Hiking in Yosemite and the Sierra Nevada

Trip Code: SIXS

Why we love it

See a different side of San Francisco on the Lands End Trail which offers views of the Golden Gate Bridge, Pacific Ocean and rocky California coast., Stroll through The Tunnel Tree, a giant sequoia in Yosemite National Park which is so large the trail had to be cut through the centre of it., See Vernal Fall on The Mist Trail, one of Yosemite's signature hikes which has more spectacular views than you can point a camera at., Hike along the shores of Upper and Lower Echo Lakes which are the gateway to the spectacular Desolation Wilderness area., Breathe in the fresh scent of pine and aspen trees as you take in the views of Mount Morrison and Laurel Mountain on a scenic walk around Convict Lake., By travelling on this trip, you’ll learn about our Intrepid Foundation partner, the Grand Canyon Conservancy. Donations help them protect Grand Canyon National Park and support trail restoration, conservation of native plants and wildlife, and educational programs. Intrepid will double the impact by dollar-matching all post-trip donations made to The Intrepid Foundation.

Is this trip right for me?

This is a fast-paced trip that features some of the best hikes in Yosemite and the SIerra Nevada Mountains in just a few days. In oder to make the most of our time in the region, we will have early starts and four one-night stays.

The Sierra Nevada Range boasts warm summers but be prepared for colder evenings and possibly rainy days. Good clothing and appropriate footwear are a must. In recent years late snow has closed Tioga Pass to vehicle traffic into June and even July. In this case we will take an alternative route from Yosemite around the Sierras to Mammoth Lakes.

In the case that the route to Mammoth Lakes via Tioga Pass is closed due to late season snow, you will stay one additional night near Yosemite instead of continuing to Mammoth Lakes on Day 3. If Tioga Pass is closed, it will also not be possible to access the trailhead for Pothole Dome. In this case your leader will choose another hike within the National Park. The exact hike will depend on the group's interests and abilities. You will continue to Lake Tahoe on Day 4, which takes approximately 4.5 hours from Yosemite.

On our final day we will reach San Francisco at around 5 pm. This night’s accommodation is not included so please plan your departure accordingly, or pre-book a post-tour night.

Important information

1. Your adventure begins with a welcome meeting at 12 noon and further activities on Day 1 in San Francisco. Please see Joining Point Hotel listed in the Essential Trip Information for this itinerary.
2. You are expected to arrive back into San Francisco around 5pm and dropped off at the same location as the joining point.
3. There is no accommodation included on the last day in San Francisco , however we can request any additional nights should you need them.
4. A single supplement is available if you’d prefer not to share a room on this trip. The single supplement applies to all nights of your trip and is subject to availability. Please speak to your booking agent for further information.
5. In the case that the route to Mammoth Lakes via Tioga Pass is closed due to late season snow, you will stay one additional night near Yosemite instead of continuing to Mammoth Lakes on Day 3. If Tioga Pass is closed, it will also not be possible to access the trailhead for Pothole Dome. In this case your leader will choose another hike within the National Park. The exact hike will depend on the group's interests and abilities. You will continue to Lake Tahoe on Day 4, which takes approximately 4.5 hours from Yosemite.

What to bring/pack

All luggage is carried in trailers or inside the vehicle so please don't bring more than one medium sized bag, backpack or suitcase (20kg/44lb maximum) per person. Your suitcase/rucksack may get some rough handling, so make sure it's a tough one. A small daypack with your water bottle and camera may be carried with you inside the vehicle.

If traveling in shoulder season (April, May, September, October), please be prepared with extra cold weather clothing as temperatures can dip below freezing at night. Even during summer months it can get quite cold overnight, especially in desert and mountainous areas.

 Water bottle or bladder system. We recommend 2-3 litres of total capacity
 Sun protection - hat, sunscreen, sunglasses
 Closed-in hiking shoes with a good grip, ankle support and waterproof membrane that are comfortable to walk for an entire day
 Trekking clothing: A mixture covering lightweight clothing and some warm layers is recommended. Your activities will take place in the outdoors, where weather may change quickly. Lightweight, comfortable, and quick drying clothes for the activities are best. We’ve listed some specific recommended pieces below. Laundry facilities may not be available on everyday basis, so make sure you have a few cycles of clothes.
 Light jacket, fleece and base layers.
 Wind and waterproof jacket
 Breathable, non-cotton hiking t-shirts
 Long hiking pants or zip-offs
 Nylon hiking shorts
 Comfortable shoes or sport sandals for shorter walks or evenings spent at the hotel
 Torch/flashlight/headtorch
 Personal travel documents which may include a passport, visa, driver's license, travel insurance, flight tickets and your Essential Trip Information. Photocopies of these documents stored separately from the originals will be handy. While not valid, a photocopy of your identification makes it much easier to obtain replacements if necessary.

