Yosemite and Sequoia: John Muir's California

7 night tour - Starting in San Francisco, California - ending in San Francisco, California.

A Tauck World Discovery Tour.

Celebrating 90 years in the travel touring business, Tauck offer the ultimate in luxury touring. Throughout the years, ingenuity and innovation, plus a focus on customer servce and authentic experiences, have grown Tauck into one of the world's leading travel touring companies. On your tour you can expect an itinerary carefully designed to create an unforgetable experience, ensuring the finest hotels, luxury motorcoaches and highly experienced tour directors.

At his first breathtaking view of Yosemite in 1869, young John Muir had a life-changing moment – a surge of euphoria as he wandered, overwhelmed in the great natural beauty of a landscape unlike anything he had seen before: “We are now in the mountains,” he wrote, “and they are in us... filling every pore and cell of us.” As a self-made naturalist, philosopher, geologist, author, inventor and conservationist, Muir spent his life studying in “The University of the Wilderness,” translating his intense passion for nature into books that inspired a movement to protect “Nature’s temples.” Follow Muir’s path on Tauck's compelling Yosemite tour that traces his trajectory from San Francisco to the Sierra Nevada, embracing Muir Woods, Sequoia National Park and his beloved Yosemite, experiencing the powerful beauty of glacier-carved mountains, soaring redwood and sequoia forests, and the story of why they remain for us exactly as he found them.

2017 Gauranteed Departure dates:
August 26th
September 30th
October 09th & 14th
2018 Gauranteed Departure Dates:
May 18th & 26th
June 09th
September 01st & 08th
* Select small group departure, averaging just 24 Tauck guests.
View Itinerary Details

Day 1: Arrive San Francisco

Your Yosemite tour begins at The Westin St. Francis at 5:30 PM. A transfer is included from San Francisco International Airport to The Westin St. Francis, the elegant “Grand Dame” of Union Square, close to the city’s main attractions – with a cable car stop at the front door. Join us this evening for a welcome cocktail reception and dinner.

Lodging: The Westin St. Francis San Francisco on Union Square


Day 2: Muir Woods and The Presidio

Head across 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 finds 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. A self-guided tour along its winding walkways takes you through a shaded, misty world of slanted cathedral light, dense flora, and tranquil running streams – a place to feel the awesome power (and silence) of some of the tallest living things on the planet. After lunch in picturesque Sausalito, hop aboard a ferry for the return trip to San Francisco. Dock at the historic Ferry Building terminal with its famous clocktower and its arcade of shops and cafés along the Embarcadero. The remainder of the day is free.

Lodging: The Westin St. Francis San Francisco on Union Square

Breakfast, Lunch

Day 3: The Central Valley and on to 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. Drive a route that follows the Buffalo Soldiers’ path across the agricultural Central Valley. Stop in Fresno for lunch, then board a motor coach for the 7,000-foot climb to Sequoia National Park. Your destination is remote Wuksachi Lodge® on the park grounds. This afternoon, an expert from the Sequoia Field Institute describes how John Muir found and documented the “Giant Forest” in 1875, a perfect introduction to the park. Tonight at the lodge, a naturalist guides you through the spectacular constellations that fill the night skies.

Lodging: Wuksachi Lodge®

Breakfast, lunch, Dinner

Day 4: Land of giants and Moro Rock in Sequoia National Park

Begin the day with privately guided walks among ancient Giant Sequoias soaring to the height of skyscrapers; your first walk is in the Giant Forest Grove to see the General Sherman Tree, estimated to be over 2,500 years old (and still growing). Next up is a walk along the "Big Trees Trail" at Round Meadow with an interpretive naturalist guide who will give you some amazing insights into the unusual ecosystem of the Giant Sequoias. Lunch today is at a private barbecue at Wolverton Meadow, where a living-history re-enactor tells stories of mountain life in the late 1800s. Travels inside Sequoia National Park are via small 10-passenger vehicles, accompanied by a guide; you'll hear stories of early park "personalities" such as John Muir, Charles Young and Stephen Mather, as well as climb the 400 steps to the top of Moro Rock for stunning views of the park and the peaks of the Great Western Divide. The rest of the day is yours to explore as you wish.

Lodging: Wuksachi Lodge®

Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 5: Arriving in Yosemite National Park

Depart Wuksachi Lodge this morning and head over 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. Later, have lunch in at Wawona® Hotel, an inn that was once a stagecoach stop. Here you’ll meet a National Park Service ranger for a Tauck Exclusive -- 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; on this spot in 1903, John Muir stood with Teddy Roosevelt during a private tour of the area that persuaded the President that Yosemite should be under federal protection as a national park. This evening, settle into your room at The Ahwahnee®, a historic masterpiece of stone, timber and soaring stained glass windows in the heart of Yosemite; dine at your leisure.

