American Photo Tours
American Photo Tours California Winter Tour

California Winter Tour

Tour Description

From the Mountains to the Sea!

Highlights: Yosemite National Park, Big Sur, Carmel CA, Yosemite Valley, Yosemite Falls, El Capitan, Half Dome, Merced River, Sequoia Kings Canyon National Park, giant sequoias, winter scenes, Big Sur coastline, Point Lobos State Reserve, Pacific Ocean surf, McVey Falls

Day 1: We rendezvous in Sacramento, CA at our motel (private tours are met at the airport), and have dinner together as we get acquainted and get oriented to the week’s adventures. We will be staying in Sacramento for one night.

Day 2: Early in the morning, we head south into the winter wonderland of Yosemite National Park and our first view of this icon of the Sierra Nevada. We will explore Yosemite Valley in a winterized SUV and take short exploratory walks to many different points to capture reflections in the Merced River of the world renowned cliffs and prominences in the Valley. We will also be able to capture the frozen waterfalls and details of this magic canyon in its winter finery. Lunch will be in the park, and a warm and welcome night’s stay will be in nearby Portal.

Day 3: We head back into Yosemite for sunrise and some additional awe inspiring points with the morning mist rising over the rarely frozen Merced River. We will then head up to the top of the rim stopping along the way for the legendary views of the Valley in its winter finery. At the top we will walk a short distance to Glacier Point and savor the classic view of Half Dome and the forests in winter. Late in the day we will make our way south to Visalia and spend the night in the lowlands awaiting the next day’s adventure in comfort.California winter in the forest

Day 4: Today we head east into the Sequoia/Kings Canyon area and our first opportunity to visit the legends of the sequoia forests in these two incredible parks. Traveling in the snow is invigorating and quite comfortable, and the views are like few that one can experience in nature. We will visit several sites along the way to Grant Grove where the largest tree in the world stands in winter snow along with many other tremendous members of the sequoia family. Along the road we will see other spontaneous sites that we will be able to stop and photograph. This is winter set in a landscape that you must experience firsthand to truly appreciate. The quiet majesty of these giants and the snow filled forest is another dimension to the summer’s fare anywhere in the country. As the day winds down, we will head for the second element of the California experience, the coast and Big Sur. We will arrive in the evening and settle into our motel in the protected forest near the coast.

Day 5: We wake early and enjoy a breakfast in the redwoods of Big Sur in preparation for our first visit to the coast. We will start with a beach visit to some of the most prominent sea stacks and craggy headlands to be found in this area. The walk is very short, about ¼ mile to the sandy beach and access to this area is exceptional. The activity of the ocean is in front of us, and will include great surf and tides that create a dynamic show as we walk in relative comfort along the beach photographing the show. We have visited these beaches for years, and every time we return they provide a new show of action and beauty. Later in the day after lunch, we will head south to McVey Falls and view the coast from high up on a headland looking south and west over the Pacific and this wonderful falls as it spills into the sea. This location too, while being very comfortable and an easy walk, provides inspiration and very exciting images from the coast of the Big Sur.

Day 6: We leave early to visit another location north of Big Sur, and then drive directly to Point Lobos State Reserve. This outstanding park provides a close up experience of the sea life and landscape of the California coast that is unique in many ways. In the summer it is full of travelers and students, but in the windswept and often calm weather of winter, it is far less visited and particularly stimulating even with the sun shining! The Reserve is one of the most concentrated areas for photographic interest, and one can spend hours and even days exploring and capturing images. We will dedicate the rest of the day to investigating this nearly flat peninsula of land and sea life, bird life and landscapes in their many different guises. We will then spend the night in the Carmel area and enjoy dinner in one of many great restaurants.

Day 7: It is up and out by 8:00 AM and a trip around Pacific Grove to see the views from this internationally known site of recreation and views of the Pacific Ocean. A brief stop at the Point Pinos Lighthouse, and then we head inland and our trip back to Sacramento Airport and a chance to reminisce about all that we have seen from the mountains to the sea!

Tour Information:
7 days/6 nights
Group Size 1 to 4
Arrive/Depart: Sacramento, CA
Trip Includes:
Transportation - entire tour itinerary will be provided by American Photo Tours.
Lodging - all motel/hotel accomodations, single or double occupancy for entire tour are included.
Meals - breakfast and lunch for entire tour are included.
Professional Guide Service - Greg Smith will be your professional guide and photographic consultant for the entire tour.
Fees and Admissions - all fees and admissions will be paid by American Photo Tours as part of the tour.
Tour Departure Dates:

Contact us to choose your preferred tour dates!

Tour Costs:

Double Occupancy - $3,895
Single Occupancy Supplement - $995
We offer 20% discounts for all travelers in groups of 2-6!


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