YOSEMITE FOR A DAY trip from San Francisco has been operated by various tour companies for the last 40 years. Normally it takes at least 15 hours that includes about 3 hours inside Yosemite Valley. It is well worth it if you have only one day and this is your once in a lifetime visit to California. You would leave around 6:00 to 7:00 a.m. and be back well past 9:00 p.m.
This year there is construction at Glacier Point, Bridalveil Fall parking lot and the pathway and also on Southside Drive entering the Valley. The Visitor Center is closed, the shuttle service and Yosemite Valley Floor tour inside the Valley are NOT operating. So, during the three to four hours in the Valley one can walk to Yosemite Falls, Ahwahnee Hotel and, depending on physical agility, to Vernal Fall and Nevada Fall on Mist Trail from Happy Isles – Yosemite Valley Day Hikes – Yosemite National Park (U.S. National Park Service) (nps.gov). Also Bike Rental is available in Yosemite Valley.
A BETTER OPTION
Enjoy about 8 hours in Yosemite Valley. From San Francisco take the afternoon train to Merced, spend the night there instead of San Francisco. Early next morning take the Yosemite Bus reaching the Valley by 9:00 a.m. For return at 4:30 p.m. take the bus back to Merced, board the train reaching San Francisco by 10:45 p.m.
Cost of spending the night at a hotel in Merced will be much lower than in San Francisco. You can also have an unhurried dinner at one of many restaurants and catch up with laundry, etc. Breakfast is included in the room cost at several hotels. This is an ideal economical alternative particularly for families. If you are going to continue to Los Angeles you can spend the second night in Merced and take the morning train going south, better than coming back to San Francisco and flying to Los Angeles. We can book hotel in Merced for you. If you have any questions, feel free to contact us.
Tour Code: SYTRM
Cost from April 1st to December 30, 2021:
$169 per adult / $149 child age 2 to 11 ( hotel in Merced is not included ) Courtyard by Marriott in Merced is about $150 to $200 a night