Yosemite Hiker

Location California Adventure Level Challenging Minimum age 14 From $4195
Book Now Call toll-free 1 (800) 346-6277

On this highly-active and hassle-free Yosemite hiking adventure, you’ll challenge the park’s famed trails by day and return to the comforts of a world-class Yosemite resort each evening.

If you’ve always wanted to visit the spectacular glacier-carved Yosemite Valley, feel the mist of its raging waterfalls, and stand on top of the world in the majestic Sierra Nevada, this is your adventure. The two distinct Yosemite hiking itineraries we’ve put together showcase the best of the best of this dramatic region during two very distinct seasons within the park. In the spring and early summer, we’ll head to the often-overlooked Hetch Hetchy region of Yosemite and spend several days in Yosemite Valley when wildflowers and waterfalls are at their peak. During the height of summer, we’ll head to the cooler high country to explore the trails along Tioga and Glacier Point Roads, which always lead to magnificent 360-degree park views.

On this guided Yosemite hiking trip, you’ll skip the long lines to get in, parking headaches at the trailheads, and the complicated shuttle system—not to mention the hassle of trying to find a lodging reservation near Yosemite. All of the planning and logistics are left up to us, so you can simply show up ready to hike some of the most awe-inspiring trails in the world. In the evening, we’ll shuttle you back to Rush Creek Lodge, one of the newest resorts near Yosemite.

Trip Highlights
  • Choose from two expertly curated Yosemite hiking adventures
  • View stunning waterfalls & breathtaking natural wonders 
  • Hike to iconic Yosemite sights with professional guides
  • Travel stress-free throughout the park and soak in the scenery
  • Stay at a Yosemite resort with a saltwater pool, spa & onsite dining

What to Expect

Itinerary & Map

Itinerary at a Glance

We pride ourselves in running a relaxed and flexible schedule. Every Yosemite hiking trip is different depending upon the group, trail conditions, and sometimes the weather. The following is a sample of what your early season trip (typically departures before July 1) might be like:

Day 1

On the morning of your trip, meet up with your trip leader and fellow travelers at Rush Creek Lodge, which will be our base for the duration of the trip.

After quick intros, we’ll board our van for the short drive into Yosemite and make our way to the Merced Grove trail. We’ll enjoy a picnic lunch at the trailhead before walking among giants. The Merced Grove is the smallest of the park’s three giant sequoia groves, but a much quieter trail that affords us some level of solitude in this majestic setting.

After this moderate 4.2-mile hike, we’ll return to our van and head back to the lodge to check in to our rooms and settle into our accommodations. Explore the property, go for a swim in the scenic saltwater pool, or grab a cold beverage and enjoy the outdoor lounge areas. This evening, we’ll meet back up for dinner at the lodge’s California-centric restaurant before retiring to our rooms for a good night’s rest in anticipation of an early start tomorrow. 

Day 2

Breakfast will be on the go today, so we can get on the road early for the drive into Yosemite Valley. After we pass through the park entrance, the views get more and more impressive until finally, the entire granite wonderland comes into view all at once. It’s a sight that never fails to impress, and the excitement builds for our hike to come.

From the comfort of our van, we’ll enjoy the full Valley tour, catching glimpses of famed sights like El Capitan, Yosemite Falls, and Half Dome in the distance as we continue to the trailhead for our hike. 

Today, we’ll tackle the hike to the top of Yosemite Falls, North America’s tallest waterfall. This iconic 6.6-mile roundtrip hike is strenuous but rewarding. Climbing 3,000 vertical feet, the switchbacks are seemingly endless, but the panoramic views and photo ops at the top are well worth this leg-burning endeavor. 

Our trailside lunches will taste extra delicious when we take a break at the top to rest our legs and marvel at the roar of Upper Yosemite Falls in the background. Of course, what goes up must come down, and the descent is no less challenging. If you’re scared of heights, this is not the hike for you, as some stretches of the trail peer straight down to the Valley Floor and can be dizzying.

After our hike, we’ll return to the lodge with plenty of time to shower and rest before meeting up for dinner to celebrate the group’s impressive accomplishment. 

Day 3

After a leisurely breakfast this morning, we’ll visit Hetch Hetchy, the quieter and often-overlooked region of the park. 

