9 Closest Airports to Yosemite National Park [And How to Get to the Park from Them]

Closest Airports Yosemite-National-Park-Featured-Image

A detailed guide on the closest airports to Yosemite National Park, including how to get from them to the park and what to expect. 

Yosemite National Park is a vacation spot like no other. The soaring granite cliffs, Half Dome and El Capitan, wide-open alpine meadows, wildlife, and waterfalls galore. 

Yosemite is a very popular vacation spot and a place I love very much. I’ve spent a lot of time driving around Yosemite and I know the area very well.

There are a ton of airports around Yosemite National Park, so I know it can be overwhelming to find the right one to fly into. 

Or maybe you’re like me and you thought the *only* airport option was San Francisco International (it is not!).

I’ve done the face-palm at least once flying out of San Francisco because it made my life harder when I could have chosen a closer (and probably cheaper) airport. 

Below, I’ve summarized all of the best airports near Yosemite.

Besides giving you more options for where to fly into for Yosemite, I’ll also share the direct connections these airports offer, the airlines they service, and what to expect from the drive to the park. 

Oh! And I’ve included the local shuttle service too if you’re not interested in renting a car. 

One word about airport costs. In general, larger airports offer better deals on flights, but this is certainly not always the case.

The best airport could be a regional one! Be sure to shop around to find the best fare. 

Note: this post contains affiliate links, which help run this site at no extra cost to you so I can keep providing free travel advice and tips.

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What’s the Closest International Airport to Yosemite National Park?

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

The Fresno Yosemite International Airport is the closest airport to Yosemite National Park and it’s also an international airport. 

It’s closer than San Francisco, San Jose, or Oakland, and doesn’t usually have the heavy traffic that these other airports have. 

Fresno is also a big town with lots of places to eat or grab your last-minute hiking gear before heading into the park. In my opinion, this is the best airport for Yosemite National Park. 

If you’re looking for more to do in the Fresno area, read our guide to the best things to do in Fresno. 

Top airlines operating at Fresno Yosemite Intl. Airport (FAT): American Airlines, AeroMexico, Aha!, Alaska Airlines, Allegiant Air, United, Delta, Southwest, Volaris.

Rental Car Options at FAT: Dollar, Thrifty, Sixt, Europcar, Ace, Hertz, Avis, NU

Non-stop flight options to and from FAT: Chicago, Dallas/Fort Worth, Denver, Guadalajara (Mexico), Las Vegas, Leon (Mexico), Los Angeles, Mexico City, Morelia (Mexico), Phoenix, Portland, Reno, Salt Lake City, San Diego, San Francisco, Seattle.

How to Get From Fresno Airport to Yosemite

The drive to the park from Fresno Yosemite International Airport is quite straightforward. Since this is the closest major airport to the park, there is plenty of signage to show you how to reach Yosemite. 

You’ll pass through the Sierra Nevada foothills, through the small towns of Coarsegold and Oakhurst, before entering through the park’s south entrance via Highway 41. 

Oakhurst is a good place to grab snacks or groceries before heading into the park and will be the last reasonable place to get gas before the park too. 

The south entrance near Oakhurst is the closest entrance to the famous Mariposa Grove of Giant Sequoias. 

Also, note that Highway 41 into Yosemite Valley is very winding and steep with lots of sharp turns. Be sure to obey the speed limit! 

You can also take a YARTS bus to the park if you don’t want to drive. 

What’s the Most Common Airport to Fly Into Near Yosemite?

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 next closest major airport to Yosemite National Park and is the biggest airport in the region. 

San Francisco is a great location to fly into for international visitors and has the widest range of flight carriers. 

While bigger airports often have the best deals in terms of flight costs, it can also be hit or miss depending on the dates you want to travel. 

This is why I always encourage shopping around–don’t assume the bigger airports will automatically be cheaper to fly into. 

If you’re spending more time in the San Francisco area, read our guides to the best things to do in San Francisco overall and at night, and the best San Francisco hikes

Top airlines operating at SFO: United Airlines, Alaska, Delta, American Airlines, JetBlue, Southwest Airlines, Frontier Airlines, and Air Canada.

Rental car options at SFO: Alamo, Avis, Budget, Dollar, Enterprise, Sixt, Hertz, National, and Thrifty.

Non-stop flight options at SFO: There are more than 125 non-stop flight destinations from SFO. As of 2022 they also have non-stop options from:

  • Brisbane, Australia
  • Oslo, Norway
  • Rome, Italy
  • Warsaw, Poland

How to Get From SFO Airport to Yosemite

The drive to Yosemite National Park from SFO takes three and a half hours on a good day without traffic. 

