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Sacramento & Yosemite Experience

Sacramento & Yosemite Experience

Yosemite is a feast for the eyes.  Your students will be surrounded by God's beauty.  Nature walks, hiking, waterfall viewing, tall granite cliffs, and ranger programs fill the day.  A nice rest in a tent cabin fills the night.  Leaving the Gem of the National Parks - its off to Gold Country - site of the gold discovery and Sacramento the State Capitol with Sutters Fort and the Railroad Museum in Old Town.

  • Program Highlights

    Almost all American Christian Tours Education Programs to Sacramento and Gold Country with Yosemite, will typically include:


    California State Capitol Building tour
    Capitol Grounds tour
    Old Town Sacramento
    California State Railroad Museum
    Sutter's Fort
    Gold Discovery Museum in Coloma
    Sutter Mill and the gold discovery site.
    Hike to Marshall's Monument and cabin.
    Panning for gold in the American River
    Visits to surrounding mines
    Visit to Bridalveil Fall
    Hike to Mirror Lake
    Evening Programs
    Tent camping
    Free time for nature hikes, bike riding, horseback riding.
    Yosemite Falls
    Mariposa Grove of ancient Giant Sequoia trees

  • Climate

    Sacramento has a Mediterranean-type climate.  Winters can be damp and wet, and the summers are usually hot and dry with a lot of sunshine.  The wet season is generally October through April.  The monthly daily average temperature ranging from about 45° F in December to 75 °F in July. In the summer, a breeze frequently blows in called the "Delta Breeze."  It travels from the San Francisco Bay, up through the San Joaquin and Sacramento Rivers.  This breeze causes the temperatures to cool down sharply at night.  


    In Coloma Valley, the spring and fall temperatures have daytime high temperatures ranging from 60° - 80°F. Spring flowers and fall foliage are spectacular. There is some rainfall in spring, but usually not as much as in the winter.  Summers are hot. Daytime temperatures are typically around 90° F and can often spike to over 100°.  Little rain falls in the Coloma Valley between June and October.


    Yosemite has a Mediterranean climate, which means most of its precipitation falls during the mild winter, and the other seasons are nearly dry.  Mean daily high temperature at Yosemite Valley varies from 46 to 90 °F.  On the valley floor, January temperatures average around 38°F, while July temperatures average around 73 °F.  In the summer the nights are much cooler than the hot days.

  • Geography

    The City of Sacramento is located at the coming together of the Sacramento and the American Rivers and has a deepwater port connected to the San Francisco Bay by a channel through Suisun Bay and the Sacramento River Delta. It is the shipping and rail center for the Sacramento Valley, fruit, vegetables, rice, wheat, dairy goods and beef. Food processing is among the major industries in the area.

    Much of the land to the west of the city is a flood control basin. As a result, the greater metropolitan area sprawls only four miles west of downtown but 30 miles northeast and east, into the Sierra Nevada foothills, and 10 miles to the south into valley farmland.


    The name Coloma comes from the native Nisenan Indian name for the valley Cullumah, meaning "beautiful."  And it is beautiful.  Coloma is nestled in a valley along the western shore of the South Fork of the American River in the Sierra Nevada foothills some 60 miles northeast of Sacramento. 


    Yosemite National Park is located in the central Sierra Nevada Mountains of California. Yosemite is about the size of Rhode Island - just under 1200 square miles.  There are thousand of lakes within the borders of Yosemite, as well as hundreds of streams.  The Merced and Tuolumne rivers both begin within Yosemite and flow into California's Central Valley.  Yosemite is surrounded by wilderness areas and has been designated a World Heritage Site due to its spectacular granite cliffs, waterfalls, clear streams, Giant Sequoia groves, and biological diversity.


    Yosemite Valley - which is about 7 square miles, is where the almost 4 million visitors who come to the park each year spend most of there time.  The valley is at an elevation of about 4,000 feet while some of the park's higher elevations exceed 10,000 feet. Yosemite's most famous landmark, Half Dome, rises 4,788 feet above the valley floor. Yosemite has a large number of waterfalls. The highest of these Yosemite Falls (the highest waterfall in North America), cascades over 2,425 feet down the granite cliffs of the valley.

