Add dates
Things to do in

Sierra Nevada, CA

Our most recommended things to do in Sierra Nevada, CA

South Lake Tahoe: Sightseeing Cruise of Emerald Bay

1. South Lake Tahoe: Sightseeing Cruise of Emerald Bay

Embark on a sightseeing cruise starting in South Lake Tahoe either at sunset or during the day. Take in the scenic beauty while cruising 11 kilometers across the lake to Emerald Bay, one of the top ten most photographed places in the world. Savor snacks and drinks as you sail. See the majestic mountains of South Lake Tahoe while onboard the world-class Tahoe Bleu Wave yacht. As you cruise, you will find indoor and outdoor seating with 360-degree panoramic views of Lake Tahoe, the snow-capped mountains, Fannette Island, Vikingsholm Castle, Eagle Waterfall, and the Rubicon. Navigate the pristine waters of Lake Tahoe while hearing your captain's narration about this lake. You may even get the chance to see a variety of wildlife such as the bald eagle, black bears, and wild geese. If you've chosen the sunset option, relax and watch the sun dip low below the sky.

San Francisco: Yosemite National Park & Giant Sequoias Hike

2. San Francisco: Yosemite National Park & Giant Sequoias Hike

Experience both the Yosemite Valley and the Giant Sequoia Walk on this day tour. See why artists and poets have been inspired for generations by the breathtaking sceneries at the national park. Since 1890, the beautiful Yosemite National Park has been the jewel of America's National Parks, possessing some of the best-known landmarks in the world, such as the tallest waterfall in North America, Yosemite Falls. Have 5 to 6 hours to explore the stunning national park, and take in the majestic natural wonders, accompanied by a complimentary audio-guided tour. See the spectacular Half Dome and El Capitan, two of the most frequently climbed cliffs in the world. It is also home to several groves of stunning Giant Sequoia trees, the largest trees on earth. The Giant Sequoia Walk is along 1 mile (1.5 km) of paved trail with a 400 ft (120 m) incline, snow depth permitting. On a group tour, view stunning panoramas, go on walks, and even hike a little, before returning to San Francisco. Or if you prefer, upgrade to a private tour for your group only.

From San Francisco: Yosemite National Park Full-Day Trip

3. 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.

From San Francisco: Yosemite Park Guided Day Trip

4. 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

5. 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

Lake Tahoe: East Shore Trail Self-Guided Electric Bike Tour

6. Lake Tahoe: East Shore Trail Self-Guided Electric Bike Tour

Enjoy Lake Tahoe’s most scenic and enchanting coastal trail. Pedal along in comfort on a self-guided e-bike tour. See and feel Lake Tahoe differently as you soak up the breathtaking views and mountain vistas while cycling along the Sapphire Jewel’s most popular shoreline path. You'll ride along separate bike paths the whole way, so you can relax without having to worry about traffic. Cycle from Incline Village to Sand Harbor at your own pace. Enjoy numerous stops at beautiful beaches, stunning viewpoints, and coastal photo settings. Journey over bridges and along the shoreline to reach Sand Harbor – Lake Tahoe’s most beautiful state park.

Yosemite Valley 3-Day Camping Adventure

7. Yosemite Valley 3-Day Camping Adventure

Spend 2 nights camping in the world famous Yosemite Valley outside of San Francisco. You will travel in an eco-friendly biofueled vehicle, and all camping gear is provided to lighten your load. All you need to bring is a sleeping bag and enthusiasm for the Californian wilderness. Don't worry if you've never camped before. The camping and cooking equipment is provided, using quality tents. Everybody is expected to participate in the set-up and break-down of camp, and a professional guide will be there to ensure a positive camping experience. You will camp at comfortable campsites that have hot showers and modern facilities. Swimming is available nearby. Food is also provided, but there will be no chefs! You will get the chance to cook over campfires, and you will also be the waiters, dishwashers, and of course the guests! The fare is all-you-can-eat and very tasty, and is a mixture of chicken, beef, and vegetarian. Day 1: On the morning of your first day camping, your guide will meet you downtown at the corner of Mason and O'Farrell Streets in front of the Hilton Hotel at 08:15. Once out of San Francisco, cross the Central Valley and head through gold country on your way to the mountains. Before reaching Yosemite Valley, hike down for a picnic among the giant sequoia trees, the largest living things on Earth. Meals on the first day are not included in the tour price, but you will have an opportunity to get food en route to the park. Depending upon group interest and logistics, you may visit any of the 3 sequoia groves. The hike through the giant sequoias is pleasantly shaded and brings you right up close to these massive wooden monuments, some of which are more than 1,000 years old and measure up to 30-feet wide and 300-feet tall. Continue into the park on a 90-minute guided tour, and descend into Yosemite Valley, the most famous and photographed part of Yosemite, thanks to the work of photographer Ansel Adams. While in the Yosemite Valley, your guide will give you an orientation to the park, as well as an explanation of the itinerary and options for the next 2 days. After some free time in Yosemite Valley, head for the campsite to set up camp, ending the day with drinks around the campfire as you decide what to do with your next 2 days in the park. Day 2: Rise early and prepare breakfast and lunch, clean up camp, and head off in the van for a fun day full of hiking, sightseeing, and exploring. Usually the second day is reserved for exploring Yosemite's High Country. A group hike to May Lake and Mount Hoffman is generally the highlight of the day, depending upon snowpack. May Lake is a picturesque example of a High Sierra lake. If you want more of a challenge, you can continue past May Lake to Mount Hoffman. Located at the geographic center of the park, Mount Hoffman is a non-technical hike that rewards you with a 360-degree view of the surrounding mountain landscape. At the end of the day, head back to camp for dinner and time to unwind by the campfire. Day 3: Day 3 is a free day, where the itinerary is based on the interests of the group. Normally the tour heads back into Yosemite Valley, where you can choose one of a number of great hikes, rent a bike, or relax in the shade by the emerald green Merced River. After a full day in the park, head back to San Francisco, arriving around 21:00. In May, June, and early July, you have the option of joining a whitewater rafting trip on the Merced River, depending on snowpack. This Class III-IV adventure can be added to your Yosemite Escape adventure for only $140-$160.

