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Yosemite Valley

Yosemite Valley: Our most recommended tours and activities

San Francisco: Yosemite National Park & Giant Sequoias Hike

1. San Francisco: Yosemite National Park & Giant Sequoias Hike

Experience both the Yosemite Valley and the Giant Sequoia Walk on this day tour. See why artists and poets have been inspired for generations by the breathtaking sceneries at the national park. Since 1890, the beautiful Yosemite National Park has been the jewel of America's National Parks, possessing some of the best-known landmarks in the world, such as the tallest waterfall in North America, Yosemite Falls. Have 5 to 6 hours to explore the stunning national park, and take in the majestic natural wonders, accompanied by a complimentary audio-guided tour. See the spectacular Half Dome and El Capitan, two of the most frequently climbed cliffs in the world. It is also home to several groves of stunning Giant Sequoia trees, the largest trees on earth. The Giant Sequoia Walk is along 1 mile (1.5 km) of paved trail with a 400 ft (120 m) incline, snow depth permitting. On a group tour, view stunning panoramas, go on walks, and even hike a little, before returning to San Francisco. Or if you prefer, upgrade to a private tour for your group only.

From San Francisco: Yosemite Park Guided Day Trip

2. From San Francisco: Yosemite Park Guided Day Trip

Escape the crowds of San Francisco on a full-day guided tour to Yosemite National Park. See highlights, including Yosemite Falls and Inspiration Point. Enjoy seamless travel in a bio-fueled mini-coach. Heading east across the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge offers great views of the San Francisco skyline, Alcatraz Island, Fisherman's Wharf, and the Golden Gate Bridge. En route to the park the tour crosses through the Central Valley, where you will stop at a fruit stand for some local produce. Famous for its rich volcanic soil, the Central Valley is the largest agricultural region in the United States. The section the tour drives through is best known for specialty fruits and nuts such as almonds, walnuts, cherries, and strawberries. After this quick rest stop, you will enter the rolling foothills of the Sierra Nevadas. Continuing into the mountains brings you to California gold country and the gold rush town of Groveland before the tour winds its way into Yosemite National Park. On your 1.5-hour narrated coach tour of Yosemite's glaciated valley, you will see famous waterfalls and rock formations including Yosemite Falls, the tallest waterfall in North America. Continue on past El Capitan, Half Dome, Bridalveil Falls, Sentinel Dome, and much more. During the tour you will see Yosemite Valley from a number of great vantage points, the best of which is perhaps Inspiration Point. After the tour, you will stop for the afternoon near the base of Yosemite Falls. If you have not already picked up picnic supplies, there are many options for getting lunch in the park. You will have 3-4 hours of free time to explore the valley as you choose. You can walk to the base of Yosemite Falls, check out the visitor center, visit the Ansel Adams Gallery, stop in at the Ahwahnee Hotel, rent a cruiser bike, or hike some of the trails that originate from the valley. Although you could easily spend 3 weeks in Yosemite, the 3 hours you get on your own is enough time to understand why Yosemite is one of America's most popular national parks.

From San Francisco: Yosemite Tour with Giant Sequoias Hike

3. From San Francisco: Yosemite Tour with Giant Sequoias Hike

Begin your Yosemite National Park day tour by getting picked up at select San Francisco hotels. Cross the Bay Bridge and drive through the Central Valley to the town of Oakdale where you will stop for a short break. Start your day in the park at Tunnel View. Then, go to Bridalveil Falls for a quick walk to the base of the roaring waterfall. Next, proceed onto Half Dome and Yosemite Falls. After, enjoy some free time where you will get a chance to picnic at the base of Yosemite Falls, by a river, or in a granite-enclosed meadow. Chances are high that you will see rock climbers in the spring or fall, bears in the summer, and spectacular ice formations in the winter. After regrouping, head to El Capitan, the center of the rock climbing universe. Depending on the season, you may see some climbers on the rock, but they will appear smaller than ants on the 3000-foot (914 meters) rock. Enjoy a photo stop at Valley View and then head to the Tuolumne Grove to take a one-mile (1.6 km) hike to see a grove of 1500-year-old giant sequoia trees. Please note that the hike to the sequoias may not be available during the snow season. After the hike, head back to San Francisco with a restroom stop along the way.

From San Francisco: Yosemite National Park Full-Day Trip

4. From San Francisco: Yosemite National Park Full-Day Trip

Spend an active, fun-filled day learning why Yosemite is one of America’s most popular national parks. Hike through the park with an experienced guide and immerse yourself in the beauty of nature on this tour. Start off by making your way east from San Francisco and heading across the Bay Bridge. Continue toward the Sierras and into the mountains. Learn about California’s rich history as you pass through some of the first settlements built during the Gold Rush. Arrive in Yosemite National Park for a 2.5-mile round-trip hike to see the Tuolumne Grove of Giant Sequoias. Be prepared for a strenuous hike, descending 400 feet into the grove, before turning around and trekking back up. Next, cruise into the famous Yosemite Valley to take in views of Bridalveil Falls, El Capitan, Half Dome, and more. Capture breathtaking photos at Tunnel View and take in the eastern expanse of Yosemite Valley. Then, enjoy 1.5 hours of free time to explore on your own. You can meander down paved paths, hike around Yosemite Falls, engage further with the park’s history at the visitor’s center, or visit the Ansel Adams Gallery. In the late afternoon, you’ll depart for San Francisco, stopping for a short break before arriving back in the city. Arrive back at your hotel in the late evening to sleep off the day’s adventures.

