Often, when organizing a road trip across the U.S., even when it’s done with great attention to detail, it is still possible to underestimate aspects related to travel and timing. Because you may not be that familiar with the geography, you may find yourself disoriented and this can undermine the success of the trip.
For example, one trip that requires careful planning and timing is from San Francisco to Yosemite. How long does it take? Can you visit Yosemite in one day, taking into account the time it takes to travel there and back? What if I am already in Yosemite and want to enjoy all of its beauty in one day?
Good questions! Some of the most useful and interesting solutions to this problem are the organized tours of one or more days. Relying on local experts is a great option in order not to waste any time and be able to see the best places. Here are a number of different possibilities.
- One-Day Tour from Yosemite
- 1 Day Tour of Yosemite from San Francisco
- Multi-day Tour to Yosemite from San Francisco
Most of the trails in Yosemite can be walked independently, as we wrote in the article about hiking in Yosemite. There are trails of various lengths and difficulty levels, but often those who have little time give up when faced with the multitude of choices of trails in Yosemite, because they fear wasting a lot of time unnecessarily.
For this reason, you can take advantage of some guided tours starting directly in Yosemite. In some cases, the meeting point will be right at the beginning (trailhead) of the trail you have chosen, depending on your priorities, time available and level of physical fitness.
An example? The Half Dome, the park’s most prized peak, is also one of the most difficult to climb. Therefore, it might be smart and safe to choose to follow an expert guide.
If you decide to do it with the help of a guide, you will be properly trained and prepared before, during, and after the ascent, so that you can get to the top as safely as possible.
San Francisco: Yosemite National Park and Giant Sequoias
- How it works: This is a good choice for those who want to enjoy a tour of Yosemite National Park departing from San Francisco. You will be picked up directly from the hotel (the bus stops at most hotels in the city) and taken to Yosemite, where you will have 5-6 hours to visit Yosemite, with a certified guide. In addition, you will be taken along an easy trail to discover the giant redwoods. But be careful: the trail may be closed from October to May! Of course, the cost also includes the drop-off at the hotel in the evening.
- Price: Approximately $175
- Availability: Not specified
Yosemite National Park Day Trip from San Francisco
- How it works: Similar to the tour described above, this Yosemite tour includes a bus trip (equipped with all amenities, including wi-fi) leaving from downtown San Francisco at 6:30 am towards Yosemite, the visit of the park, and the return trip in the evening, for a total of about 14 hours, but only 4 hours tour inside the park. For a few extra bucks you can also eat at the famous Ahwahnee Hotel.
- Price with Lunch Included: Approximately $150
- Price without Lunch: Not specified
- Availability: April-December
Yosemite Private Day Tour from San Francisco
- How it works: This tour is much more exclusive. The itinerary is similar to that of other tours, but there are some important differences, starting from the means of transportation. Pick-up from the hotel and drop-off will no longer be by bus, but by a luxury vehicle for up to 6 people per reservation. In addition, the Yosemite National Park guide will be just for you (the itinerary will also be personalized) and the price also includes lunch at the Ahwahnee Hotel.
- Price: $290
- Availability: April-December
Yosemite National Park 2-day Tour Departing from San Francisco
- How it works: If you don’t think a day is enough to visit Yosemite from San Francisco, this tour could be for you. You will be picked up by a minibus at your hotel in San Francisco, and begin your tour. The first part of the tour takes place in Yosemite Valley, where the guide will take you to the park’s most fascinating points of interest. Also included in the price is a room at Cedar Lodge or Yosemite Lodge, breakfast on the second day, and a visit to Glacier Point before you go back to San Francisco.
- Price: Starting at about $470
- Availability: April-October
3-day Camping Adventure in Yosemite National Park from San Francisco
- How does it work: Would you consider a three-day tour in Yosemite instead? That way, you could say that you had a complete experience in Yosemite, and we’ll tell you what this tour has to offer. This tour will give you a great all-inclusive camping experience and provides you with 5 meals, a tent, and everything you need to camp (sleeping bag excluded). You will depart from the centrally-located Union Square (San Francisco) in a comfortable minivan, and enjoy two days among the most incredible sequoias and trails in the park, accompanied by an expert guide. On the third day, you will have free time. You can fully enjoy it before returning to San Francisco with your own transportation.
- Price: Starting at about $515
- Availability: May-October
Semi-Guided 2-Day Tour of Yosemite National Park from San Francisco
- How it works: This tour is perfect for those who, while wanting the benefit of following a travel plan still want to maintain some independence in their schedule. In fact, over the course of two days, there will be moments when you walk along the trails of Yosemite with your group, and other moments when you can enjoy hiking according to your preferences, whether it be relaxation or adventure, it is up to you to choose. The price includes one night in one of Yosemite’s hotels, inside and outside the park, so you can choose the best option for you.
- Price: Starting at about $400
- Availability: April-December
2-Day Winter Tour to Yosemite National Park from San Francisco
- How it works: Overall, the tours we have presented in this article are offered from May to October, except for a few cases. This tour is designed especially for those who want to experience Yosemite in the winter, from November to March. Early in the morning you will be picked up directly from your hotel and taken to Yosemite. During the ride, your guide will explain the park’s history. A snow-covered Yosemite will be waiting for you, which you can capture in the pictures you’ll take during the guided tour. You will have plenty of time to indulge in your favorite winter sports. You will spend the night in a hotel in the park and the next morning you will have breakfast, also included in the price. Pay attention! There are different price options. If you want to add the Badger Ski Pass to take advantage of what it has to offer, you will have to pay a little more.
- Price: Starting at about $375
- Availability: November-February