Yosemite to Sequoia National Park: The Perfect Itinerary

views of yosemite valley
Image by Canva


  1. Explore the majestic landscapes of Yosemite and Sequoia National Parks on the ultimate road trip adventure.
  2. Marvel at the giant sequoias in Sequoia National Park and take in the stunning views of Kings Canyon.
  3. Discover the glacier-carved beauty of Yosemite National Park, with its iconic landmarks like Half Dome and Yosemite Falls.
  4. Spend at least a week on the Majestic Loop road trip to fully immerse yourself in the natural wonders of these parks.
  5. Start your adventure in San Francisco, Fresno, or Los Angeles and enjoy scenic drives through the Sierra Nevada Mountains.
  6. Don’t forget to check out Lake Tahoe if you have some extra time on your itinerary.
Video by Time and Matt Travel


The best travel guides express how the Yosemite to Sequoia National Park road trip, commonly referred to as the Majestic Mountain Loop, is an unparalleled adventure through California’s Sierra Nevada Mountains. Yosemite National Park greets visitors with its magnificent vistas, cascading waterfalls, unique wildlife and an extensive network of hiking trails spanning over 750 miles. Meanwhile, Sequoia National Park, administered by the National Park Service, showcases awe-inspiring giant sequoias, with the iconic General Sherman Tree standing tall as a testament to nature’s grandeur. Adjacent to Sequoia, Kings Canyon National Park, also known as King’s Canyon, offers panoramic views of rugged canyons and unspoiled wilderness, making it a must-visit destination on your Yosemite to Sequoia road trip. As you drive through Crescent Meadow Road, be sure to experience the famous Tunnel Log, a giant sequoia that fell and was carved out for cars to pass through in 1938. Don’t forget to stop by the Giant Forest Museum, the main visitor center and museum in Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks, to learn more about the local geography, human history, giant sequoias, and other native flora and fauna.

Embarking on this road trip guarantees not only a scenic drive but also an immersive journey through some of the most breathtaking national parks in the United States. From exploring diverse ecosystems to witnessing ancient trees that have stood the test of time, every moment along this route promises unforgettable experiences and a deep connection with nature’s splendor.

Planning Your Yosemite to Sequoia National Park Road Trip

Planning a road trip from Yosemite to Sequoia National Park requires careful consideration to ensure a smooth and memorable journey. Yosemite Valley in Yosemite National Park and the Sequoia National Forest in Sequoia National Park are the main attractions on this route, located in the stunning Sierra Nevada mountains. The road trip offers a unique opportunity to explore the diverse landscapes, hike through ancient forests, and witness breathtaking vistas, including the valley floor and the iconic Bridalveil Fall. With proper planning and a sense of adventure, you can make the most of your Yosemite to Sequoia National Park road trip, including a stay in the iconic Curry Village.

What is the distance from Yosemite to Sequoia National Park?

distance on a map from google from yosemite to sequoia
Image by Google Maps

The drive between Sequoia National Park and Yosemite National Park takes about 4 hours passing through varied landscapes. Enjoy sequoia forests to Yosemite Valley sights, picturesque towns, mountain views for a full day exploration. Don’t miss Beetle Rock or the giant sequoias along Big Trees trail.

How long should I spend exploring Yosemite, Sequoia, and Kings Canyon National Parks?

kings canyon
Image by Canva

To fully enjoy the Majestic Mountain Loop road trip, plan to spend at least a week. Explore Yosemite National Park for 3-4 days to experience its hiking trails and scenic vistas, including Tunnel View and the Mist Trail to Vernal Falls. Then, journey to Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks for another 3-4 days to marvel at the giant trees and breathtaking views, including a visit to Lower Yosemite Falls. Biking through the valley floor with your kids is a great way to maximize time and avoid frustrations with parking and crowds. Consider adding extra days for a backpacking adventure into the wilderness. Don’t forget to allocate time for exploring the various parking lots in each park, as they often offer stunning views and easy access to popular trails.

