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Central Valley, California National parks

Our most recommended Central Valley, California National parks

From San Francisco: Yosemite Park Guided Day Trip

1. 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

2. 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

From San Francisco: Yosemite Tour with Giant Sequoias Hike

3. From San Francisco: Yosemite Tour with Giant Sequoias Hike

Begin your Yosemite National Park day tour by getting picked up at select San Francisco hotels. Cross the Bay Bridge and drive through the Central Valley to the town of Oakdale where you will stop for a short break. Start your day in the park at Tunnel View. Then, go to Bridalveil Falls for a quick walk to the base of the roaring waterfall. Next, proceed onto Half Dome and Yosemite Falls. After, enjoy some free time where you will get a chance to picnic at the base of Yosemite Falls, by a river, or in a granite-enclosed meadow. Chances are high that you will see rock climbers in the spring or fall, bears in the summer, and spectacular ice formations in the winter. After regrouping, head to El Capitan, the center of the rock climbing universe. Depending on the season, you may see some climbers on the rock, but they will appear smaller than ants on the 3000-foot (914 meters) rock. Enjoy a photo stop at Valley View and then head to the Tuolumne Grove to take a one-mile (1.6 km) hike to see a grove of 1500-year-old giant sequoia trees. Please note that the hike to the sequoias may not be available during the snow season. After the hike, head back to San Francisco with a restroom stop along the way.

From San Francisco: Yosemite National Park Full-Day Trip

4. 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.

San Francisco: 1-Day Bike Rental

5. San Francisco: 1-Day Bike Rental

Decide where you want to ride and then head out from Fisherman’s Wharf to discover the sights of San Francisco. You’ll be outfitted with a current-model bike, helmet, front handlebar bag and rear gear rack, map, and route instructions. Just tell the local staff how many miles you wish to ride, and they’ll show you a great route that includes all the best sightseeing stops the Bay Area has to offer. Your tour will take you on bike paths and over mostly flat terrain. You’ll receive a guide that provides recommendations on favorite local rides. You can keep the rental bike for the whole day.

Giant Sequoia Snowshoe & Yosemite Valley Tour

6. 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.

Sausalito: Norcal Coastal Tour

7. Sausalito: Norcal Coastal Tour

This deluxe 60 minute flight will begin with a take off from the sea base in the lovely bayside village of Sausalito just across the Golden Gate Bridge. Traverse the lovely Marin county on your way out over Tomales Bay where Sir Francis Drake himself likely landed over a century ago.  Then, it's on to Point Reyes National Seashore, looking for frolicking porpoise and whales along the way until you round the breathtakingly scenic Point Reyes Lighthouse. Continue along the incredible Northern Californian coastline above Highway 1 and finally back over the legendary Golden Gate Bridge itself. Fly above Crissy Field, downtown San Francisco, AT&T Park - home of the Major League Baseball World Champion San Francisco Giants and then over the infamous island prison of Alcatraz. Finally, your flight will be completed with a pass by the historic Angel Island - the immigrant gateway to the west and a smooth landing back in Sausalito’s Richardson Bay. At checkout, you may choose to meet your tour at the Seaplane Base in Mill Valley or you may choose to book a roundtrip shuttle service from Fisherman's Wharf.

Oakhurst: Guided Sierra National Forest Snow UTV or ATV Tour

8. Oakhurst: Guided Sierra National Forest Snow UTV or ATV Tour

Get ready to ride into the snowy wilderness of the Sierra National Forest on this guided tour. Enjoy the winter wonderland in an exciting way with a snow UTV or ATV tour. Meet your guide in at the activity provider's office in Oakhurst and gear up for your tour. Expereince the rush of gliding over rocky trails and zipping through wide open paths. Blaze thorugh the snowy wilderness and kick up some fresh powder as you go.  Cruise around a frozen lake and discover how beautiful the forest can be when it is covered in a layer of snow. Have the option to add on a sledding package if you want to stop for some exhilarating wintertime fun. 

Yosemite: Devil's Peak Sunset Jeep Tour with Local Guide

9. Yosemite: Devil's Peak Sunset Jeep Tour with Local Guide

Discover nature on this off-road jeep tour to climb to the top of Devil's Peak. Once at the top, watch as the sun sets over Yosemite National Park. Grab the chance to go stargazing and watch the wildlife as well. Upon meeting your guide, head on to your adventure and drive to the top of Devil's Peak, an area overlooking Yosemite National Park. On top of this mountain is a forestry tower lookout where a ranger stays summer-long to watch for wildfires. Meet the ranger, sign his guestbook, and learn about the history of the tower while your tour guide sets up camp. When everything is set, roast some marshmallows by the campfire and marvel at the abundant colors of the sunset. You can add an optional hot dog package to roast your dinner, too. Once the sun has gone down, make your way back to the foot of the mountain while stargazing and looking out for wildlife. Immerse yourself in the beauty and tranquility of nature with this guided jeep tour.

From San Francisco: Yosemite National Park Private Day Tour

10. From San Francisco: Yosemite National Park Private Day Tour

Take in some of the most breathtaking sights California has to offer in this one-day tour departing San Francisco to Yosemite National Park. Travel in comfort on a coach bus and enjoy a rest stop in the Central Valley where you can take an opportunity to grab a picnic lunch to enjoy in the park! Upon arriving to the National Park entrance, take a scenic drive through the park and enjoy a photo stop at one of Yosemite Valley's most famous viewpoints overlooking the entire Yosemite Valley, Bridalveil Falls, El Capitan, and Half Dome. As you travel down to the Yosemite Valley, get up close to El Capitan and Bridalveil falls. Next, enjoy free time in the Yosemite Valley, where you can take in stellar views of North America's tallest waterfall, Yosemite Falls and hike to the base of the Lower Falls. The Yosemite Valley offers various lunch opportunities, hiking trails, bike rentals, museums, and a number of stops to take advantage of the free shuttle service which will give you access to other parts of the park. This one-day tour allows you ample opportunities to see all Yosemite National Park has to offer.

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What people are saying about Central Valley, California

This trip is a long day and given that it was far to travel they did their best to fit in a lot of things in a day. I was in smaller group which was great and made everything move faster. The driver/ guide was friendly and very knowledgeable about the area. I couldn’t recommend Yosemite enough. An amazing place to visit

Mitch was a very safe and experienced driver, and took us to all the popular spots where we could have a clear view. There was also sufficient rest stops to break up the very long ride. Recommended for those with only one day.

Very well organized tour. Our guide was very considerate and always waited for all participants. He made extra stops to show us as much as possible.

Amazing tour and the guide was incredible friendly.

Competent and nice guide! Long journey but worth it