Getting to Yosemite National Park for Your Backpacking Trip
All Yosemite hiking trips meet at Yosemite National Park. Click here for maps of Yosemite Valley and the area. If you are coming from San Francisco or another city, there are are several public transportation options available for your convenience if you are not providing your own transportation. Bear in mind that most trailheads are not accessible by Yosemite Valley transit so having your own transportation will give you more options and flexibility.
Yosemite from San Francisco and Oakland:
Take BART (the Bay Area Transit System) to the Richmond Transit Station where you will pick up the Amtrak San Joaquin Line towards Bakersfield and Yosemite. You will get off at the Merced Amtrak Station. From here you will take YARTS (Yosemite Area Transit System) to Yosemite Valley.
Yosemite from Fresno:
Fresno is the closest major city to Yosemite National Park - only a 2.5 hour drive. YARTS offers service from Fresno to Yosemite and is a more direct route from an airport and the park.
Getting to the Trailhead or Meeting Location:
Any trip that starts in Yosemite Valley - Half Dome or Yosemite Falls/Snow Creek - is easy. There are shuttles that can get you to the trailheads and meeting locations every 15-30 minutes within Yosemite Valley. Other trailheads take a bit more work, such as Tuolumne Meadows or Red Peak Pass. These trips require a separate shuttle that may require reservations ahead of time so be certain to make arrangements in plenty of time before your trip. For trips such as Chilnualna Falls, there is no shuttle so a personal mode of transportation is required. Click here for several options for shuttles in the Yosemite area. If you are not certain which shuttle your trip requires or if there is one available, please consult the trip information for your specific trip or let us know.
Where to stay before your Yosemite hiking trip
There are several options for lodging the day before your Yosemite hiking trip.
- Backpacker's Camp (Highly Recommended) - All Yosemite backpacking trips include camping the night before the start date of the trip at the backpacker's camp behind the North Pines campground in Yosemite Valley - the same place we conduct the orientation at 5pm. Dinner this night and breakfast the next morning is also included. Your guide will be camping with you and you will be able to use the gear we supply.
If you choose to not camp at the Backpacker's Camp, below are some options. Keep in mind that most of these options are outside the park and can cause unnecessary delays getting into the park to meet your guide and start the hike.
- Yosemite National Park - whether taking public transit or your own, staying within the park boundary is a great option but book early. For reservations, contact www.travelyosemite.com.
- Merced - YARTS picks up from Merced for all Yosemite Valley trips, many people stay in Merced the night before catching YARTS to the Valley to meet JRI for your backpacking trip. There are many hotel options.
- Oakhurst - Now that there is transport from Fresno via YARTS, Oakhurst is a great place to stay the night before your trip - many hotel options to choose from restaurants, grocers, surrounded by the pines just 14 miles outside the southern entrance of the park. If you are traveling from the Fresno area or south of Yosemite, this is where you will want to lay your head for the night.
- Mariposa, El Portal, and Groveland - If you have your own transport and depending upon what highway you take to enter Yosemite, all of these towns have several lodging options. Mariposa and El Portal if you are traveling on Hwy 140 and Groveland for those of you traveling to Yosemite from along Hwy 120 from the Bay Area, Sacramento or San Jose.
*Note about luggage storage: Luggage storage is currently a challenge at the park. We recommend consulting the hotel you are staying if they can store luggage for you over the duration of your trip. You can also leave luggage locked in your vehicle at the trailhead - click here for information about bear proofing your vehicle. Because of this issue that is completely out of Just Roughin' It's control, we recommend renting a car.
Flights, transportation to and from the park, and hotel accommodations are not included in the price of your trip.