How to get from San Francisco to Yosemite National Park

Posted on January 21, 2019 |

The 4 hour drive from San Francisco to Yosemite National Park is one of the most scenic in the country with winding mountain roads that are lined with ancient redwoods. Here are some of our favorite ways of visiting Yosemite.

Getting to Yosemite from San Francisco requires a little bit of planning, but has a big pay off.

The drive is too long for any ride share or taxi service, so we would recommend nixing Uber or Lyft right off the bat. In terms of Public transportation from San Francisco to Yosemite, it’s definitely possible but takes a long time and requires a whole lot of patience.

For the most enjoyable experience of Yosemite we suggest getting there one of two ways: renting a car or catching a Yosemite bus tour from San Francisco. Let’s take a look a both!


San Francisco to Yosemite Road Trip

How to get from San Francisco to Yosemite National Park | Dylan's Tours

Take the scenic route from San Francisco to Yosemite National Park with a rental car

Enjoy the scenic drive to Yosemite from the comfort of a rental car. Having your own ride means you can break up the drive however you like.

Yosemite is about 170  miles away from San Francisco and about a 4 hour drive, so it requires starting your day as early as 5am or 6am to have a full experience in the park.

If you prefer to sleep in while on vacation, something we’re all guilty of, you can easily book a Yosemite hotel. This way you can spread your big trip from San Francisco to Yosemite National Park over  2 or 3 days.

How to get from San Francisco to Yosemite National Park | Dylan's Tours

Stay overnight in Yosemite at the historic Ahwahnee Hotel

We always suggest spending at least two days in Yosemite, if you can swing it.

That way you don’t have to worry about rushing back from Yosemite National Park to San Francisco in the same day.

You also have the option of a reserving a car rental that you can drop off near Yosemite.

Once you’re ready to head back to the city, you can catch this Grayline bus from Yosemite to San  Francisco.

How to get from San Francisco to Yosemite National Park | Dylan's Tours

📍 Yosemite Valley

However, once in Yosemite you have an endless amount of unique Yosemite tours to choose from.

Private guided hikes of Yosemite will help you get better acquainted with the area so you can go back and explore your favorite parts on your own. 

You can even take a quick digital photography class in Yosemite Valley. This way you’ll be able to  better document your once-in-a-lifetime experience of Yosemite National Park.

Thrill-seekers will be happy to know there are Yosemite zipline tours, just south of the park!

San Francisco to Yosemite Bus Tours


Yosemite in a Day Tour From San Francisco

TripAdvisor Yosemite Tours from San Francisco: 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟

Best Bay Area Tours is our top pick for anyone looking to do a one day bus tour from San Francisco to Yosemite National Park.

Their minibuses are comfortable and the small groups create an intimate experience that bigger bus tours just can’t recreate.

These Yosemite tours begin from Union Square and another location near a lot of popular hotels in Fisherman’s Wharf San Francisco.

You’ll have your local driver-guide shuttle you through Yosemite’s popular sites for photos before stopping for lunch.

During lunch you’ll have free time to explore on your own before driving back to San Francisco from Yosemite.


3 Day Yosemite Camping Adventure from San Francisco

TripAdvisor Yosemite Tours from San Francisco: 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟

We’ve previously ranked Incredible Adventures Small-Group Yosemite Tour from San Francisco as one of the best Yosemite tours.

As fun as that one day tour is, we definitely think travelers should consider this 3 day camping trip as a unique way of seeing Yosemite.

This Yosemite bus picks up near many Union Square hotels and shuttles guests to Yosemite. Camping equipment and fees for tents are included, except for sleeping bags. However, if you weren’t planning on traveling with a sleeping bag, one can be rented for $20.

You’ll spend two nights at your campsite and will have Yosemite guided hikes and free time during your stay.


Yosemite and Glacier Point Tour from San Francisco by Train

TripAdvisor Yosemite Tours from San Francisco: 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟

How to get from San Francisco to Yosemite National Park | San Francisco Airport to Yosemite | Dylan's Tours

Be sure to visit the Observation Car while on the Amtrak San Francisco to Yosemite train

Cross Roads Tours & Limos helps arrange your San Francisco to Yosemite train and reserves your overnight lodging.

This multi day Yosemite tour begins from the Amtrak Transbay Terminal in the SOMA neighborhood.

You’ll enjoy a scenic train ride through California’s Central Valley. All of the extra windows on the Observation Car will offer incredible views as the Yosemite train chugs along past Glacier Point.

You’ll disembark in Fresno, where you will be shuttled to sleeping accommodations.

The next morning you’ll join a small shuttle bus to explore parts of Yosemite normally closed off to bigger tour buses. After your Yosemite bus tour you’ll break for lunch and have free time to hike on your own.

At the end of the second day you’ll be dropped off to meet your train back to San Francisco.

Looking for some fun things to do in San Francisco?

25 Best San Francisco Tours

Best Yosemite Tours from San Francisco

Top 10 Things To Do in San Francisco

San Francisco Conventions: How to Make the Most Out of the Moscone Center Expansion

Best North Beach Italian Restaurants in San Francisco



San Francisco Local Traveler Guide!

Submit your email to get our local experts' recommendations

Sign Up

Read More From Blog

How to Get from San Francisco to Carmel

Posted on February 15, 2019

A Guide to San Francisco Boat Tours

Posted on February 6, 2019