Are there buses from San Francisco to Yosemite National Park?

Are there buses from San Francisco to Yosemite National Park?

Yosemite’s secluded location is part of what makes it a national treasure, but getting there may be a challenge. Cars are the primary mode of transportation in this area, and public transportation is extremely restricted. So planning to start your journey from San Francisco to Yosemite with a list of transportation alternatives, such as bus rides, is essential.

Several bus companies offer transportation services to and from San Francisco. Not to mention Yosemite’s shuttle bus system for those who prefer to travel by public transportation. 

So if you are looking for more information about bus services from San Francisco to Yosemite, keep on reading.

How much does it cost to take a bus from San Francisco to Yosemite National Park?

Efforts are constantly made to develop a practical transportation system in Yosemite including commercial bus and shuttle alternatives. Nonetheless, It’s important to keep in mind that the bus fare might vary significantly based on the time of day and day of the week.

Yosemite, California, can be reached in 9 hours and 13 minutes on the cheapest ticket via Greyhound (bus) which costs $21.50- $30.00. But if you wanted a cheaper option, then a combination of travel methods such as taking a train and bus or mainly train would do. 

Train and Bus 

You can take a train via Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) from Civic Center/UN Plaza Station to Dublin/Pleasanton Station for $7.10. Then take a SmaRT BART Commuter bus to Roger K. Fall Transit Center ($2) two hours away. From there, Merced County Transit’s public bus will pick you up and drop you off at the Merced Transpo bus stop (a one-hour ride).

The last stop is where you may catch the final YARTS bus to Yosemite Valley Visitor Center in two hours and 45 minutes. So for around $13 to $23, this route can get you to Yosemite from San Francisco without additional expenses. Though this may be the cheapest option, it’s also the most exhausting.

Train Ride

Taking a train from San Francisco to Yosemite Valley is the most common mode of transportation, although it only gets you halfway there.

You can reach Yosemite Valley by train three times daily from San Francisco. Amtrak’s fastest train can complete the journey in just 6 hours and 21 minutes, making the train ride the quickest mode of transportation. 

To guide you, purchase an $11 ticket ride to the BART station going to Richmond Station. This trip takes about 35 minutes. From there, walk over to the Amtrak station and purchase a ticket going to Merced. Get on the “San Joaquin line” and head southbound for 2 hours and 40 minutes to Merced station on the Amtrak train.

You can take the Yosemite Area Regional Transit System (YARTS) bus to Yosemite National Park from Merced Station. This way is the easiest to get to the park. The Yosemite Valley Visitor Center may be reached in 1 hour and 45 minutes. From San Francisco to Yosemite Valley, a one-way train ticket will cost $32 and 39.

How long is the bus ride from San Francisco to Yosemite National Park?

There is no direct bus service from San Francisco to Yosemite National Park, although private bus tour companies like Gray Line and Viator offer day trips. Nonetheless, if you take a Greyhound bus to Merced ($20, 3 hours and 45 minutes) and then a YARTS bus ($5 to $10, 2 hours and 45 minutes), you can get to the visitor center without changing buses. 

Including the time spent waiting for a bus, the trip takes six and a half hours in total. But if you want to save money on your trip to Yosemite, Greyhound’s service from San Francisco is for you. Though, this choice will take the longest to complete. On top of several transfers, the Greyhound bus trip takes almost nine hours.

How often does the greyhound bus travel to Yosemite National Park?

Greyhound and Amtrak provide daily bus service from San Francisco and Fresno, with links to the city of Merced (southwest part of Yosemite). From there, you can take the Yosemite Area Regional Transportation System (YARTS) into the park and then connect to any of Yosemite’s shuttle services. 

Shuttles are available in most parts of the park, and several of them are free. Aside from serving Yosemite Valley, the YARTS system also provides summer service to Mariposa County (west of the park) and Mammoth Lake and Mono County (east of the park).

Where does the Greyhound bus stop in Yosemite National Park?

Every day, Greyhound buses from San Francisco, Stockton, and Madera travel to the Merced Transportation Hub to drop off points to Yosemite. Transferring to the Yosemite Valley via YARTS is possible from this point.

Does Yosemite National Park have a shuttle system?

A free shuttle bus service runs throughout Yosemite for visitors’ convenience. Yosemite Valley Shuttle serves all hotels and campgrounds in the Yosemite National Park, including Housekeeping Camp and Upper Pines Campground, which operate year-round.

On the other hand, the Yosemite Valley Visitor Center, El Capitan, and the Four Mile trailhead are accessible by the El Capitan Shuttle, which runs from mid-June to early October.

Additionally, there are several options for getting about the park after arriving in Yosemite Valley via public transportation:

  • Valley of the Yosemite (free shuttle service around eastern Yosemite Valley)
  • Glacier Point (open from the end of May/early June to the end of October on a fee-based tour; reservations are required)
  • Badger Pass Ski and Snowboard Area (mid-December through March via free shuttle)
  • Tuolumne Meadows/Yosemite Valley/Tioga Road (June to mid-September fee-based tour and YARTS Highway 120 East bus)
  • The Meadows of Tuolumne (summer only; shuttle service in the Tuolumne Meadows area)
  • In the valley of Hetch Hetchy (no public transportation)
  • The Meadows of Hodgdon (summer only; fee-based public transportation via YARTS Highway 120 North bus)

What is the fastest transport method from San Francisco to Yosemite?

Flying from San Francisco to Yosemite is the quickest method to get there. You can travel into either the Merced Regional Airport (the one closest to the park) or the smaller Fresno Yosemite International Airport (the one farther away). 

There are affordable flights from Oakland International Airport to Merced; however, it takes two hours to travel from Merced to Yosemite Valley (on top of the 45-minute flight). You can take the YARTS bus from the airport to Yosemite Valley.

Are there any organized bus tours from San Francisco to Yosemite?

The drive to Yosemite is at least 4 hours from San Francisco (and sometimes takes longer with traffic), so it is not usually recommended as a day trip. Yet, organized trips make it easy to visit Yosemite from San Francisco in just one day.

Day tours to Yosemite National Park are available from San Francisco via several tour operators. Like Best Bay Area Tours, Extranomical Tours, and Gray Line Tours feature Yosemite Park as part of their packages.

A full-day tour usually costs between $140 and $150 in admission fees, with fewer services available in the winter. 

When to Visit

The greatest time to visit Yosemite is during the summer months. There will be more people in the park, but it is preferable not to trek up to enjoy the beautiful scenery. You shouldn’t miss the upper paths and vistas! 

A Worthwhile Travel from San Francisco to Yosemite

Yosemite is a major tourist destination in California that can be visited through several transportation services from San Francisco to Yosemite and back. So if you are planning to visit Yosemite via public transportation, then bus and train rides can be the best option.

We’ve outlined the best routes (from San Francisco to Yosemite), the best bus (Greyhound), and the train company (Amtrak) along with the issues to bear in mind. Thus, you must remember that there is no one-size-fits-all approach to getting to Yosemite. So consider your travel style, budget, and vacation plans while choosing a mode of transportation for your trip.