We’ll make our way to the Wapama Falls trailhead at O’Shaughnessy Dam. This moderate 5-mile out-and-back hike offers views of soaring granite walls, wildflowers, and the cerulean waters of the 8-mile-long Hetch Hetchy reservoir, which supplies water to San Francisco Bay Area residents. As we traverse the lip of the reservoir en route to the falls, it’s hard not to consider what’s hidden beneath its water. John Muir once described Hetch Hetchy Valley as “a grand landscape garden, one of Nature’s rarest and most precious mountain temples.” 

Despite its hydroelectric fate, this tucked-away corner of Yosemite is vibrant, and wildlife abounds away from the crowds. We eventually reach a wooden bridge and an up-close view of Wapama Falls as it spills into the lake below us. The mist from the falls will provide a welcome cool-down before the return hike to the shuttle.

Depending on the group and timing, we may opt to do the short, 3-mile Carlon Falls hike near Rush Creek Lodge before returning for dinner and relaxing.

Day 4

Today, we make our final drive into the Valley and up to Glacier Point for what is, arguably, the best Yosemite hike for waterfall views—the Panorama Trail*.  

From the trailhead at Glacier Point, we’ll leave our van and begin the 8.5-mile, mostly downhill trek back to the Valley, where our van will meet us later. 

As we get going, our hike takes us past the lesser-known gem of Illilouette Falls before traversing Panorama Cliff. All the while, the trail affords us some of the most jaw-dropping valley views, including Yosemite Falls in the distance and up-close views of Half Dome. Our hike continues to the top of Nevada Falls, where we’ll likely rest for a trailside lunch before continuing down the legendary Mist Trail and the famed granite stairs alongside Vernal Falls. The sights and views on this trail are incomparable. It’s a four-waterfalls-in-one experience and a true “best of Yosemite” experience.  

At the end of this challenging but delightful hike, our van will be waiting to shuttle us to our next destination. Time permitting, we’ll visit the John Muir Gallery and Yosemite Museum before enjoying dinner together at one of the park’s several restaurants located in the valley.

Returning to Rush Creek later in the evening, we’ll say our goodbyes to each other, perhaps over a nightcap in the tavern.  

*Glacier Point Road access is subject to seasonal closures. If it’s not yet open at the time of your departure, we may opt to hike the Mist Trail.

The Day After Your Trip

You’re welcome to enjoy the resort and its modern amenities however you wish this morning, departing in time for check-out at 11 AM.

Meeting Time & Place

Location

Groveland, CA

Meeting time

10:30 AM on Day 1

Return

Depart any time the morning of Day 5

Trip Map

Itinerary at a Glance

We pride ourselves in running a relaxed and flexible schedule. Every Yosemite hiking trip is different depending upon the group, trail conditions, and sometimes the weather. The following is a sample of what your late season trip (typically departures after July 1) might be like:

Day 1

On the morning of your trip, meet up with your trip leader and fellow travelers at Rush Creek Lodge, which will be our base for the duration of the trip.

After quick intros, we’ll board our van for the short drive into Yosemite and make our way to the Merced Grove trail. We’ll enjoy a picnic lunch at the trailhead before walking among giants. The Merced Grove is the smallest of the park’s three giant sequoia groves, but a much quieter trail that affords us some level of solitude in this majestic setting.

After this moderate 4.2-mile hike, we’ll return to our van and head back to the lodge to check in to our rooms and settle into our accommodations. Explore the property, go for a swim, or grab a cold beverage and enjoy the outdoor lounge areas. This evening, we’ll meet back up for dinner at the lodge’s impressive restaurant before retiring to our rooms for a good night’s rest in anticipation of an early start tomorrow.

Day 2

Today, we’ll grab a quick breakfast at the lodge before shuttling into the park to begin our exploration of Tioga Road and summit a high Sierra peak—10,845-foot Mt. Hoffmann. This strenuous 6-mile hike climbs steadily to May Lake, one of the park’s most scenic lakes, where we may stop to enjoy a picnic lunch before continuing to the top of Mt. Hoffmann. Once at the top of this spectacular high-elevation vista point (at the geographic center of Yosemite), we’re rewarded with mind-blowing panoramic views, including the chance to look out at both Half Dome and Cloud’s Rest (which we’ll attempt to tackle later in our adventure).

Depending on group interest, we may stop along the way to stretch our legs on a hike along the shore of Tenaya Lake. We’ll end our day with a scenic drive back to the lodge for dinner and relaxing.

Day 3

Today, we make the drive into the Valley and up to Glacier Point for what is arguably the best Yosemite hike for waterfall views—the Panorama Trail.

