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Yosemite Tours from San Francisco

Updated: February 8, 2024
 By Britt

This post compares and reviews Yosemite tours from San Francisco. Yosemite National Park is a beautiful area of California located approximately 3.5 hours from the Bay Area.

As the park is difficult to reach without a car, bus tours are an excellent alternative. Details in this post are accurate and updated as of May 2024.

Disclosure: While our recommendations are always unbiased, we may receive a small share of sales through some of the links below at no cost to you. See the full text.


As there is no train that directly services Yosemite National Park, bus tours are the best way to visit the area for those who do not have a car of their own.

Whether you want to hike the trails or just see the most noteworthy sites in the area, this is a pretty good way to experience the natural beauty of the area.

There are several different companies offering day trips to Yosemite from San Francisco. For the most part, they are all fairly similar in price and itinerary.

Each also offers complimentary hotel pick-up from most hotels in San Francisco, departing between 6-7 am.

Driving map to Yosemite

After the 3.5 hour drive to Yosemite, guests are given a 1-hour bus tour of the area followed by 2-4 hours of free time to explore on their own.

Here are a few of Yosemite Valley's most famous viewpoints that you can expect to see::

  • Yosemite Falls
  • El Capitan
  • Half Dome
  • Bridalveil Falls
  • Sierra Nevada Mountains
  • Merced River
  • And more!

Visitors can also visit locations such as the Ansel Adams Gallery for free, rent a bike and ride around the park, check out the rangers' station, and more.

Because this tour involves lots of driving with the potential for delays due to traffic or weather, time allotments are often inexact.

However, regardless of any transportation issues, all guests seem in agreement about the impressive beauty of Yosemite. 

Best Bay Area Tours

Best Bay Area Tours offers several tours in and around San Francisco.

Their "Yosemite in a Day Tour" brings guests directly from their hotel to Yosemite National Park.

Tunnel View Vista Point

The tour includes a guided walk among the giant redwood trees, followed by a scenic drive to Tunnel View Vista Point photo stop (pictured above) which offers one of the best views of the area.

Along the way, guests can expect their tour guide to offer commentary and point out highlights such as Yosemite Falls and other waterfalls, Half Dome, El Capitan, and more.

Lunch is not included, but there is free time for guests to purchase food. 

  • Length of Tour: Approximately 14 hours 
  • When: Daily @ 6 am from Fisherman's Wharf
  • Cost: $209 - Adult | $179 - Child (ages 0-12)
  • More info and to book.

Reviews: This company receives excellent reviews for all of their day trips, especially their tour to Yosemite National Park.

Several of the reviewers praise the knowledgeable guides and ease of transportation. Read reviews here.

Guests also comment on the beauty of the park and complement this company for allowing adequate free time to explore on their own. TripAdvisor Rating: 5 stars. 

Extranomical Tours

Extranomical Tours runs several different tours to Yosemite, including a 1-day tour directly from the Bay Area. Their buses can be large, accommodating up to 45 guests.

They offer to pick up and drop off at almost any hotel in San Francisco, making the door-to-door service very convenient. 

No food is included in the price of the tour, but guests are given breaks for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.  

Extranomical Tours offers a wide array of tours, including San Francisco bus tours, wine tasting tours, and more. See their full selection of tours

  • Length of Tour: Approximately 14 hours. 
  • When: Daily @6 am
  • Cost: $219 - Adult | $197 - Child (under 11). *Prices are often discounted in the off-season from Jan-March.
  • More info and to book.

Reviews: Extranomical Tours' Yosemite Tour receives generally very positive reviews, with many guests referring to their experience as "wonderful" and something that "should not be missed." 

The company's guides also receive high marks for being "knowledgeable, humorous, and well organized."

Many also compliment the buses themselves for being clean and quaint, making the experience all the more intimate. 

Read the reviews here.

Though some guests complain that the microphone on the bus was inadequate, the infrequency of these comments suggests that this issue has been fixed. TripAdvisor Rating: 4.5 stars. 

Gray Line San Francisco Tours

Gray Line Tours offers a day trip to Yosemite that features a 1 hour guided bus tour of Yosemite Valley and 3 hours of free time to explore on your own.

Yosemite view

Door-to-door pick-up from most hotels in San Francisco is included as is the entrance fee to Yosemite National Park.

Food and drinks are not provided. Free cancellation up to 24 hours before the tour.

Note that they use buses that seat from 28-56 people, so the size of the group can vary immensely depending on the season.  

Gray Line offers a complete line of tours inside and outside of the Bay Area.

  • Length of the Tour: 13.5 hours
  • When: Daily @ 7 am
  • Cost: 
    • Off-Peak season through March $169 - Adult | $119 - Child (5-11) | Free - children under 5
    • Peak Season April through September $199 - Adult | $146 - Child (5-11) | Free - children under 5
  • More info and to book.

Reviews: The reviews for this tour were also very mixed, with many saying that they felt rushed at Yosemite and that the company seemed very disorganized.

There were several complaints regarding the attitudes of the bus drivers, many of whom were criticized for being rude and unprofessional. 

On the other hand, several commenters noted that this was a highlight of their trip to the Bay Area and that they learned a lot during the tour. Read the reviews. TripAdvisor: 4 stars. 

Incredible Adventures

Incredible Adventures' day tour to Yosemite includes a professional guide, an in-coach narrated tour of Yosemite (1.5 hrs), 3 hours of free time in the Valley, and the Yosemite Park entrance fee.

