How Often Does the Yosemite Valley Shuttle Run?

Driving and parking in Yosemite Valley are as often as not limited or non-existent. For this reason, several visitors park their vehicles near one of the stops and take the shuttle. Getting on and off as you please in affordable and sustainable public transit is the practical way to make the most out of your visit.

Now, the question is, “How often does Yosemite Valley shuttle run?” Good news! The national park shuttle system runs daily from 7:00 A.M. to 8:00 P.M all year round. Additionally, it frequently stops every 20-30 minutes, making it convenient for you to go around numerous of the park’s points of interest.

In fact, every shuttle goes around a fixed route with a regular schedule. While some shuttles are easy to use and free of charge, utilizing them can save you a lot of time. They run in a loop, eventually taking you to any spot you’re planning to visit. However, it’s better to know the exact route. So, how often does the Yosemite Valley shuttle run? Let’s find out!

Does the Yosemite Valley Shuttle Bus Run All Year Round?

Whether you enjoy a sun-drenched summer trip or a winter wonderland, there are plenty of magnificent views waiting for you. Yosemite Valley prides itself with incredible sceneries and lavish history, geology, and wildlife. So, it’s only right to have shuttle buses operating all year round to let visitors enjoy everything the park could offer.

Moreover, it’s important to note that national parks also do their part in protecting ecosystems by managing traffic. And since several national parks have already reopened post-pandemic, new national park shuttle regulations have been carried out to regulate ridership.

Regardless of the purpose of your visit to Yosemite Valley, you must abide by certain alternative policies provided by the national park. However, some regulations have turnarounds from time to time, so it’s important to check Yosemite Valley-related websites and with your tour guides.

Where does the Yosemite Valley Shuttle take you?

California and other states in America offer bus services to Yosemite Valley. Therefore, we list down all the destination points that the Yosemite Valley Shuttle can take you. 

Amtrak

This is a combination of train and bus service to Yosemite Valley. In addition, it has limited service to Tuolumne Meadows and White Wolf daily between July and August and weekends between June and September. YARTS provides Amtrak service that goes beyond Merced, including Yosemite.

Greyhound

On the other hand, Greyhound offers bus rides to Merced, where you can move to YARTS and continue to Yosemite Valley. Ultimately, YARTS also daily allocates limited service to Tuolumne Meadows, Crane Flat, and White Wolf. This is available between July and August and weekends between June and September.

There is a guide available regarding specific directions in public transportation if you are in one of the major airports in the area.

Schedule of Services Provided by YARTS

All seasons

  • Highway 140 in El Portal, Mariposa, Merced, Midpines

Summer

  • East Highway 120 in June Lake, Lee Vining, Mammoth Lakes
  • West Highway 129 in Buck Meadows, Groveland, Sonora
  • South Highway 41 in Fish Camp, Fresno, Oakhurst

Your Way Around Yosemite

Free and sustainable Yosemite Valley shuttle system allows convenient access around its various interesting spots. Hence, below are the routes and schedules for each shuttle.

Yosemite Valley Shuttle

It starts around eastern Yosemite Valley with stops at or near hotel accommodations, major vistas, and stores. However, the shuttles operate on a modified basis, every 20-30 minutes from 7:00 A.M. to 8 P.M. 

El Capitan Shuttle

On the other hand, this shuttle stops at El Capitan, Four Mile trailhead, and the Valley Visitor Center from mid-June to early October. It starts operating from 9 A.M. to 5 P.M.

Mariposa Grove Shuttle

Primarily, this free shuttle lays out service from the Mariposa Grove Welcome Plaza to the Mariposa Grove. Operating starting March 15 onwards and ending earlier than November 30. However, dates differ every year, especially during spring conditions. 

If you’re staying overnight in Wawona, you’re in luck because there’s also limited shuttle service from Wawona Hotel. Starting from mid-June to early September at around 9 A.M. and 5 P.M., pick-ups and drop-offs happen every two hours.

Tuolumne Meadows Shuttle

The shuttle bus is available everywhere in the Tuolumne Meadows area around the Tioga Pass and Olmsted Point. Tenaya Lake is accessible during the summer from mid-June to early September.

Badger Pass Ski Area

Free shuttle service between Yosemite Valley and Badger Pass when the facilities are open at the ski area. Typically, it starts from mid-December to March.

