Ultimate Yosemite Road Trip Planner

Yosemite National Park is an awe-inspiring spot that’s been an official national park since 1890. With 1,200 miles of land and 11,000 feet in elevation to explore, a California road trip to Yosemite is an experience you don't want to miss. 


How Do I Get to Yosemite National Park?

Yosemite National Park is so vast, one main entrance is not enough. There are five entrances to the park—four on the west side and one on the far east side. Access from north and south is not available. 

The roads to get to Yosemite are two-lane highways through mountainous regions. The views are spectacular, but you'll need to keep a sharp eye on the road as there are twists and turns throughout this road trip to Yosemite.


Is It Hard to Drive to Yosemite National Park?

It's not hard to drive to the park, and all the entrances have paved roads leading to them. Your Yosemite driving itinerary includes some roads with twists, turns, and steep drop-offs at times. The routes are rarely direct, instead winding through several vegetation zones with a major climb in altitude. 

Here are some of the most popular routes with mileage and drive times:


Sequoia National Park to Yosemite: 138 miles, approximately 2 hrs. 30 min.


San Francisco to Yosemite: 179 miles, approximately 3 hrs. 10 min.


Lake Tahoe to Yosemite: 184 miles, approximately 3 hrs. 55 min.


You'll need to keep a close eye on your favorite weather app before traveling on a Yosemite National Park road trip, as winter conditions can quickly require chains or cause roads to close. The National Park Service has a travel app that will help, too. Keep in mind, in this region, winter weather can happen as early as October and last through May. 


Can You Drive Your Car through Yosemite National Park?

While you can drive through Yosemite National Park, you’re going to miss some beautiful views that are only accessible by foot. Yosemite National Park has 750 miles of hiking trails. 

Every road in Yosemite is an eyeful of natural wonder. Be sure to pick up a Yosemite Road Guide at the visitor center. There are scenic drives planned through the park, one being a nearly 50-mile journey from Crane Flat at 6,200 feet elevation to Tioga Pass at 9,943 feet elevation.  


Note: The Tioga Pass road is closed when winter weather hits, so you can only access this route fully from around late May through mid-November.


Can You Drive through Yosemite in a Day?

Yosemite is always open 24/7, 365 days a year. This means you can get your fill of Yosemite in a day's drive, but if you can spend more time there, you won't regret it. 

Don't worry about running out of fuel as Yosemite has two gas stations—one at Crane Flat and one in Wawona—but you should plan to arrive with a full tank of gas. 


What Is the Best Time of Year to Visit Yosemite National Park?

Each season brings beauty and challenges to visitors on a Yosemite National Park road trip. There isn't a bad time of year to visit, but much of that decision is up to your personal preferences and comfort level of driving in certain weather conditions.



Winter in Yosemite brings snow-capped beauty at every turn. The only challenge is some roads, like the popular Tioga Road, are closed from approximately November through May. To visit in the winter, you'll need to bring tire chains and know how to install and remove them. 

Temperatures range from below freezing to the mid-50s during the winter, so pack accordingly. It’s also worth noting that waterfalls aren't at their peak during this time of year. 



As the snow starts to melt, certain areas of the park come alive with the sights of spring, but road and trail closures can extend into April or May. Temperatures in the spring can range from the upper 30s to the 60s. 

Crowds also start coming during springtime, so Yosemite National Park officials recommend arriving well before mid-morning to avoid sitting in traffic. This is a great time to see rushing water in creeks and streams as well as waterfalls that come back to life with melted snow runoff. 



By early June, all points of the park are generally snow-free and open to traffic. Wildflower blooms are at their peak in May and June, and even lasting into July. 

Due to the dry climate, waterfalls won't flow as strongly in the summer. Thunderstorms can quickly approach, especially in higher elevations. This is also wildfire season, so there might be haze or smoky conditions. Air quality can reach an unhealthy level for several weeks during August and September.

Temperatures range from the mid-30s to the upper 80s, so be sure to pack versatile clothing. Traffic to the park is the highest it is all year during the summer, so it’s best to arrive early and be patient. 



Traffic slows down a bit in the fall, and winter weather can close in as early as October. This is a great time of year to explore the park if you don't want to be around the crowds as you embark on a Yosemite National Park road trip. 

Waterfalls are all but dried up during this season. The evergreen tree landscape doesn't lend itself to beautiful fall colors, but other trees will put on a show for you. Temperatures dramatically cool down from summer, with ranges from the mid-30s to the mid-50s. 


Yosemite Must-See Points of Interest

No road trip to Yosemite is complete without seeing some of its most popular landmarks:


  • El Capitan: Rock climbers love this impressive vertical rock formation.
  • Half Dome: Once described as “perfectly inaccessible”, this landmark area is now explored by thousands of park-goers. 
  • Tunnel View: See Yosemite with a view like no other, accessible via Wawona Road.
  • Valley View: This is the last stop for many Yosemite tourists. It's on the one-way Northside Drive and you can look up at the grand vistas of the park.
  • That said, there isn't a bad view on any road in Yosemite National Park.


Book Now

Wyndham Hotels & Resorts has many locations to add to your Yosemite driving itinerary. Download the app and book your trip today.

Find your stops, book your stays, hit the road. It’s the easiest way to book and go on the Wyndham Hotels & Resorts app.


Enjoy member-only perks and earn points for your stays to redeem for free and discounted nights at thousands of hotels worldwide.*



Terms & Conditions

*Point redemption levels & cash payment amounts vary by property & in the case of points, can be as high as 30,000 points per bedroom.  Member must have enough points for all bedrooms in desired accommodation to book. Resort & other fees may apply (even for Go Free nights); points can’t be used to pay them.  Most properties: award applies to standard room rate only (go free: including taxes, go fast: excluding taxes). Awards subject to availability, blackout dates/rates & other restrictions; see www.wyndhamhotels.com/wyndham-rewards/terms for more information.