Visiting Yosemite in just a day ... is it really possible?

Some visitors prefer to let someone else do the driving for their tourism.  There are several companies based in San Francisco which offer One, Two, or Three Day tours to Yosemite National Park. 

Keep these things in mind when you’re considering which company will work best for you and your travel group. 

  • Yosemite Valley is about 200 miles from San Francisco.  This is about 4 hours of travel each way.  Even with a short rest stop, this is a long time in a van or bus.   Most one day tours include about 3 hours in Yosemite Valley and no time elsewhere in the 1200 square mile National Park.
  • Some companies use a full size bus or coach (with restroom), some use a van or mini-bus, and some use both types (depending on the season and size of the group.)  If you have a preference, check with the company directly to confirm you’re getting what you want.
  • There isn’t a guarantee that your group will be sitting together.  If you’re the last group to be picked up at your SF hotel, it’s possible that the available seats will be all over the vehicle.
  • The bus driver usually serves as a tour guide and will share lots of information about Yosemite National Park on your 4 hour journey up into the mountains.   Most driver guides offer additional details as you enter Yosemite Valley.
  • Some tours stay together during the day visit while some just drop folks off and pick them up later. Pick the type of tour that works for you.
  • Some companies are just resellers of tickets.  Decide if you'd rather book directly or to use a consolidator.
  • Chat with folks on the San Francisco forum or the Yosemite forum if you'd like additional feedback about the tours.  On the forums, the companies mentioned most often are Incredible Adventures and Extranomical.
  • For assistance in planning your short time in Yosemite Valley, ask on the Yosemite Forum

Details about One Day Tours are included in these descriptions.  Some companies offer longer tours; click on the company website for more information.   Note that TripAdvisor reviews are only supposed to be about one day tours, but you might find TA reviews about multi-day tours.

All San Francisco Tours  Company Website   (?Tour provided by Incredible Adventures?)

Best Bay Area Tours   Company Website   Van, 15 hrs, $130 adult price , may include Tuolumne Grove of Giant Sequoias, April - October only.

California Parlour Tours Company Website    (Tour provided by Grayline)

Coach America Company Website    Motorcoach, 14 hours, $145 adult price, on-your-own in Yosemite Valley

Extranomical Tours Company Website     Motorcoach, 15 hours, $135 adult price (discount for booking on-line), on-your-own in Yosemite Valley.  Van or minibus, 15 hours, $145 adult price (discount for booking on-line), sometimes includes visit to a grove of Giant Sequoias (check!)


  •  Two, Three, Four, and Five Day tours available.  Use YARTS bus transportation if you select lodging outside Yosemite Valley.   Can purchase just transportation to/from SF or transportation + lodging.


Gray Line Company Website     Motorcoach, 14 hours, $145 adult price

Green Tortoise Company Website  (No one day tours.)

  • Two Day Camping Tour (all gear & food included) 

Incredible Adventures  Company Website   Biodiesel van, 15 hours, $149 adult price (discount for booking on-line), guided tour plus on-your-own in Yosemite Valley 

  • Two Day Hotel Tour (guide stays with the group)
  • Three Day Camping Tour (all gear & food included.)

Starline Tours Company Website    Motorcoach, 15 hours, $140 adult price, brief tour, tour plus on-your-own in Yosemite Valley

  • Two or Three Day Hotel Tour (on your own)

Tower Tours Company Website     15 hours, $141, (Tour provided by IncredibleAdventures in winter)

Yosemite Tours Company Website   Motorcoach, 15 hrs, $125 adult price + $10 entrance fee, discount for booking on-line, brief tour, tour plus on-your-own in Yosemite Valley

  • One Day tour to Yosemite Valley $135 + $10
  • Two, Three, Four, and Five day tours available
  • Private tours available 

Viator Company Website     (Tour provided by Extranomical)

2010 thread with information here 

Article about Public Transportation to Yosemite via Amtrak and YARTS here  

Views that you can see while you're in Yosemite Valley: 

Valley View

Valley View in summer 


Upper Yosemite Fall in spring

Upper Yosemite Fall in spring, taken near Yosemite Lodge at the Falls 


Upper Yosemite Fall in winter 

Upper Yosemite Fall in winter, taken from the road