- Yosemite National Park day trip from San Francisco
- Travel through the Central Valley farmlands, historical Gold Country and the Sierra Nevada foothills
- Spend five hours snapping photos of Yosemite’s stunning forests, rock formations and waterfalls
- Visit Half Dome, Yosemite Falls, Bridalveil Falls and El Capitan on a guided van tour
- Enjoy free time to explore Yosemite’s other natural wonders by foot or bike
- Take in a breathtaking panorama from Inspiration Point, 4,500 feet above sea level
- Small-group tour limited to 15 ensures a more personalized experience
Why Our Insiders Chose This Tour
This is the most time you can spend at Yosemite on a day trip, so be prepared for a long, busy day. You get three full hours to spend in the park however you wish; I recommend renting a bike or checking out the Ansel Adams Gallery.
Recent Photos of This Tour
What You Can Expect
Total driving time is about 4.5 hours, and you’ll stop briefly at a roadside fruit stand to purchase some local nuts or fruit (own expense). Continue the drive past horse and cattle ranches as you make your way into the foothills of the Sierras and Gold County, where ambitious pioneers panned for gold during the 1849 Gold Rush.
When you arrive at Yosemite National Park, you’ll start your visit with a 1.5-hour driving tour of the park’s main natural attraction, Yosemite Valley. Stop often for photo ops of this glacial valley known for its rock formations and waterfalls, and enjoy access to some areas that big-bus tours can’t reach. See Half Dome, Yosemite’s most iconic feature, and observe daring rock climbers ascend the 3,000-foot (914-meter) sheer granite face of El Capitan. Visit Bridalveil Falls, check out Inspiration Point for views from 4,500 feet (1,371 meters) in the air, and head to Yosemite Falls, North America’s tallest waterfall.
You have time to buy lunch here at one of the various eatery options, and then enjoy three hours of free time to experience the park however you wish. Perhaps go for a hike, or rent a bike to cover more ground. If you’re not feeling active, make your way to the visitor’s center for informational exhibits, head to the Ansel Adams Gallery to see works by the legendary photographer, or visit the Ahwahnee Hotel for some Yosemite history.
In the late afternoon, meet back up with your group for the return drive to San Francisco, which includes one short rest stop. You’ll arrive in the city in the evening, enjoying a twinkling view of the downtown skyline and the bay before hotel drop-off.
The tour guide/driver that we had on this day was superb! He was personable and knowledgeable, and ensured that we were comfortable and safe during the drive to and from Yosemite. He was very punctual during pick-up and gave us more than sufficient time to explore Yosemite.
Yosemite is a mighty sight, and unfortunately at this time of the year, one won't get to see the beautiful waterfalls that we may have seen in many photos plus, the area is technically still in drought.
Nevertheless, if you can only spare a day to see Yosemite, this is one tour I can definitely recommend!
The trip offered enough time to explore the valley on your own for a few hours. The tour also stopped at a couple of different spots to give us opportunity to take amazing photos. Our tour guide Mike was great. He was very knowledgeable and helpful at giving suggestions. If time is limited and you only have one day, this tour is a great option. Great job Mike!
My wife and I had the best time at Yosemite park, very friendly guide, knowledgeable and well organized.
This tour was a great and activity packed one. Enjoyed every moment of it. Our guide Brian was very knowledgable and resourceful. Need more than one 4hrs to completely stroll around the place, but still had a wonderful time.
Our tour guide was Calder.
Let me tell you, our trip was awesome!
Calder was a fantastic guide, funny, very friendly and generally a nice guy to have around.
Not only could he tell a lot of stories and history of the Yosemite park, he even shared a lot of interesting little history/flora/fauna facts and stories throughout the 4 hour drive to Yosemite.
I would very much recommend taking this tour with him!
Great day in Yosemite. The guide was really helpful and knowledgeable.
Our Guide, Kris or Chris, not sure was great and informative. The stop at Denise's market was great...produce was so fresh. Yosemite was beautiful even on a less than perfect day! I would recommend this tour! Thanks.
A long day but it was worth it.
It was fun.
Fantastic trip. Driver picked me up right on time. Easy ride to Yosemite with stops along the way. Plenty of time to explore. Great way to see Yosemite in a day.