Yosemite is rightly famous for its massive waterfalls, huge rock formations, wide, flower-filled meadows, and abundant wildlife.
It’s easy to understand why the national park draws over 3.5 million people every year. The 3,000 square-kilometer park covers the western slopes of the Sierra Nevadas and includes parts of Mariposa, Tuolumne, and Madera counties.
Most people only spend time in Yosemite Valley, but others venture out into the outer areas for hiking, camping, horseback riding, and other activities.
While your most stripped-down Yosemite visit can be accomplished by paying only the $35 entry fee, spending more time in the park is well worth the price.
How much you’ll spend will depend heavily on where you stay and what you decide to do. We break costs down to basics, so you can estimate how much you’ll spend on a trip to this famous natural attraction.
Average Trip to Yosemite Cost in 2023
A week in Yosemite costs around $3,750 for two people:
- Average Accommodation Cost: $200 per night
- Average Flight Cost: $350 per person
- Food, Drink & Activities: $100 per person, per day
- Transportation: $250 per week
- Total Cost: $3,750
This is, of course, just an estimate. You’ll spend more staying at a high-end hotel in the park than roughing it at a backcountry campsite.
If you want to eat at fine dining restaurants, that will also cost more than packing in groceries to cook meals at camp. Some people will go to the park and do scenic drives or a few basic hikes.
Others will dive deep into workshops and guided treks. We lay out the possibilities so you can decide where you want to splash out some cash and what costs you want to skip.
Yosemite Trip Cost: Average by Item
The good news about a trip to Yosemite is that there are options at a range of price points. You can spend a few hundred a night on a hotel or $100 or less on a campsite.
Hit the restaurants or pack in food. No matter what you choose, know you’ll be spending time in one of the most stunning natural settings in the country.
When you go to Yosemite, you can choose between various types of camping and a traditional hotel experience. Because of the sensitive nature of this ecological setting, you must get a permit for dispersed wilderness camping in Yosemite.
The fee for the permit is $10 per application, plus $5 for each person included in your app. Permits are good for two weeks.
There are several hotels on site, each with their own vibe and cost. The Yosemite Valley Lodge has an outdoor swimming pool, and amphitheater with regular outdoor entertainment, and multiple dining options on the property.
There is a shuttle to various attractions within the park. A room will run between $200 and $250 a night. There is no AC in any of the rooms, but they all have fans for comfort.
Housekeeping Camp splits the difference between a hotel and roughing it in the wilderness. The camp features three-sided concrete structures with canvas roofs and curtains for privacy.
Inside the camp, you’ll find electrical outlets, beds and chairs. Bring your own sleeping bag and pillow, or rent blankets at camp. A standard camping unit costs a little over $100 a night.
The nearest airport to Yosemite is still around 1.5 hours away. You’ll need to rent a car or take public transit from your airport to your final destination.
That said, the relative distance means you have a bunch of options when it comes to where you land. The closest airport is Fresno-Yosemite International, which is about 90 minutes aware from Wawona.
Because this is a smaller airport, you’ll have to watch carefully for deals on airfare. In a recent search, rates ranged from $350 to $800.
The biggest nearby airport is San Francisco (SFO). A flight from JFK in New York to SFO costs anywhere from $350 to $450. Keep an eye on airfares, because they can change rapidly.
While the cheaper flights can be a draw, bear in mind you still have around four hours of driving after landing in San Francisco. Mammoth Lakes (MMH) can be a convenient location if you are flying from the right place.
This small airport has direct flights to and from Hawthorne and Carlsbad airports in California. Yosemite is only an hour away from this airport if you come at the right time of year.
However, keep in mind that this is only true when Tioga Rd is open (usually from late May to around November). When Tioga Rd. is closed, your alternate route from Mammoth Lakes takes about seven hours. Expect to pay around $200 for the flight.
Food, Drink & Activity Costs
It costs $35 per vehicle to enter Yosemite. This fee is valid for up to seven consecutive days, bringing it as low as $5 a day to enter. You can cut this even further by coordinating with a friend and carpooling into the park.
Once you’re inside the park, driving some of the most famous scenic drives is free. Your only expense is the gas. You can also hike a number of trails with no added cost.
A guided tour by bus or tram is a great way to see some of the highlights of the park while getting a few lessons in geology, zoology, and history. Tours run anywhere from $50 to $100 or more per person, depending on which one you opt for.
They don’t run all the time; check the park’s website to see which ones are available. Walking tours are also available throughout the year.
The popular Yosemite After Dark tour lets you get a safe look at the majestic park at night. The tour costs $20 per person. There are also free tours offered throughout the year, such as the guided nature walk and the Curry Village Nature Tour.
