Yosemite National Park is home to many natural wonders, including cascading waterfalls and enormous granite cliffs. Due to this, Yosemite park has been an attraction all year round. But despite its distinct appeal, the two-hour, 26-mile drive to Yosemite may seem excessive to some. Fortunately, there are alternative options for getting there.
The Yosemite Area Regional Transportation System (YARTS) is just one of many choices available to get in and around Yosemite Valley. You can take advantage of this service if you don’t have a car and want to travel around. With four different routes, YARTS can get you from nearby gateway towns, like Merced, Fresno, Mammoth Lakes, or Sonora, to Yosemite National Park.
As a handy alternative to driving, travelers visiting Yosemite have begun using this shuttle service. Nonetheless, traveling within the park using YARTS is a different story. So if you’re planning to travel to Yosemite via shuttle and bus services– here’s the guide to get you started. Keep on reading!
How frequently do the shuttles run in Yosemite?
Yosemite Area Regional Transportation System (YARTS) runs across eastern Yosemite Valley throughout the year (year-round routes), stopping at the majority of the park’s major attractions as well as a few trailheads. This shuttle service runs every 20 to 30 minutes daily. Nonetheless, some stops vary if there is significant snow or ice accumulation. (seasonal-routes)
How much does the Yosemite shuttle bus cost?
Generally, there are two options of bus services available going to Yosemite Park. One of which is by train and bus from Amtrak, which costs $54. They offer daily, limited service to White Wolf and Tuolumne Meadows through the Golden Gate Bridge. The YARTS provides Amtrak service beyond Merced, which includes Yosemite.
Greyhound is also available as a bus service going to Yosemite Valley. The cost of this service ranges from $20 to $30, depending on the schedule.
Thus, the valley floor is serviced daily by Yosemite free shuttle buses, allowing you to board and exit as much as possible without incurring any additional costs.
Does the Yosemite shuttle run year-round?
As stated earlier, Yosemite Area Regional Transportation System (YARTS) runs across eastern Yosemite Valley throughout the year. Merced to Mariposa Highway 140 also provides year-round access to the area, allowing for many runs each day. Thus, there are limited routes available from Fresno to Mammoth Lakes during the summer months.
Are shuttles running in Yosemite in 2022?
The iconic Yosemite Valley Shuttle System resumes in 2022 with free and easy service to 20 locations inside the Valley. After a year, they’ll now be using eco-friendly buses interrupted by pandemic-related difficulties.
Indeed, YARTS stations at four locations (Merced, Fresno, Sonora, and Mammoth Lakes) in the Yosemite Valley make it easier to transfer to other parts of Yosemite’s service area. Thus, the shuttle will run from 7 am to 10 pm daily.
Do YARTS get you into Yosemite?
When the park traffic is strong, YARTs buses get to use the “bus-only” lane as you arrive in Yosemite, meaning you have more time enjoying the park. Thus, the complimentary Yosemite Valley shuttle will take you to your desired destination within the park. All overnight lodgings, shops, and key panoramas in eastern Yosemite Valley are served by this bus.
On a more limited schedule than usual, this shuttle runs from 7 am to 8 pm every 20 to 30 minutes and only at a few designated stops. Other shuttle systems that are operational this 2022 include:
El Capitan Shuttle
From the middle of June until the beginning of October, this shuttle runs from 9 am to 5 pm. El Capitan, the Four Mile trailhead, and the Valley Visitor Center are all served by this bus.
Tuolumne Meadows Shuttle
During the summer, the Tuolumne Meadows shuttle bus connects the Tioga Pass and Olmsted Point (and Tenaya Lake) areas of Tuolumne Meadows (typically mid-June through early September).
Badger Pass Ski Area Shuttle
Yosemite Valley and Badger Pass are served by a free shuttle service anytime the ski area’s facilities are available (typically mid-December through March).