  • Essentials

    • Standing beneath the dome of the California State Capitol Building.
    • Walking on the wooden sidewalks and cobblestone streets of Old Town Sacramento.
    • Seeing Patty Reed's doll at Sutter's Fort.
    • Walking through the St. Hyacinthe, a sleeping car, at the California State Railroad Museum.  It moves!
    • Watching the squirrels at play among the orange trees on the State Capitol Building grounds.
    • Walking to the spot in the tailrace of Sutter's Mill where gold was first discovered and imagining how it would change the world.
    • Standing in the cold water of the American River panning for gold.
    • Hiking up to Marshall's Monument and seeing an incredible view of Coloma Valley.
    • Walking across the old steel bridge built in the 1930's that spans the American River.  It is on the site of the original bridge built in 1849 - the first bridge built west of the Mississippi River.
    • Praising God for His awesome power and creation.
    • Taking in a view of Yosemite Valley from Tunnel View
    • Standing near the spray of one of Yosemite's famous waterfalls.
    • Admiring the spectacular rock formations of El Capitan and Half Dome
  • Get Prepared

    • This is America, Charlie Brown - The Building of the Transcontinental Railroad (1988)
    • The Gold Rush, PBS, 1998 (DVD and VHS)
    • The Gold Rush is a one-hour historical documentary about the great 19th-century quest for gold in frontier California. Narrated by John Lithgow, the program intertwines historic photos with current footage of California gold country. Interspersed throughout are passages from 49er diaries and interviews with historians.
    • The following video. This video is a collaboration between Sheldon Neill and Colin Delehanty and Project Yosemite.
    • The preamble to the California State Constitution.  Notice that the founders of California were grateful to Almighty God for their freedoms!:
      California Constitution Preamble
      We, the People of the State of California, grateful to Almighty God for our freedom, in order to secure and perpetuate its blessings, do establish this Constitution.
    • Off Like the Wind!: The First Ride of the Pony Express by Michael P. Spradlin, Layne Johnson (Illustrator) (2010). 
    • By the Great Horn Spoon!  by Sid Fleischman, 1963.  A twelve-year old boy named Jack, who has lived with his Aunt Arabella since his parents died, heads to California to search for gold after Aunt Arabella loses all her money. He is accompanied by Aunt Arabella's butler Praiseworthy.
    • Psalm 104:1-35  Read about God and his Creation.
    • Listen to the sound of a steam train.  Sacramento was the western terminus of the Central Pacific Railroad.  The Central Pacific Railroad joined with the Union Pacific Railroad in 1869, linking the nation from coast to coast and opening up the west for rapid development.  The transcontinental train was very important to the development of California.
    • Listen to the short story, The Celebrated Jumping of Calaveras County, written by Mark Twain in 1867.
    • Listen to the sounds of nature.  It could be the wind through the valley, the thundering of the majestic waterfalls, the rippling of the rivers, the birds singing in the meadows, or maybe a spot that is so quiet and peaceful.  Take it in and enjoy.

  • Senses

    • Find a bag of Blue Diamond Almonds.  Founded in 1910, Blue Diamond is headquartered in Sacramento.  Almonds are California's largest food export and the #1 specialty crop in America.
    • Forty-niner Flapjacks  These flapjacks were very popular in the gold camps.
    • Some good trail mix, jerky, or dried fruit is nice to have during your hikes.  Just remember not to have food in your tent.  It attracts animals including bear.
    • It can be warm in Sacramento.  Make sure to drink lots of water.  But don't forget all the vegetables that are grown around Sacramento.  Maybe a glass of tomato juice or V8, would remind you of all the agriculture nearby!
    • It usually gets pretty warm in Coloma with a lot of hiking around and there are higher elevations in Yosemite.  Make sure to drink plenty of water.
  • In A Word:

    Sacramento - Discover!
    Gold Country - Eureka!
    Yosemite - Breathtaking.

  • Surprises:

    • Finding out how the Old Town area of Sacramento area was raised about 9 feet back in 1868.
    • Learning that the people who really made the most money during the Gold Rush were the shopkeepers not the miners.
    • Sutter's Fort is the oldest restored fort in the United States.  It was built in 1839.
    • Gold was discovered in Coloma on January 24, 1848.  By 1850, over 300,000 gold seekers had flooded the area.
    • Most miners made about $10-15 a day.  However a pound of beef cost about $10, butter was $20 a pound, eggs were $3 each, and a shovel was around $40.
    • The size of some of the gold nuggets found.  In the Gold Discovery Museum they have actual size replicas of some of the nuggets.  They were huge!
    • Yosemite National Park was established on October 1, 1890
    • The park itself measures 748,542 acres and 94% of the park is designated “wilderness”
    • There are about 360 miles of paved roads throughout Yosemite

  • Cities/Destinations Included

    • Sacramento
    • Coloma
    • Yosemite
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