Los Angeles to Yosemite Road Trip

This Los Angeles to Yosemite road trip takes only five hours and there is so much to explore! Here are the best places to stop. Ready to make some memories?
Written by Bonnie Stinson
Reviewed by Carrie Adkins
A Los Angeles to Yosemite road trip is an easy five to six-hour drive with plenty of natural and manmade attractions to see along the way. The fastest route is via the I-5 to the CA-99 to Fresno, then taking the CA-41 straight to the park. But there are plenty of fun side trips if you have some time to get distracted.
is beautiful, so you’ll enjoy a scenic drive no matter your route. In case of any misadventures, make sure you have
roadside assistance
. You wouldn’t be the first person to run out of gas in the desert!
Here’s an engaging and easygoing itinerary for a Los Angeles to Yosemite road trip, assembled by the
car insurance
comparison experts at
We hope you’re stoked about your Los Angeles to Yosemite road trip! No need to stress over where to go or what to do on your trip—we’ve got you covered.
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Key trip details

Los Angeles to Yosemite
Distance: 310 miles
Driving time: 5 hours and 31 minutes
Suggested length of trip: 2 to 3 days
Though this trip can be done in one swift afternoon, there are enough things to do and see along the way to make it worth your time to stop along the way!


  • Los Angeles, CA—1 to 2 days
  • Bakersfield, CA—Half a day
  • Visalia, CA—Half a day
  • Fresno, CA—1 to 2 days
  • Mariposa Grove, CA—Half a day
  • Yosemite National Park, CA—1 to 2 days

Los Angeles, CA

Whether you live here or not, LA is a never-ending feast of activities. It has mountainous hikes, glamorous beaches, and world-class entertainment.
A buzzing metropolis in the Golden State, Los Angeles is a very fun place to live—but it’s not a very fun place to drive, as any local will tell you. So let’s get out of town and take a road trip!
Before you go, here’s what you should do in town.

Where to stay in Los Angeles

  • Hotel Normandie
    : This unique boutique hotel located in Koreatown provides the perfect combination of style and comfort. Originally built in the mid-1920s, it’s been maintained and lovingly restored over the years, making it a must-stay. Cost per night: from $206.

Where to eat in Los Angeles

  • Ms. Chi Cafe
    ($$): Try this spot in Culver City for dumplings and pork belly tots to-go. Headed by Chef Shirley Chung, her imaginative menu makes this a must-see while in LA!
  • Ronan
    ($$): For some great, authentic brick oven Neapolitan pizza, head over to Ronan. We recommend either the Spicy Chomper or the Sweet Cheeks, which both pair nicely with any of their wine offerings.

What to do in Los Angeles

Griffith Observatory
  • Griffith Park
    : Want to stretch your legs before you drive? Do a warm-up hike at Griffith Park and enjoy a stunning view of the city from the
    before you bid farewell to the smog.
  • Antelope Valley Poppy Preserve
    : If you are traveling between March and May, be sure to stop by here on your way out of town. It’s only 30 minutes off your route and its gorgeous fields of poppies will totally transform you.
Pro Tip It can be a pain to drive around Los Angeles, so finding a safe place to park and walking to your destinations might be a good idea—just make sure to wear sunscreen and dress coolly!

Bakersfield, CA

111 miles, 2 hours
Bakersfield is just far enough away from Los Angeles that most Angelenos have never visited the city. That’s a shame because Bakersfield is an agricultural, historical, and recreational haven.
Plus, it’s the perfect pitstop if you want some farm-fresh food for your adventure.
To get to Bakersfield, follow I-5 N and CA-99 N, before taking exit 24.

Where to eat in Bakersfield

  • 24th Street Cafe
    ($$): This local staple has been around since 1987 and is well-loved as a neighborhood hangout and for its affordable burgers and hearty breakfasts.
  • Hungry Hunter Steakhouse
    ($$$): If you’re looking for a meal to fill you up for the road, then Hungry Hunter’s menu of prime ribs, steaks, and seafood is the perfect place to stop.