Lodging: The Ahwahnee®

Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 6: A day well spent in Yosemite, "Nature's Grandest Temple"

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.” Discover the park's power to move your spirit on a guided Yosemite tour in a special open-air vehicle, with opportunities to explore on foot. The afternoon is yours to enjoy the park at your own pace. Optional activities are available (some at additional cost), including bicycling, a hike over the footbridge at Vernal Falls, and a visit to the Yosemite Indian Cultural Museum and Village. Lunch and dinner are on your own today.

Lodging: The Ahwahnee®


Day 7: Through the Central Valley back to San Francisco

Our Yosemite tour days conclude this morning; depart Yosemite for the return trip to San Francisco, first visiting the Mariposa Museum, 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. Today, a campaign continues, joined by the Sierra Club (which Muir founded) to remove the dam and restore the valley to its original state. “Mountain parks,” Muir argued, “are useful not only as fountains of timber and irrigating rivers, but as fountains of life...” an idea that remains controversial to this day. Arrive late afternoon at The Fairmont San Francisco, a Beaux Arts-style, premier hotel on Nob Hill – it’s listed on the National Registry of Historic Places. Join us tonight for a farewell cocktail reception and dinner; the setting may be a long way from the Sierra Nevada, but Yosemite can never be left behind (and may be as close as your glass of tap water...).

Lodging: The Fairmont San Francisco

Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 8: Journey home or extend your stay

Tour ends: San Francisco. Fly home anytime. A transfer is included from The Fairmont San Francisco to San Francisco International Airport. You should allow two hours for flight check-in. If you wish to stay longer in San Francisco, ask about additional hotel nights.



Your Tauck Tour Highlights

• Filmed vignettes by filmmakers Ken Burns and Dayton Duncan that tell the stories of the history and ideals of the people behind the creation and preservation of the national parks 

• Explore the incredible landscapes of Muir Woods, Sequoia and Yosemite national parks, from the famed Giant Sequoias and redwoods to mountains, lush forests, amazing waterfalls...

• Visit the Presidio, a former army base that was the home of the Buffalo Soldiers, African-American cavalrymen who played a key role in the history of the national parks

• Discover the night sky over Sequoia National Park as a naturalist guides you through the spectacular constellations that are visible in the absence of “light pollution”

• Airport transfers upon arrival and departure as detailed

• 17 meals (7 breakfasts, 5 lunches & 5 dinners), gratuities to local guides, service charges, admission fees, taxes and porterage

Your Hotels....

Nights 1 - 2 : The Westin St. Francis San Francisco on Union Square - San Francisco, California

Tauck Guests enjoy complimentary Internet access in guest rooms!

Reigning over Union Square from a landmark location in the heart of the city for over a century, The Westin St. Francis San Francisco on Union Square welcomes guests with an ambiance of elegance, charm and grace. Marble columns, ornate balconies and impressive woodwork harken back to the genteel world of yesteryear while 21st-century amenities ensure an enjoyable stay, to include Westin’s signature Heavenly Beds and Heavenly Shower. Keep up with your exercise routine in the urban sanctuary of the WestinWORKOUT with an array of fitness equipment or treat yourself to a pampering treatment at the Spa. In a city renowned for culinary delights, this hotel sets the standard with the MICHAEL MINA Restaurant, The Oak Room Restaurant & Lounge and Caruso’s. Sip a creatively handcrafted cocktail and sample gourmet finger food at the Clock Bar, created by Michelin chef Michael Mina.

Nights 3 - 4 : Wuksachi Lodge® - Sequoia National Park, California

Tauck Guests enjoy complimentary Internet access in guest rooms!

Crafted with cedar and stone in 1999 and highlighted by stone fireplaces and natural woods, the Wuksachi Lodge® enjoys a spectacular forest setting surrounded by mountains in the heart of the park, just minutes from Sequoia National Park’s most popular attractions. When you arrive, you could be surprised by who (or what) you might find sitting there… or wandering along a path with you!  Enjoy dining on Sierra Alpine cuisine in the rustically elegant, yet cozy, Wuksachi Dining Room amid soaring windows that seem to bring the wonder of the forest right inside… and perhaps choose something from the extensive wine list or sample a specialty mountain-themed cocktail from the bar. Be sure to go outside after dark for some stargazing… and prepare to be amazed at how bright and plentiful the stars are when there is no ambient ground light to mute your view of them. You'll enjoy the lodge's remote location, yet all the modern amenities and guest services of a AAA-rated three-diamond hotel.

