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Central Valley, California

Hiking

Our most recommended Central Valley, California Hiking

From San Francisco: Yosemite National Park Full-Day Trip

1. From San Francisco: Yosemite National Park Full-Day Trip

Spend an active, fun-filled day learning why Yosemite is one of America’s most popular national parks. Hike through the park with an experienced guide and immerse yourself in the beauty of nature on this tour. Start off by making your way east from San Francisco and heading across the Bay Bridge. Continue toward the Sierras and into the mountains. Learn about California’s rich history as you pass through some of the first settlements built during the Gold Rush. Arrive in Yosemite National Park for a 2.5-mile round-trip hike to see the Tuolumne Grove of Giant Sequoias. Be prepared for a strenuous hike, descending 400 feet into the grove, before turning around and trekking back up. Next, cruise into the famous Yosemite Valley to take in views of Bridalveil Falls, El Capitan, Half Dome, and more. Capture breathtaking photos at Tunnel View and take in the eastern expanse of Yosemite Valley. Then, enjoy 1.5 hours of free time to explore on your own. You can meander down paved paths, hike around Yosemite Falls, engage further with the park’s history at the visitor’s center, or visit the Ansel Adams Gallery. In the late afternoon, you’ll depart for San Francisco, stopping for a short break before arriving back in the city. Arrive back at your hotel in the late evening to sleep off the day’s adventures.

From San Francisco: Yosemite Park Guided Day Trip

2. From San Francisco: Yosemite Park Guided Day Trip

Escape the crowds of San Francisco on a full-day guided tour to Yosemite National Park. See highlights, including Yosemite Falls and Inspiration Point. Enjoy seamless travel in a bio-fueled mini-coach. Heading east across the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge offers great views of the San Francisco skyline, Alcatraz Island, Fisherman's Wharf, and the Golden Gate Bridge. En route to the park the tour crosses through the Central Valley, where you will stop at a fruit stand for some local produce. Famous for its rich volcanic soil, the Central Valley is the largest agricultural region in the United States. The section the tour drives through is best known for specialty fruits and nuts such as almonds, walnuts, cherries, and strawberries. After this quick rest stop, you will enter the rolling foothills of the Sierra Nevadas. Continuing into the mountains brings you to California gold country and the gold rush town of Groveland before the tour winds its way into Yosemite National Park. On your 1.5-hour narrated coach tour of Yosemite's glaciated valley, you will see famous waterfalls and rock formations including Yosemite Falls, the tallest waterfall in North America. Continue on past El Capitan, Half Dome, Bridalveil Falls, Sentinel Dome, and much more. During the tour you will see Yosemite Valley from a number of great vantage points, the best of which is perhaps Inspiration Point. After the tour, you will stop for the afternoon near the base of Yosemite Falls. If you have not already picked up picnic supplies, there are many options for getting lunch in the park. You will have 3-4 hours of free time to explore the valley as you choose. You can walk to the base of Yosemite Falls, check out the visitor center, visit the Ansel Adams Gallery, stop in at the Ahwahnee Hotel, rent a cruiser bike, or hike some of the trails that originate from the valley. Although you could easily spend 3 weeks in Yosemite, the 3 hours you get on your own is enough time to understand why Yosemite is one of America's most popular national parks.

From San Francisco: Yosemite National Park

3. From San Francisco: Yosemite National Park

Travel through the Great Central Valley into the Sierra Foothills where Forty-Niners panned for Gold. Follow the beautiful Merced River to the majestic Sierra Nevada Mountains. Glaciers cut through these mountains forming spectacular granite monuments you will see throughout the park. Spend a total of 4 hours within the Yosemite National Park: 1-hour on a guided tour and 3 hours to explore on your own. There is the option of selecting a Chinese-speaking guide on certain days. Take advantage of the photo opportunities at: • El Capitan • Bridalveil Falls • Vernal Falls • Yosemite Falls • Cathedral Spires • Half Dome

