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Yosemite National Park Real Estate & Transportation

Author: Charles Self

Yosemite National Park is one of United States' first national parks. It received that designation in 1890 with the prodding of naturalist John Muir. Today over 3.5 million people visit the 1200 acres of the park annually.

Fortunately, Yosemite National Park has Amtrak service close by on the San Joaquin service. From Merced, CA, you have automobile and bus alternatives to the park. Here are five tips/hints for effectively traveling to/from Yosemite by land:

One: There are three or four Amtrak trains northbound from Bakersfield and southbound from Sacramento or Oakland each day that have connecting service to Yosemite. At Merced, connect to the Yosemite Area Regional Transportation System (YARTS) bus right at the Amtrak station. The YARTS bus stops in Catheys Valley, Mariposa, Midpines and El Portal on its way to/from Yosemite. In the park itself, the bus stops at the Yosemite Lodge, Valley Visitor Center, Ahwahnee Hotel and Curry Village. The same bus will get you back to the Amtrak Merced station in time to board your outbound train.

Two: From the Visitor Center, you can connect with another YARTS bus to the rest of Yosemite and beyond to Mammoth Lakes. This service runs only when the Tioga Pass is open, which is typically from June to September. The bus goes to Crane Flat, White Wolf, Tuolumne Meadows, Lee Vining, June Lake and Mammoth Lakes.

Three: You may wish to reserve a rental car for maximum flexibility. Most of the car rental facilities are on 13th or 16th Streets in Merced, at least one mile away from the train station. Therefore you should check with your rental car agency to see whether they can pick you up at the train station or if you will need to take a taxi to get there.

Four: If it is more convenient to start your trip in San Francisco or Southern California, Amtrak has connecting service. There are six locations in San Francisco where travelers can connect to an Amtrak Thruway bus to Oakland. In Los Angeles, there is connecting train or bus service from San Diego, Oceanside, and Santa Ana. From Los Angeles, there is dedicated bus service to Bakersfield. For all of these services, there is through ticketing that allows you to travel the various buses and trains on one ticket!

Five: The San Joaquins are all-reserved trains. To experience Amtrak coach service, you must make advanced reservations. By buying your tickets in advance for both Amtrak and connecting services to Yosemite, you may be able to receive discounted advance purchase fares or special fares for students and seniors.

About the Author

Charles Self is the editor of the Amtrak Train Stations Across America website. At you will find additional information on traveling to Yosemite and Amtrak train stations.

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