Guide to the Yosemite Shuttles & Bus System

Yosemite National Park is renowned for its breathtaking granite cliffs, majestic waterfalls, giant sequoias, and wildlife-filled meadows. With millions of visitors each year, navigating the park can be tricky, especially during peak seasons. Yosemite offers easy-to-use and eco-friendly public transport options, from free shuttles to fee-based bus tours. This guide provides a close look at the Yosemite Shuttle System, focusing on the Yosemite Area Regional Transportation System (YARTS), specifically the free Yosemite Valley shuttles, to help you make the most of your visit.

Benefits of Using Yosemite Shuttles

Using Yosemite’s public transportation offers a stress-free way to travel and allows you to fully enjoy the park’s spectacular scenery. Whether you want to avoid the hassle of parking multiple times, reduce your carbon footprint, or let someone else drive, Yosemite’s public transportation makes it easy. Additionally, it eliminates the need for peak-day reservations from April to October, along with the associated fees. Here’s what you need to know about the free Yosemite Valley shuttles and other shuttle services:

Free Yosemite Valley Shuttle System

The Yosemite Valley shuttle system provides complimentary rides throughout Yosemite Valley to the key places to see and explore within the park. This service is a great way to get around without worrying about parking or driving. Here’s what you need to know:

Valleywide Shuttle (Green Route)

Route: The Valleywide Shuttle serves all stops in Yosemite Valley, including major attractions like El Capitan, Lower Yosemite Fall, and Cathedral Beach. It conveniently stops at hotels, restaurants, campgrounds, and trailheads, and places you within a 5-10 minute walk of the Yosemite Museum, Valley Visitor Center, gift shops, and the tours and activities kiosk. The shuttle operates in a numerical loop, servicing all stops with a total round trip time of about 1.5 hours.

Operating Hours: 7 a.m. to 10 p.m.

Frequency: Every 12 to 22 minutes.

East Valley Shuttle (Purple Route)

Route: The East Valley Shuttle stops at Yosemite Village, Curry Village, Happy Isles/Mist Trail, Mirror Lake, and trailheads in eastern Yosemite Valley. The total round trip time for this route is about 50 minutes.

Operating Hours: 7 a.m. to 10 p.m.

Frequency: Every 8 to 12 minutes.

You can download a map from the National Park Service here.

Additional Free Yosemite Shuttle Services

Mariposa Grove Shuttle

Route: The Mariposa Grove Shuttle provides convenient access to Mariposa Grove, Yosemite’s largest sequoia grove, home to over 500 giant sequoias. The shuttle is the best way to visit since only personal vehicles with a disability placard are allowed. It runs from the Mariposa Grove Welcome Plaza near the South Entrance to the heart of Mariposa Grove, including the famous Grizzly Giant.

Operating Period: Typically May to November with seasonal hours of operation. Private vehicles are not allowed in the grove, making the shuttle the only option other than a two-mile hike (each way) on the Washburn Trail or the Mariposa Grove Road.

Be sure to check the most up-to-date schedule for operating days and hours before your visit here.

Tuolumne Meadows Shuttle

Route: The Tuolumne Meadows Shuttle provides access throughout the Tuolumne Meadows area between Tioga Pass and Olmsted Point, including picturesque Tenaya Lake during summer.

Operating Period: Typically mid-June to early September. Note: This route will not run in 2023-24. Check for 2025 updates and view the schedule here.

Regional Public Transit to Yosemite with YARTS

YARTS also provides comfortable, air-conditioned, fee-based bus service into Yosemite National Park from nearby communities. Reservations can be made online, and walk-ons are allowed as space permits. Tickets can be purchased on the bus using a credit card or exact change. Major routes include:

Highway 120/395: Starting in Mammoth Lakes.
Highway 120: Starting in Sonora.
Highway 41: Originating in Fresno or Oakhurst.
Highway 140: Starting in Merced through Mariposa.

View the complete schedule and make a reservation here.

Fee-Based Guided Bus Tours in Yosemite

Take a guided bus tour to experience the wonders of Yosemite car-free. Expert guides will share their knowledge of the park’s natural history, indigenous peoples, early settlers, and wildlife. Tours depart from Yosemite Valley Lodge, and tickets must be picked up at the Yosemite Valley Lodge Front Desk before departure.

Glacier Point Tour and Hiker Shuttle

Every visitor to Yosemite National Park should spend some time at Glacier Point, renowned for its magestic views. This four-hour tour takes you from Yosemite Valley to Glacier Point, a 3,200-foot elevation gain. Be sure to bring your camera to capture stunning photos of Yosemite’s famous waterfalls and the distant High Sierra mountains. Many hikers opt for a one-way ticket and hike back down to Yosemite Valley. Trail maps can be picked up at the Curry Village Mountain Shop or the Glacier Point Store. The tour typically operates from late May to October.

Yosemite Valley to Tuolumne Meadows Hiker Bus

The Hiker’s Bus runs between Yosemite Valley and Tuolumne Meadows, stopping at all major trailheads along Tioga Pass. You can flag the bus for pickup at any trailhead if there is enough room to pull over. When making a reservation, indicate your desired pickup location. If your drop-off location isn’t listed, select the nearest trailhead and inform the driver of your preferred drop-off point upon boarding. The bus typically operates from mid-June to early September.

Get more info and guided bus tour options here.

Whether you’re a first-time visitor or a seasoned adventurer, these transportation options will enhance your experience and allow you to focus on the park’s breathtaking beauty. Plan your route, hop on a shuttle, and enjoy an unforgettable journey through Yosemite.

Where to Stay in Yosemite

Imagine waking up in a spacious, safari-inspired tent surrounded by towering California Black Oak and Ponderosa Pine trees. Under Canvas Yosemite is just 10 minutes from the park’s main entrance at Big Oak Flat and conveniently near a YARTS stop, providing car-free access to Yosemite Valley. This glamping retreat offers a unique blend of luxury and nature, making it the perfect base for exploring one of the nation’s most iconic parks.


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