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The Bus Trip Program

Our schedule for 2022 trips is as follows:

 Trip Name  Dates
 Death Valley  March  23 - 27, 2022
 Grand Canyon National Park  April 27 - May 1, 2022
 Mammoth  July 13 - 17, 2022
 Yosemite National Park  August 17 - 21, 2022
 Sedona  September 28 -  October 2, 2022

Since 1982 the San Diego Chapter has been offering bus trips to a variety of National and State Parks within an eight hour drive of San Diego.

Part of the largest grassroots environmental organization in the country, Sierra Club provides environmentally friendly outdoor adventures.

What makes these bus trips special is that they are organized by a fantastic team of volunteer leaders who do not get paid for their efforts. They do it out of an appreciation for these special places, and a passion for sharing them with you. Bus Trips include transportation by motorcoach unless otherwise specified, camping permits, backcountry backpacking permits, route planning and the expertise of our Chapter Outings Leaders. We look forward to having you join us on a bus trip to explore, enjoy and protect the planet.




Backpacking Trips

All of our backpacking trips are led by Sierra Club Chapter Outing Leaders. On each bus trip we offer a minimum of 4 backpack outing trips. We do our best to offer a variety of backpack trips from easy to difficult. We utilized a rating system to provide you with guidance on selecting a backpack that is in alignment with your fitness level and backpacking experience. The backpack trips are usually five days and four nights in duration. On some trips, you will backpack in to a remote location and set up camp and go on day hikes each day. On other trips you will backpack and travel from campsite to campsite each day. As we will be in the wilderness, restroom facilities, showers, tap water, restaurants and stores will not be available, therefore, you will need to bring all your food, cooking supplies, gear and water filtration/treatment products with you. If you have never backpacked before, we highly recommend taking the Wilderness Basics Course

Bus Camping & Day Hikes

Camping Bus Trips

Camping Bus Trips are also usually five day and four night trips. On these trips the bus will drop us off at a campsite usually in a National or State Park and we will set up a base camp. We offer a number of day hikes each day led by Sierra Club Chapter Outings Leaders that range from easy to hard or you may have the option of going on a self-guided hike. Depending on the location, the bus will take us to our trail head, we will use locally provided transportation or depart from our campground.

Pre-Trip Planning Meeting

Pre-Trip Planning Meeting

A few weeks before the bus trip, we will hold a pre-trip meeting where you will get to meet your leaders and the other participants on the trip. We will review general information about the trip, and you will have the opportunity to have your questions answered. In addition, the leaders will elaborate on the details of your outing, review plans, maps and required gear. You will have the opportunity to connect with other participants on the trip and discuss gear sharing. We will review the departure location information and what to expect on the bus.



Transportation is provided by San Diego's most trusted charter service. Our trips take us to some areas that can be quite challenging for a motorcoach to navigate. We developed a relationship with a team of dependable professional drivers to meet our unique needs.  Our bus of choice is a 47 seat passenger luxury MCI motorcoach with the following features:

  • Air Conditioning
  • Reclining Seats
  • Restroom-equipped
  • Privacy Shades
  • Large Overhead Compartments
  • Luggage Bays
What to Expect on the Bus

What to Expect on the Bus

The great part about not driving yourself is you don't have to worry about traffic and can relax and enjoy the view, eat, sleep, read a book, watch a movie on your tablet or smartphone, or talk to your neighbor. Seat selection on the bus is based on a priority system of when you signed up for the trip and your presence at the time of seating. On the ride up to our destination, we will do introductions and get to know one another. Depending on the length of our bus ride, we have a rest stop at the half-way junction to stretch our legs and grab a bite to eat. On our return trip home, every outing group is encouraged to share their trip's experience.

Post Trip Gathering

Post Trip Gathering

A few weeks after the trip, we all get back together for a post trip gathering. We set up a slide show for everyone to share their favorite pictures and videos and recount stories about their experience. Depending on the venue, participants are encouraged to bring a potluck meal to share and friends and family are welcome to join in on the post trip gathering.

Death Valley 2022

MARCH 23-27, 2022

Here is a unique camping trip in Death Valley National Park! We will ride a chartered, air-conditioned bus to the Furnace Creek Campground (a developed campground with water, fire pits, tables and flush toilets). This tent-camping trip is for adults only who are in good health. Participants must provide their own meals and camping equipment (tent, sleeping bag, etc.). Upon registration, you will receive an e-mail confirmation and information about an optional pre-trip meeting to meet your leaders and ask questions (highly recommended for first-timers). A hand-out will also be available with suggestions about what to pack, weather, safety tips, etc. Death Valley is home to more than 1,000 plant species (including 19 that are found nowhere else in the world), at least 5 species of mammals, 36 species of reptiles, 5 species of amphibians, and 6 species of fish. Long before its famous 20-mule team wagons, Death Valley hosted 10,000 years of human history. Come make your own history with us!

