Davina from San Jose
“My mother and I spent a couple of days in Yosemite in early December. After spending a day in the car getting to our hotel the thought of spending the next day in the car driving around Yosemite was unappealing. Equally unappealing was the idea of being bused around by a tour guide as neither of us are very good at ‘guided tours’. Happily, the hotel convinced us to book up with Discover Yosemite who picked us up the next morning promptly on a very comfortable and clean bus with room for about 20 guests.
Within half an hour of getting on the bus we were off again for a hike around Mariposa Grove where our guide, Jerry, provided just the right amount of information and silence so that we could learn about the area but also appreciate the grandeur of it without constant noise! He also proved himself knowledgeable about both the flora and fauna, ably answering all questions.
Then it was on to Glacier Point, which we were lucky to get to as it would usually be closed due to snow at this time of year. Here we disembarked to enjoy the views and our bag lunch included in the price of the tour – an extremely substantial sandwich, chips and fruit. The hour and a bit at Glacier Point was ample time to sit and enjoy the views including the waterfalls, which are relatively small at this time of year, but still impressive.
“Doubly happy, however, is the man whom lofty mountain tops are within reach, for the lights that shine there illumine all that lies below.” – John Muir
Back on the bus, some of us enjoyed an erudite explanation of the local geology while others took a quick post-lunch snooze.
We arrived fresh and enthused in Yosemite Valley, and ready to head off on some self-guided explorations, before returning to the bus to visit more sites.
As the sun began to set we returned to the bus for the last time to start the journey back to our hotel. During the return journey our guide talked about the various groups of settlers in the valley and their legacies, from the Native Americans through the gold rush period, to the early 20th century.
We returned to our hotel on time at 4.30 feeling we’d had a really great day. A great deal of information had been imparted and a great many sights seen, but at no time did we feel we were being talked at, instead it felt like we’d spent the day with a very well informed friend.
In exploring the Discover Yosemite website it seems that it wasn’t blind luck that we got such a great guide – the guides’ credentials appear both impressive and distinctive, with each bringing a different angle and expertise to their tours. As and when we return to Yosemite, I’ll be very tempted to take a tour with Discover Yosemite again – $98 for a day tour seemed a lot when we paid it, but we got our money’s worth and then some!”
(Please note-it is highly unusual for Glacier Point to be open in December)
Jennifer from Indiana
Our family had a wonderful time on your full moon tour this past July. Riding with you and Jerry from Tenaya was a pleasure. We were able to ask all sorts of questions about Yosemite National Park. Your staff has extensive knowledge about the history and layout of the park. We loved hearing the stories Jerry had to tell.
When we arrived for the hike up to Sentinel Dome, you were well prepared with backpacks, flashlights, and dinner! Our kids were just 9 and 4, but had no trouble hiking up the trail. The view from the top was absolutely breathtaking! I had wanted something special for my birthday, and this was beyond my expectations. As we sat and ate our dinner in the twilight, the glow of reds, oranges, purples and blues lit up the Sierras in every direction. The sunset was nothing short of spectacular. Truly one of my favorite moments of all time.
Just when we thought things couldn’t get any more impressive, we turned to see the full moon rise over the range behind us. The yellow glow looked like a sunrise at first and changed to white as it slowly crept up until the entire circle was beaming. I don’t think I had seen moonrise until that moment. The moon put on its own show- and it was gorgeous as well.
As we hiked back to the van, I sighed-feeling an enormous sense of accomplishment. I had truly witnessed one of nature’s true wonders. What a birthday present for myself!!
I want to thank your staff at Discover Yosemite for helping make one of our family’s favorite memories. You can bet we will be back!
The Hills from Australia
Dear Discover Yosemite
I just wanted to drop you a quick line from home to say thanks to Glenn and your company. Glenn took us on a day tour into the Valley and my 5 year old son said on the bus that it was his best tour ever! Glenn was wonderful and made us feel welcome, and not like ‘the couple with kids’. Glenn made our white Christmas very memorable and shared his love and passion for the area with us. He was informative, friendly, caring and a great photographer!
Kathryn from California
On behalf of my entire extended family, I want to thank Discover Yosemite for the really outstanding tour. Discover Yosemite made it possible for my family to see much more of Yosemite than we could possibly have covered on our own, and without the stress of trying to coordinate caravanning in five personal vehicles (not to mention the savings in gas and environmental damage). It was great to sit “above the crowd” in your very comfortable van, and not have to consult a map or worry about taking a wrong turn.
I particularly want to thank the driver, Cokie, and the tour guide, Dan.
Cokie knew exactly how to deal with the traffic and parking to maximize the time we spent actually seeing the park, and my mother especially appreciated Cokie’s smooth handling of the tour van on those winding mountain roads.
Although my siblings and I have all been in the park on a number of occasions, we still learned a lot of great Yosemite lore from Dan, and his patience and sense of humor were much appreciated.
Finally, I want to thank you personally for your assistance in responding so promptly to my questions and in setting up the tour.
Discover Yosemite is a first class operation, with a terrific staff. Thanks, again.
Ernie and Toni from Maryland
As part of our recent vacation in California, my home state, we scheduled a visit to Yosemite. We stayed at the nearby Tenaya Lodge, with the intent of driving to Yosemite. However, because we had spent much of our time driving, we decided to book a tour with Discover Yosemite, although I did not expect too much. As soon as the tour began, I realized this was no ordinary tour bus. Thanks to the outstanding knowledge, skills, and experience of our driver and guide, Saul Singleton, this experience was beyond our expectations. We learned more about Yosemite than we could ever learn from pamphlets and reference books. Since I had visited Yosemite many times in the past, I expected to learn little that was new, but instead found an entirely new Yosemite. The views from Glacier Point are unforgettable, and even the best photographs could not recreate the great experience. Saul did a great job of informing the group about ecology, flora and fauna, as well as history of the park in a way that was very informative, while maintaining a friendly and entertaining atmosphere. As an example, while watching climbers scale El Capitan, he provided some history as well as showing us examples of climbing equipment used by climbers, both past and present. All in all, a truly great experience, made even better by a great guide.
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