Starting Points

When embarking on your Yosemite to Sequoia National Park road trip, you have a few options for starting points depending on your location. The major cities with airports near the Sierra Nevada mountains in California include San Francisco, Fresno, and Los Angeles. San Francisco is a great starting point, as the drive from San Francisco to both Yosemite National Park and Sequoia National Park is relatively short. Alternatively, Fresno is a convenient point due to its central location between the two parks. Los Angeles is a bit further south but still offers easy access to Sequoia National Park. Choose the starting point that suits your travel plans and preferences.

Where should I start my Yosemite to Sequoia National Park road trip?

view of yosemite
Image by Canva

Major cities near Sierra Nevada in California serve as ideal starting points for a Yosemite to Sequoia National Park road trip. San Francisco offers a 4-hour drive to Yosemite and just over 4 hours to Sequoia National Park. Fresno is central with about a 2-hour drive each way, while Los Angeles is another option with a 4-hour drive to Sequoia and 6 hours to Yosemite. Consider distance and travel preferences when choosing your starting point.

How to get there from: San Francisco, Fresno, Los Angeles

According to destination guides, getting to Yosemite and Sequoia National Parks from big cities in California is simple with various transportation options. Here are ways to reach the parks from San Francisco, Fresno, and Los Angeles:

outside view of the san francisco airport
Image by Canva

From San Francisco:

  1. Fly to San Francisco Airport and rent a car.
  2. Take a shuttle or public transport to a car rental near the airport.
  3. Drive from San Francisco to Yosemite, then Sequoia.
  4. Consider a guided tour or private driver for an easy trip.
view of fresno international airport with planes at gate
Image by FlyFresno.com

From Fresno:

  1. Fly to Fresno Airport and rent a car.
  2. Drive from Fresno to Sequoia, then Yosemite.
  3. Use a shuttle or public transport to get a rental car in Fresno.
  4. Opt for a private driver or guided tour for convenience.
lax airport sign with a plane flying overhead
Image by Canva

From Los Angeles:

  1. Fly to LA Airport and rent a car.
  2. Drive from LA to Sequoia, then Yosemite.
  3. Use shuttle or public transport to reach the rental car in LA.
  4. Choose a guided tour or private driver for an effortless experience.

Navigating Park Entrance and Fees

When visiting Yosemite and Sequoia National Parks, it’s important to be aware of park entrance fees and operational hours. These details will ensure a smooth entry into the parks and help you plan your itinerary accordingly.

Are there park entrance fees?

sequoia and yosemite park entrance signs
Image by Flickr

Yosemite and Sequoia National Parks have entrance fees to support maintenance. Fees: private vehicle $35, motorcycle $30 for a week pass. Both parks together cost $70. Consider the America the Beautiful Pass at $80/year for access to all US national parks and federal recreation sites; available at park entrance kiosks for road trips.

When are the parks open?

Yosemite, Sequoia, and Kings Canyon National Parks are open year-round, weather permitting. Considerations by season:

  1. Fall: Ideal for fewer crowds and pleasant weather.
  2. Winter: Yosemite Valley accessible, but some areas may have limited access due to snow.
  3. Tioga Pass Road and Glacier Point Road in Yosemite close from late October to early November, reopening between late May and early July based on snow.
  4. Generals Highway in Sequoia and Kings Canyon usually remains open but can temporarily close after storms or in late fall, reopening in spring.
  5. Check online for current road conditions before visiting.

Operational Hours and Seasonal Accessibility

Yosemite and Sequoia National Parks offer unique experiences throughout the year, but seasonal weather considerations and special events can impact your visit. Here’s what you need to know about the best times to visit and any seasonal events or closures to be aware of.

Best Times to Visit Yosemite and Sequoia

park in the spring time with a walking path and stairs
Image by Canva

The ideal time to visit Yosemite and Sequoia National Parks varies depending on preferences:

  1. Late spring and early fall offer good weather and fewer crowds.
  2. Summer is popular with open park roads for easy access.
  3. Spring showcases peak waterfalls but may have road closures due to snow.
  4. Fall features cooler temperatures and autumn foliage but potential wildfires.
  5. Winter can be magical in Yosemite Valley but some areas may be closed due to snow.

