Yosemite Tours from San Francisco
This post compares and reviews tours of Yosemite 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. All of the companies listed below offer complimentary pick-up and drop-off at almost any hotel in San Francisco. To help you decide which tour to choose, we’ve listed the cost of each, as well as the approximate length and itinerary of each tour. We hope that this post encourages you to visit Yosemite National Park and helps you decide how best to get there!
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 6-7am. 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 offers several tours of San Francisco and the surrounding areas. Their Yosemite in a Day Tour brings guests directly from their hotel in SF to Yosemite National Park. The tour includes a guided walk of among the giant redwood trees, followed by a drive to Tunnel View Vista Point 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
Cost: $149 – Adult | $139 – Child (ages 0-12) (More info and to book)
Reviews: This company receives excellent reviews for all of their day trips (read the reviews), especially their tour to Yosemite National Park. Several of the reviewers praise the knowledgeable guides and ease of transportation. 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 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. Heavy traffic in the city can occasionally cause delays, but guests who experienced this write that the beautiful redwoods more than made up for any operational issues. No food is included in the price of the tour, but guests are given breaks for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Extranomical offers a whole array of tours, including San Francisco bus tours, wine tasting tours and more. See their full selection of tours.
The length of Tour: Approximately 14 hours.
When: Daily @ 6 am.
Cost: $179 – Adult | $140 – Child (More info and to book)
Reviews: 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 praises 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.
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. Food and drinks are not provided, but door-to-door pick-up from most hotels in San Francisco is. Additionally, the cost of the tour includes the Yosemite National Park entrance fee. There are 28, 40, and 56 seat vehicles used for this tour, 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.
The length of Tour: 13.5 hours.
When: Daily @ 7 am
Cost: $149 – Adult | $107 – Child (5-11) (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. As always, there is unanimous praise for Yosemite itself. TripAdvisor: 4 stars.
Incredible Adventures’ day tour to Yosemite includes complimentary pick-up from most San Francisco hotels, a professional guide, in-coach narrated tour of Yosemite (1.5 hrs), 3 hours of free time in the Valley, and the Yosemite Park entrance fee. As with all the other tours, 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.
Length of Tour: 14-15 hours
Cost: $169 – Adult | $159 – Child (More info and to book)
Reviews: Reviews for Incredible Adventures is also mixed, as many guests complain about the inaccurate time allowance suggested on the company’s website. Due to traffic or bad weather, several guests were allotted a much more limited amount of free time at Yosemite. However, those who didn’t experience this rated the tour very highly, praising the high quality of the guides. 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 accommodation is part of the package. However, the most signifcant 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.
In addition to their 1 day tour, 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 strictly include San Francisco hotel pick-up, transportation to Yosemite National Park, a tour of Yosemite Valley, and a drop-off at Yosemite Lodge. For those who select a tour that does include accommodation, there are several different types of accommodation with different price tags to choose from.
Length of Tour: 2-5 days, with daily departures back to San Francisco available.
- 2 day tour without accommodation – $227 – Adult | $196 – Child / with accommodation – varies
- 3 day tour without accommodation – $232 – Adult | $201 – Child / with accommodation – varies
- 4 day tour without accommodation – $237 – Adult | $206 – Child / with accommodation – varies
- 5 day tour without accommodation – $242 – Adult | $211 – Child / with accommodation – varies
- 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 praises 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 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 feature the same inclusions as the day tours, but also combines the cost of accommodation. 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, as always, is not included. They also offer a combination tours with Tahoe Sierras.
Length of Tour: 2-4 days
- 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 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 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.
Most people visiting Yosemite also spend at least 1 day in San Francisco. We have written several guides and ‘how to’ posts about visiting San Francisco. Below we’ve included the articles that we believe are most helpful.
Tours of San Francisco:
Things to Do: