“Nowhere will you see the majestic operations of nature more clearly revealed beside the frailest, most gentle and peaceful things. Nearly all the park is a profound solitude.”
-John Muir about Yosemite National Park
Ask anyone who has traveled to Yosemite or Sequoia National Park, it is an experience you’ll never forget. Particularly for students, a school trip to Yosemite or Sequoia can provide a much richer understanding of our country’s history, our natural environment, and give students a taste of adventure. Read on below to learn more about Educational Discovery Tour’s must-do activities in these two national parks!
Valley Tram Tour
Guided valley tram tours are the best way to be introduced to all the wonders that the park has to offer on your school trip to Yosemite. Park Rangers and Naturalists share their knowledge about this remarkable place with tours that focus on natural history, indigenous peoples, the first non-indigenous settlers, wildlife, flora and fauna. Well known sites you’ll view in the park during the two hour tour include Yosemite Falls, Half Dome, El Capitan, Tunnel View and Bridal Veil Fall.
The Many Waterfalls of Yosemite
Yosemite is home to countless waterfalls. The best time to view the falls is during the spring when most snowmelt occurs, by August some will only be a trickle or completely dry. Yosemite falls, one of the worlds’ tallest, is made up of three separate falls, Upper Yosemite (1,430 feet), the Middle Cascades (675 feet) and Lower Yosemite Fall (320 feet).
Before your school trips to Yosemite, check out the National Park Service’s Yosemite Falls webcam for a preview of the falls.
The Mist Trail, frequently referred to as Yosemite’s signature trail, has fabulous views scattered all along it, beginning at the bridge overlook, progressing to two unforgettable waterfalls that fall a combined total of more than 900 feet. These views end with perhaps the most striking of all: the view of Nevada Fall, Liberty Cap, and the back of Half Dome.
Activities for Your School Trip to Yosemite
Yosemite has plenty of ways to keep those students and teachers that desire a more adventurous experience satisfied including:
- River rafting on the Merced River
- Bicycling the twelve miles of trails on the valley floor
- Hiking numerous paths that meander peacefully through the forest leading you to gorgeous vistas
- Horseback riding in the meadows
Breakfast at the Majestic Yosemite Hotel, previously the Awahnee, is a must-do for park visitors. The Awahnee- a onetime host of Queen Elizabeth ll, John F. Kennedy and Charlie Chaplin was built in the 1920’s. The hotel has a huge stone fireplace where thousands of people unwind each year playing board games, grabbing a hot drink or sitting on the built-in benches around the hearth.
Sequoia National Park
A day at Sequoia National Park begins with a visit to the Giant Forest Museum. Converted from the historic Market building, this venue introduces visitors to the natural history of the big trees.
Together with a connecting nature trail system leading to Round Meadow and vicinity, the museum provides a basic introduction to the primary features of Giant Forest including its giant sequoias, meadows, and human history. Self-guiding interpretive trails lead from the museum to the Round Meadow and Hazelwood areas.
Grant Grove’s large visitor service area, which includes cabins, a lodge, a restaurant, a gift shop/grocery store, a post office, and several campgrounds is most frequently visited by touring groups. Almost anything you might need or want for your park visit is available here, including maps, and guidebooks, plus at Kings Canyon Visitor Center, where you can also chat with helpful park rangers. Several hiking trails begin near Grant Grove, including the short walk to Panoramic Point, which overlooks a maze of canyons and saw-toothed Sierra peaks (especially awesome at sunrise).
Sequoia Park’s busiest trails are near the General Grant Tree, also known as “the nation’s Christmas tree,” so dubbed by President Calvin Coolidge. Every year since 1926, the park has held a Yuletide celebration around the tree’s base. And there’s a lot of room to celebrate: the goliath measure 107 feet in circumference. A paved .3-mile/.5-km trail loops around the tree and visits neighboring giants, including the Fallen Monarch, a hollow, downed sequoia. Because of its immense girth, it was once used as a stable for the U.S. Calvary’s horses.
Take Your Students on an Adventure
A school trip to Yosemite or Sequoia National Park can be one of the best memories to give your students! Help them get outdoors, and experience nature and the wonder of our US National Parks. Educational Discovery Tours can help you plan, budget, and implement a National Park trip. Contact us to learn more about how we can help!
Yosemiteconservancy.org, www.nps.gov/yose/index.htm and www.travelyosemite.com