Just 2 miles from the southern entrance of Yosemite National Park sits a post that passed from homesteader to cowboy to Mike and Sherry Knapp, who dubbed it Yosemite Trails Pack Station 70 years ago. Since then, three generations of Knapps have run the station, but it remains as isolated and wildlife rich as it was in 1966. Today, Larry Knapp and his team still raise cattle as well as american quarter and american paint horses in the Sierra Nevada mountains, getting them acclimated to the rocky terrain so that they can safely carry patrons on trail rides. Trails wind through Big Creek, the Vista Pass, and even venture into Yosemite’s Mariposa Grove, thick with millennia-old redwood trees. Days on horseback often culminate in cowboy cookouts with hot dogs, s’mores, and photos of ex-boyfriends roasted over the campfire. When summer fades to winter, guests can still enjoy the mountain-lined horizon on sleighs drawn by belgian draft horses.
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In the two-hour Yosemite Valley Floor Tour, guests will be ferried through the majestically scenic Yosemite National Park, basking in its sights and sounds from the safety of a tour trolley. Park rangers provide commentary throughout the tour, discoursing on the history, geology, and wildlife of the area and pointing out both major and little-known attractions, including the Half Dome and El Capitan rock formations and Bridalveil Fall. Tours are available year round, with open-air trolleys in temperate times and heated coaches during colder months. The schedule varies and can be found by asking at any park information center, checking the Yosemite guide, or chatting with black bears wearing an “ask me for assistance” vest.