Yosemite National Park: Valley Orientation Tour

5. Yosemite National Park: Valley Orientation Tour

Join an eco-friendly, small group guided tour and witness the stunning Yosemite National Park. Choose between three pickup locations covering hotels on Highway 41, 140 & 120. Then drive 30-60 minutes through Yosemite National Park to reach Yosemite Valley. On the way, your guide will explain the history and geology before stopping at El Capitan, the world’s largest granite monolith. Your guide will provide a park orientation and hiking briefing so you can wander around alone. Be dropped off either at Curry Village or Yosemite Valley Lodge in the park. During your 5 hours of free time, explore Yosemite either by hiking its most famous trails or biking your way around Yosemite Valley.  Marvel at views of Half Dome, a granite dome known for its distinct shape. Go for a swim in the nearby Merced River to cool down from Yosemite’s summer heat. Your expert guide can recommend the best trails and where to rent a bike.  After a day of exploration, meet your guide back at either Curry Village or Yosemite Valley Lodge to be dropped off back at your original point: Yosemite View Lodge.

From San Francisco: Yosemite National Park

6. From San Francisco: Yosemite National Park

Travel through the Great Central Valley into the Sierra Foothills where Forty-Niners panned for Gold. Follow the beautiful Merced River to the majestic Sierra Nevada Mountains. Glaciers cut through these mountains forming spectacular granite monuments you will see throughout the park. Spend a total of 4 hours within the Yosemite National Park: 1-hour on a guided tour and 3 hours to explore on your own. There is the option of selecting a Chinese-speaking guide on certain days. Take advantage of the photo opportunities at: • El Capitan • Bridalveil Falls • Vernal Falls • Yosemite Falls • Cathedral Spires • Half Dome

Yosemite Valley 3-Day Camping Adventure

7. Yosemite Valley 3-Day Camping Adventure

Spend 2 nights camping in the world famous Yosemite Valley outside of San Francisco. You will travel in an eco-friendly biofueled vehicle, and all camping gear is provided to lighten your load. All you need to bring is a sleeping bag and enthusiasm for the Californian wilderness. Don't worry if you've never camped before. The camping and cooking equipment is provided, using quality tents. Everybody is expected to participate in the set-up and break-down of camp, and a professional guide will be there to ensure a positive camping experience. You will camp at comfortable campsites that have hot showers and modern facilities. Swimming is available nearby. Food is also provided, but there will be no chefs! You will get the chance to cook over campfires, and you will also be the waiters, dishwashers, and of course the guests! The fare is all-you-can-eat and very tasty, and is a mixture of chicken, beef, and vegetarian. Day 1: On the morning of your first day camping, your guide will meet you downtown at the corner of Mason and O'Farrell Streets in front of the Hilton Hotel at 08:15. Once out of San Francisco, cross the Central Valley and head through gold country on your way to the mountains. Before reaching Yosemite Valley, hike down for a picnic among the giant sequoia trees, the largest living things on Earth. Meals on the first day are not included in the tour price, but you will have an opportunity to get food en route to the park. Depending upon group interest and logistics, you may visit any of the 3 sequoia groves. The hike through the giant sequoias is pleasantly shaded and brings you right up close to these massive wooden monuments, some of which are more than 1,000 years old and measure up to 30-feet wide and 300-feet tall. Continue into the park on a 90-minute guided tour, and descend into Yosemite Valley, the most famous and photographed part of Yosemite, thanks to the work of photographer Ansel Adams. While in the Yosemite Valley, your guide will give you an orientation to the park, as well as an explanation of the itinerary and options for the next 2 days. After some free time in Yosemite Valley, head for the campsite to set up camp, ending the day with drinks around the campfire as you decide what to do with your next 2 days in the park. Day 2: Rise early and prepare breakfast and lunch, clean up camp, and head off in the van for a fun day full of hiking, sightseeing, and exploring. Usually the second day is reserved for exploring Yosemite's High Country. A group hike to May Lake and Mount Hoffman is generally the highlight of the day, depending upon snowpack. May Lake is a picturesque example of a High Sierra lake. If you want more of a challenge, you can continue past May Lake to Mount Hoffman. Located at the geographic center of the park, Mount Hoffman is a non-technical hike that rewards you with a 360-degree view of the surrounding mountain landscape. At the end of the day, head back to camp for dinner and time to unwind by the campfire. Day 3: Day 3 is a free day, where the itinerary is based on the interests of the group. Normally the tour heads back into Yosemite Valley, where you can choose one of a number of great hikes, rent a bike, or relax in the shade by the emerald green Merced River. After a full day in the park, head back to San Francisco, arriving around 21:00. In May, June, and early July, you have the option of joining a whitewater rafting trip on the Merced River, depending on snowpack. This Class III-IV adventure can be added to your Yosemite Escape adventure for only $140-$160.

