Yosemite Tours from San Francisco

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. 

 

 


DAY TOURS OF YOSEMITE FROM SAN FRANCISCO

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.

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.

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.

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 of San Francisco and the surrounding areas. Their “Yosemite in a Day Tour” brings guests directly from their hotel in San Francisco to Yosemite National Park.

 

Tunnel View Vista Point

 

The tour includes a guided walk of among the giant redwood trees, followed by a drive to Tunnel View Vista Point (pictured above) which offers one of the best views of the area. 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: $169 – Adult | $159 – 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 compliment 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 San Francisco. 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: $181 – Adult | $175 – Child (under 11). *Prices are often discounted in 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 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 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 San Francisco.

  • Length of the Tour: 13.5 hours
  • When: Daily @ 7 am
  • Cost: 
    • Off-Peak season through March $159 – Adult | $107 – Child (5-11) | Free – children under 5
    • Peak Season April through September $185 – Adult | $135 – 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 San Francisco 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: $159 – Adult | $149 – 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. 

 


Back to top


 

MULTI-DAY TOURS OF YOSEMITE

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.


Extranomical Tours

In addition to their 1-day tour (see above), Extranomical Tours also run several multi-day tours to Yosemite National Park. Tours range from 2-5 days, each of which can be paired with or without accommodation.

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

  • Length of Tour: 2-5 days, with daily departures back to San Francisco available.
  • When: Departures daily @ 6 am
  • Cost without accomodation included:
    • 2 day tour $240 – Adult | $189 – Child 
    • 3 day tour $2602 – Adult | $201 – Child 
    • 4 day tour $237 – Adult | $206 – Child 
    • 5 day tour $242 – Adult | $211 – 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, a 3-day lodge 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. 

  • Length of Tour: 2-4 days
  • Cost: 
    • 2 day Yosemite tour with hotel – $404 – Adult 
    • 3 day Yosemite tour with camping – $469.00 per adult
    • 3 day Yosemite tour with lodging – $1,179.00
    • 4 day Yosemite and Tahoe Sierras tour with hotel – $636.65 per adult 

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. 

 


Back to top


 

DEALS AND DISCOUNTS

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

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. 

 


Back to top


 

VISITING SAN FRANCISCO

Most people visiting Yosemite also spend at least 1 day in San Francisco. We have written several guides and posts about visiting San Francisco. Here are just some of our many posts. Read our blog for even more information.

Getting Around 

Tours of San Francisco 

Things to Do

 


Back to top


About the author

Manager | San Francisco

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.