Yosemite National Park: Valley Orientation Tour

4. Yosemite National Park: Valley Orientation Tour

Join an eco-friendly, small group guided tour and witness the stunning Yosemite National Park. Choose between three pickup locations covering hotels on Highway 41, 140 & 120. Then drive 30-60 minutes through Yosemite National Park to reach Yosemite Valley. On the way, your guide will explain the history and geology before stopping at El Capitan, the world’s largest granite monolith. Your guide will provide a park orientation and hiking briefing so you can wander around alone. Be dropped off either at Curry Village or Yosemite Valley Lodge in the park. During your 5 hours of free time, explore Yosemite either by hiking its most famous trails or biking your way around Yosemite Valley.  Marvel at views of Half Dome, a granite dome known for its distinct shape. Go for a swim in the nearby Merced River to cool down from Yosemite’s summer heat. Your expert guide can recommend the best trails and where to rent a bike.  After a day of exploration, meet your guide back at either Curry Village or Yosemite Valley Lodge to be dropped off back at your original point: Yosemite View Lodge.

Oakhurst: Yosemite Giant Sequoia Private Jeep Tour

5. Oakhurst: Yosemite Giant Sequoia Private Jeep Tour

Get ready to ride into the wilderness on a private Jeep tour through the Sierras. Your tour guide will drive you to see some of the Sierra’s most incredible scenery as you venture off into the forest to get to a Sequoia Grove. Crawl over granite plains, drive through dense woodland areas, and splash through creeks. Stop at Bass Lake Vista for a fantastic view of a local sporting lake. Next, head to a secluded Sequoia grove in the Sierra’s. Park up and get out, checking out old cabins from mining in the early 1900s as well as massive Sequoia stumps. This grove has a unique history as it was partially logged before the trees were protected. Then, you'll embark on a 1-mile round-trip hike to see the Bull Buck Tree, which reaches a staggering 270 feet tall and 80 feet around. It's one of the largest Sequoias on earth.

Yosemite: Valley Hiking Tour from Oakhurst

6. Yosemite: Valley Hiking Tour from Oakhurst

Witness some of the most awe-inspiring views of nature on a full-day trip through Yosemite Valley with an expert guide. See the towering and famous El Capitan, revel in the majestic Half Dome, dine under the tallest waterfall in North America — Yosemite Falls — and hike along the Mist Trail. Meet your guide before heading straight to Yosemite National Park via the south entrance. Arrive at Tunnel View to witness the most well-known views in Yosemite Valley, El Capitan and Half Dome, and be awe-struck by their sheer grandeur and height. Follow the Merced River to Curry Village, where your guide will lead you on a 3-mile (5.4-kilometer) round-trip hike on the most famous trail in the Valley, the Mist Trail, to the Vernal Falls Footbridge. After the hike, head to Yosemite Village to enjoy a boxed lunch while taking in a spectacular view of Yosemite Falls. Next, stroll along the Valley Loop Trail to the Ahwahnee Hotel. See its fascinating design and architecture of this 1927 hotel, which puts it on the list of the National Register of Historic Places. Walk back to Yosemite Village through the meadows before heading over to El Capitan Meadows for more stunning photos. Then, sit back and relax on the scenic drive back to Oakhurst.

Giant Sequoia Snowshoe & Yosemite Valley Tour

7. Giant Sequoia Snowshoe & Yosemite Valley Tour

Experience the best that winter in Yosemite National Park has to offer in just one day. Enjoy snow-topped Yosemite Valley and a picturesque snowshoe hike to the Merced Grove of Giant Sequoias. Get picked up and go straight to Tunnel View, one of the best panoramas in all of Yosemite National Park. While here, grab some photos and take in the beauty of this glacially-carved valley in winter.  Next, travel to another area of the park to reach the trailhead to the Giant Sequoias. Once at the trailhead, it's time to layer up and strap on your snowshoes. If appropriate snow conditions do not exist, you will complete the hike in your regular hiking boots. On this 3-mile round-trip hike, make your way down the serene trail to reach the cluster of ancient Giant Sequoias. Find around 20 mature trees in one of Yosemite's most peaceful groves. Once you've worked up an appetite, enjoy your provided picnic lunch surrounded by the towering trees. Next, make the gradual uphill return of 600 feet elevation back to the trailhead. Change out of your layers, get comfortable, and relax on the scenic drive back to your hotel.