From the trailhead at Glacier Point, we’ll leave our van and begin the 8.5-mile, mostly downhill trek back to the Valley, where our van will meet us later.

As we get going, our hike takes us past the lesser-known gem of Illilouette Falls before traversing Panorama Cliff. All the while, the trail affords us some of the most jaw-dropping valley views, including Yosemite Falls in the distance and up-close views of Half Dome. Our hike continues to the top of Nevada Falls, where we’ll likely rest for a trailside lunch before continuing down the legendary Mist Trail and the famed granite stairs alongside Vernal Falls. The sights and views on this trail are incomparable. It’s a four-waterfalls-in-one experience and a true “best of Yosemite” experience.

At the end of this challenging but delightful hike, our van will be waiting to shuttle us to our next destination. Time permitting, we’ll visit the John Muir Gallery and Yosemite Museum before enjoying dinner together at one of the park’s several restaurants located in the valley.

We’ll return to Rush Creek Lodge for a restful night’s sleep in preparation for a big day ahead.

Day 4

Rising early, you’ll have time to grab a quick breakfast at the lodge before we load up for an early shuttle ride to our trailhead at Tenaya Lake. Today, we’ll tackle Cloud’s Rest, a strenuous 14.5-mile roundtrip hike that offers up what many consider the best panoramic view of the park. From the top of Cloud’s Rest, not only do you get a nearly identical view as you do from the top of Half Dome, but you also get one of the best views of Half Dome itself, which looms giant and close. Don’t forget the cameras. You’ll also have a birds-eye-view of Tenaya Canyon and the John Muir Trail. Our guides will provide consistent support and encouragement throughout this challenging day and finale to our adventure.

Afterward, we’ll enjoy a celebratory dinner in the park at White Wolf Lodge* before being shuttled back to Rush Creek where we’ll say our goodbyes to each other this evening.

*If White Wolf Lodge is unable to accomodate our group, we’ll return to Rush Creek for our celebratory dinner.

The Day After Your Trip

You’re welcome to enjoy the resort and its modern amenities however you wish this morning, departing in time for check-out at 11 AM.

Meeting Time & Place

Location

Groveland, CA

Meeting time

10:30 AM on Day 1

Return

Depart any time the morning of Day 5

Trip Map

Dates & Prices

Save $200 on 2024 departures when you’re one of the first to book by March 31 and request “Premier Pricing” over the phone.

2024 DeparturesPrice
May 20$4,195
June 17, 24$4,195
2024 DeparturesPrice
July 15$4,195
August 5$4,195
September 9$4,195

Price per person, based on double occupancy; prices are subject to National Park Service review.

Deposit

$800

Single Supplement

• $1,200

Ways to Save

To book with one of our special offers, call 1-800-346-6277 or contact us today.

Premier Pricing

Save up to 10% (or more) on most domestic trips when you’re one of the first 4 people to book by March 31st!

The Need-to-Know Info

Trip Details

Included in Your Trip Cost

  • Skilled professional hiking guides
  • All meals from lunch on day 1 through dinner on day 4
  • Four nights lodging at Rush Creek Lodge based on double occupancy
  • 40 oz. Klean Kanteen, single-walled water bottle appropriate for the trail
  • All transfers from the OARS meeting place to Yosemite National Park and back
  • Yosemite National Park entrance fee

Not Included in Your Trip Cost

  • Transportation to and from Groveland, CA/Rush Creek Lodge
  • Pre- and post-trip accommodations and meals, as well as breakfasts
  • Single Supplement of $1,200 per person
  • Insurance of any kind, including a travel protection plan
  • Alcohol
  • Items of a personal nature (an equipment list will be provided)
  • Gratuities

Our Yosemite Hiker trip includes a 4-night stay at Rush Creek Lodge, one of the Yosemite region’s newest hotel properties. Conveniently located a short drive from the park’s Big Oak Flat entrance, Rush Creek Lodge offers a Yosemite resort experience with modern amenities, on-site dining, and a large salt water pool. 

Meals

All meals from lunch on the first day to dinner on Day 4 are included. Depending on trail-specific start times, we will enjoy a lodge-based breakfast or a hiker-friendly breakfast, and while on the trail, healthy picnic lunches will be provided. Dinners will most often be enjoyed at the on-site restaurant or tavern offered at our lodging property. On longer days in the park, we may opt to dine at a restaurant offered at one of Yosemite’s lodges. 

