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Yosemite Private Tours L.L.C


Frequently Asked Questions


How do I get to Yosemite?


We highly recommend going on a tour because it’s extremely hard to navigate in and around Yosemite it you don’t have knowledge of the area.

Are there vehicle restrictions in Yosemite?


Some roads have vehicle restrictions on height, length, and/or width, and only commercial vehicles can access certain areas. Therefore, we recommend going on a tour to save yourself time, traffic and hazardous road conditions.

Will I need to bring tire chains in winter?


Tire chains are required in fall, winter, and spring due to snowy and icy conditions. Winter driving can be hazardous. One simple way to keep yourself and everyone on the road safe is to slow down, have a 4x4, satellite phone or better, hire a professional driver.

Will the Tioga Road be open?


The Tioga Road (Highway 120 through the park, from Crane Flat to Tioga Pass) is open approximately late May or June through October, though these dates vary depending on weather conditions.

What is there to do in Yosemite?


Yosemite is filled with natural wonders worth a visit. Among top things to see in Yosemite may include, but are not limited to, the following: Tuolumne & Merced groves of sequoia, Half Dome, Glacier Point, Mariposa Grove, Tuolumne Meadows, Taft Point, Sentinel Dome, John Muir Trail and the Mist Trail, as well as the Yosemite Valley visitor center.

What are the top sights, attractions and things to see in Yosemite?


There are so many things to do in Yosemite National Park. Yosemite is filled with natural wonders worth. Among top things to see in Yosemite may include but are not limited to the following: Tuolumne & Merced groves of sequoia, Half Dome, Glacier Point, Mariposa Grove, Tuolumne Meadows, Taft Point and Sentinel Dome, Olmsted Point and overlook, Lembert Dome, Ellery Lake and Lee Vining Canyon, Tioga Lake, Tenaya Lake, May Lake, Polly Dome, John Muir Trail and the Mist Trail, as well as Yosemite Valley visitor center.

When is the best time of year to visit Yosemite?


It depends on what you're looking for! While most people visit Yosemite during summer, there are advantages to visiting throughout the year. Winter is magical and a better time to visit Yosemite without putting up with the crowds of the summertime.

When do the Half Dome cables go up and come down?


The Half Dome cables are normally installed immediately before Memorial Day weekend, but this can vary depending on conditions and trail crew availability. The cables usually remain up through Columbus Day (in October). A permit is required to hike Half Dome. The National Park Service strongly discourages hikers from attempting the cable route when the cables are down.

Where can I see giant sequoias?


There are three giant sequoia groves in Yosemite National Park: the Mariposa Grove, the Tuolumne Grove, and the Merced Grove.

Where and when can I see Horsetail Fall, the waterfall that resembles the Firefall?


Horsetail Fall flows in winter and early spring, when snow is present on top of El Capitan. On sunny afternoons in mid-to late February, the setting sun can cause it to glow orange.

Where and when can I see frazil ice?


Frazil ice forms along Yosemite Creek, and some other creeks in Yosemite Valley, most commonly in March and April. The phenomenon is entirely weather-dependent, so it's difficult to know when exactly it may happen (or if it will happen at all).

Why are animals so tame here? Can I feed them?


Animals in the park are wild, but many are accustomed to people because they have been fed so often. It is illegal to feed any animal in the park. Feeding animals contributes to poor nutrition, ill health, and the alteration of natural behavior patterns. Visitors who get close to, or feed animals, may also be bitten, scratched, or otherwise injured, or even become ill.

How can I protect bears from my food (and my food from bears)?


Yosemite's bears are always searching for food and consider anything that looks or smells like food to be food. Do some research about how to properly store your food while visiting Yosemite.

How can I protect myself from bears?


Black bears in Yosemite tend to avoid people and can be scared off, but stay away and keep your distance if you come across a bear.

What services are available for visitors with disabilities?


Citizens and legal residents with permanent disabilities are entitled to a free America the Beautiful Pass that provides the holder free access to federal fee areas. The park strives for full and equal participation for all visitors and continually upgrades facilities, programs and services to improve accessibility. The Yosemite Accessibility Guide outlines a variety of accessible services, facilities, and activities available in Yosemite.

Can I bring my pet to Yosemite?


Pets are allowed in Yosemite though there are regulations one must follow. However, our vehicles are not pet friendly.

Is Internet access available in Yosemite?


Internet kiosks and wi-fi are both available in several locations but tend to be slow.