From El Portal: Yosemite High Country Guided Hike Day Tour

8. From El Portal: Yosemite High Country Guided Hike Day Tour

Leave the crowds behind and discover pristine wilderness from 10,000 feet in elevation on this small-group tour of the Yosemite High Country. After getting picked up from Yosemite View Lodge, meet your expert guide and begin your full-day adventure.  After pickup, ascend more than 5,000 feet to the glacier-carved, the highest paved highway in California called Tioga Pass. From here, make your way to the Pothole Dome trailhead, where you will have 2 hours to hike a relatively easy 2.5 miles to the sloping granite top of Pothole Dome.  From the top of the dome, you will be greeted with stunning panoramic views of the Tuolumne River, sweeping views of the Tuolumne Meadows, and Yosemite's craggy, high-elevation peaks towards the east. In the early summer, the Tuolumne Meadows are known for their wildflowers that bloom near the end of June and the start of July. After the hike, indulge in lunch along the shores of Tenaya Lake. You will then have the choice to swim in the crystal clear waters or soak up the sun from the picnic tables along the beach. Taking a dip in the refreshing water is the perfect solution to a hot summer's day. You'll have 2 leisurely hours to swim among the polished granite domes, relax along the sandy beach or go for stroll among towering cedars. With a fraction of the people that crowd the lower elevations of Yosemite Valley, it won't be hard to find a quiet place to yourself to enjoy the pristine beauty of California's first National Park. After lunch, you'll stop at Olmstead Point, one of the most famous viewpoints in the Park, before making your way back towards El Portal for a timely drop off at Yosemite View Lodge. Enjoy seeing Half Dome from an all-new perspective as you search for black bear and mule deer along the scenic mountain road.

Gettysburg: 50 Self-Guided Tours across the USA

9. Gettysburg: 50 Self-Guided Tours across the USA

Create your own cross-country trail, following recommended routes between 50 of the best attractions the United States has to offer. Enjoy audio and visual guides that are curated by local experts, creative writers, and professional voice artists, conveniently packed into the Action Tour Guide App. Start your adventure at Gettysburg Heritage Center, and explore the Civil War's most important battlegrounds. See the roots of the revolution in Boston and Philadelphia. Visit Lexington and Concord to imagine the famous “shot heard ‘round the world”. Drive out to Cape Cod or Cape Ann for the unique shoreline and quaint New England towns. Turn back time at the Gilded Age mansions in Newport. Roll down your windows on the Pacific Coast Highway, and take in the majesty of Big Sur. Head west to Utah’s “Mighty Five” national parks, and admire each breath-taking landscape. Swing north to Yellowstone, home to volcanic springs and the Old Faithful geyser. Take your time completing each tour and choosing your ideal route after browsing all 50 options. Stay entertained along the way with texts and visuals that accompany each audio guide. The hardest part is deciding where to start.

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What people are saying about Central Valley, California

Britney was fantastic tour guide and no one should skip a chance to see Yosemite! It's a long drive but Britney filled it well with a great history lesson of California and the park which set the visit up really well, and the park itself is breathtaking. A really well run tour worth every cent

Ride into the valley took about an hour, stopped at a couple photo op spots, and then was dropped off to do our own thing from about 9-2:30!! Was a great trip overall the tour guide did a great job :)

Our driver and tour guide were stellar. Probably the best we have ever had and both of them went way out of their way to make this an excellent experience.

Very nice trip. The guide gave us good advice on the activities to do once we got there and gave us directions. The landscapes are truly breathtaking.

we had a great day, Yosemite is stunning. thanks so much to our tour guide Aiden