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Yosemite National Park is one of the most beautiful places on Earth. If you’re visiting California, it’s a tempting option for a day trip from San Francisco. While spending a few days in the park would be preferable, not everyone has that time in their schedule. Plus Yosemite accommodation can be expensive or impossible to find during peak season. Therefore, taking a tour to Yosemite is a good potential option. Here are the best Yosemite tours from San Francisco, including group tours, private tours, and 2-day tours.
How far is Yosemite from San Francisco?
Yosemite Valley is about 190 miles (306 kilometers) away from San Francisco. Depending on traffic, the drive from San Francisco to Yosemite National Park takes around 4.5 hours. Doing a day trip from San Francisco to Yosemite requires a lot of driving, so taking a tour lets someone else do that work so you can spend your energy exploring instead.
At peak times, Yosemite has also required entrance reservations, though the National Park Service is working on a Visitor Access Management Plan to better allow people to visit the park. Visit their site for the latest details. Tours are another way to avoid having to deal with this.
Yosemite from San Francisco Tours
There are plenty of tours from San Francisco to Yosemite departing daily. These tours make it possible to see this gorgeous place even if your time in California is limited.
From San Francisco: Yosemite Tour with Giant Sequoias Hike
Best Bay Area Tours offers a well-reviewed small-group day trip tour to Yosemite. The tour has a maximum of 15 passengers.
Some of the Yosemite tour highlights include Tunnel View, Bridalveil Falls, Half Dome, and Yosemite Falls, where you will have free time for a picnic or other exploring. After lunch, the tour continues on to see El Capitan, Valley View, and depending on the weather (when there’s no snow), the beautiful Tuolumne Grove & its giant sequoias.
San Francisco: Yosemite National Park & Giant Sequoias Hike
This popular tour from Extranomical Tours features a similar Yosemite itinerary to the one above. Private tours are also available for groups of 4 or more people. They also offer a 2-day Yosemite tour (see below).
After departing early in the morning, you will be taken by bus from San Francisco to Yosemite. The tour then spends 5 hours exploring Yosemite National Park, including a 1-hour hike amongst the Giant Sequoias in Tuolumne Grove (other activities are substituted if it’s too snowy).
You will also have an opportunity to see towering waterfalls, Half Dome, and El Capitan, all accompanied by an audio-guide tour available in several languages.
From San Francisco: Yosemite National Park Full-Day Trip
Incredible Adventures offers 2 different Yosemite tours from San Francisco.
The difference between the two tours is whether or not a hike through the Giant Sequoias is included. The 2.5-mile hike is at elevation & therefore is fairly strenuous. The hike is also weather-dependent.
Otherwise, both of the small-group tours in biofueled mini-coaches feature Yosemite landmarks such as El Capitan, Half Dome, Bridalveil Falls, Sentinel Dome, Yosemite Valley, Inspiration Point, & more. You will also have free time to explore on your own.
Private Yosemite Tours from San Francisco
If you’re looking for a more intimate Yosemite experience, there are also private Yosemite tours available.
From San Francisco: Yosemite Private Full-Day Trip
Dingo Tours offers private Yosemite tours from San Francisco for groups of up to 5 people. This 13-hour tour starts by picking you up at your accommodation in San Francisco or elsewhere in the Bay Area.
The day then continues with a drive to Yosemite National Park by car. Thanks to being a private tour, you’ll be able to stop at anything interesting that you might find along the way. Inside Yosemite, you’ll take in such breathtaking sights as Yosemite Valley, Yosemite Falls, Glacier Point, Half Dome, El Capitán, and the ancient sequoias. If there’s anything else in Yosemite that you especially want to visit, they can make it happen.
2-Day Yosemite Tours from San Francisco
Given how long it takes to drive from San Francisco to Yosemite, a 2-day Yosemite tour allows for much more time in the park. These longer tours allow for more hiking & more opportunities to take in scenic views, along with the potential for seeing the night sky as you stay overnight. There are several 2-day Yosemite Tours from San Francisco available, with different levels of accommodation depending upon your budget.
From San Francisco: Yosemite Lodge 2-Day National Park Tour
Incredible Adventures offers overnight Yosemite tours from San Francisco that include accommodation. There are two different hotel options: a tour that stays at Yosemite Lodge at the Falls, which is located in Yosemite Valley, or a tour with the more budget accommodation of Cedar Lodge, located a bit further away along the Merced River in El Portal. Based on the hotel reviews & the locations, I personally would opt for the Yosemite Lodge option even though it’s a bit more expensive. However, both tours have great reviews.
While the accommodation differs, both tours offer similar Yosemite tour experiences otherwise. The small group tours are narrated by professional guides & have a maximum of 13 participants in petroleum-free biodiesel mini-coaches departing from San Francisco.
In Yosemite, there’s a combination of a guided tour of prominent locations, as well as plenty of free time to explore. Highlights of the Yosemite tour include Yosemite Falls, Glacier Point, El Capitan, Bridalveil Falls, and Inspiration Point. If it’s the right season (no snow), you can also go on a hike through the Giant Sequoias. In addition to visiting Yosemite Valley, the tour also heads to other locations within the park.
San Francisco: 2-Day Yosemite Tour
Extranomical Tours offers this 2-Day Yosemite tour from San Francisco that covers all the highlights of Yosemite National Park.
After being picked up in San Francisco, the tour then heads to the mountains. While at Yosemite, stops with views of famous landmarks such as the sequoias of Tuolumne Grove, Yosemite Valley, El Capitan, Half Dome, and Bridal Veil Falls are included.
On the 2nd day, you are free to explore Yosemite as you wish to go hiking, biking, rock climbing, rafting, or just relaxing, with the potential to stay longer if arranged with the tour company.
Note: This Yosemite tour does not include accommodation, so you will need to book a place to stay in Yosemite for one night on your own. This allows you to choose whichever option fits your budget.
As you can see, there are plenty of great tours to Yosemite National Park from San Francisco. The tours allow you to see one of the country’s wonders without having to plan it all out & drive there yourself. Click here for even more Yosemite tour options.
If you’re looking for a place to stay, check out these San Francisco hotels.