Will my cell phone work in Yosemite?


Voice and data service are available in parts of Yosemite Valley and limited areas. However, most of Yosemite is wild and there is not cellphone service in these remote areas.

Where to stay in Yosemite?


There’s no greater convenience than staying right in Yosemite National Park – waking up with all the Park’s natural wonders right at your doorstep. With a range of accommodation – from elegant hotels with exceptional service to simple canvas tent cabins—you’ll find the perfect place to settle in, surrounded by some of the most majestic natural wonders on earth. Choose your favorite hotel or resort from: Yosemite Majestic Hotel, Yosemite Valley Lodge, Big Tree Lodge, Rush Creek, Tenaya Lodge, Yosemite Resorts, Yosemite View Lodge or Stay out of Yosemite places like Oakhurst, Groveland, Mariposa or Merced. Most hotels inside Yosemite are often booked up one year in advance. Learn more http://yosemiteprivatetours.com/blog/finding-reasonable-yosemite-hotels-and-lodging/

What is the Glacier Point seasonal closure?


The Glacier Point Road is usually closed in the winter from November to late May, but this vary from year-to-year.

What are the best day hikes in Tuolumne Meadows?


Tuolumne Meadows is a dream destination for hikers and rock climbers. Tioga Road is the only access by vehicle to these day and overnight hikes and trails. It is usually open around late May or early June, depending on weather and road conditions.

What are the top day and overnight hikes in Yosemite Tuolumne Meadows?


Dog Lake and Lembert Dome (moderate) Dog Lake: 2.8 miles (4.5 km) round-trip, 600-foot elevation gain; 3 hours. Lembert Dome: 2.8 miles (4.5 km) round-trip, 850-foot elevation gain; 3 hours. Dog Lake and Lembert Dome: 4 miles (6.4 km) round-trip; 4 hours begin at the Dog Lake parking area (shuttle stop #2, just west of Tuolumne Meadows Lodge).

Tuolumne Meadows: Soda Springs and Parsons Lodge (easy) 1.5 miles (2.4 km) round-trip; 1 hour. Begin at Lembert Dome parking area (shuttle stop #4). Walk along the gravel road and pass the locked gate (signed Glen Aulin and Soda Springs).

Elizabeth Lake (moderate) 4.8 miles (7.7 km) round-trip, 1,000-foot elevation gain; 4 to 5 hours Begin at Tuolumne Meadows Campground near group camp. The trail begins in the B loop of the campground and climbs steadily to a glacier-carved lake at the base of Unicorn Peak.

Lyell Canyon via the John Muir Trail (easy) 8 miles (12.9 km) round-trip, 200-foot elevation gain; 4 hours. Begin across the road from the Dog Lake parking area (shuttle stop #2). This trail passes through Lyell Canyon, along the Lyell Fork of the Tuolumne River. Early in the season the trail can be muddy in places (please remain on the trail even if it’s muddy).

Cathedral Lakes (moderate) 7 miles (11.3 km round-trip), 1,000-foot elevation gain; 4 to 6 hours. Begin at Cathedral Lakes trailhead, 1/2 mile west of the Tuolumne Meadows Visitor Center, Shuttle Stop #7.

Gaylor Lakes (moderate) 2 miles (3.2 km) round-trip, 500-foot elevation gain; 2 hours. Begin at Tioga Pass Entrance Station. (Shuttle service is available twice per day.)

Mono Pass (moderate) 8 miles (12.9 km) round-trip, 1,000-foot elevation gain; 4 to 6 hours. Begin at Mono Pass trailhead, on the Tioga Road six miles east of Tuolumne Meadows (shuttle service is available twice per day).

Vogelsang High Sierra Camp (strenuous)13.8 miles (22.2 km) round-trip, 1,400-foot elevation gain; 8 hours. Begin across the road from the Dog Lake parking area (Tuolumne Meadows Shuttle Stop #2) The first two miles of the John Muir Trail are relatively level…

Glen Aulin (moderate) 11 miles (17.7 km) round-trip, 800-foot elevation gain; 6-8 hours Follow the Tuolumne River as it drops to Glen Aulin.

Where can I find an ATM?


In Yosemite Valley there are ATMs in Yosemite Village inside the Village Store and to the south of the store at the Art Activity Center, at Yosemite Valley Lodge inside the main registration area, and at Half Dome Village inside the gift/grocery store. In Wawona, the ATM is inside the Wawona store, and at Tuolumne Meadows it’s inside the grocery store.