However, be aware that Bay Area traffic can add *hours* (yes, hours) to your drive if you don’t plan ahead. 

To drive from SFO, you’ll pass through the Central Valley and into the Sierra Nevada foothills.

If you’re trying to grab a bite to eat on this route, I’d do it no later than the town of Merced. This drive can also be quite winding and mountainous towards the end. 

You’ll pass through the small mountain town of Groveland before entering the park from the Big Oak Flat Entrance. 

This is a good spot to enter the park if you’re trying to explore Tuolumne Meadows or scenic Tioga Road, as it’s closer to these park features.

From San Francisco International Airport, you can also enter the park through Highway 140 (El Portal, Arch Rock Entrance). 

This route may be a scootch longer, but it’s generally less winding and mountainous and is, IMO, the best entrance if you’re visiting in winter. 

If you fly into SFO but want to take the shuttle service into the park, you’ll need to pick up the YARTS bus in Merced.  

Read our full guide on how to get from San Francisco to Yosemite.

Other Airports Close to Yosemite National Park

San Jose Mineta International Airport (SJC)

Distance from Yosemite: 183 miles to the Arch Rock Entrance (3 hrs 20 mins); 200 miles (3 hrs 45 mins) to Yosemite Valley.
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 Sign

San Jose International Airport is located in downtown San Jose, which is just south of San Francisco. 

You still run the risk of Bay Area traffic with this airport, but it’s a big airport with lots of carriers. In terms of distance to Yosemite National Park, it’s about as far as San Francisco. 

If you’re spending more time in the San Jose area, check out our guide to the best things to do in San Jose and the best San Jose hikes

Top airlines operating at SJC: AeroMexico, Air Canada, Air China, Alaska Airlines, American Airlines, British Airways, Delta, Frontier Airlines, Hawaiian Airlines, JetBlue Airways, Lufthansa, Southwest Airlines, United Airlines, and Volaris.

Rental car options at SJC: Alamo, Avis, Budget, Dollar, Enterprise, Sixt, Hertz, National, and Thrifty.

Non-stop flight options at SJC: San Jose International has nonstop US service to over 40 cities including several international destinations. A few of the major non-stop flights include: Austin, Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Dallas/Ft. Worth, Denver, Eugene, Honolulu, Houston, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, New York, Phoenix, Portland, and Reno.

How to Get From San Jose Airport to Yosemite

You can reach Yosemite from San Jose International Airport via two entrances: Big Oak Flat and Arch Rock. I recommend taking the Arch Rock Entrance via Highway 140 because the road is less winding. 

If you take this route to Yosemite National Park, you’ll pass through the small town of Mariposa about an hour before you get into the park. 

This road is lower in elevation than either Highway 41 or Highway 120 (Big Oak Flat Entrance) and is, therefore, easier to drive 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

Oakland International Airport is on the east side of San Francisco Bay and Oakland is considered another major airport in the Bay Area. 

The closest entrance to the Oakland International Airport is the Big Oak Flat Entrance along Highway 120 and the town of Groveland, CA. 

Top airlines operating at OAK : Alaska Airlines, Allegiant, Azores Airlines, American Airlines, Delta, Contour, Frontier Airlines, Hawaiian Airlines, Spirit, Southwest Airlines, and Volaris.

Rental car options at OAK: Alamo, Avis, Budget, Dollar, Enterprise, Fox, Hertz, National, Payless, and Thrifty.

Non-stop flight options at OAK: There are 47 non-stop flight locations from OAK including several options from Mexico. 

How to Get From Oakland Airport to Yosemite

Reaching Yosemite National Park from OAK will take you on a very similar path as if you were driving from San Francisco International Airport. 

If you’re shopping for snacks or trying to eat after you get off the plane, Tracy will be the last biggest town before you hit the mountains. You’ll also go through the small town of Groveland before entering the park. 

Even though this route is a little closer and avoids some toll roads, Oakland is still the heart of the Bay Area, so traffic can be bad here too. 

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. 

The Reno-Tahoe International Airport is one of the closest airports to Yosemite from the eastern side of the Sierra Nevada. 

If you visit Yosemite in the summer and want to experience the peace of the eastern Sierra, the Reno-Tahoe airport is a great bet. 

