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Experience Level



4-5 miles


1,500-2,000 feet

Registration Fee


Program Overview: Celebrate spring in the Sierra Nevada on a guided day hike just outside Yosemite Valley! On this one-day adventure, you’ll see the brilliant wildflowers that bloom early in the Merced River Canyon, west of the park along Highway 140.

As you stroll, you’ll get to appreciate and photograph the sumptuous displays of vibrant orange poppies and purple lupine painting the slopes above the roaring Merced River. In addition to these obvious wildflowers, your naturalist guide will help you notice and learn about the smaller and more subtle flowers in the area. You’ll be able to practice identifying a variety of plant species, and to ask questions about what you’re seeing. Learn about the characteristics of different plant families so you can recognize their flowers wherever you are in the world.

Keep in mind that where there are flowers, there are pollinators! Your guide will point out busy bees and butterflies and share fun facts about other wildlife active in the area at this time of year, including newts and birds. On occasion, otters can be spotted in the river. We’ll keep an eye out for all of these things and more as we enjoy a spring day along the Merced.

For a sneak peek of all this program offers, check out the “Wildflowers” episode of Yosemite Nature Notes, and don’t miss our lead naturalist’s quick video about lupine.

Know Before You Go:

  • Program date: Tuesday, April 2, 9 am – 3 pm
  • Program location: El Portal and Merced River
  • What’s included: A full day of guided instruction with a Yosemite Naturalist, park entry (as needed), and shared tent camping (camping dates cannot be altered). There is no discount if you choose not to use the included gate pass or campsite.
  • Camping dates: Participants can arrive on April 1 after 12pm and must depart April 3 by 11am. There are two shared campsites among all the participants. We guarantee tent camping only. If you choose to bring a recreational vehicle, we cannot guarantee you will have a parking spot – please be prepared to tent camp. A picnic table, bear locker, and fire pit are provided at each site. Campsites fit 6 people per site.
  • Campground location: Upper Pines in Yosemite Valley
  • Lodging: Upgrade to Curry Village for an additional fee. Lodging dates match camping dates. Lodging blocks expire 30 days prior to the program. Details for using our Group Code to book lodging will be emailed to you immediately after you register.
  • Experience level: All levels welcome.

What’s not included:

  • Gear or meals during your program.
  • Camping gear or meals in the shared campsites.
  • Transportation.

View a suggested packing list.