Reno to Yosemite National Park

There are four ways to travel from Reno to Yosemite National Park: bus, car, taxi, and flight.

It takes 4 hours and 5 minutes to travel directly from Reno to Yosemite National Park, which is located 179 miles (288 kilometres) away.

If you’re planning a road trip from Reno to Yosemite National Park, we did the research and came up with a list of wonderful stops along the way, including South Lake Tahoe, Mammoth Lakes, and popular attractions like the National Automobile Museum, Truckee River Walk, and the enduringly well-liked Silver Legacy Resort Casino.

Yosemite National Park is accessible by taking Interstate 395 for a few hours. It contains Half Dome, El Capitan, and hikes for hikers of all levels. Select a trail to hike, then spend the night in Mammoth Lakes, which is only 45 minutes by car south of the Tioga Park entrance on Highway 395. As an alternative, you might try looking for a rental inside the park, but they frequently fill up quickly, particularly during the summer. 

How quickly can you travel from Reno to Yosemite National Park?

Driving takes 3 hours and 41 minutes and costs between $2,600 and $3,900 to get from Reno to Yosemite National Park.

Best stops along the route from Reno to Yosemite National Park

Mammoth Lake

In the southern half of Mono County, in the Eastern Sierra Nevada mountain range of California, is where you’ll find the town of Mammoth Lakes. It is 164 miles south of Reno, Nevada, and is about 325 miles north of Los Angeles, about the same distance east of San Francisco. It is a small town of only four square miles that is vibrant and home to a unique group of people who have made the decision to leave their urban lifestyles behind in order to experience nature at its best. Mammoth Lakes is a relatively new town that was incorporated in 1984 and is situated in the Mammoth Ranger District of the Inyo National Forest.

The town is bordered by the Ansel Adams and John Muir Wilderness Areas, which are both surrounded by vast tracts of forest and majestic mountain peaks. The eastern entrance to Yosemite National Park is only 32 miles north of town, and the scenic 100-mile drive to the Yosemite Valley floor begins there.

South Lake Tahoe

South Lake Tahoe is a tourist destination in the Sierra Nevada mountains on Lake Tahoe. It is renowned for the nearby ski resorts and picnic areas at beaches like El Dorado Beach. The city’s eateries and bars converge with those of Stateline, Nevada, which is nearby. Lake views and wooded trails can be found in Van Sickle Bi-State Park. Vikingsholm, a 1929 mansion in the Nordic style, is located in Emerald Bay State Park, which is west of the city.

Yosemite Valley

Visit Half Dome, El Capitan, and Yosemite Falls while taking a day trip through Yosemite Valley. Hike the Mist Trail, which is 5.4 miles roundtrip, if you want to work up a sweat. Camp out overnight in one of the park’s campgrounds or spend the night inside at the venerable Majestic Yosemite Hotel.

Glacier Point

The greatest view of Half Dome in the park, as well as a view of the valley and Yosemite Falls, can be found at Glacier Point, one of Yosemite’s best vantage points. Because the road is only open from late May through October or November, depending on the snowfall conditions, Glacier Point is not reachable by car year-round. Accessing This Yosemite View: Turn off Highway 41 onto Wawona Road, then take a left onto Glacier Point Road. Follow this road until it ends at a parking area.

Truckee Riv Walk

The Reno Riverwalk, which is well-liked and maintained, makes for a pleasant downtown stroll as it follows the Truckee River through the center of the city.

Palisades Tahoe

In Olympic Valley, California, northwest of Tahoe City in the Sierra Nevada range, there is a ski resort called Palisades Tahoe. The resort was formerly known as Squaw Valley from its founding in 1949 until 2021, but it changed its name due to the squaw’s negative context for Native Americans and their allies. The Winter Olympics were held there in 1960.

Heavenly Mountain Resort

In South Lake Tahoe, Nevada, in the Sierra Nevada Mountain Range, is the ski resort known as Heavenly Mountain Resort. It has 97 runs, 30 lifts, and four base facilities spread across California and Nevada. It first opened for business on December 15, 1955.

National Automobile Museum

Over 220 antique and vintage cars are displayed in themed displays alongside educational and historical exhibits.

The National Automobile Museum, which is located in Reno, is worth a visit if you enjoy all things automotive. More than 200 items are on display here, spanning the history of the automobile industry. These items range from vintage carriages to celebrity cars and even racing cars. The Mercury Series 9CM, which was driven by James Dean in the 1949 movie “Rebel Without a Cause,” is one of the most well-known items in this collection.

Bodie State Historic Park

A ghost town from the gold rush is kept in “arrested decay” at Bodie State Historic Park. On a dry, wind-swept plain, deteriorated structures stand frozen in time. To get there, take Highway 270 for about 7 miles south of Bridgeport for 13 miles. In the winter, the access road is frequently blocked by snow.

Tioga Pass

On Highway 120, Tioga Pass is located at Yosemite’s East Gate entrance. Tioga Pass, the highest vehicle pass in California at 9,945 feet, offers a quick route over the Sierra during the warmer months. Tioga Pass, which was built in 1882 as a trail for waggons hauling silver, now brings a quarter of a million people to the park every year. Tioga Pass, which is located at a high elevation, is typically impassable from November until late May, depending on the amount of snowfall. On its way to Tioga Pass, the Tioga Road winds through some of Yosemite’s most breathtaking scenery, providing drivers with fresh perspectives of Half Dome and a sweeping vista across Tenaya Canyon and Clouds Rest.

Just before the Tioga Pass, Tuolumne Meadows is situated along the Tioga Road. Beyond Tioga Pass are the less travelled Ansel Adams Wilderness, Hoover Wilderness, Toiyabe and Inyo National Forests.