What to do in Bakersfield

  • The Big Red Barn, Murray Family Farms
    : This family-run farm is open 8 AM to 8 PM and you can find pies, fruit, and fun games and rides. Grab a couple of pluots to take hiking with you—you’ll be glad you did.
  • Bakersfield Museum of Art
    : Housing a fantastic collection of artists, with a number of local California artists featured, it's well worth spending at least an hour touring their halls.
  • Buena Vista Museum of Natural History & Science
    : This natural history museum is located in the Arts District of downtown Bakersfield. Focusing on three areas—Geology, Anthropology, and Paleontology—this is the perfect place for any science buff to check out.
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Visalia, CA

78 miles, 1 hour
Another hour north is Visalia, a town with a rich history and a bright future. The views can’t be beaten, and you can begin to sense the magic of the Sierra Nevadas from here. Visalia has beautiful murals and gourmet coffee that are well worth the stopover.
If you needed another reason, in Visalia you can stand at the geographic center of California.
To get to Visalia, follow CA-99 N to CA-63 N/W Noble Ave, then take exit 107A.

Where to eat in Visalia

  • Brewbakers Brewing Company
    ($$-$$$): This welcoming brewery and tavern serves classic, delicious pub fare, and beers. It’s a great place to stop for a warm meal before heading out on the road again.

What to do in Visalia

The Fox Theater
  • Kaweah Oaks Preserve
    : If you’re a fan of hiking, you’ll want to check out this 344-acre nature preserve that holds a vast oak riparian forest. It’s just east of town and makes for a perfect walk in the woodlands.
  • Bravo Farms Vintage Cheese Factory
    : Located just off Highway 99, Bravo Farms has a gift shop, cheese factory, fudge shop, restaurant, petting zoo, treehouse, and countless other fun things to do and try!
  • The Fox Theater
    : This historic building from the 1930s now frequently hosts comedy shows and music events. Even if you’re not in town for a particular show, it's still a cool sight worth visiting.
Pro Tip Make sure your car is up for the adventure! California roads can be winding and rocky, so get your car checked out and make sure you have roadside assistance beforehand.

Fresno, CA

43 miles, 45 minutes
Your last urban stop before heading into the forests and dunes is Fresno, a lively city with a strong agricultural community and surprisingly quirky attractions. Underground gardens, anyone? Refill your water bottles here and top up your snack stash.
Continue on the CA-99 N to Fresno St., taking exit 132B.

Where to stay in Fresno

  • Hotel Piccadilly
    : Fresno’s original boutique hotel is the perfect place to stop and catch some zzz’s. The rooms are clean, comfy, and simplistically elegant, and its central location makes it easy to explore Fresno. Cost per night: from $98.

Where to eat in Fresno

  • Mediterranean Grill & Cafe
    ($$): This casual spot for Mediterranean fare has delicious kebabs, hummus, and various vegetarian options that’ll fill you up for the road.
  • Red Apple Cafe
    ($$): If you want to grab a yummy breakfast, check out Red Apple’s generously-portioned pancakes, french toast, and chorizo scramble.

What to do in Fresno

Fresno Discovery Center
  • Kearney Mansion Museum
    : Built in the early 1900s, this Victorian-style mansion was built by Martin Kearney, an important figure in the agricultural development of both Fresno and California. A must-see for any history buffs.
  • The Deutsch Cactus Garden
    : Filled with over 250 different types of cacti and succulents, this garden is located in the Fresno Discovery Center. Walk the trails and see their exotic beauty—just remember not to touch!
  • Forestiere Underground Gardens
    : Interested in something unique? Check out this spot—open May to October—to experience an interconnected series of active garden rooms and corridors created by a Sicilian immigrant in the early 1900s.

Mariposa Grove, CA

63 miles, 1.5 hours
Be careful—this gorgeous stand of sequoia trees is not actually in Mariposa, CA. It’s off CA-41 as you head into Yosemite. You absolutely need to visit this stunning destination, which contains more than 500 mature, breathtaking sequoia trees.
To reach Mariposa Grove, just take the CA-41 N until you reach a traffic circle, where you’ll need to take the 1st exit onto Mariposa Grove Rd.

