San Diego to Yosemite National Park

San Diego is frequently referred to as America’s Finest City, a trip to what many consider the best national park in the United States is sure to be picturesque. Consider taking a road trip from San Diego to Yosemite National Park if you’re looking for lush, green forests, vast mountain ranges, and arid deserts all rolled into one.

Around 6 hours and 30 minutes is needed to drive from San Diego to Yosemite National Park. Take a break at Mammoth Lakes or unwind in Yosemite Village after touring the wilderness beauty of Death Valley National Park and admiring the Sierra and Inyo National Forests.

How far is Yosemite National Park from San Diego?

Yosemite National Park is located 611 kilometers from San Diego. There are 734.2 km on the road.

Depending on the route taken, the distance between San Diego and Yosemite National Park is 400 to 430 miles, and the travel time is 6 to 7 hours, not including breaks and rest stops. Theoretically, if you leave early in the morning, you could make it to Yosemite in time for dinner.

The purpose of a long route, though, is to take in the scenery. If you needed to get to Yosemite quickly, you could take a flight to Fresno and figure out how to get there from there. However, by taking a flight or driving quickly to get to Yosemite in a day, you’d miss out on so many breathtaking views along the way.

Your best option for travelling from San Diego to Yosemite National Park is probably the interstate route. Although you won’t be able to travel through the desert, you will eventually be able to stop at more locations rather than just passing them on the road.

The closer view of the Sierra Nevada Mountains is a welcome addition, and the access to Death Valley should add just enough novelty to make your return trip more interesting. If you want to mix things up, you can take Highway 395 on your way back to San Diego.

Interstate Route- On your way out of San Diego, follow the I-5 past Torrey Pines State Reserve and the coast until you reach Dana Point. Then continue on the highway through the centre of Los Angeles. When you reach the Los Padres National Forest, turn onto State Route 99 to bypass Bakersfield. The lovely Sequoia National Forest can be found to your right a few miles to the north, followed quickly by Sierra National Forest and Kings Canyon National Park. Take State Route 41 from Fresno to the South Entrance of Yosemite, which is close to Fish Camp.

Death Valley Route- Take the I-15 north from San Diego, past Cleveland National Forest, through Victorville, and between the Angeles and San Bernardino National Forests. From here, merge onto Highway 395 and head north until you reach a series of scenic landmarks on either side. You can drop into Inyo National Forest via Bishop after passing Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks on the way past Inyokern. The highest-altitude vehicle crossing in the state is at Tioga Pass, which you can access by driving through Mammoth Lakes further north. The Death Valley National Park on your right will be in stark contrast to this left-side stretch of parks and forests.

Best stops from San Diego to Yosemite National Park


The city of Bakersfield is located in south-central California and serves as the county seat. It was established in the San Joaquin Valley in 1869 by Thomas Baker after he cleared swamplands next to the Kern River and built a road connecting Los Angeles and Stockton. Its located in the middle of the interstate are a number of well-known animal exhibits and a number of breathtaking parks.

Sequoia & Kings Canyon National Parks 

The variety of the landscape, life, and beauty here is evidenced by the massive mountains, rough foothills, deep canyons, enormous caverns, and the largest trees in the world. Discover more about the local flora and fauna on these pages, as well as the dangers they face. Even though our ancient giant sequoias appear unbreakable, they are nevertheless vulnerable.

Los Angeles 

Southern California’s economic, ļ¬nancial, and cultural hub is Los Angeles. It is well-known for its Mediterranean climate, ethnic and cultural diversity, Hollywood film industry, and expansive metropolitan area. The City of Angels is a cultural center that is big and powerful and can keep you busy for weeks.

Inyo National Forest 

Located in California’s beautiful Eastern Sierra, the Inyo National Forest offers clean air, crystal blue skies, mountain lakes and streams, challenging trails, high mountain peaks, and beautiful views.

Mammoth Lakes 

Mammoth Lakes is the ideal starting point for exploring nearby hot springs in any season. A large volcano that erupted here about 760,000 years ago left a network of bubbling water underground. To unwind in one of The Inn at Benton Hot Springs’ nine outdoor hot tubs, travel east to Benton Hot Springs.

