Frequently Asked Questions – Discover Yosemite Tours

Frequently Asked Questions

Q– Do you pick up in or near San Francisco?
A- No. Our tours originate from gateway communities to Yosemite. San Francisco is approximately 200 miles from our closest pickup.

Q– Where do you pick up?
A– We pick up from the hotels and inns in the Bass Lake, Coarsegold, Oakhurst, and Fish Camp areas on Hwy 41. Click here for a list of hotel pickup locations.

Q– What is the cancellation policy?
A– If you cancel within 24 hours of your tour date (48 hours for private tours) you will be charged full price. Cancellations prior to 24 hours of your tour date (48 hours for private tours) are $5 per person. View our full Cancellation Policy.

Q– Will we see El Capitan? Half Dome?
A– Yes. You’ll have many views of both, and there are stunning views of Half Dome from Glacier Point.

Q– Will we see waterfalls?
A– Yes, although how many depends on when you visit. Bridalveil flows year round, as do Vernal and Nevada Falls (seen from Glacier Point). The rest of Yosemite’s waterfalls are seasonal. Even our famous Yosemite Falls dries up in the summer and starts running again after the first snowfall in the high country. From Yosemite Valley, you may see Ribbon Falls, Horsetail (and sometimes Ponytail) Falls, Silver Stand and the Cascades. Spring and early summer are the best times to see waterfalls.

Q– When can I book for the next season?
A– Bookings for the Summer season April 1-November 30 can be made beginning December 1. Bookings for the Winter season December 1-March 31 can be made beginning April 1.

Q– Are we on the bus ALL day?
A– No. In fact you’ll be off the bus more than you are on it. There are many photo stops along the route, and you’ll have from 30 minutes to over an hour to explore Glacier Point and areas of Yosemite Valley.

Q– What’s included in the price of the tour?
A– The price includes the tour, water and park fees on all tours. Lunch or dinner is also included on Full Day, Sunset and Full Moon tours. Gratuities are not included.

Q– Where do we have lunch?
A– There are so many beautiful places in Yosemite. Your guide will take you to one of those scenic, comfortable areas to enjoy your picnic lunch.

Q– Can we eat and drink on the bus?
A– We do stop frequently and prefer that you wait until then. The roads are windy, so things tend to get spilled, and the food odors can be difficult for anyone prone to motion sickness. Water is always fine, of course.

Q– Will there be opportunities for shopping?
A– There are very few opportunities for shopping. Glacier Point and Yosemite Valley Hotel both have souvenir stores, but our time at these locations is limited and you may want to forego shopping in favor of enjoying these areas. Park regulations prevent us from dropping our guests off at Yosemite Village, where most of the park’s businesses are located. If you don’t mind missing some of the sites, your driver can direct you to Yosemite Village to shop using the park’s shuttle buses.

Q– Is there a lot of walking on the tour?
A– There are opportunities to do some walking, but it’s not required.

Q–What vehicle will I be in on my tour?
A–The vehicle used will depend on how many people are in your party, how many people we have signed up for a tour, or other circumstances. Any of our vehicles could be used.

Q– Are the buses wheelchair accessible?
A– Our 14-passenger bus has both a wheelchair lift and a wheelchair station. Just let us know when you book if you need this accommodation.  We can also fit collapsible wheelchairs on our regular buses for those who are able to get on and off the bus on their own but have trouble walking. Please let us know in advance if you will have a collapsible wheelchair.

Q– Do the buses have bathrooms?
A– No, the buses do not have bathrooms, but many of the stops we make have facilities available.

Q– Can we bring our pet?
A–Unfortunately we cannot allow pets on our public tour. The only animals allowed on the public tours are registered service animals. If you have a pet that you would really love to bring along, please consider reserving a private tour. Click here for pet regulations in Yosemite.

Q– What should we wear?
A– There’s an apocryphal quote attributed to Mark Twain, supposedly uttered after experiencing a summer snowstorm in Yosemite. “Yosemite has only two seasons, the end of one winter and the beginning of the next.” Chances of seeing snow in the summer are rare, but it’s a good idea to wear layers at any time of year, as the weather can change dramatically during the day.

Yosemite Valley weather is warm to hot in the summer, with occasional afternoon thunderstorms. Spring and Fall are highly variable, with days tending toward mild, but either season can bring snow or rain. Winter is cold with frequent snow. Be prepared for snow and ice even on sunny days, since there are areas of the valley that never see the sunlight in the winter months. For the weather forecast:

Q– Will I see a bear?
A– We sincerely hope not. As thrilling as it is to see one, bears that gravitate to populated areas of the park are endangered bears. The National Park Service works hard to keep our wild bears in the wild. However, there’s an excellent chance of seeing lots of other wildlife: mule deer, coyotes, marmots on the Tioga Pass tour, and numerous birds, including Steller’s Jays, Black-headed Grosbeaks and possibly a hawk or an eagle.

Q– Will we see the geysers?
A– Sorry, the geysers are in Yellowstone National Park. So are the Buffalo. (Note: a FAQ is a question that has been asked of us several times. And yes, we do get this one often.)

Q– Can we bring a car seat?
A– You can bring a car seat if a seat is paid for the child. If the child is under three years old and going for free as a “lap child” and we have extra seats you can also bring one, but we may not know if this is an option until your pick up.

Q– Can we bring a stroller?
A– You can bring a stroller that collapses and can fit under your seat and doesn’t take much room as space on the vehicles is limited.

Q– Do we go to the Grizzly Giant?
A– Our tour does include the Mariposa Grove of Giant Sequoias. There are different circumstances that will determine how long you will be in the grove. Once in the grove your guide will let you know how much time you have. At that point you can determine whether you can make it to the Grizzly Giant. Walking at a quick pace without stopping you can get to the Grizzly Giant and back in about 45 minutes.

Please note: Answers about what you’ll see relate to tours within Yosemite National Park. For tours outside the park, see descriptions under Private and Hiking Tours.