Special Seasonal Events and Closures

the dark sky festival in sequoia
Domenico / Adobe Stock

Both Yosemite and Sequoia National Parks offer unique seasonal events and experiences. Here are some to consider when planning your road trip:

  1. Yosemite: The Brace bridge Dinner at the Majestic Yosemite Hotel is a famous holiday event that takes place in December. It’s a theatrical performance and feast inspired by Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol.”
  2. Sequoia: The Dark Sky Festival is an annual event that celebrates the park’s status as an International Dark Sky Park. It features stargazing, night hikes, and educational programs.
  3. Be aware of potential road closures or restrictions due to weather conditions, especially during the winter months. Check for updates on road conditions before your visit.

Enhancing Your Itinerary with Lake Tahoe

Consider visiting Lake Tahoe to enhance your Yosemite to Sequoia National Park road trip. With its clear waters, sandy beaches, and mountain views, Lake Tahoe offers a unique landscape. Whether you enjoy hiking, paddleboarding, or relaxing by the lake, it’s a paradise for outdoor enthusiasts. Don’t miss Olmsted Point, Tioga Lake, and Tuolumne Meadows for impressive high country views on your way to Mammoth Lakes from Yosemite National Park. And for a different perspective, make sure to drive to Mono Lake on the east side of the Sierra Nevada for stunning views of the alpine saline lake.

Is it worth adding Lake Tahoe to my itinerary?

view of lake tahoe during sunset
Image by Canva

Adding Lake Tahoe to your Yosemite to Sequoia National Park itinerary is worth it if you have extra days. The largest alpine lake in the US offers stunning beauty and is just a 4-hour drive from Yosemite. Spend a day exploring crystal-clear waters, sandy beaches, and hiking trails. Enjoy water activities like kayaking and paddleboarding or opt for a scenic boat tour. On land, hike along the shoreline or bike for breathtaking views. Relax on the beach, explore charming towns, or adventure in the wilderness—Lake Tahoe has something for everyone to enjoy its iconic beauty.

Activities to Consider at Lake Tahoe

man hiking in lake tahoe
Image by Canva

Lake Tahoe offers a range of outdoor activities:

  1. Hiking: Explore scenic trails, including the iconic Mount Tallac hike.
  2. Water Sports: Enjoy kayaking, paddleboarding, or jet skiing on the crystal-clear waters.
  3. Boat Tours: Discover Lake Tahoe’s beauty with informative boat tours.
  4. Beaches: Relax at beautiful beaches like Sand Harbor and Zephyr Cove.
  5. Biking: Ride along shoreline paths or mountain bike trails.

Experience the beauty of Lake Tahoe with these activities suited for all preferences.

Can you travel from Yosemite to Sequoia National Park via public transportation?

yosemite national park shuttle with mountains in background
Image by Yosemite National Park Facebook

No, you can’t travel directly from Yosemite to Sequoia National Park via public transportation. It’s recommended to use a car for flexibility and access to various points of interest. Shuttles operate within each park, offering convenient transportation once inside.

Connecting Yosemite and Sequoia by Bus

view of yarts bus parked
Image by Trip Advisor

Utilize the YARTS bus service for a convenient connection between Yosemite and Sequoia National Park. Sit back, relax, and enjoy the picturesque journey without driving. Make a smooth transfer in Fresno for indirect routes. Plan your trip around bus schedules. YARTS offers a comfortable, eco-friendly option to travel between these iconic parks, allowing you to enjoy the stunning scenery.

Shuttle Services within the Parks

Yosemite, Sequoia, and Kings Canyon National Parks offer shuttle services for visitors to explore key attractions conveniently. Yosemite’s year-round valley shuttle takes visitors to spots like Yosemite Falls. Sequoia provides a free summer shuttle to places like the Giant Forest Museum, and Kings Canyon offers shuttles to Grant Grove and Cedar Grove. Using these services minimizes travel logistics, maximizing time spent enjoying the parks’ natural wonders.