Nights 5 - 6 : The Ahwahnee® - Yosemite National Park, California

Tauck Guests enjoy complimentary Internet access in guest rooms!

Completed in 1927, The Ahwahnee® design uniquely blends an array of influences – including Art Deco, Native American, Middle Eastern and Arts & Crafts Movement; these elements can be seen in a variety of places, from the stenciling, to the woodwork, lighting fixtures, china patterns... Some of the hotel's best-loved aspects are its grand public spaces featuring giant stone fireplaces, massive hand-stenciled beams, rich tapestries and elegant stained glass. The hotel sits in the heart of Yosemite National Park, and shines as the park's distinctive AAA® Four-Diamond hotel. Known for its magnificent façade, and architecture, The Ahwahnee was specifically designed to highlight its natural surroundings, featuring Yosemite Falls, Half Dome and Glacier Point. The destination of queens and presidents alike, this distinctive hotel offers a perfect balance of history, hospitality and elegance. A study in size and grace, the Great Lounge is 77 feet long and 51 feet wide with 24-foot-high ceilings, and ten floor-to-ceiling windows topped with original, hand-stained glass panels bathe the lounge in light during the day. The massive stone fireplace is an inviting setting; a display of Native American hand woven baskets further decorates the interior; and wrought-iron chandeliers provide a warm glow in the evenings. The Winter Club Room is a cozy, comfortable sitting room with floor-to-ceiling display cases, a winter sports theme, vintage photographs and large windows that create a relaxing mood that's particularly comforting in winter. The Ahwahnee Dining Room, the setting for the annual Bracebridge Dinner, features a 34-foot high ceiling with large sugar pine trestles and ceiling-to-floor windows framed with stained glass. Guest rooms feature comfortable furnishings, including upholstered chairs, televisions, refrigerators, bathrobes, hair dryers and bath amenities, and each room is accented with original Native American designs. The Ahwahnee provides concierge service, bell service, turn-down service, room service, daily in-room ice service and afternoon tea served in the Great Lounge – and the Ahwahnee Dining Room, Great Lounge and Solarium are just steps away from any guest's door. 

Night 7 : The Fairmont San Francisco - San Francisco, California

Tauck Guests enjoy complimentary Internet access in guest rooms!

The term “grande dame” might have been coined with The Fairmont San Francisco in mind as this renowned, landmark hotel has been reigning over the City by the Bay from atop Nob Hill with grandeur and grace since exactly a year after the great San Francisco earthquake. As the place to see and be seen for San Franciscans, The Fairmont San Francisco has attracted a loyal following of kings, queens, presidents and celebrities for over a century. Guest rooms have been recently been restored to their original splendor, including marble baths, and elegantly updated with flat-screen TV, Frette linen ensembles, pillow-top beds, and MP3 docking stations to ensure 21st-century travelers a comfortable stay. This very sophisticated and “refined” hotel has a sense of humor as well, as evidenced by the Tonga Room, with its tropical atmosphere enhanced by regular rainstorms into the “indoor lagoon.” And, The Fairmont San Francisco is the only spot in the city where all of the cable car lines meet, making it convenient to all that San Francisco offers.

Tour Only Cost: All prices quoted below are per adult person, per tour in British Pounds (GBP)

Departure Dates

Single Twin/Double Triple Quad
Small group Departure: Oct 09th 2017 £4217* £3280* £3020* Please call us
All other departures in 2017 £3980 £3049 £2765 Please call us
All departures in 2018 Please call us Please call us Please call us Please call us

Special Solo Traveller Savings – save up to £120 off the single room price on select departure dates – Please call us for more details. 

* Small Group Departures – Select small group departures are available for certain departures, averaging just 24 guests – Please see tour costs above for dates and prices.

Not included in your tour cost:
Flights – we can package your tour with flights at very competitive airfares using our airline partners. Please call us to discuss the best airline for your itinerary.
Pre or post accommodation - If you want to extend your stay at the start or the end of your escorted tour or add another destination to your booking please call us and we will be happy to provide a quote.
Meals, other than those listed in the itinerary.
The customary gratuities for the Tour Director and local drivers are not included.
There are many questions and considerations you might have when planning an escorted tour with Tauck. For more information please click here.
To book your travel arrangements:
Please call us on Freephone 0800 0336 335, We are open 7 days a week.
We will be happy to check the availability of your tour, offer a quote for flights and any pre or post nights you would like to add.
When you are ready to go ahead with the booking, we would require a non-refundable deposit of 20% or the full balance if you are due to travel within 8 weeks.