Yosemite Valley-Tuolumne Meadows Shuttle 

The hikers’ bus starts operating from Yosemite Valley to Tuolumne Meadows Visitor Center. from mid-June to early September. Eventually, it stops at various trails on Tioga Road.

Winter Travel

Do you enjoy the solitude of the winter season and want a level-up experience by visiting Yosemite Valley? Generally, there are around four entrances to Yosemite with clear roads, depending on which highway you are traveling. Hwy 120E or Tioga Pass, while all other entrances are open, is generally closed between October and May.

YARTS

Going green without compromising comfort, safety, and convenience while remaining economical is obtainable through traveling with YARTS. For winter, YART is the undemanding option to access the park along State Highway 140. YARTS follows a regular schedule and a fixed route from gateway communities in Yosemite National Park. So, you can ride from your hotel without the worries of taking tire chains.

Wheelchair-accessible Areas

Yosemite Valley offers nearly 12 miles of paved, wheelchair-accessible trails like any other national park. However, except for a portion near Housekeeping Camp, that might be an overly steep carp. Hence, Visitors who use a power scooter or wheelchair can enjoy plenty of the park’s interesting sites located along these trails.

Closest Airports to Yosemite

Fresno Yosemite International Airport (FAT) and the Merced Regional Airport (MCE) are the closest airports to Yosemite Valley on commercial flights. While MCE offers affordable rates, it only serves people flying to or from Los Angeles International Airport (LAX). And Oakland International Airport (OAK). 

On the other hand, private charter planes can fly to Mariposa / Yosemite Airport (KMPI), just a few miles from downtown Mariposa. In addition, the Mammoth Yosemite Airport is accessible via the Tioga Pass Entrance from June to October.

In general, several travelers fly in at Oakland, SFO, San Jose, or Sacramento with more flight options and lower prices. Roughly, it’s a 3.5 to 4-hour drive to Yosemite Valley.

Although, if you’re coming from the major Bay Area airports, State Highway 140 is the closest driving route via public transit. El Portal, Mariposa, and Midpines are the nearest lodging to the park. 

Yosemite Public Transportation Limitations

Other areas of the park are easily accessible and affordable as follows:

  • Yosemite Valley with free shuttle service around the eastern part
  • Wawona is operating via YARTS during summer only
  • Yosemite Valley, Tioga Road, Tuolumne Meadows with a fee-based tour from June to mid-September
  • Badger Pass Ski Area with free shuttle service from mid-December to March
  • Tuolumne Meadows is available in summer only
  • Hodgdon Meadow is available in summer only with a fee-based YARTS service

How Much Does It Cost to Take the Shuttle Around Yosemite Valley?

Daily and weekly shuttle passes are up for grabs online and at any tour desk in Yosemite Valley. You can also get them through the Tuolumne Meadows Lodge Front Desk and the Tuolumne Meadows Store. Children who are 11 years old younger are free of charge. 

Pass Pricing 

Daily Pass

  • Adult – $10
  • Child (Ages 12-18) – $5 

Weekly Pass

  • Adult – $10
  • Child (Ages 12-18) – $12.50

Is the Yosemite Valley Shuttle a Good Way to Travel Around Yosemite?

Yes, it’s an excellent way to make your way around various hiking spots and viewpoints. Although understanding the exact routes and stops may take a while. The bus drivers are rather helpful in informing you which stops you need to get where you want to be. Moreso, traffic is rigorously monitored, and the shuttles can be re-routed on a whim to meet your needs.

Parking your car upon arriving and enjoying the convenience of the national park shuttle system is a step ahead of going green. Rest assured that the shuttles that will tour you around Yosemite Valley are eco-friendly and affordable.

Final Thought

Thorough research and planning will make your visit to Yosemite Valley more convenient, secure, and fun. Getting familiar with some helpful tips and Yosemite’s seasons will help you a lot! Check for weather and road conditions, including tire chain requirements. 

Yosemite Valley welcomes millions of visitors every year. Many are drawn to its prolific wildlife, striking waterfalls, giant sequoias, and stunning cliffs. This is a utopia for adventure-seeking visitors, and the least you can do in return is to be responsible in your travels.

So, now that you know how often does Yosemite Valley Shuttle run, you can now pack your bags and start your journey!