From San Francisco: Yosemite Lodge 2-Day National Park Tour

8. From San Francisco: Yosemite Lodge 2-Day National Park Tour

Escape to the mountains for 2 full days of hiking, sightseeing, and exploring in the amazing natural wilderness of Yosemite National Park. Trek through Yosemite Valley and the Giant Sequoias. Spend the night in the heart of Yosemite Valley at Yosemite Lodge at the Falls. Your hotel is located at the base of Yosemite Falls - the waterfall that gave the hotel its name. On this tour of Yosemite National Park from San Francisco, you'll have 2 days to explore, giving you more time and flexibility to see all the sights. Your guide stays in the hotel with the group, providing valuable knowledge of the history of Yosemite and a more personal experience of the park throughout your trip. The 2 days in Yosemite National Park are divided between time in Yosemite Valley and exploring the outlying areas of the park. In the valley, you will visit and photograph famous highlights such as Yosemite Falls (the tallest waterfall in North America), El Capitan, Half Dome, Bridalveil Falls, and Inspiration Point. Beyond the valley, enjoy a hike among the Giant Sequoias (weather permitting). This tour of Yosemite arrives back in San Francisco at approximately 21:00 on the second day.

From San Francisco: Cedar Lodge 2-Day Yosemite Park Tour

9. From San Francisco: Cedar Lodge 2-Day Yosemite Park Tour

Run away for 2 days of crisp, fresh mountain air with an affordable and fun 2-day trip to Yosemite National Park from San Francisco. Escape to the mountains for 2 full days of hiking, sightseeing, and exploring in the amazing natural wilderness of Yosemite National Park. Trek through Yosemite Valley, Glacier Point, and the Giant Sequoias, and sleep comfortably in your own hotel room. On this tour of Yosemite National Park from San Francisco, you'll have 2 days to explore, giving you more time and flexibility to see all the sights. Detailed Itinerary: Day 1: San Francisco - Cedar Lodge Head from San Francisco to Cedar Lodge, which is situated in the picturesque Merced River Canyon. Arrive at the accommodation and continue toward the surrounding nature. Learn the history of Yosemite as you explore the Yosemite Valley and take in stunning sites like Yosemite Falls, Inspiration Point, Half Dome, Bridalveil Fall, and El Capitan. Afterwards, return to the lodge and explore its creature comforts which include a restaurant, bar, 2 swimming pools, jacuzzi, and private beach access on the Merced River. Day 2: Cedar Lodge - San Francisco Explore the outlying areas of the park. Take a trip to the awe-inspiring Glacier Point and enjoy a hike among the Giant Sequoias (weather permitting). At the end of the day, head back to San Francisco and arrive at around 21:00.

Giant Sequoia Snowshoe & Yosemite Valley Tour

10. Giant Sequoia Snowshoe & Yosemite Valley Tour

Experience the best that winter in Yosemite National Park has to offer in just one day. Enjoy snow-topped Yosemite Valley and a picturesque snowshoe hike to the Merced Grove of Giant Sequoias. Get picked up and go straight to Tunnel View, one of the best panoramas in all of Yosemite National Park. While here, grab some photos and take in the beauty of this glacially-carved valley in winter.  Next, travel to another area of the park to reach the trailhead to the Giant Sequoias. Once at the trailhead, it's time to layer up and strap on your snowshoes. If appropriate snow conditions do not exist, you will complete the hike in your regular hiking boots. On this 3-mile round-trip hike, make your way down the serene trail to reach the cluster of ancient Giant Sequoias. Find around 20 mature trees in one of Yosemite's most peaceful groves. Once you've worked up an appetite, enjoy your provided picnic lunch surrounded by the towering trees. Next, make the gradual uphill return of 600 feet elevation back to the trailhead. Change out of your layers, get comfortable, and relax on the scenic drive back to your hotel.

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Other Sightseeing Options in Yosemite Valley

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What people are saying about Yosemite Valley

Overall rating

4.5 / 5

based on 1,215 reviews

A long trip but we got to see some amazing scenery. I think an overnight stay is worthwhile as the return trip gets back around 9-10pm. There was adequate time for a little hike through the park. I left my backpack on the bus and the company kindly organised a collection time and place for me to retrieve it.

Rob was super helpful, very informative, keep the spirit of the entire journey without being lazy at any second. Lady Drove us safely back and forth safely. All together they really took care of us. I would highly recommend this tour to anyone who wants to cover Yosemite National Park in one day.

Had an incredible day trip to Yosemite. Our guide Parker took us to a lot of great locations and explained in detail the different hikes we could take in order to get the most from our day. He was a great host. Totally recommended.

Rob (the tour guide) was great! The driver was very safe. Yosemite was an amazing place and we had a fantastic time seeing a lot of the park in just one day. We would recommend this trip!

Jay was a great guide. Very knowledgable and helpful