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Can you get to Yosemite from SF witohut a car + advice on...

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Reading, England
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Can you get to Yosemite from SF witohut a car + advice on...

I'm going ot be going to San Francisco again nexy year and want to spend some time in Yosemite and have upto a week spare. As I don't drive and will probably be going alone would I be able to get from SF to Yosemite and back again afterwards without driving ?

Also it's the old question of what time of year who you guys suggest I go so I'm not limited by the snow but realise it's impossible to predict the climate. I would like to see all the waterfalls if possible but also want to be able to do as many of the hikes as possible especially to Glacier Point, Half Dome and Yoesmite Point. Obviously I would like to avoid the crowds as much as possible but this may not be possible and would it help avoiding weekends and school holidays ?

Any advice would be much appreciated.

Los Altos...
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1. Re: Can you get to Yosemite from SF witohut a car + advice on...

First off, irrespective of how you get to Yosemite is making sure you have a place to stay in Yosemite. If you're not driving, you may want to book lodging inside the park:

www.yosemitepark.com (this is the site operated by the concession that operates the lodging inside the park)

As for transportation from SF...

You can choose tours or public transportation.

There's lots of information on the forum about tours from San Francisco (Grayline, Extranomical, et al) so you can read separately on that.

Local people who go to Yosemite from SF without a car generally choose the latter, which can be done via Amtrak to Merced and the local Yosemite Area Tranportation System, which takes you into the park. Inside the park are free shuttles.

So, it would be AMTRAK to YARTS. Not too many steps.

AMTRAK actually does not run inside SF, but appears so because it lists San Francisco departures. In reality, when you buy a ticket from SF, an AMTRAK shuttle bus picks up from around different SF locations and takes you to the Emeryville station across San Francisco Bay. It's quite convenient that way. From Emeryville, you get on the train to Merced.

I've cribbed the following description from a UC-Davis student site because it gives a good picture and some opinion from people who have ridden it:

"Disembarking in Merced, you move a few steps on to a YARTS bus that takes you to Yosemite Lodge in Yosemite Valley. The morning YARTS bus is usually a tour bus for Grayline Tours so you get to listen to the tour guide for free. The entire trip takes a minimum of 5 hours (6+ hours being typical if one has to wait for transfers). Included in the cost is the park entrance fee ($20 per vehicle) which can be seen as a substantial discount to travel. Amtrak charges $41 (one way) if you book the entire trip through them. You can save money by purchasing the Amtrak and YARTS legs seperately. Amtrak to/from Merced costs $25 and the YARTS ride will set you back $10 for a savings of $6 each way."

The Yosemite National Park Service site has information about getting around inside Yosemite Park without a car via its shuttles.

Some relevant sites:

www.amtrak.com

http://yarts.com

http://www.nps.gov/yose/trip/travel.htm

(This one gives info about shuttles to Glacier Point and destinations inside the park)

Reading, England
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2. Re: Can you get to Yosemite from SF witohut a car + advice on...

Thanks for your advice on the travelling it sounds ideal. Last year I got AMTRAK from San Francisco (Emeryville) to Chicago so know about getting to the station via the bus pick-ups which is good. Thanks for the help.

sydney
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3. Re: Can you get to Yosemite from SF witohut a car + advice on...

I think taking the train to Yosemite is the worst idea. It takes the longest, it costs the most and it spends the least amount of time in the park. Extranomical spends over 5 hours in the park and you get to see the waterfalls and the giant sequoias. since it is a small group it moves around more easily and can do more stuff. YARTS is just public transport for the people that work in the park that live near by and it stops a load of times.

San Francisco
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4. Re: Can you get to Yosemite from SF witohut a car + advice on...

Extranomical Adventures offers hands down, the best Yosemite one day tour from San Francisco! They travel by 15 passenger vans instead of the large busses which means less travel time to the park, more time in the park, many more stops, and you can see the giant sequoias grove ... something that the large busses do not get to see. I think the price is $119, but that doesnt include the admission to Yosemite ($10).

New York City, New...
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5. Re: Can you get to Yosemite from SF witohut a car + advice on...

Sorry but I don't understand how the train "spends the least amount of time in the park". If you take the train (Amtrak bus actually) you can spend as much time as you like in the park, you're not tied to any particular tour schedule. Gary has "up to a week" so he's got plenty of time to see the park. I would only do a one day tour as a last resort, you spend most of your time on the way to and from Yosemite and only a few hours in the park.

Oakland, California
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6. Re: Can you get to Yosemite from SF witohut a car + advice on...

However, it sounds like Gary wants to get to Yosemite and then stay there a few days. In that case, Amtrak is probably your best bet.

As for the time of year- well, you won't get everything you're asking for all at once. Come in the spring and you have fewer people and great waterfalls and wildflowers, but no high country hiking. Come in early fall and you have fewer people and high country hiking, but hardly any waterfalls. Your best bet for seeing some kind of waterfall action AND hiking Half Dome and Glacier Point would be to plan for late June/early July. By then the summer crowds will have started, but in truth, Yosemite is popular in the valley all year round. Try to come in mid week and things should be a bit better. Remember it's a huge park, and in mid summer it's even larger, so there's plenty of elbow room if you get out on the trails.

Reading, England
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7. Re: Can you get to Yosemite from SF witohut a car + advice on...

Thanks for the ideas it's been really helpful. I will be spending 3 weeks in the states so have put 7 days aside to spend at Yosemite. Looks like the train will be ideal for me and will probably arrange to arrive Sunday and leave the following Saturday sometime in June/July. Shame I have book accomodation so far in advanc eas would like to go this year but I'm sure it will be worth the wait.