We need to know as soon as possible about any dietary restrictions we must consider in planning your trip. If you have food allergies or necessary restrictions, we will do our best to accommodate your needs.

Our days in Yosemite are arranged around a diverse selection of hikes that range from easy, relatively flat strolls to rigorous all-day treks. Previous hiking experience is advised, and this trip is not recommended for people who have a fear of heights or medical conditions that restrict them from carrying a daypack. 

Even though this trip is escorted by experienced guides, we recommend participants take time to get into good physical condition before the trip. It will heighten your enjoyment of all that Yosemite has to offer.

Average Air Temperatures for Groveland

Air (Day) °FAir (Night) °F
April60-7035-40
May70-7540-44
June80-8546-50
July88-9252-56
August88-9252-56
September85-8945-49
Average temperatures are similar for Yosemite Valley but trend slightly cooler for Tioga Road and higher elevation locations.

Before booking your trip with OARS, there are a few important considerations we’d like you to know about.

  • Physical Requirements: Your outdoor adventure will be an active participatory trip. Please inform us of any physical limitations you may have as soon as possible. If you exceed 260 pounds, please give us a call. Make sure you are exercising frequently in the months leading up to your trip and can meet our Essential Eligibility Criteria.
  • Trip Forms: Each participant will need to complete the required trip forms online and submit them no later than 30 days prior to your trip, or immediately if booking within 30 days.

Reservations

An $800/person deposit is required at the time of booking. Deposits may be made by check, money order, or Visa/Mastercard (American Express and Discover incur a 3% processing fee). Prices are in US Dollars, and all payments must be made in US Dollars. Payment of the deposit establishes your acceptance of our complete Terms and Conditions. Individual departures and trip capacity are strictly limited by the managing agency.

Canceling your trip after your deposit has been processed will incur cancellation fees because OARS has absorbed costs on your behalf and will turn others away who would like to book the spaces we’re holding for you. Final payment is due 90 days before departure. Accounts on which final payment has not been received 80 days before the departure date will be canceled without exception.

Cancellations and Refunds

Your deposit is fully refundable, less a 3% processing fee, for 7 days after you book when you submit a deposit 7 days or more prior to the final payment due date.

If you must cancel your reservation after the rescission period described above, your cancellation fee will be determined according to the schedule below. We regret we cannot make exceptions to the cancellation policy for any reason, including foul weather, poor air quality, wildfire activity, acts of terrorism, civil unrest, or personal emergencies. There is no refund for arriving late or leaving a trip early. For these reasons, we strongly urge you to consider purchasing a travel protection plan.

Date of CancellationCancellation Fee
180 or more days before your trip$100/person
179 – 120 days before your trip$200/person
119 – 90 days before your trip$400/person
89 days or less before your tripFull Fare

Please note that different deposit/cancellation policies may apply for charter groups. Refer to the group organizer’s confirmation email for details.

Canceled Trips

OARS reserves the right to cancel any trip due to insufficient registration or other factors that make the trip impractical to operate. In such instances, we will inform you at least 45 days before departure. Do not make nonrefundable travel arrangements unless you have spoken to your Adventure Consultant regarding the status of your trip.

If a trip must be canceled or postponed due to force majeure (factors outside the control of OARS), OARS will provide full credit for payments made toward future travel, or a refund less a 5% service fee plus any nonrefundable payments made on your behalf to 3rd-party suppliers. OARS will make good faith efforts to recover deposits made on your behalf to 3rd-party suppliers, however, we can’t guarantee recovery of any or all of the advance payments made. OARS is not responsible for expenses incurred by participants in preparation for a canceled trip.

Transfers

If you need to move your reservation to a different trip during the same season or to a credit account for the following year, there is a $50/person fee up until 120 days before departure for a one-time transfer of your payment. Transfer requests made 119 days or less before departure will be treated like a cancellation according to the schedule above.

O.A.R.S. West, Inc. operates as a licensed commercial permit holder in Yosemite National Park

Ancestral Lands Acknowledgement

We respect and recognize that many of the state and federal lands where we operate are the ancestral homes of indigenous communities. Where we operate in and around Yosemite National Park, we acknowledge the territories of the Central Sierra Me-Wuk, Southern Sierra Me-Wuk, Northern Paiute, and Western Mono.

For You

You May Also Like

Can’t Decide?

Use our Compare tool to find your perfect Adventure.

Compare Adventures

Select up to 3 trips to compare

Compare