Sand Harbor

Lake Tahoe is a cobalt blue lake at the top of the Sierra Nevada mountain range and is the largest alpine lake in North America. Sand Harbor’s eastern shores offer wonderfully serene swimming, kayaking, and scuba diving thanks to its gently sloping beaches, clear water, and interesting rock formations. From one of the park’s two ramps, boaters, water skiers, and fishermen can easily launch their craft. In one of the many picnic areas with barbecues and tables, visitors can picnic in the shade of Jeffrey pines and cedars while escaping the surf and sun. Every summer, the park also plays host to the Lake Tahoe Shakespeare Festival.

Yosemite Falls

There are countless waterfalls in Yosemite. The majority of the snowmelt takes place in the spring, making this the ideal time to view waterfalls. Peak runoff usually happens in May or June, and by August, some waterfalls, like Yosemite Falls, are frequently reduced to a trickle or completely dry. Some of the waterfalls are developed by storms in the late fall, and throughout the winter, frost builds up along their edges on many nights.

This is not an exhaustive list of all the waterfalls in Yosemite. Yosemite Valley and many other areas of the park both have waterfalls, both large and small, though all but the last two are in Yosemite Valley.

Donner Memorial State Park

Near the charming, old town of Truckee in the Sierra Nevada, Donner Memorial State Park is situated amidst fir and pine forests. The park provides guests with a variety of historic and recreational opportunities while being surrounded by stunning alpine scenery and being close to a lovely three-mile-long lake. Camping, picnicking, hiking, boating, fishing, and water sports are among the park’s summer and winter activities. The Emigrant Trail Museum and Pioneer Monument, which showcase the Donner Tragedy, overland immigration in the 1840s, the natural history of the Truckee Basin, as well as nearby Native American communities, are examples of historic and cultural attractions.

Casino Fandango

The Casino Fandango is a fantastic location for events. There is a spacious hallway outside the main rooms that is perfect for gathering or setting up a buffet, and the facilities are very good.

Vernal Fall

Vernal Fall, one of Yosemite’s most potent waterfalls, is 317 feet (96 metres) tall. Vernal cannot be seen from a car parked at the bottom of the valley, unlike Bridalveil Fall or Yosemite Fall. You have a few hiking options if you want to get a close-up view of the waterfall. The Mist Trail, which starts close to the Happy Isles Nature Center, is the easiest path to follow. From Curry Village, you can either walk or take a free shuttle bus to the Happy Isles Nature Center. From there, either continue on to the top of the waterfall or follow the trailhead to the footbridge over Vernal Fall. 

Hetch Hetchy Reservoir

Hetch Hetchy Valley, a hidden gem in the serene northwest corner of Yosemite National Park, is a treasure worth exploring all year round. At 3,900 feet, Hetch Hetchy is one of the parks with the longest hiking seasons and is the perfect location for roaring spring waterfalls and wildflower displays. Summer months are generally hot, but that is a small price to pay for the reward of a vast wilderness full of magnificent peaks, obscure canyons, and remote lakes.

Saint Mary In the Mountains

Before leaving Virginia City, make it a point to visit Saint Mary in the Mountains Catholic Church & Museum. There are many incredible ways to travel through time in a historic city that influenced the American West. Since its construction in 1870, this historic church has been a recognizable part of the Virginia City skyline and Nevada’s state champion of historic churches. Although there are numerous impressive historically restored churches scattered throughout Nevada’s ghost towns, Saint Mary in the Mountains stands out as an unbeatable example of historic preservation following a string of tragedies.

The first Catholic Church in Nevada, this place of worship continues to function as a functioning Catholic church and welcomes everyone to explore the free museum in the basement that provides information about the church’s history, Catholicism in Nevada, and daily life on the Comstock during Virginia City’s early, prosperous years.

Travertine Hot Springs

One of the most popular hot springs in California is Travertine Hot Springs, which is close to the tiny town of Bridgeport in the Eastern Sierra Nevada.

The region is known for its distinctive geological and hydrothermal features and is managed by BLM. Along with bathing hot springs, this area is home to colourful travertine deposits, fumaroles, and bubbling hot springs that are concealed by stark limestone ridges. Along with the previously mentioned features, this location is very well-known for its breathtaking views of the High Sierra and simple accessibility from Highway 395.

Lake Mary

Large Lake Mary is located in the southern part of the Ocala National Forest, off unimproved roads, south of the end of CR 314-A, past Moss Bluff and Meador’s Corner. It is a remote area for boating and fishing that is located north of Lake Catherine and Doe Lake.

Mono Lake Tufa State Natural Reserve

The spectacular “tufa towers,” calcium-carbonate spires and knobs created by the mingling of freshwater springs and alkaline lake water, were the reason the reserve was created. Additionally, it safeguards the wetlands and other delicate habitat for the 1-2 million birds that come to Mono Lake every year to feed and rest.

Mono Lake is a magnificent body of water that is 65 square miles in size. One of the oldest lakes in North America, it is a very old lake that dates back more than a million years. It lacks a plug.

Salts and minerals have been deposited in the lake over the course of its long existence by streams in the Eastern Sierra. Every year, freshwater evaporates from the lake, leaving behind salts and minerals that have made the lake about two and a half times as salty as the ocean and extremely alkaline.

Tuolumne Meadows

At 8,600 feet, Tuolumne Meadows, one of the Sierra Nevada’s largest high-elevation meadows, is also one of the most visible to today’s tourists, scientists, and visitors.

The park road that runs along the southern edge of the meadow makes it reachable. No other roads cross the High Sierra from this point southward to Mt. Whitney. As a result, this road designates the northernmost point of the largest continuous roadless wilderness on American soil.

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