Visit our Trip Rating System to determine which Backpacking Trip or Day Hike is right for you.

Bus Camping Trip - Furnace Campground
Easy, Moderate, Hard & Strenous Day Hikes
Leaders:  Alice Fichandler, Mike Fry, Pauline Jimenez, Monica Elrod Assistant Leaders: Karen Nelson, Eric March, Ruben Garcia, Tanya Ingorvate
Trip Rating: A variety of difficulty from easy to strenous. 

All hikes may be altered due to group interest, weather, and other factors. Day hikes are limited to 11 participants (including leaders)

Each day, your leaders will offer some fascinating hiking adventures of varying difficulty levels. Since these will be on a space-available basis, sign-ups will be announced at the campground on the evening before the hike. Should you decide to stay in camp instead, you can go walk to the visitor center, restaurants or place of your choice. See below for some of the Day Hikes that will be offered.

Leader: Monica Elrod
Assistant Leader: Tanya Ingorvate

Dante View to Mount Perry (H6C
For much of the hike we will see Telescope Peak, the highest point in the park, juxtaposed on Badwater, its lowest.We quickly reach Dante's Peak before continuing north toward Mount Perry. The panorama from Dante's View, is considered the most dramatic sight in Death Valley by many observers. We will head towards Mount Perry on a dramatic ridgetop with fantastic views up and down Death Valley. The hike has approximately a 1200 ft. elevation gain. Recommended: boots with good traction, poles, sunscreen, shade hat/visor.

Golden Canyon, Gower Gulch, Badlands Loop (M8B
Starting at iconic Zabriskie Point, we will enjoy the most popular viewpoint in the park. The route up Golden Canyon is gradually uphill through a rocky corridor of towering golden walls.We’ll add a spur trail to Red Cathedral, and finish winding through colorful badlands composed of an ancient lakebed and end up back at Zabriskie point, an ideal place for a lunch break.

Corkscrew Peak (S7E
Located in the Grapevine Mountains and considered one of Death Valley's most Scenic views, the hike is rated strenuous. The climb to Corkscrew Peak (5804’). is very steep, gaining over 3000’ in 3.5 miles with most of the gain in the last two miles. Overlooks Mesquite Flats. The views from the summit are tremendous, an awesome reward for your effort. The approach is across a stretch of iconic Death Valley desert, through washes, and up and over ridges. The view from the peak will not disappoint. Good traction needed on hiking boots, poles, sunscreen, and shade hat/visor are important.

Leader: Mike Fry
Assistant Leader: Eric March

Golden Canyon/Gower Gulch Loop (M7B
Starting at the Golden Canyon nature trail trailhead at 160 feet below sea level, we start a  fascinating journey through geologic time as we hike through rocks of different ages as the elevation increases then loops back down to the floor of Death Valley past borax-mine tunnels.  The first part is an educational geology nature trail. The scenery of the extended hike includes a colorful lake bed, exposed strata and alluvial-fan formations, and spectacular scenery of the Panamint Range from below Zabriskie Point. Includes a side-hike to Red Cathedral.

Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes (E4A
This 2-4 mile hike (depending on our ambitions) is an amazing opportunity to hike across and through an area of dunes that cover more than 14 square miles, the largest area of any of the seven major sand dunes in the park.  It's been described as "breathtaking" and "like you are in another world".  After being dropped off at the end of Historic Stovepipe Wells Road, we'll hike about 1 mile southward and then venture southwesterly into the dunes.  Gradually we'll trek clockwise in a giant half circle, walking toward the west, north, and finally northeast back to the trail where we began. Along the way we'll reach some remote areas of the dunes where we can see more wildlife tracks than human tracks, at least until the wind picks up and begins shifting the sand.  We'll look for evidence of kangaroo rats, lizards, beetles, and several kinds of snakes, including sidewinder rattlesnakes.  Wear your gaiters for this trek through both loose and compacted sand, and bring sunglasses and a bandana to protect your face and eyes once the winds begin to pick up.  We will add a second hike in the area, if time allows.

Funeral Canyon (H7C
This slot canyon leaves from Texas Springs Campground. This hike is possibly the longest, narrowest, and most accessible slot canyon in Death Valley. 

