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Planning to fly to Yosemite National Park? You have several options available, including major international gateways and small regional airports. If you’re travelling from outside the United States, Los Angeles, San Francisco and San Jose are the most convenient entry points. Both airports are large and modern with a good range of shopping and dining.
The major Californian gateways are served by full-service international carriers, so you’ll have a wide range of options, including in-flight meals and entertainment, business and first-class seating and access to premium airport lounges. Smaller regional airports are served by local carriers operating smaller aircraft, so expect fewer facilities.
It’s easy to travel to Yosemite National Park from the big California airports. Many visitors hire a car and continue their journey by road – allow at least a day for this, as the drive will take between five and seven hours depending on your point of arrival.
If you prefer not to drive, you can pick up a connecting flight to Yosemite, flying into a nearby airport such as Mammoth Yosemite, Oakland, Sacramento, Fresno or Merced Municipal. From Los Angeles you can fly direct to any of these airports, but from San Francisco you may have to fly via LA.
While it’s possible to drive to Yosemite from any airport in the region, the closest airport to the park’s most famous sights is Fresno Yosemite International. From Fresno you can take a YARTS bus to several gateway towns and into Yosemite Village itself. Driving to the park’s south entrance will take around 90 minutes.
If you’re visiting the eastern side of Yosemite National Park, Mammoth Yosemite Airport is a convenient arrival point. Scheduled flights run from LA to Mammoth Yosemite all year round, and take around an hour. In winter there are additional flights to Mammoth Yosemite from San Francisco and San Diego, but you won’t be able to access Yosemite National Park directly – the snow season turns Mammoth into a world-class ski resort, but cuts it off from the park’s eastern entrance.
Yosemite Valley is a good place to start your visit. Many of the main sights are near here, including Yosemite Falls, Sentinel Bridge, El Capitan and Half Dome. Free shuttle buses run from the village to the most popular sights. Stop off at the visitor centre in Yosemite Village to pick up information about hiking and other outdoor activities in the park.
If you’re flying to Yosemite National Park via Mammoth Yosemite Airport, you’ll be on the east side of the park. Head to scenic Tuolumne Meadows to find your nearest visitor centre. This side of the park is often quieter than Yosemite Valley and there are some lovely hikes and places to visit. Try the popular trail to Cathedral Lakes, which offers fine views over Tenaya Canyon.