Horseback and muleback riding tours are available to visitors of all ages. You can reserve your spot on the two-hour tour for $85 per person.
Wilderness activities are not the only options available in the park. Golfers have been visiting the challenging Wawona Golf Course since 1918. The nine-hole course is surrounded by gorgeous scenery and is one of only a handful of organic golf courses in the US.
A round of golf will run you between $25 for nine holes and around $40 for a full 18 hole game. Golf carts and clubs are available for additional fees.
If disc golf is more your speed, you’ll also find your chance to play on Mondays and Tuesdays between noon and six p.m. Tee times need to be reserved just like you would for traditional golf.
Fishing is another option for sport and, if you’re lucky, furnishing your camping meals. You’ll need a California fishing license to fish in the park. A one-day license will run you around $20.
You can buy licenses in the park at the Mountain Shop in Curry Village. There is a small grocery store inside the park, the Tuolumne Meadows Store. Prices tend to be pretty close to what you’d pay outside the park.
However, many past visitors say the pickings get a bit slim during the busiest times of year. You’re probably better off buying snacks and groceries before heading into the park.
While many people bring their own food when camping, you have many restaurant options available within Yosemite National Park. The Loft at Degnan’s has barbecue options like pulled pork, wings, ribs, and brisket.
Expect to pay a little under $20 for a rack of St. Louis style ribs or $12 for an order of wings. A pint of beer is between $4 and $6.
Feel like a fine dining experience? You can find that at The Ahwanee, a fine dining restaurant open for breakfast and dinner each day on a prix fixed basis. Current dinner prices are $59 per person for adults and $29.50 for kids.
At breakfast, adults pay $32.00, children, $17.50. Semi-formal attire is required. If you don’t want to commit to the whole formal deal, you can also get drinks and grab and go food at the Ahwanee Bar.
Most people rent a car to travel around Yosemite, since scenic drives are one of the area’s draws. If you rent your car at the San Francisco International Airport, you’ll likely pay around $250 for a week.
If you prefer to let someone else do the driving, you can catch a train into Yosemite. Amtrak has service from SFO, as well as other airports and cities. A train ride from San Francisco to Yosemite starts at $45 a ticket and takes about 10 hours.
Biking is another way people get around the park. You can rent a standard bike for $40 a day, or one with an attached trailer for $75.
Helmets are included. Heading to the park in winter? Snowshoes are a great way to get around. You can rent a pair of modern, lightweight shoeshoes for a little under $30 a day.
Things to Consider
A memorable trip to Yosemite takes a bit of planning. Here are some things to consider to get it right:
- This is a popular destination. High traffic and even gridlock are common. Reservations aren’t required, but they’re definitely recommended.
- Tioga Road is only open seasonally depending on weather in the area. The season typically lasts from May or June until November. If you want to visit Yosemite during the off season, you’ll likely have much greater travel times.
- You need a permit for wilderness camping. The cost is low ($10 base, plus $5 per person for up to two weeks) but it’s not free like camping in most national forests.
Frequently Asked Questions
You have questions? We have some answers. Here are a few common questions that come up when someone’s figuring out what their trip to Yosemite will cost:
How much does it cost to go to Yosemite?
There is a $35 per vehicle cost for a seven-day park pass at Yosemite. Want a longer stay? You can also get a pass for unlimited visits for 12 months for the cost of $70.
Is two days enough for Yosemite?
Yosemite covers over 750,000 acres and stretches across four counties. Two days is the absolute minimum you should spend in the park. You can easily pass more time checking out the scenic drives, touring the Yosemite Museum and the Ansel Adams Gallery, and visiting the iconic, giant sequoias.
What is a good month to go to Yosemite?
Most people choose to go to Yosemite between May and September. This is the time of year with the mildest weather. These are also the months when you’ll find key attractions and amenities open. All roads, trails, shuttles, lodging, shops and museums are open during these months.
Is Yosemite really worth it?
Yosemite is one of the top natural attractions in the world. It is the setting of a number of iconic American photographs and paintings. It is absolutely worth at least one visit.
Over to You — Book Your Trip Today!
|🛎️ Average Accommodation Cost||$200 per night|
|✈️ Average Flight Cost||$350 per person|
|🍽️ Food, Drink & Activities||$100 per person, per day|
|🚕 Transportation||$250 per week|
|💲 Total Cost||$3,750|
There’s no one answer to the question. But, on average, you’re likely to spend around $3,750 for two people to spend a week visiting Yosemite.
This national park is easily our most famous, and one of the most beautiful natural settings on earth. Take the time to pick out a few unforgettable activities and spend some time enjoying the unmatched beauty of Yosemite National Park.