You probably know the names. The Sierra Nevada. Half Dome. El Capitan. Bridalveil Fall. And maybe you've seen the photographs or had an Ansel Adams poster hanging in your college dorm. That's Yosemite. Everybody's heard the names but who's really explored them? Who has stood in awe of Bridalveil Fall? Watched pro climbers take on El Capitan? Hiked through Yosemite Valley? Because the thing is, if you're going to hang pictures of Yosemite on your walls, wouldn't it be great if they had your family in them? Well, here's your chance.
We want to make sure you're on the right trip and that you have the best experience possible. Every Backroads trip is unique and this one is no exception.
Shuttle TimeWe know you signed up for an active vacation, so why would you want to spend time sitting in a van? The truth is, we do spend more time shuttling on this trip than we do on many other Backroads trips, but that’s because we’re willing to go the distance to bring you the very best of Yosemite’s natural wonders. Of course, we could cut out some shuttle time by only exploring one corner of the park, but how could we possibly choose which experiences to sacrifice? Rest assured that we have planned our itinerary to make the most of this vast and spectacular national park.
Service at the AhwahneeThe grand Ahwahnne Hotel is a historical treasure and by far the best place to stay in the Yosemite Valley. Its location within Yosemite National Park makes it an ideal base for exploring the valley’s many sights, but also means it is run by the national park and subject to park regulations and oversight. Similar to many national park lodges, service at the Ahwahnee can seem slow and brusque compared to the normally high standards found on other Backroads trips.
Biking in YosemiteBecause of national park regulations, biking is limited on this trip and leaders are not allowed to offer full support for the ride in Yosemite Valley, but you will be supplied with maps, directions and locks for the ride, which is almost entirely on flat bike paths.
Day 1 Witness the landscape shift from urban to pastoral to alpine on our scenic drive from San Francisco to the Sierra Nevada Travel back to the days of the California gold rush on a spin in Mariposa County Take a ride on the Sugar Pine Railroad through towering pine trees.
Day 2 Walk in the Mariposa Grove of Giant Sequoias, Yosemite's largest stand of these ancient trees One noteworthy resident is the Grizzly Giant, with a base diameter of 30 feet! Hike to Wawona Point for panoramic views of the valley below In the mood for some R&R? Kick back at the lodge, lounge by the pool or perhaps indulge at the spa.
Day 3 The historic Ahwahnee Hotel, the best way to stay in the valley Set out on foot from Glacier Point, savoring air perfumed with ponderosa and cedar, and admiring the views of Yosemite Valley, Half Dome and the Sierra Nevada Climb to the top of immense granite-faced Sentinel Dome.
Day 4 Grown-ups glean secrets of Yosemite Valley from a local naturalist while youngsters take a kid-friendly rock-climbing class to scale the valley's world-famous granite walls Spin along the valley bike path, which offers unforgettable views of iconic Half Dome, Royal Arches and Clouds Rest.
Days 5-6 Glorious high-country scenery and a profusion of summer wildflowers at Tuolumne Meadows Enjoy activities like bocce ball and ping-pong or simply relax under the stars in the saltwater pool or the hot tub Cap off the week with a hike to a lookout with views of Hetch Hetchy and the surrounding landscape.
- Bike one of California's most beautiful routes with glorious vistas from the high Sierra to the Central Valley
- Glean secrets of Yosemite Valley from a local naturalist
- Walk amid the Mariposa Grove of Giant Sequoias, Yosemite's largest stand of these ancient trees
- Kid-friendly rock climbing class in Tuolumne Meadows
- Ahwahnee Hotel, the best way to stay in the valley
Premiere & Casual Inns
Tenaya Lodge (2 nights): A comfortable mountain resort near Yosemite's South Gate with plentiful amenities and panoramic forest views. (pool, spa)
Ahwahnee Hotel (1 night): A National Historic Landmark—and as much an icon of Yosemite as Half Dome—the Ahwahnee features elaborate stained-glass windows, etched stone floors, original Miwok Indian arts and crafts, carved wood paneling, Oriental rugs and Shaker-style furnishings. (pool)
Evergreen Lodge (2 nights): Elegantly rustic and welcoming cabins nestled amid towering pines on the western border of Yosemite. (pool)
Every Backroads trip is designed to appeal to a wide variety of
interests and fitness levels. We know your pace may vary from one
day to the next-and your traveling companion's may differ somewhat
from yours. So we present a range of mileage options, and each
day you decide exactly what and how much you want to do.
Routes For All Abilities
|Daily Route Options|
|Level 1||Level 2||Level 3||Level 4||Level 5|
|miles||feet gain||miles||feet gain||miles||feet gain||miles||feet gain||miles||feet gain|
|Kids||Rock Climbing (5 Hours)|
* Includes a shuttle
2015 Dates & Pricing*
- 6/19-24 Price: $3498 pp dbl. occ., (+ $890 for sgl. occ.)
- 7/3-8 Price: $3398 pp dbl. occ., (+ $890 for sgl. occ.)
- 7/10-15 Price: $3398 pp dbl. occ., (+ $890 for sgl. occ.)
- 7/17-22 Price: $3298 pp dbl. occ., (+ $890 for sgl. occ.)
- 7/24-29 Price: $3398 pp dbl. occ., (+ $890 for sgl. occ.)
- 7/31-8/5 Price: $3298 pp dbl. occ., (+ $890 for sgl. occ.)
- 8/7-12 Price: $3398 pp dbl. occ., (+ $890 for sgl. occ.)
- 8/18-23 Price: $3398 pp dbl. occ., (+ $890 for sgl. occ.)
*Prices may change. Once you book your trip, your price is guaranteed.
Recommended Kids Ages
- Recommended minimum age for the trip: 6 years
- Minimum age restriction to ride own bike: 9 years
- Minimum age restriction for canyoneering: 6 years
General Info on Minimum Ages:We strongly encourage families to join our Family Trips, designed with kid- and adult-friendly features. Please note that we have a minimum age requirement of 1 year for all Inn trips and 2 years for all Camping trips. Other than that, we do not restrict trips to a minimum age except in the rare case of a hotel age restriction. We do, however, recommend minimum ages based on the following criteria:
- 12+ amount of cultural appreciation, difficulty of activities, routes
- 9+ difficulty of activities/activity age restrictions, routes
- 6+ several longer dinners, routes are difficult for pulling a Burley Cub trailer and therefore not appropriate for younger children, difficulty of activities/activity age restrictions
Private Trips Options & Pricing
Gather your favorite people to share a Backroads adventure on a ready-to-book Private Trip - featuring all the legendary Backroads hallmarks from expert leaders to unforgettable activities.
You can pick from a large selection of dates for your group of 8 or more. Call us for date availability.
If your party has fewer than 8 guests, or if your preferred date is not available, we'll create a departure just for you.
Pricing for Private Trips (prices may vary based on departure date)
|8 - 9 guests from $3,798 pp dbl. occ.||12 or more guests from $2,998 pp dbl. occ.|
|10 - 11 guests from $3,298 pp dbl. occ.|
For groups of 2 to 7 guests, please call for Custom Trip pricing.
Youth savings do not apply to Private Trips.
Guest Trip Reviews
Our Backroads trip in Yosemite was an experience of a lifetime for our family. The activities, accommodations, cuisine and leaders were beyond exceptional. Over and over again, Backroads delivered!- Glastonbury, CT
Because we're so busy, it's so nice for Backroads to do all the planning and work. This was truly a vacation for the kids and adults.- Honolulu, HI