Free pick-up from most San Francisco hotels is included. Refreshments are not included, but there is plenty of time for guests to purchase their own along the way.

Incredible Adventures also operates tours on behalf of Tower Tours. Free cancellation up to 24 hours before the tour.

  • Length of Tour: 14-15 hours
  • When: Daily @ 6 am
  • Cost: $199 - Adult | $162 - Child (under 12 years of age)
  • More info and to book.

Reviews: Reviews for Incredible Adventures are quite good, with guests consistently praising the guides as knowledgeable, entertaining, and engaging.

Though reviewers note that it is a long day, they felt that the guides kept the trip interesting. Read reviews here.

There are a few complaints that the website isn't accurate about time allowance on the website.

One must take into account that weather conditions and traffic can cause changes in the amount of time allotted for each part of the trip.

Regardless, the reviews are excellent across the board. TripAdvisor Rating: 4.5 stars. 


For those looking to spend ample time in Yosemite, a multi-day tour of the park is your best option. Tours typically range from 2-5 days and can include accommodation or not.

The cost of multi-day tours tends to be significantly higher than any day tours, regardless of whether or not the accommodation is part of the package.

However, the most significant benefit of opting for a multi-day tour is having adequate time to explore Yosemite, as that is the most common criticism of all-day tours across the board.

If you're interested in hiking or bike rentals, this type of tour will give you more time to really experience several different parts of the park in the heart of Yosemite Valley at your own pace.

Extranomical Tours

In addition to their 1-day tour (see above), Extranomical Tours also usually run several multi-day tours to Yosemite National Park.

Tours typically range from 2-5 days, each of which can be paired with or without accommodation. Unfortunately, as of March 2022, they are only offering 2-day outings.

Those that don't include accommodation include San Francisco hotel pick-up, transportation to Yosemite National Park, a tour of Yosemite Valley, and a drop-off at Yosemite Lodge.

Extranomical Tours Yosemite Park

For those who select a tour that does include accommodation, there are several different types of accommodation with different price tags to choose from. Many consider the Ahwahnee Hotel to be one of the best in the area.

Prices will vary based on the location of the lodge and the number of people in your party.

  • Length of Tour: 2 days, with daily departures back to San Francisco available.
  • When: Departures daily @ 5:40 am
  • Cost without accommodation included:
    • 2 day tour $279 - Adult | $249 - Child 
  • Learn more or to book.

Reviews: As noted above, reviews for Extranomical Tours' Yosemite Tour are generally very positive, with many guests referring to their experience as "wonderful" and something that "should not be missed."

The company's guides also receive high praise for being "knowledgeable, humorous, and well organized."

Many also compliment the buses themselves for being clean and quaint, making the experience all the more intimate.

Though some guests complain that the microphone on the bus was inadequate, the infrequency of these comments suggests that this issue has been fixed. TripAdvisor Rating: 4.5 stars. 

Incredible Adventures

Incredible Adventures also offers several multi-day tours of Yosemite, including a 3-day camping tour and a 2-day hotel tour. 

Each of these tours features the same inclusions as the day tours but included the cost of accommodation.

Yosemite National Park

San Francisco hotel pick-up, transportation to Yosemite National Park, a narrated tour of the area, and drop off at Yosemite lodging is all part of the overall cost.

Food and drink are not included.

They also offer a combination tour with the Tahoe Sierras. 

Reviews: Similar to Extranomical Tours, nearly all of the Incredible Adventures' negative reviews are critical of the short amount of time allotted for exploring Yosemite.

Multi-day tours allow guests to avoid this issue and make the most of their time in the park.

Those who didn't experience this rated the tour very highly, praising the high quality of the guides. TripAdvisor Rating: 4.5 stars. 



For the budget-conscious traveler, there are several websites that regularly offer discounts on tours of Yosemite. Here are some of the best websites to browse through in search of a deal: 


Viator is a booking platform that curates lists of handpicked tours to sell directly to guests. They promote several different tours of Yosemite, each of which varies immensely in price.

This is a good place to browse through a wide selection of tours so that you can compare prices and itineraries. Learn more.

Groupon, Living Social, and GoldStar

Additionally, there are several other discount websites such as Groupon, LivingSocial, GoldStar, and Viator that periodically offer discounted tours of Yosemite.

These companies update their deals on a regular basis, so be sure to check each website to learn more about what special discounts are on offer. 


If you still have a few questions about what you need to know before visiting this historic National Park, this section will attempt to offer simple answers for the most common concerns.

How many days do you need in Yosemite?

Although you can visit and see some of the most noteworthy sites in just one day, most visitors recommend setting aside at least 2-4 days for this activity.

What are the best months to visit Yosemite?

The most beautiful time of year to see the park is from May - September.

Should I drive to Yosemite or book a tour?

If you have a car, it will likely be more affordable to visit on your own, but then you won't have a tour guide to help you make your way around the park. If you want to explore Yosemite at your own pace, driving is the way to go.



Most people visiting Yosemite also spend at least 1 day in San Francisco. We have written several guides and posts about visiting the Bay Area.

Here are just some of our many posts. 

Getting Around 

Tours of San Francisco 

Things to Do

Other Day Trips

About The Author


Britt is a San Francisco Bay Area native, and has spent 25 years in this magical city. He has traveled to over 30 countries, and has never found a place he loves as much as this one! If you come to San Francisco, you might join one of Britt's tours of the city. A graduate of the University of Maryland and University of Southern California, he has been leading tours for Free Tours by Foot since 2015.
Updated: February 8th, 2024
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