It is said that when you look deep into nature, then you will understand everything better. This is an opportunity like no other to soak your body and mind in the natural and uninterrupted beauty of California and its national parks on a 9-day quest. Indulge yourself in the diverse terrain of open spaces, mountains and forests, with abundant wildlife.
Marvel at the natural splendour of California as you delve deep into its incredible national parks. Gaze up at 100-foot-tall sand dunes and the towering trees of Sequoia National Park. Be surprised by the abundance of life that flourishes amid the depths of Death Valley, spot glacial erratics in Yosemite Valley, and watch for endangered Sierra Nevada bighorn sheep roaming the Great Western Divide. Finally, bookend the adventure amid the glitz of Las Vegas and the cultural vibrancy of San Francisco.
Day 1 – Las Vegas
There are no planned activities today until the evening welcome meeting, so check out The Strip or get tickets to a show for this evening.
Day 2 – Las Vegas to Death Valley National Park
Leave the glitz and glamour of Las Vegas behind with a scenic drive through the desert to Death Valley National Park – the lowest, hottest, and driest place in North America. Experience the extremes of this landscape as you pass through the multi-hued badlands of Twenty Mule Team Canyon, take a break to listen to the eroded rock salt at the craggy Devils Golf Course, and descend into Badwater Basin, cradled 282 feet below sea level.
Cap off the day at Zabriskie Point as the sun sets over the distinctive Furnace Creek formation. This is the most photographed spot in the park.
Day 3 – Death Valley National Park to Sequoia National Park
Begin the day exploring the otherworldly landscape of Death Valley. The sand dunes here soar up to 100 feet tall and have no marked trails due to the shifting sands. Keep a keen eye out for animal tracks along the dunes as well, which show just how full of life this seemingly desolate place can be.
Then discover Father Crowley Vista Point, which boasts one of Death Valley's best vantage points. This quick there-and-back trail brings you to a sweeping view of the valley floor, with views of Rainbow Canyon below. The local air force base often sends jets to practice flying through what is colloquially known as "Star Wars Canyon", so keep an ear out for potential flybys!
Continue around the Sierra Nevada mountains to California's Sequoia National Park.
Day 4 – Sequoia National Park
Enjoy a full day to explore the legendary trees of Sequoia National Park. Walk with a naturalist from Sequoia Parks Conservancy in the shadow of its formidable giants – including General Sherman, the planet's largest known living single-stem tree.
Then in the afternoon, head to Big Tree Trail for an afternoon hike. In 1916, National Geographic deeded tracts of giant trees in the heart of the park to the National Parks Service for safekeeping. Keep your eyes on the lookout for the plaque commemorating the National Geographic Society's vital work in protecting this treasure of a national park.
This evening, return to the park for stargazing with a local expert. The night sky above Sequoia National Park offers one of California's most dazzling opportunities for stargazing due to minimal light pollution and a higher altitude. Peer upward alongside an astronomy expert from the park who'll discuss the constellations, planets, and stars that fill the twinkling sky.
In cases where the night sky is cloudy, the star gazing activity will be replaced with a nighttime nature walk in the National Park. Embark on a one-mile journey to experience the dramatic changes of the soundscapes and nocturnal biodiversity of the area. This engaging walk will awaken awareness and provide an in-depth experience of Sequoia's nocturnal plants and animals.
Day 5 – Sequoia National Park to Kings Canyon National Park
Drive deep into the Sierra Nevada mountains and experience the natural splendour of Kings Canyon National Park. Marvel at the surrounding landscape as the ancient Redwood forests make way for the towering stone peaks and epic valleys as far as the eye can see. Get a closer look at the park with a variety of hikes and lookouts during this stop.
Day 6 – Kings Canyon National Park to Yosemite National Park
Head north through the Sierras to the south entrance of Yosemite National Park, a natural wonderland of picturesque valleys and ancient granite formations. Stop at the trailhead to Sentinel Dome and climb to the pinnacle for a picnic lunch and breathtaking 360-degree views of Half Dome, El Capitan, and Yosemite Falls. Alternatively, go on a hike in the old-growth forest of Mariposa Grove.
Continue to Glacier Point for another dramatic vista – and a closer view at iconic Half Dome. Later enjoy a viewing of Free Solo, a National Geographic film based on climber Alex Honnold and his quest to ascend El Capitan without ropes or a safety net.
Day 7 – Yosemite National Park
This morning, join a Yosemite Conservancy naturalist on a guided excursion around the park, gaining an insider's perspective on the region's human, natural, and geological history. Hike through the heart of Yosemite while hearing about its flora and fauna, and learn how this rugged backcountry became the United State's first protected state park in 1864—and, with the help of John Muir, a national park in 1890.
Then, enjoy the rest of the day on your own; choose your own adventure amid majestic waterfalls, crystal-clear lakes, lush meadows, and pristine groves. Keep an eye out for glacial erratics, rock climbers, and a diversity of wildlife. Opt to visit the Ansel Adams Studio or relax by the river with Half Dome as the backdrop.
Day 8 – Yosemite National Park to San Francisco
Pass through the Central Valley of California, stopping at a local farm stand to sample some of the region's best produce. Then, drive over the Bay Bridge on the way into one of America's most vibrant cities, San Francisco. Settle into the hotel before heading out on a CEO-led guided driving tour of the city.
Take in the epic view from atop Twin Peaks, walk across a portion of the spectacular Golden Gate Bridge, and stroll past the Painted Ladies – a "postcard row" of Victorian houses that stand as symbols of the city. This evening, consider joining an optional sunset sail in the San Francisco Bay, departing from Fisherman's Wharf to glide past notorious Alcatraz Island and underneath the spectacular Golden Gate Bridge.
Day 9 – San Francisco
You're welcome to depart at any time today. However, if you're not ready to leave, your CEO can help with travel arrangements to extend your adventure.
Where we Visit:
- Las Vegas
- Death Valley National Park
- Sequoia National Park
- Kings Canyon National Park
- Yosemite National Park
- San Francisco