Yosemite National Park: Valley Orientation Tour

8. Yosemite National Park: Valley Orientation Tour

Join an eco-friendly, small group guided tour and witness the stunning Yosemite National Park. Choose between three pickup locations covering hotels on Highway 41, 140 & 120. Then drive 30-60 minutes through Yosemite National Park to reach Yosemite Valley. On the way, your guide will explain the history and geology before stopping at El Capitan, the world’s largest granite monolith. Your guide will provide a park orientation and hiking briefing so you can wander around alone. Be dropped off either at Curry Village or Yosemite Valley Lodge in the park. During your 5 hours of free time, explore Yosemite either by hiking its most famous trails or biking your way around Yosemite Valley.  Marvel at views of Half Dome, a granite dome known for its distinct shape. Go for a swim in the nearby Merced River to cool down from Yosemite’s summer heat. Your expert guide can recommend the best trails and where to rent a bike.  After a day of exploration, meet your guide back at either Curry Village or Yosemite Valley Lodge to be dropped off back at your original point: Yosemite View Lodge.

Oakhurst: Yosemite Giant Sequoia Private Jeep Tour

9. Oakhurst: Yosemite Giant Sequoia Private Jeep Tour

Get ready to ride into the wilderness on a private Jeep tour through the Sierras. Your tour guide will drive you to see some of the Sierra’s most incredible scenery as you venture off into the forest to get to a Sequoia Grove. Crawl over granite plains, drive through dense woodland areas, and splash through creeks. Stop at Bass Lake Vista for a fantastic view of a local sporting lake. Next, head to a secluded Sequoia grove in the Sierra’s. Park up and get out, checking out old cabins from mining in the early 1900s as well as massive Sequoia stumps. This grove has a unique history as it was partially logged before the trees were protected. Then, you'll embark on a 1-mile round-trip hike to see the Bull Buck Tree, which reaches a staggering 270 feet tall and 80 feet around. It's one of the largest Sequoias on earth.

Lake Tahoe: 2-Hour Private Boat Trip with Captain

10. Lake Tahoe: 2-Hour Private Boat Trip with Captain

Enjoy a boat trip around the stunning natural beauty of Lake Tahoe. Take in panoramic views of mile-high mountains and the famous Emerald Bay on this private, 2-hour tour. Meet your certified captain at the Tahoe Keys Marina. Hop aboard their ship, the White lightning, a fun boat with a 502 mag and 3,000 dollar stereo system. Get ready to set sail onto North America's second deepest lake. Enjoy spectacular views as you journey round Lake Tahoe. Pass by Camp Richardson and the Tallac Historical Site. Sail into the picturesque and photogenic Emerald Bay. See Fannette Island in the middle of the lake, and catch a glimpse of the Scandinavian architecture of the Vikingsholm mansion. Take in the beauty of the D.L. Bliss State Park. Admire the electric green and cobalt blue water of Rubicon Bay, before returning to the marina to finish the tour.

Other Sightseeing Options in Sierra Nevada, CA

Want to discover all there is to do in Sierra Nevada, CA? Click here for a full list.

What people are saying about Sierra Nevada, CA

Overall rating

4.5 / 5

based on 1,349 reviews

An incredible trip from start to finish! The itinerary was great, the camping equipment was great and we had an amazing group and guide! Managed to fit in a lot in 3 days and would highly recommend!! Aiden was a very friendly, funny and informative guide and did a great job at creating a little family environment within the group, can’t fault him!

This guided cruise was a nice, relaxing way to tour the lake and learn fun facts about the animals & area.

Ryan was the tour guide. He did a great job!! Beautiful lake!!

Fantastic crew and their attention to passengers was amazing.

It’s was fantastic, great ride with beautiful views