• Location: San Francisco, California
  • Duration: 15 hours (approx.)
From USD $ 149.00 View price calendar

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Known for its steep granite cliffs, waterfalls, towering sequoia groves and diversity of wildlife, Yosemite National Park is something you don’t want to miss. With this day trip limited to just 20 people, you can leave the logistics to a tour guide so all you have to do is enjoy a small-group experience in the great outdoors. You’ll have both guided sightseeing and free time, ensuring you see the UNESCO World Heritage site’s major attractions, like Half Dome, Yosemite Falls and Yosemite Valley, with the chance to explore more of the park however you wish.

Highlights

  • 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 theTunnel View overlook for an expansive view of the Yosemite Valley
  • Small-group tour limited to 20 ensures a more personalized experience

Why Our Insiders Chose This Tour

What You Can Expect

Small-Group Yosemite Tour from San Francisco

Yosemite National Park Day Trip from San Francisco

You may think you don’t have time for a Yosemite trip during your stay in San Francisco, but this 20-hour tour by luxury biodiesel van provides a stress-free way to do so. Your day trip starts with early morning hotel pickup for the drive across the Bay Bridge toward California’s Central Valley, one of the country’s largest farming regions.

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 the Tunnel View overlook for an expansive view of the Yosemite Valley, 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.

Customer Reviews

Rachelle S

5 star rating: Highly Recommended July 2018

Unfortunately the nearby forest fires meant views in the park weren't great, but it was still amazing scenery and worth exploring, despite the long drive. En-route you stop off midway after about two-hours at Oakdale, where there is a supermarket with cafe and deli counter and you are advised to get sandwiches here for lunch to maximise time in the park. You also stop here on the way back. Our guide pointed out sites along the journey and told us about wildlife and geology of the park. The journey there is long with some steep windy, roads, but the mini-bus is comfortable and air conditioned. The park is huge and in a few hours you only have chance to walk around Yosemite Valley but there are some great views from the bus en-route. You have about 3 hours in the Valley as free time to explore. This gave us chance to take the free shuttle bus between sites there are 20 stops in a loop and the bus comes round every 10mins and it takes 50mins to do the entire loop as well as walks to lower yosemite falls, the swinging bridge and the visitor centre. There is no time for longer hikes. Your guide gives you a couple of maps I didn't find signage in the park that easy to follow, but the shuttle bus was good if quite crowded. You can hire bikes in the area. We then drove on to the base of El Capitan with our guide for photo stop and then onto Bridalveil Falls for photos, which were amazing despite the smoke from the fires. Temperatures were warmer in the park then at the coast so I would advise wearing layers.

Cecile R

5 star rating: Highly Recommended July 2018

great trip and visit!! it is really worth the drive (8h). there is 3h of free time in the park which we really appreciated rather that group visits which are too slow. use it well
Sequoias not possible / to note

Rapha

5 star rating: Highly Recommended March 2018

It's a 4.5 hour drive there and back but it is well worth it. The guide talks during the drive so you learn a lot and the time flies by. We had 3.5 hours there, which was enough time to do some trekking. The waterfall is still decent very tall even in winter with the snow around.

forensicaggie

5 star rating: Highly Recommended January 2018

The entire experience was wonderful!

tobi

5 star rating: Highly Recommended December 2017

Couldn't recommend this tour enough. Yes it is a very long day but well worth it, the views are spectacular. Our driver was Charles and guide Nicole, they were both friendly and professional and Nicole's knowledge of the city and information along the way was fantastic. Plenty of time given in the park and also plenty of time allocated at the stops on the way there and then back. Just brilliant.

Rebecca P

5 star rating: Highly Recommended November 2017

Alberto was our guide and he was prompt and we got on our way earlier than anticipated. He was fun and knowledgeable and made our tour a great and memorable experience.
We had a very multi-national group and we all had an enjoyable experience with exceptional weather. We had great views of El Capitan, Half Dome and Bridalveil Falls. I was fortunate enough to see a coyote close up as well as other wildlife like grazing deer, squirrels, ravens and I even spotted a few bear tracks. I had a wonderful day and will hopefully get back sometime in the future to spend a night at the park and hopefully see even more spectacular sights and wildlife. I loved it and the smaller number of people made for a more friendly and enjoyable experience. Thank you Incredible Adventures : Rebecca, Pennsylvania/New Zealand.

johnptoms New Zealand

5 star rating: Highly Recommended November 2017

Sam was the best driver ever, sweeping us through those windy roads to Yosemite and then bringing us back via the valley floor route so we got a different view and experience. She kept us on schedule, her enthusiasm for the area and local knowledge was interesting. An early start was made worthwhile by this trip and I would recommend everyone do it. Yes, it would be nice to stay and explore longer but I would not be put off by just a day trip, we saw all we could and had plenty of time in the valley for waling. Saw squirrels, deer and a brown bear bonus!!. The size of those mountains cannot be captured in photos, they are immense and need to be felt. Thank you Sam, you were simply the best and we felt privileged to have had you as our guide for the day.

Cliffy

5 star rating: Highly Recommended November 2017

It was a long day but certainly well worth it!!! The sights of Yosemite were breathtaking!!! We would thoroughly recommend this tour!!!

allanfam4

5 star rating: Highly Recommended October 2017

Our family enjoyed this quick tour of Yosemite but to see more would suggest staying overnight. Tour guide Bob was great, loved it being a small group.

Chloe E

5 star rating: Highly Recommended August 2017

The trip was great - we were picked up very efficiently from our stop and welcomed by the tour guide. There were about 10 of us and we all chatted with the guide the whole journey. We got to see all of the main sites and then have 3 hours to go off on our own which was great. Would highly recommend.

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