Shuttle in the Mariposa Groves
The Mariposa Grove Welcome Plaza (near the South Entrance) to the Mariposa Grove is serviced by a free shuttle. This route may mostly reach the Mariposa Grove. Every year the shuttle’s operating schedule varies greatly, notably in the spring, which is when the shuttle is most likely to run (due to conditions)
Restrictions on Yosemite Public Transportation
Access to other parts of the park is accessible if you arrive in Yosemite Valley by public transportation:
- The Yosemite Valley (free shuttle service around eastern Yosemite Valley)
- A fee-based trip is necessary to see Glacier Point (late May/June through October).
- Wawona Trip (summer only via YARTS)
- The Ski Area at Badger Pass (mid-December through March via free shuttle)
- At the end of Tioga Road in Tuolumne Meadows, which may be reached through the Tioga Pass (June to mid-September fee-based tour and YARTS Highway 120 East bus)
- Meadows of Tuolumne (summer only; shuttle service in the Tuolumne Meadows area)
- Valley in Hetch Hetchy (no public transportation)
- Hayfields at Hodgdon (summer only; fee-based public transportation via YARTS Highway 120 North bus)
Where do YARTS provide transportation to?
Yosemite Area Regional Transportation System (YARTS) has been taking the stress out of traveling to the park for the past 20 years, making it easier for visitors. There are four main routes through six neighboring counties that bring tens of thousands of visitors to the park each year.
These routes include Merced (HWY 140), Fresno (HWY 41), Mammoth Lake (HWY 120/395), and Sanora (HWY 120). Additionally, more than 100 nationalities and regions are represented among the visitors, who hail from throughout California.
How much does YARTS cost?
All Amtrak and Greyhound passengers who arrive at Fresno or Merced stations are automatically included in the fee for the Yosemite Area Rapid Transit system.
To further guide you, there is a zone-based fare system for YARTS. Once you know where you’re going and how far you’re going, you can figure out how much it will cost you.
- Merced to Catheys Valley to Mariposa to Midpines to El Portal and finally to Yosemite Valley on Highway 140
- Yosemite Valley via Highway 120 – Sonora – Jamestown – Groveland
- Mammoth Lakes – June Lake Junction – Lee Vining – Tuolumne Meadows – Yosemite Valley – 395/120E
- From Fresno through Oakhurst via Fish Camp to Wawona and Yosemite Valley, you may use Highway 41.
Fare Types in YARTS
Reduced rates are offered for those 62 years of age or older, veterans, and those with disabilities, as long as they have a valid identification card.
Rides for children ages 5 and under are free. With each paid adult fare, one kid ages 6-12 rides free. Reduced fares are available for additional children aged 6-17.
Passes for Commuters
It is possible to acquire YARTS bus passes for the Highway 140 Merced route. Prices are shown here.
4 ways to purchase a YARTS ticket
- Reserve a seat online
- With a credit card on the bus (Visa, Mastercard, and Discover only)
- Cash (no change given)
- Buy a ticket at YARTS Administration Office in Merced at 369 W 18.
Do YARTS run year-round?
Yosemite Area Regional Transportation System (YARTS) offers year-round and peak season transport service into Yosemite National Park. It caters to its gateway areas around Highways 140 (Merced and Mariposa Counties), 120 (Tuolumne County), 395/120E (Mono County), and 41 (Fresno and Madera Counties)
Year-round service on the YARTS from Highway 140 route is available in Mariposa County. On the other hand, the Highway 41 and Highway 120 routes are only open during the summer months (May-September). Thus, Mammoth Lakes and Mono County are on the YARTS Hwy 120/395 itinerary whenever Tioga Pass Road is open from June to September.
Shuttle Services in Yosemite: Is it worth it?
Before going to Yosemite National Park, it’s important to identify your itinerary before deciding to take public transportation. With the right information, you’ll be able to plan your travel accurately, whether from transportation budget, pocket money, or even bus stops.
Nevertheless, it is reasonable to say that the Yosemite Area Regional Transportation System (YARTS) offers a major convenience and comfort factor for tourists. With its free and daily shuttle services, there’s no doubt that visitors will take advantage of it.
So what are you waiting for? Visit Yosemite park today thru YARTS!