55° F

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 get to see the brilliant wildflowers that bloom early in the Merced River Canyon, west of the park along Hwy. 140.

As you stroll in the canyon, your naturalist guide will lead you on less-traveled routes to view sumptuous displays of vibrant orange poppies and deep blue lupine painting the slopes above the Merced River. As you walk and take in the spring scenery, you’ll have plenty of opportunities to practice identifying a variety of plant species, and to ask questions about what you’re seeing. If you have a mobile device, you can also practice using citizen science apps to research and record your observations of flora and wildlife.

For a sneak peek at spring blooms, check out the “Wildflowers” episode of Yosemite Nature Notes, and don’t miss our lead naturalist’s quick videos about lupine and snow plants.

Know Before You Go

  • When: Saturday, March 27, 9 am to around 5 pm.
  • Where: El Portal and Merced River Canyon
  • Registration includes: Guided day hike, park entry (as needed), and three nights of tent camping at a shared group site in Yosemite Valley (March 26, 27 and 28). There is no discount if you choose not to use the included gate pass or campsite.
  • Lodging: Tent camping (included), or upgrade to Yosemite Valley Lodge for an additional fee. Camping and lodging dates cannot be adjusted. The upgrade option expires 30 days before the program.
  • Experience level: No experience necessary!

View a suggested packing list.

COVID-19: We have implemented special safety measures to keep participants and instructors safe during the ongoing pandemic. For example, participants will hike single-file and keep moving to avoid crowding the trail, and instructors will stop to offer interpretation only when there is ample space to stay at least six feet apart. Please review our COVID-19 program procedures for details.