 8Monterey/San Francisco
Continue on a scenic coastal drive along the Pacific Coast Highway to San Francisco for our final evening. Catch a glimpse of the Golden Gate Bridge on the way into one of America's most popular cities. Opt to take a cable car ride over the steep hills or explore the city by bicycle.
Day 9San Francisco
Depart at any time.

Accommodation

Hotels (8 nts).

What's Included

Your Journeys Highlight Moment: Sequoia NP Hike, Sequoia National Park Your Journeys Highlight Moment: Sequoia Parks Conservancy Stargazing, Sequoia National Park Your Journeys Highlight Moment: Monterey Aquarium Exclusive, Monterey. All national park fees. Yosemite NP excursion. Death Valley NP visit. All transport between destinations and to/from included activities.

Meals Included

8 breakfasts, 2 dinners

What to Take

You will be on the move a lot, so our advice is to pack as lightly as possible. For days in the outdoors, we recommend the use of lightweight, breathable, moisture-wicking fabrics made of wool or synthetic fibers. Cotton is not recommended for days spent hiking as it does not allow for heat or moisture to enter or escape, and it will not dry easily once wet. We recommend using a backpack for your convenience, or a medium-sized suitcase if you prefer. Heavy luggage is not recommended for the health of the CEO, who will take a lead in loading the storage trailer. Due to space in the trailer, we will not be able to accommodate more than one piece of main luggage per person. A good size day-pack (20-35L) is also essential to carry your personal gear for the day, as access to luggage between destinations will be limited. This daypack will be used to carry your personal gear for the day, your lunch and a water bottle. It is important to pack clothes for warm days and cool evenings, as well as a light jacket. A set of smart casual clothes is also advisable.
Time until next start
224
days
01
hours
:
33
min
:
16
sec

Prices from

€2,549

Duration

9 days
2020

Sat, May 02

Sun, May 10

€2,549

Still available

Book
More available dates (11)
Overview
Itinerary
Accommodation
What's Included
Meals Included
What to Take
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Saturday, May 2
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