Where, exactly, is Yosemite National Park located?


Yosemite National Park is located in the central Sierra Nevada of California and lies 168 miles east of San Francisco and only a 4 1/2 to 5-hour drive from Los Angeles.

Where can I find a post office?


In Yosemite Valley, the main post office is in Yosemite Village near the Ansel Adams’ Gallery and Yosemite Visitor Center.

What is Yosemite Valley?


The Yosemite Valley is the heart of Yosemite National Park. It’s a wide glacier-carved valley, centrally located within Yosemite National Park in the western Sierra Nevada Mountains of California.

What are the entrance fees into Yosemite?


7-Day Automobile/Vehicle Permit

$35.00 per vehicle w/15 or fewer passengers

7-Day Single Entry Permit

$20.00 per person aged 16 and older

Entrance Fee by motorcycle

$30.00 per motorcycle

What is the recommended stay duration?


The ideal way to enjoy Yosemite wonders and huge wilderness is by spending one week. However, 3 to 5 days are also a good option.

What is the closest major city/airport to Yosemite National Park?


The closest airport is Fresno-Yosemite International and is about an hour and a half away from the park's south entrance or two and a half hours to the Yosemite Valley. San Francisco is the largest city nearby and will take approximately 5 hours to reach the valley.

Do you provide a car seat?


You can bring a car seat or ask our staff to provide one for you, free of charge

Can we bring a stroller?


You can bring a stroller that collapses and can fit under your seat or the trunk.

Can we bring our pet?


Unfortunately, we do not allow pets on our tours out of consideration for clients who are allergic to pets.

What is your policy regarding Foreign Languages?


Our tours are conducted in English unless otherwise indicated on your tour voucher. Some foreign languages are subject to additional fees.

Are the driver and tour guide tips included?


No. Your driver and tour guide will greatly appreciate any gratuities you give them. It's up to your discretion, but gratuity is usually about 15% average.

What is the amount of gratuity for the driver or tour guide? How do I calculate that?


15 to 20% gratuity is required and customary in the USA. Generally, a tip may vary between 15% to 20% of the total purchase amount, or it can be a flat amount that is near the appropriate percent. It really depends upon the situation. You may check out this website regarding the amount and how-to calculation the tip: https://percentcalculators.com/gratuity-or-tip-calculator/

Are your vehicles non-smoking?


Our vehicles are all non-smoking.

What shall I wear in Yosemite?


Please be prepared for cold weather, slippery roads and hiking trails, so have comfortable waterproof hiking shoes to walk on the snow in winter and spring. This long day-tour is hard on kids and seniors, we therefore recommend the overnight tour package.

Is this a Family Friendly Tour Company?


100%! Our goal is to eliminate the prep work and uncertainty of family travel, enabling you to focus on making memories that will last a lifetime.

What sets you apart?


At Yosemite Private Tours, we treat your travel dreams as if they were our own. We are an award-winning tour company with a passion for service, and we have built our business on the principles of transparency, safety, reliability, accountability and professionalism. Our expert tour guides are fluent in English, French, Spanish, German, Portuguese, Italian, Korean, Chinese, Japanese, Arabic, Hebrew, and Russian.

Tell us more about your safety and maintenance policy?


Yosemite Private Tours and its sister companies are fully licensed and insured by the State of California, and we meet all requirements of the Public Utilities Commission guidelines and regulations. Our vehicles are well-maintained and inspected regularly for safety by the California Highway Patrol and Department of Transportation. Daily cleaning and preventive maintenance ensure that our guests travel in comfort and safety at all times.

What about your chauffeurs?


Customer service is always at the top of our list, and to us, that goes far beyond opening doors and handling luggage. Our drivers are courteous, professional, and highly trained. Chauffeurs must pass a background check and random drug and alcohol screening to ensure ongoing guest safety.

What about your tour guides?


Our guides are state licensed, multi-lingual, and far more than simply a driver. They are knowledgeable hospitality professionals who can tweak your itinerary on a whim, and make sure your trip is about you. The privacy and flexibility of an SUV or luxury van tour is incomparable, allowing your party the space and time to travel deeper and soak it all in. Our expert tour guides are fluent in English, French, Spanish, German, Portuguese, Italian, Korean, Chinese, Japanese, Arabic, Hebrew, and Russian.

What kind of vehicles do you use?