 Cell phone, camera with spare batteries, charger, and power/plug adaptor (Types A & B are used in North America. Voltage is 120V). Some of our vans have USB-2 style charging ports inside.
 Insect repellent (insects are present intermittently all over the USA and Canada depending on recent rainfall.)
 Personal trekking/hiking poles
 Gaiters or waterproof pants – recommended for wet or snowy conditions
 A cotton bandana or scarf. Can be wetted and worn around the neck to facilitate evaporative cooling in dry and hot conditions, used as sun or dust protection, or used to protect your neck and head from cold
 Travel eco-friendly wipes/hand sanitizer
 Swimwear
 Personal medical kit. Your guide will carry a large kit but we recommend you carry items such as mild pain killers, electrolytes, anti-diarrhoeal, antibacterial gel, wet wipes, blister patches/moleskin, bandaids/plasters etc.

 Lip balm and extra moisturizer if traveling to arid desert areas.
 Ear plugs to guard against a snoring roommate
 A good book, a journal or headphones to listen to music with.

If you need some further tips for packing, you can always check out our essential checklist for hiking/trekking trips here:


Physical rating


The walking on this trip is over easy to moderate terrain and distances covered can vary from 5 to 20 km (please check day descriptions for details). Some of the walks are circular but some can be out-and-back walks. Be prepared for daily ascents and descents, sometimes with short, steep sections. Terrain can be rocky with loose gravel, or with roots, which may become slippery when wet. This tour is ideal for nature lovers and the leaders set an even pace, providing time to take photos and to appreciate the beautiful surroundings.

Joining your group

Stanford Court San Francisco, 905 California Street, Nob Hill,, San Francisco, CA 94108, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Phone: +1 4159893500

Stanford Court is in a prime location in Nob Hill, steps from Union Square it offers guest wonderful views of the city. Amenities include state of the art fitness center and day use of e-bikes for those wanting to explore the city on 2 wheels. All rooms are equipped with a HD television with HDMI and USB Ports, USB outlets, and a mini-fridge.

Alternate Joining Point

Joining instructions

The Stanford Court hotel is 30-minute taxi from San Francisco International Airport (SFO). The BART runs hourly from the airport to downtown San Francisco. The closest station to the hotel is Powell Street, with a 10min walk to the hotel.

Finishing your trip

Stanford Court San Francisco, 905 California Street, Nob Hill,, San Francisco, CA 94108, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Phone: +1 4159893500

Alternate Finish Point

Meals & dietary information

Breakfasts included: 4

Lunches included: 

Dinners included: 

While travelling with us you'll experience the vast array of wonderful food available in the world. Your group leader or local representative will be able to suggest restaurants to try during your trip. To give you the maximum flexibility in deciding where, what and with whom to eat, generally not all meals are included in the trip price. This also gives you more budgeting flexibility. As a rule our groups tend to eat together to enable you to taste a larger variety of dishes and enjoy each other's company. If you have dietary requirements and/or food allergies, please let your booking agent know prior to departure.

Climate & seasonal information

Due to the size and topography of the US and Canada, there's a huge amount of variation in the climate. We recommend you consider both the season and the part of North America you intend to visit, so that you can best pack for your adventure. We recommend you check the weather in your destination 10 days prior to your arrival to help guide your packing choices.

California has several distinct climate regions, so conditions can vary significantly depending on where you're visiting. The state is typically divided into the coastal regions (Los Angeles, San Francsico), the Central Valley (Sacramento), the Sierra Nevada Mountains (Yosemite & Sequoia National Parks), and the desert areas (Death Valley National Park & Mojave Desert).

Coastal Areas:
Coastal regions, including cities like San Francisco and Los Angeles, have a Mediterranean climate. Summers are generally dry, with daytime temperatures ranging from 60°F to 75°F (15°C to 24°C). Winters are mild and may be rainy, with daytime temperatures around 50°F to 65°F (10°C to 18°C).

Central Valley:
The Central Valley, which includes areas like Sacramento, experiences hot, dry summers with temperatures often exceeding 90°F (32°C). Winters are cool and damp, with temperatures averaging around 50°F to 60°F (10°C to 15°C).

