How To Get To Yosemite Without A Car

Between coordinating car rides or figuring out how rentals work (who's going to drive at the end of a long day, what will you do about chains when needed, etc.), sometimes driving can seem quite the hassle. That's why this protip details all the available public & private transit options available to you. Let someone else take care of the logistics, you just enjoy! Looking for more places to go without a car? Checkout our guide on going to Lake Tahoe

First, there are 2 types of options

  1. Public charter buses. These comfy buses take you straight to the park. (Note, while there are tours that also take you to the park, we've focused on charter buses that exist to provide transportation, without any included activities once you've arrived.)
  2. Regular public transit. The good 'ol fashioned way, by train and then bus.

We’ll cover both in this protip. Though honestly, for efficiency, we'd recommend the public charter bus option. Please note, not all itineraries are offered daily; there are differences based on high (May through October) and low season. We've included links to help you further your planning & make final reservations. This information is current for 2015/Spring 2016; always plan your trip in advance.

Getting to Yosemite by public charter bus

  • Provides brief overview narrative about the park
  • Provides a much faster/ convenient service direct to the park, meaning a one-day trip is possible (though you won't be in the Park for very long)
  • The two companies that operate buses from San Francisco are:

Getting to Yosemite by regular public transit

  • Takes you to multiple park & non-park destinations
  • Priced much cheaper

Step by step instructions

  1. Take any BART (Bay Area Regional Transit) subway to the Richmond station BART, which conveniently is also an Amtrak station
  2. At Richmond BART/Amtrak take the Amtrak to Merced
  3. Upon arrival at Merced Amtrak, you have 2 options. The main difference is that with YARTS you have 1 less time option, but YARTS will stop at the Yosemite Bug Resort (a popular hostel). Options:
    • Take YARTS (Yosemite Area Regional Transit System) to the Valley, or
    • Take Amtrak's shuttle service

TL;DR Comparison table

Click to enlarge

Comparison of different ways to get to Yosemite by transit

Remember, once you are in the park, there is a network of free shuttles that take you to the main destinations!

Happy trails!


Thoughts, ideas, questions? Let us know in the comments below, or contact us for immediate help with trip planning, gear, or anything else we can do to get you outdoors. We're Last Minute Gear, the only outdoor gear shop where you can buy, rent, or borrow gear!