What to see in Mariposa Grove

The Grizzly Giant
  • Wawona Tree: Visit the fallen Wawona Tree, which used to have a tunnel big enough to fit a car, but fell over in the winter in 1968.
  • The Faithful Couple: Two sequoia trees growing close to each other have merged over the years to form a single massive trunk, resembling that of a couple intertwined together.
  • The Bachelor and Three Graces: This group of four trees is named for Greek mythology, three growing very close together and the fourth a little distance away. It’s said that their roots are so intertwined that if one of them were to fall, it would likely bring the others along with it.
  • The Grizzly Giant: The oldest sequoia in Mariposa Grove, and one of the oldest in Yosemite (over thousands of years old!), this is definitely a sight you won’t want to miss!
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Yosemite National Park

8 miles, 20 minutes
Your final destination awaits! Yosemite is a jewel in the crown (or a shell in the wampum belt) of America’s National Park system.
Come for the unreal scenery and stunning hikes, which will challenge your body and refresh your mind. Return because you’ll discover even more places that you didn’t have time to explore the first time around.
To reach Yosemite, take Mariposa Grove Rd, CA-41, and CA-41 N**.

Where to stay in Yosemite National Park

  • Evergreen Lodge at Yosemite
    : Featuring 88 cozy cabins tucked away in the woods of Yosemite, this is the ideal spot to rest after your road trip. With vintage cabins, timber porches, and an all-wood tavern, Evergreen Lodge is easy and quiet comfort. Cost per night: from $350.

Where to eat in Yosemite National Park

  • Degnan’s Kitchen
    ($$): With delicatessen sandwiches, breakfast favorites, and artisan pizzas at the handy, this spot in Yosemite Village has everything you need to chow down.

What to do in Yosemite National Park

Bridalveil Falls
  • Bridalveil Falls
    : One of Yosemite’s most iconic waterfalls, Bridalveil stands over 600ft tall. The walk to the falls isn't difficult, and there are some gorgeous views along the way.
  • El Capitan
    : These iconic granite walls line the west end of Yosemite Valley and are over 7500ft tall. It’s also the location of renowned rock climber Alex Honnold’s free solo climb.
  • Half Dome
    : This is the ultimate Yosemite day hike and a must-do for any avid hikers who are visiting Yosemite. Be sure to pack appropriately and prepare well!
  • Tunnel View
    : Tunnel View provides one of the most famous views of the Yosemite Valley. To get there, drive north on Highway 41—once you pass through the road’s only tunnel, you’ll know you’ve arrived!
Pro Tip Be sure to do your seasonal research before heading into the park, as wildfires and extreme weather can close roads or affect reservations.

Why you need roadside assistance

Roadside assistance is like a good pair of hiking boots. You could make the trek in flip-flops, but why would you?
Just like hiking boots, roadside assistance programs are built for adventure. They get you protection from the unexpected, like flat tires, running out of gas, dead batteries, and even locking your keys in the car.
even includes a $1,000 car theft reward and $750 trip interruption credits.
Road trips are supposed to be fun. Get roadside assistance (it’s only $6.99!) so nothing interferes with your adventure.

The fast way back

Coming home from Yosemite, the fastest route is to retrace your steps. Follow CA-41 south to CA-99 and I-5. Make sure to check with your navigation apps before you head out, as conditions can change rapidly.

The scenic way back

Have time for a more scenic route? Try taking the 395, which takes you between Sequoia National Park and Death Valley National Park. This path only adds about 30 minutes to your travel time, but you will get to enjoy a completely different landscape.
Keep in mind that summer temperatures in this area can skyrocket, so don’t attempt this route unless you have plenty of water and a full tank of gas.
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Finding cheap car insurance

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Can I drive from Los Angeles to Yosemite?

Yes! Sometimes there are road closures due to maintenance or wildfires, but under normal circumstances, you should be able to drive this route easily. Keep in mind that, depending on your destination in the park, your travel time will vary. You may also need an AWD vehicle for off-road or mountainside destinations.

How far is the drive from LA to Yosemite?

The LA to Yosemite road trip will take about five hours if you don’t stop along the way. With a few stopovers in towns like Fresno and Visalia, you can expect to arrive before sundown if you leave first thing in the morning.

Where should I stop on the way to Yosemite from Los Angeles?

Lucky for you, this route encompasses some of the best agricultural destinations in the state! Stop in Bakersfield and Fresno to sample farm-fresh goods. Visalia is a historic town with plenty of interesting attractions and independent coffee shops if you need a pick-me-up. If you want to do some hiking on your way, start in Griffith Park in Los Angeles and swing by Mariposa Groves.
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