Yosemite National Park is a breathtaking destination that offers a unique vacation experience. With its towering granite cliffs, expansive alpine meadows, and stunning waterfalls, it’s no wonder that Yosemite is a favorite among nature enthusiasts. If you’re planning a trip to Yosemite, choosing the right airport can make a big difference in your travel experience. In this guide, we’ll explore the closest airports to Yosemite National Park and provide tips on how to get to the park from each of them.
Fresno Yosemite International Airport (FAT)
Distance from Yosemite: 64 miles to the park’s south entrance (1.5-hour drive); 95 miles to Yosemite Valley (2.5-hour drive)
Why it’s worth flying into: You don’t have to beat Bay Area traffic to get into the park.
Fresno Yosemite International Airport is the closest airport to Yosemite National Park and offers both domestic and international flights. Compared to other airports in the Bay Area, Fresno has less traffic, making it a convenient option for reaching the park. Additionally, Fresno is a vibrant city with plenty of dining options and amenities, making it a great place to stock up on supplies before heading into the park. If you prefer not to drive, there is also a local shuttle service available from the airport.
San Francisco International Airport (SFO)
Distance from Yosemite: 169 miles to the Big Oak Flat Entrance (3 hrs 10 mins); 193 miles to Yosemite Valley (3 hrs 50 mins)
Why it’s worth flying into: The widest range of US carriers and nonstop flights.
San Francisco International Airport is the most common airport for travelers visiting Yosemite National Park. It offers a wide range of flight options and is well-connected to various destinations. However, keep in mind that Bay Area traffic can significantly impact your travel time to the park, so plan accordingly. From SFO, you can drive through the Central Valley and enter Yosemite via the Big Oak Flat or Arch Rock entrances. Alternatively, you can take a YARTS bus from Merced if you prefer not to drive.
San Jose Mineta International Airport (SJC)
Distance from Yosemite: 183 miles to the Arch Rock Entrance (3 hrs 20 mins); 200 miles to Yosemite Valley (3 hrs 45 mins)
Why it’s worth flying into: It’s essentially as close as San Francisco International Airport and one of the bigger regional airports.
San Jose International Airport is located in downtown San Jose, making it a convenient option for travelers visiting both San Francisco and Yosemite. While you may still encounter Bay Area traffic, San Jose offers a range of flight options and is closer to the park than San Francisco. From San Jose, you can enter Yosemite through the Arch Rock Entrance via Highway 140. This route is less winding and mountainous, making it easier to drive, especially in the non-summer months.
Oakland International Airport (OAK)
Distance from Yosemite: 150 miles to the Big Oak Flat Entrance (2 hrs 45 mins); 174 miles to Yosemite Valley (3.5 hrs)
Why it’s worth flying into: Next closest airport to Yosemite National Park and has fewer toll lanes than San Francisco.
Oakland International Airport is another viable option for reaching Yosemite National Park. Located on the east side of the San Francisco Bay, Oakland offers convenient access to the Big Oak Flat Entrance and the town of Groveland. Compared to San Francisco, Oakland has fewer toll lanes, which can save you some money on your journey. However, keep in mind that traffic in the Bay Area can still impact your travel time.
Reno-Tahoe International Airport (RNO)
Distance from Yosemite: 142 miles to the Tioga Pass entrance (2.5 hrs); ~170 miles to Yosemite Valley (4 hrs)
Why it’s worth flying into: It’s a local airport close to Lake Tahoe and the park’s eastern entrance.
If you’re planning to explore both Yosemite and Lake Tahoe, Reno-Tahoe International Airport is an excellent choice. Located on the eastern side of the Sierra Nevada, Reno-Tahoe is close to both destinations. Keep in mind that Tioga Pass is only open in the summer months, so plan your visit accordingly. From Reno-Tahoe, you can drive south on US-395 and take the beautiful Tioga Pass road into the park.
Sacramento International Airport (SMF)
Distance from Yosemite: 152 miles to Big Oak Flat Entrance Station (2 hrs 50 mins); 176 miles to Yosemite Valley (3.5 hrs)
Why it’s worth flying into: It’s the same driving distance as the Bay Area airports with less traffic.
Sacramento International Airport offers a middle ground between San Francisco and Yosemite. Located in the capital city of California, Sacramento provides convenient access to the Central Valley and the foothills of the Sierra Nevada Mountains. While the Central Valley may not be as scenic as other regions, Sacramento offers a range of flights and is less congested than the Bay Area airports. From Sacramento, you can drive to Yosemite via Highway 120 or Highway 140.
Best Small Regional Airports Near Yosemite
In addition to the major airports mentioned above, there are a few smaller regional airports that offer convenient access to Yosemite National Park.
- Merced Regional Airport (MCE): 72 miles to Yosemite National Park (1.5-hour drive); 83 miles to Yosemite Valley (2-hour drive)
- Mammoth Yosemite Airport (MMH): 30 miles to Lee Vining, CA (30 minutes); 2.5 hours to Yosemite Valley
- Stockton Metropolitan Airport (SCK): 98 miles to Yosemite National Park (2 hours); 122 miles to Yosemite Valley (2 hours 45 minutes)
These smaller airports may have limited flight options, but they are closer to the park and offer a more relaxed travel experience. From each of these airports, you can drive to Yosemite via different entrances, depending on your preferred route.
When choosing an airport for your trip to Yosemite National Park, consider factors such as flight availability, travel time, and convenience. Whether you prefer a major airport or a smaller regional airport, each option provides its own unique advantages. Plan your trip accordingly and make the most of your Yosemite adventure!