Best time of year for a Majestic Mountain Loop Road Trip

woman looking at glacier point
Image by Canva

The Majestic Mountain Loop road trip, which includes Yosemite, Sequoia, and Kings Canyon National Parks, can be enjoyed year-round. However, the best time to embark on this epic adventure is during late spring (May-June) or early fall (September-October). During these months, the weather is pleasant, and the crowds are not as overwhelming as during the peak summer season. Plus, you’ll have the opportunity to see the stunning Yosemite Falls reflected in the Merced River from Swinging Bridge. It is important to always check the current conditions and road closures before heading out on your trip to ensure a safe and enjoyable experience.

Visiting during the spring allows you to witness the park’s waterfalls at their peak flow, and the wildflowers in bloom add a vibrant touch to the landscapes. In the fall, you can enjoy the stunning fall foliage and experience fewer crowds.

Seasonal Weather Considerations

When planning your Majestic Mountain Loop road trip, consider Yosemite National Park’s seasonal weather conditions. Tioga Pass Road and Glacier Point Road close in late October or early November due to snowfall, reopening between late May and early July. Winter limits access to only Yosemite Valley, while high country areas may have snow. For the best experience, visit in late spring or early fall for open roads, pleasant weather, and fewer crowds to enjoy Yosemite’s beauty fully. Don’t forget to also check out the stunning views from Sentinel Dome, a seasonal hike near Taft Point that is especially spectacular at night.

Avoiding the Crowds

mom and toddler walking through yosemite national park
Image by Canva

Yosemite National Park is busy in summer. Major travel guides urge visitors to visit during spring or fall for a quieter experience. Weekdays are less crowded than weekends. Explore early morning or late afternoon for solitude. Plan your visit strategically to enjoy Yosemite’s beauty without the crowds.

Ultimate Yosemite, Sequoia, and Kings Canyon Itinerary

Crafting the ultimate Yosemite, Sequoia, and Kings Canyon itinerary allows you to experience the best of all three national parks. With a diverse range of landscapes, from towering granite cliffs to ancient sequoia groves, this epic road trip promises unforgettable adventures. Here are some must-visit scenic spots and hidden gems to include in your itinerary.

Must-Visit Scenic Spots in Yosemite

views of yosemite valley
Image by Canva

Yosemite National Park is famous for its landmarks and scenery. Here are some must-visit spots:

  1. Half Dome: A challenging hike with panoramic views.
  2. El Capitan: Watch climbers or enjoy a sunset.
  3. Yosemite Falls: One of North America’s tallest waterfalls.
  4. Tunnel View: Stunning vista of Yosemite Valley.

Explore these natural wonders at your own pace in Yosemite National Park.

Exploring Kings Canyon’s Hidden Gems

Kings Canyon National Park may be overshadowed by neighboring parks, but it offers unique treasures not to be missed:

  1. General Grant: See the Nation’s Christmas Tree, the colossal General Grant Tree in General Grant Grove.
  2. Cedar Grove: Discover this remote area at the base of Kings Canyon, offering scenic trails and views of Kings River.
  3. Panoramic Point: Enjoy stunning vistas of deep canyons and surrounding forests from Panoramic Point.

Explore these hidden gems for a glimpse into the natural wonders of Kings Canyon National Park.

Sequoia’s Towering Treasures

view of general sherman tree in sequoia national park
Image by Canva

Sequoia National Park is home to the world’s largest and oldest trees. Here are the must-see treasures:

  1. General Sherman Tree: Marvel at the largest tree in the world by volume, standing tall in the Giant Forest.
  2. Giant Forest: Walk among numerous giant sequoias that will leave you in awe.
  3. Moro Rock: Hike up for panoramic views of the park from a granite dome top.

These treasures showcase Sequoia National Park’s grandeur. Stand among these magnificent giants and witness their timeless beauty.


To wrap up your adventure from Yosemite to Sequoia National Park, remember to immerse yourself in the majestic beauty of nature. Plan your itinerary wisely, considering the distances, park entrance details, and seasonal variations. Whether you start from San Francisco, Fresno, or Los Angeles, each route offers its unique charm. Enhance your journey by exploring Lake Tahoe and crafting a well-rounded experience. Choose the best time to visit to avoid crowds and make the most of your trip. Discover hidden gems in Kings Canyon and marvel at Sequoia’s towering treasures. Let the wilderness captivate you on this unforgettable road trip through stunning national parks.

Explore more Travel Tips

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top