Leader: Pauline Jimenez
Assistant Leader: Ruben Garcia

Gower Gulch Loop (M5B
This trail leads you to the mouth of Golden Canyon which is approximately 40 ft wide, with 30 ft tan rock walls rising nearly vertically on either side. The canyon floor is gravel and many rocks of varying sizes and colors cover the uneven ground.

Desolation Canyon (M4B
About 4 miles south of Furnace Creek, this 4.2 mile out and back hike features beautiful wildflowers, multi-colored rocks, possible sightings of petrified raindrops as well as local wildlife. Our hike will begin by entering into the canyon, the colorful walls quickly grow high above us. A mile into the main canyon, we will trek carefully past the 8 feet and 6 feet high dryfall. Our trip will depart in the morning and we will have our lunch halfway through our hike. The entire hike should take us about 2-3 hours to complete. This canyon also has a connection to the 1st Star Wars movie.

Willow Canyon (M5B
This is a 5 mile out and back hike through a sandy and rocky canyon, featuring a 70 foot waterfall at the furthest point and with luck, bighorn sheep! We'll leave the parking area and begin our trek through the sandy wash, hiking northeast toward the volcanic ash hills.  Once we reach the rust-colored rhyolite walls we'll enter the canyon and notice cooler temperatures and the sound of running water cascading over the eroding canyon floor.  After 2.5 miles and about a 900 foot elevation gain, we'll reach the 70 foot waterfall where we'll stop for lunch before retracing our steps back out.  The entire hike should take us about 3-4 hours to complete.

Leader: Alice Fichandler
Assistant Leader: Karen Nelson

Golden Canyon Trail to Red Cathedral (M3B)
The first mile of the trail is a mild hike up a canyon surrounded on all sides by colden rock formations and slot canyons.  After mile one reaches a junction for the Gower Gulch trail.  Continue past this point into a narrow slot canyon. Some rock scrambling is required to reach the top of the slot canyon and the base of Red Cathedral.  The view from the top here is spectacular!

Salt Creek Interpretive Trail and Beyond (M4A)
We begin our hike on the Salt Creek Interpretive Trail, which is a fully accessible, lollipop-shaped boardwalk hike, with trailside signs providing interpretive information.  The extended hike continues up Salt Creek beyond the boardwalk.  The Salt Creek pupfish, endemic to Death Valley, are the stars of this hike.  The extended user trail zigzags up and down the slopes above Salt Creek.  At times the pitch is quite steep.  Trekking poles can help your traction.  From the high point of 13 feet below sea level, the trail drops sharply 60 feet to the mouth of a wide wash. The trail continues past a ridge, where soft sand dunes allow for a gentle perch to enjoy the view before heading back to the boardwalk by the same path.

Sidewinder Canyon (M4C
This steep, rugged canyon opens to grand vistas of the floor of Death Valley.  Narrow tunnels and sheer rock slots require moderate scrambling to dramatic views of Death Valley.  The canyon also lies within bighorn sheep habitat.

Natural Bridge (E2A) Extra hike, as time permits
The trail to the Natural Bridge begins through deeply eroded volcanic ash and pumice canyon walls.  The canyon gradually narrows.  At 0.4 mile the bridge stretches over the canyon bottom.  An ancient streambed is visible to the north of the bridge, where floods swept around this more resistant section of strata before the pothole beneath it gave way to form the natural bridge.  We continue for another half mile beyond the bridge observing mud drips, slip faults, and fault caves.  At the one mile point from the Natural Bridge parking area, we retrace our steps for our bus pick up.

Harmony Borax Works (E3A) Extra hike, walk from campground
A mile north from Furnace Creek Visitor center, We will encounter a paved loop that takes you back in time as you learn the stories of the Death Valley Borax and the 20-Mule Teams. Through .5 mile of the hike, there will be interpretive panels that describe the borax processing and more. 

Space: Limited to 47 participants (including leaders and assistants)

We are implementing health and safety requirements for all participants riding the bus on this event. 
This includes transportation to and from San Diego, as well as daily transportation to trail heads.  
 All riders must wear a good quality, well-fitting mask while on the bus.  
All riders must be fully vaccinated for Covid or provide proof of a negative PCR test 48 hours before departure from San Diego. (Vaccination status will be provided on the required Medical Form.  If unvaccinated, proof of a negative PCR test will be provided before the participant is allowed on the bus.)

Cost: $300
Registration Opens: Saturday January 29 at 6 am 
Pre-trip Meeting:  Wednesday March 9 at 6:30 pm on Zoom
Departure: Wednesday March 23 at 8:30 am
Return: Sunday March 27 at approximately 8:00 pm

For more information: Please contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., the trip coordinator.

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Explore, enjoy and protect the planet