Torrey Pines State Reserve 

The Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve is a breathtakingly beautiful area that extends for more than 2,000 acres and is conveniently located within the city limits, despite being one of the wildest stretches of land along the coast of Southern California. If you’re wondering what to do in San Diego on a sunny morning, the pristine reserve offers a variety of untamed landscapes, from miles of undeveloped beaches and protected tidal zones to verdant forests of rare Torrey pine trees and a burgeoning chaparral plant community. Visit a sizable lagoon frequented by migrating seabirds to enjoy excellent birdwatching, and travel along a network of winding footpaths, trails, and byways.

Moonlight State Beach

In Encinitas, California, there is a state beach called Moonlight State Beach. After Encinitas Boulevard crosses Highway 101 and turns into B Street, it is situated 0.5 miles down the road. Both adults and children can have fun at the beach thanks to the area’s excellent amenities.

Los Padres National Forest 

In southern and central California, there is a national forest called Los Padres National Forest. Los Padres, which is under the management of the United States Forest Service, encompasses the majority of the mountainous terrain that runs inland from Ventura to Monterey along the California coast. There are elevations between sea level and 8,847 feet.


San Joaquin Valley in California is home to the city of Fresno. Forestiere Underground Gardens, built in the early 1900s, feature underground corridors and courtyards that are reminiscent of Roman catacombs. Sea lions and a stingray touch pool can be found at the Fresno Chaffee Zoo. The Shinzen Japanese Garden is located in Woodward Park, a vast area with many trails. Yosemite National Park, with its waterfalls and enormous rock formations, is based in the city.

Sierra National Forest 

Sierra National Forest is a region of forests and streams in central California, United States. It is one of California’s most traditional picturesque locations, with mountains, lakes, and pine trees, it is indescribably beautiful. It is bounded by the national forests of Inyo, Sequoia, and Stanislaus and extends along the Sierra Nevada between Yosemite and Kings Canyon. It was created in 1905 from a previous forest reserve. The country is 2,030 square miles in size and has elevations between 900 and 13,000 feet. Big trees in the Nelder and McKinley groves as well as the Kaiser, Dinkey Lakes, Monarch, Ansel Adams, and John Muir wilderness areas are notable features. Admin offices are in Clovis.

Cleveland National Forest 

A secret gem is Cleveland National Forest. Although difficult to imagine, San Diego’s dry, sunny climate has some drawbacks: A European is not really used to the vegetation’s generally brownish colour. Even the national parks, such as Joshua Tree and Death Valley, are not particularly green, despite their breathtaking beauty. The Cleveland National Forest, which is only 45 minutes east of San Diego, offers a welcome contrast to southern California’s typically drab surroundings. Additionally, even without a GPS, getting to the park is not too difficult due to its close proximity to Interstate 8, which links San Diego and El Centro.


California’s Bishop is a city in the United States. Inyo County’s only incorporated city and most populous location. Bishop is situated at an altitude of 4,150 feet, close to the northernmost point of the Owens Valley. Bishop, a well-liked destination for vacationers, provides breathtaking mountain views and an abundance of roadside lodging.

Mono Lake 

At the easternmost point of the Sierra Nevada in California, there is a historic saltwater lake called Mono Lake. Its tributary streams also provide water to Los Angeles, which is located nearly 350 miles to the south and is home to trillions of brine shrimp, millions of birds, and famous tufa towers. Continuous advocacy has shown that balanced solutions mean enough water for both people and the environment after a successful legal battle stopped excessive diversions.

Death Valley National Park

Death Valley is a land of extremes in this basin below sea level because of the ongoing drought and the extreme summer heat. Each extreme, however, has a startling contrast. Winter snow has covered the high peaks. Rare rainstorms bring colossal wildflower fields. Rich oases provide a haven for animals and people, as well as tiny fish. Death Valley is home to a wide variety of life despite its ominous name.

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