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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 Inspiration Point, 4,500 feet above sea level
  • Small-group tour limited to 20 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

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 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.

Customer Reviews

John M United States of ... 

5 star rating: Highly Recommended October 2016

Our driver Matt was excellent. He was very good at getting us around and answering all our questions. He wanted to share is knowledge about Yousemite with us. Yosemite Valley is amazing and worth the 4 hour bus ride to get there.

Angela A

5 star rating: Highly Recommended October 2016

Justine was a brilliant tour guide, she gave so much history all the way out to Yosemite, it was really interesting. The drive was long but Justine made it fun with great music and a couple of stops along the way. Would highly recommend this trip.

Stephen M

5 star rating: Highly Recommended October 2016

My family and I had a fantastic time on this tour. Our driver, Brian, was funny, friendly and very knowledgeable about the area, gave us some great pointers and even made stops at El Capitan and Tunnel View on the way out of the park. Although it was four hours' drive there and back, the ride was very comfortable and we had a stop along the way in both directions. For anyone wanting to take a trip to Yosemite without having to get there on a huge, lumbering coach, this tour is vey highly recommended by us.

Anne T

5 star rating: Highly Recommended October 2016

This tour to Yosemite is well worth the time as it is a 4 hour drive out and back. The countryside is beautiful both ways. The views are breath taking and will remain etched in my memory for a lifetime. Our guide was laid back and knowledgeable. We stopped at a farmers market and a place to get a bag lunch on the way out so not to waste time upon arrival. The drive in to Yosemite is breath taking in more ways than one. Not only are the views beautiful and amazing but the ride up and over the mountain is at time harrowing. Not for the faint of heart or someone who is afraid of heights. The road is very steep and winding without guardrails albeit beautiful. I would deifinitely recommend this tour to anyone who would like to get a glimpse of Yosemite.

Patricia F

5 star rating: Highly Recommended September 2016

Was a great way to see Yosemite while in San Francisco. Makes for a long day but well planned stops to, from, helped. Our guide was excellent, with recommendations for picking up sandwiches and picnic type lunches in the park saved lots of time. It is unfortunate that we thought this tour could go to more areas directly but basically shuttles do it all and driver parks. It was too rigorous for the older members of our group to walk to Half Dome but younger ones enjoyed it. We did stop at Tunnelview and El Capitan in our van so that was nice. And time for all the pictures you wanted. Nice facilities in the park but lots of people and private cars were 2 hr delays. It was a weekend. The buses and vans have their own lane and zip by most of the traffic which nice plus.

gimo

5 star rating: Highly Recommended August 2016

Great guide, great place, great all. Highly recommended. Worth spending more than one day.

Miss LLP United Kingdom

5 star rating: Highly Recommended August 2016

This tour does make for a long day - but it is one of the easiest ways to see as much of Yosemite as you possibly can in a day, without driving yourself. Mike was a very informative, funny and enthusiastic tour guide. He made sure we were all confident in what things we could do during our 3 hours free time and where to meet again for the trip back to SF.

John P

5 star rating: Highly Recommended July 2016

I really enjoyed this tour! I choose it over others because we got 3-4 hours to explore Yosemite Valley as opposed to the one hour other tours provided. While 3 hours was not enough it allowed me to do more exploring. The tour guide Joe was wonderful making the drive there and back enjoyable.

Renay J USA

5 star rating: Highly Recommended July 2016

The only downside is that we did not have an opportunity to explore more of the park! Our tour ended much too fast! Our tour guide was wonderful and we definitely will book another excursion through Incredible Adventures.

sandra t

5 star rating: Highly Recommended July 2016

an amazing trip for one day,saw all of the most important site of the park our time was limited , by doing this tour allowed us more freedom in san francisco ,Viator to me is one of the most trustworthy companies to use when traveling around the world, their guides realy know there stuff, we use them all the time on our travels. i highly recommend this company

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