Sierra Nevada Mountains:
The Sierra Nevada Mountains, including Yosemite & Sequoia National Parks, cover a vast area with varying elevations, which significantly impacts the climate. Summers in lower regions like Yosemite Valley are warm, with daytime temperatures typically ranging from 70°F to 90°F (21°C to 32°C). However, temperatures decrease as you gain elevation. Fall brings milder temperatures with highs from 60°F to 80°F (15°C to 27°C). Winters can be cold, especially at higher elevations. You can expect daytime temperatures of 40°F to 50°F (4°C to 10°C), while high-elevation areas receive snowfall. In Spring, temperatures are warm with daytime highs of 50°F to 70°F (10°C to 21°C). In mountainous regions, spring brings melting snow, leading to higher water levels in rivers and streams. Snow can keep mountainous roads like the eastern entrance to Yosemite, Tioga Pass, closed through June and even into July in particularly snowy years.

Desert Areas:
Regions like the Mojave Desert and Death Valley are hot and arid, with summer temperatures often surpassing 100°F (38°C). For safety reasons, we will not enter Death Valley National Park when temperatures are too high and will find an alternate route to our next destination. Fall (September-November) temperatures drop to the 90s°F (32°C) and 100s°F (37°C). Winters are mild and pleasant, with daytime highs ranging from 60°F to 70°F (15°C to 24°C). Nights can be chilly. Spring is a comfortable time to visit, with daytime temperatures in the 80s°F (27°C) and 90s°F (32°C).

The following national holidays are observed in the US, which can affect our itinerary as traffic can be extreme, and shops, restaurants and attractions can be closed:

New Year's Day (01 January)
Martin Luther King Jr. Day (third Monday of January)
Washington's Birthday (third Monday of February)
Memorial Day (last Monday of May)
Independence Day (4 July)
Labor Day (first Monday in September)
Columbus Day (second Monday of October)
Veterans Day (11 November)
Thanksgiving Day (fourth Thursday of November)
Christmas Day (25 December)

In case of emergency

While we always endeavour to provide the best possible holiday experience, due to the nature of travel and the areas we visit sometimes things can and do go wrong. Should any issue occur while you are on your trip, it is imperative that you discuss this with our local representative straight away so that they can do their best to rectify the problem and save any potential negative impact on the rest of your trip.
We recognise that there may be times when your local partner may not be able to resolve a situation to your satisfaction - if this is the case, please ask to speak to their direct manager.
You may also choose to provide details in your online feedback, which we ask you to complete within 30 days of the end of your trip. Please do be aware that it is very difficult for us to provide any practical help after the trip is completed, so informing us while still travelling will give us the opportunity to resolve the issue in real-time.

For general contact details please use the following page: http://www.intrepidtravel.com/ourtrips/contact/

In case of an emergency, local authorities can be contacted by calling 911 – this is the toll free phone number for the police, fire department and the ambulance in the USA and Canada. In case of doubt, call the operator on 0.

For general enquiries or questions about your booking, please contact your agent or adventure specialist, or visit us at www.intrepidtravel.com/contact-us

In case of a genuine crisis or emergency, you can reach our local operator on the number below.

Intrepid local operator : Available for phone call on +1 415 642 7378, option #5


The style of accommodation indicated in the day-to-day itinerary is a guideline only and may change. On some occasions, alternative arrangements may need to be made due to the lack of availability of rooms in our preferred accommodation. In these cases, we will use a similar standard of accommodation.

Throughout the trip, we request that our properties prepare rooms in time for our arrival, especially if we're arriving prior to normal check-in time. However, this isn't always possible which means we won't be able to check-in immediately on arrival at some hotels. Instead, we can store our luggage and explore our new destination or on some trips, have use of shared day rooms until all rooms are available.


Our large fleet of 15-passenger vans are fully equipped with air-conditioning system, V8 engines and any camping or cooking equipment needed for your trip. Most have cloth-upholstered seats and carpeted interior with radio or CD players. Your luggage is typically transported in a trailer which is towed behind the van.

The vans are regularly serviced by a well-established network of maintenance and service facilities throughout the continent. However, unforeseen maintenance problems can still occur while on the road and we appreciate the patience of our travellers as we make necessary repairs as quickly as possible.

While your group will have a van for all included activities on the trip, the services of the van and leader may not be available for your use during free time, or after you have arrived for the day. If you need a special trip into town you may need to arrange transport or a taxi.