Whether you’re booking a business trip, an intimate getaway, or a family vacation, our well-appointed fleet of luxury touring vehicles has something for all travelers and groups.

The ideal choice for leisure and corporate transportation. Choose between top of the line SUVs, sedans, limousines, 15 passenger vans, and luxury motor coaches.

Is your website secure? What are the methods of payments you accept? We accept all major credit and debit cards including Mastercard, Visa, Discover, American Express, Euro cards, JCB, Chinese UnionPay, Cartes Bleue, and PayPal. We also accept wire transfers from tour operators, customers, and travel agents.

Our website is hosted on local private, secure and encrypted server. Our website and shopping cart are available in many languages. You can book with confidence. We offer a simple and convenient cancelation and refund policy far more flexible than all other tour companies.

Are your prices in U.S. Dollars?


Yes, all of the advertised prices are in U.S. dollars as we are based in California, USA.

Can I use PayPal to pay in stores?


Yes, we accept and offer PayPal payment option on our secure website.

Why Are Hotel Rates Based on Double Occupancy?


Yes, indeed.

How to book my Tour? How does it work?


You can secure your booking directly through our secure reservation page (click here) and then once on that page, please scroll down to ‘Step 1-Tour Information’ section to choose your preferred tour from the ‘select tour’ drop down. Please fill out the credit card information under section ‘Step 2-Cardholder Information’. Then check your email you entered on our reservation form to get our merchant receipt, generated ONLY when transactions are approved! We will also send you a tour voucher confirming your tour, date and pick-up time if your transaction is approved and based on availability. We will fully refund your transaction if the required tour or date is not available

Do you pick us up and drive us back to our hotel after the tour?


We offer complimentary pick-up and drop-off at any location or hotel.

Do I get a discount if I purchase 2 or more tours?


Yes, you can get a discount on your second purchase. The more you book, the more you save. You may contact us for more information.

Once I make reservations, will I receive tickets for my tour?


You will receive a voucher for confirmation and travel within 24 hours of booking. Just print it out and present it at the time of check in.

What are the best tips you can give for visitors and hikers?


- If you are subject to car or motion sickness, please consider asking your doctor for recommended medication or stop by a pharmacy and consult a pharmacist in this regard.

- Consider leaving unnecessary luggage at your hotel and travel light so you have more room in the vehicle.

- Wear clothes and shoes suitable for walking and hiking (Snowshoes in winter are recommended, and a swimsuit to enjoy the hotel’s swimming pool and hot tub).

- Bring sunscreen, bugspray, extra memory cards, and batteries for your camera (if applicable).

- Warm layers for cooler weather, and a raincoat for summer showers.

- Drink lots of water due to the high altitude and don't hike alone, as we offer fully guided tours.

- We are not responsible for injuries or accidents that may occur during this trip in or out of Yosemite National Park. Please read our terms and conditions for more information.

What do you mean by “The misconception about private tours”?


Ever wondered why small group private tours are more expensive than large group tours, if in fact you are going to the same place? Simply because public group tours are more cost-effective for the operator, than private tours. In essence, the input cost of private tours and public tours are roughly the same - both provide one driver or a tour guide, one vehicle, same trip length whilst both companies assume the same business expenses and commercial insurance liability. However, private tour operators (like ours) make 95% less profit than public group tours, because all our resources are dedicated to a small group (couples or families), whilst the pubic tour operators make 10 times more profit thanks to the larger number of passengers per vehicle (quantity).

We, on the other hand, focus on quality as we never share our private tours with other customers. In addition to offering a more personalized service and customized trip itineraries, conducted in luxury vehicles, we also have access to all sites where large vehicles and buses are prohibited.

What about your tour company and how long have you been in business?


We are travel industry veterans with roots in Europe and the United States. Using expertise gleaned from decades of experience, we keep the ship sailing smoothly to ensure the best possible guest experience. We gladly accommodate special requests, and work diligently to resolve unforeseen circumstances if and when they arise. Yosemite Private Tours LLC has been operating out of San Francisco and Yosemite National Park area for more than 15 years, and our commitment to excellent service permeates everything we do. From your first inquiry, to booking, to a luxury vehicle arriving at your door, we strive to maintain trust and transparency throughout the entire process. We are fully licensed and insured, and only hire drivers that are experienced, knowledgeable, passionate, professional, and drug free. We respect the privacy and payment information of our guests, and gladly work with travel agents and businesses to accommodate special groups.