Yosemite National Park

1 day/1 night

Discover the breathtaking beauty of magnificent waterfalls against the backdrop of sheer granite cliffs. Hike through lush forests and take a dip in crystal-clear mountain rivers. This trip was especially created for the time-limited traveler and starts with an overnight drive which gives you a full day to experience the best Yosemite Valley has to offer!

Day 0:  Meet your new friends and board the coach in San Francisco at 2100 hrs.  After a brief stop at a grocery store for refreshments, we perform our first "miracle" (conversion of the interior to sleeping mode).  We then travel through the night to Yosemite.

Drive Night.

Day 1: Rise and shine - you are now at the lovely Cascade Falls Picnic area in beautiful Yosemite National Park!  After our sumptuous breakfast, prepare to spend the day in Yosemite Valley, the home of the famous El Capitan and Half Dome rock formations. You can use your time in the Valley to hike a trail of your choice, meander along the Merced River soaking in the majesty of the valley, or rent a bike and experience what John Muir called “a place of rest, a refuge from the roar and dust” on two wheels. Choose to take a leisurely walk through the forest on the way to the Ansel Adams Gallery and Yosemite Museum, or take a peek inside the famous Ahwahnee Hotel. Strong hikers can head up the Mist Trail and get up close to two thundering waterfalls, or to the top of Yosemite Falls via the Yosemite Falls Trailhead for a stunning view of the valley. Catch one of the free shuttle buses from Yosemite Lodge for a great way to see the valley, or, if you’d like a more interactive experience, you can hop on one of the narrated, open-top Valley floor tours.  You may opt to take a leisurely walk through the forest on the way to the Ansel Adams Gallery and Yosemite Museum, or take a peek inside the famous Ahwahnee Hotel. Still have energy? Walk up to Columbia point for great views of Half Dome before calling it a day!

After your full day of exploring, return to the Yosemite Lodge for your return trip back to San Francisco via YARTS and Amtrak* (see schedule below).  Or, if you'd like the fun to continue, stay on with the us and explore more of Yosemite National Park PLUS the Eastern Sierra Nevada on our 3-day Yosemite Adventure!

*YARTS/Amtrak connections included in our fare.

Please Note: As reflected on your e-ticket, your trip with the Green Tortoise officially ends in Yosemite Valley at 9:00 AM.  We purchase return transportation to the Bay Area on your behalf, and provide transfer schedules from YARTS/Amtrak as a service to you.  Although we are committed to customer service, we are in no way responsible for errors or delays on behalf of Amtrak, YARTS or any other operator that may be part of your return transportation.

Meeting the Green Tortoise Bus  

San Francisco:  Please check your e-ticket for departure information. Plan to arrive 30 minutes prior to your departure time. This is not a Green Tortoise office, just a pick-up location. Most Green Tortoise buses depart from the intersection of Columbus and Montgomery Street in downtown San Francisco (see directions), unless otherwise noted on your ticket or reservation.

Paying Your Balance:  The remainder of your Green Tortoise fare, plus the food fund, is due at departure. Please note:  Payment must be in cash or a money order, (no personal checks) payable in US dollars if you pay your balance at departure. Call our office for information about paying with a credit card before your departure.  415-956-7500 ext. 1

Extra Expenses:  Please travel with sufficient funds. It is customary in the United States to include a tip when paying for restaurants, bars, taxis, and and for most activities involving service.  In most situations, the tip should be about 15% of your bill.  (Speaking of gratuities, Green Tortoise drivers have never been known to turn them down!)  Please review the “Additional Expenses” list below for further information.

Additional Expenses for Yosemite:

Optional Expenses (estimated)

Yosemite Valley tours:                                                            $25-$42

Bike rental:                                                                              $11-$32

Showers:                                                                                  $5 and up

Alcohol and other beverages:                                                  $??

Souvenirs:                                                                                $??

Miscellaneous (Tip for drivers, etc.):                                       $10-$20

Total:                                                                                       $??

Weather: Clothing that you can layer is going to provide you with additional warmth on those cold camp nights as well as versatility for hot days.  Higher elevations will most likely have the greatest changes in temperature.  We like these sites for checking weather in different destinations throughout your trip:

Weather Underground





Itinerary:   Our itineraries may be subject to minor modifications.  Road conditions, weather, local holidays, and local events are just some of the many factors we must consider when planning our schedule, and sometimes adjustments have to be made at the last minute.  Just remember: flexibility is a Tortoise trait!

Passports, ID’s, and Visas: Be prepared! The Green Tortoise cannot be responsible (nor can we wait) for any passengers who get delayed because of missing or improper papers.  If you are not an American citizen, you are required to have your passport on your person at all times.   Please contact the respective consulates to be certain that you can obtain travel papers BEFORE you make a reservation. We do not refund deposits due to bureaucratic errors.  

Green Tortoise Hostel Day Use:  The Green Tortoise hostel and travel office share the same location at 494 Broadway in San Francisco. Day use of the hostel is available on a limited basis. There is a $10 day use fee payable to the front desk.  This includes a shower, towel, free internet access and a spacious ballroom with a pool table, foosball table, and a full kitchen. Breakfast may also be included (dinner is not included).  During peak periods (mornings) please be patient when paying your day use fee; your wristband is valid until 6:00 PM.   There are secure lockers for $2 a day; limited spaces are available and hostel guests are given priority.  

Onward Travel:  If you must make travel plans for the day of departure or the day that your trip arrives,  we recommend that you leave yourself plenty of time to get to the departure point or to your next destination.  In these cases, we strongly suggest that passengers buy travel insurance to cover any flights that may be missed due to unexpected glitches. While our arrivals and departures are on time or early 99% of the time, travel is an activity that can have many variables.

Here are a few helpful sites:

Travel Insurance 101:


Top travel insurance tips and advice:


A few options:




Information about Giant Sequoias:


Information about Tuolumne Meadows:


Information about things to do in Yosemite Valley: http://www.nps.gov/yose/planyourvisit/things2do.htm

Information about day hikes in Yosemite Valley:


Returning: Your return trip from Yosemite Valley involves multiple bus and train connections.  We suggest you:

Familiarize yourself with your itinerary and connections.

Where possible, arrive at each departure location 20-30 minutes prior to boarding.

Be aware of your departing bus/train destinations (make sure you board the correct one!)

Double check your departure and arrival times.

Make advance reservations for lodging for the day of your return.

Research your transportation options from the drop-off in San Francisco to your final destination.

Relax and enjoy the ride!


YARTS BUS 8419  (YOS  -  MCD) from Yosemite Lodge to Merced, CA

Depart Yosemite Lodge:  4:45 pm

Arrive Merced Amtrak Station: 7:08 pm

Duration: 2 hr, 23 min

Amtrak TRAIN 719 San Joaquin  (MCD  -  EMY) from Merced, CA to Emeryville, CA:

Depart Merced: 8:15 pm

Arrive Emeryville: 11:11 pm

Duration: 2 hr, 56 min


Amtrak BUS 6619 (EMY  -  SFF) from Emeryville, CA to San Francisco, CA:

Depart Emeryville: 11:15 pm, Tuesday

Arrive San Francisco FInancial District: 11:40 pm

Duration: 25 min

Your Amtrak destination is the San Francisco Transbay Terminal and is located at: 200 Folsom St, San Francisco, CA 94105

YARTS bus schedule: Click here

Amtrak schedule: Click here