If you’re combining a Yosemite and Tahoe trip, you can check out our guide to the best things to do in Lake Tahoe

Top airlines operating at RNO: Aha!, Alaska Airlines, Allegiant, American Airlines, Delta, JetBlue, JSX, Frontier Airlines, Hawaiian Airlines, Spirit, Southwest Airlines, Sun Country Airlines, United, and Volaris.

Rental car options at: Alamo, Avis, Budget, Dollar, Enterprise, Fox, Hertz, National, Payless, and Thrifty.

Non-stop flight options at RNO: Reno-Tahoe International Airport has 27 non-stop destinations including one flight to Mexico. Since this is a smaller airport, most of the regular flights are on the West Coast. 

How to Get From Reno-Tahoe Airport to Yosemite

Take US-395 South to Lee Vining, CA then turn right at the major intersection in Lee Vining to Tioga Pass. Tioga Pass will lead to the eastern entrance station.

If you’re visiting Yosemite National Park and Tahoe, the Reno-Tahoe International Airport is the natural choice to fly into. 

This is a smaller airport but is the bigger of the two airports available on the east side of the park (the other option is Mammoth Lakes). 

The drive into Yosemite from Lee Vining is very beautiful and leads to the high country of Yosemite National Park, also known as Tuolumne Meadows, and the scenic Tioga Pass. 

You can’t take the YARTS shuttle service directly from Reno/Tahoe, but you can pick it up in Lee Vining. 

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. 

Wool Carpet in Sacramento International Airport

Sacramento is the capital of California and a pretty neat town! 

The Sacramento International Airport is just north of the Central Valley in California, which means you don’t have to drive through it for very long before you reach the foothills. 

Some people consider this a plus since the Central Valley doesn’t have a reputation for beauty, but more for a lot of farmland. 

Spending more time in Sacramento? Read our guide to the best things to do in Sacramento

Top airlines operating at SMF: Alaska Airlines, AeroMexico, American Airlines, Air Canada, Boutique, Contour, Delta, JetBlue, Frontier Airlines, Hawaiian Airlines, Spirit, Southwest Airlines, Sun Country Airlines, United, and Volaris.

Rental car options at SMF: Sacramento offers all the big rental car options you’d find at most other airports. 

Non-stop flight options at SMF: Check the link for an interactive map of the non-stop flights out of SMF. I had a hard time finding an exact number, but the map shows non-stop connections with all major US cities and many Mexican cities as well. 

How to Get From Sacramento Airport to Yosemite

This drive is quite similar to the others that lead to Big Oak Flat Rd via Highway 120. 

Best Small Regional Airports Near Yosemite

Merced Regional Airport (MCE)

Distance from Yosemite: 72 miles to Yosemite National Park (1.5 hrs); 83 miles to Yosemite Valley (2 hrs).

Merced Regional Airport (MCE) is located in Merced, CA at the base of the foothills of the Sierra Nevada Mountains. This is one of the closest airports to Yosemite National Park and Yosemite Valley. 

The Merced airport has only one airline carrier, which specializes in domestic flights to Las Vegas and Los Angeles. This small airport also offers the luxury of free parking and easy check-ins. 

Airline operating at MCE: Advanced Air

Rental car options at MCE: Alamo, Avis, Budget, Dollar, Enterprise, and Hertz.

Non-stop flight options at MCE: Las Vegas and Los Angeles.

How to Get From Merced to Yosemite

The drive to Yosemite from Merced airport will take you up Highway 140 through Mariposa and El Portal to the Arch Rock Entrance. 

In my opinion, this is the easiest highway to access the park because it’s the least winding with the lowest elevation. 

While the flight options may be limited, this is the closest airport to Yosemite Valley and the closest of any of the nearby airports. 

The regional bus system, YARTS, also has a stop in Merced if you don’t want to rent a car. 

Mammoth Yosemite Airport (MMH)

Distance from Yosemite: 30 miles to Lee Vining, CA (30 mins); 2.5 hrs to Yosemite Valley.

Front View of the Mammoth Yosemite Airport

Mammoth Yosemite Airport is one of the nearest airports to the park’s eastern entrance, otherwise known as the Tioga Pass entrance. 

Many people who visit Yosemite never get to see Tioga Pass or Tuolumne Meadows, which are unique aspects of the park. If you can swing it, I think it’s worth it to try and enter the park from the east side. 

Just keep in mind, Tioga Pass is only open in the summer months and Mammoth Yosemite Airport only has a limited number of carriers. 

If you have more time in the area, read our guide to the best things to do in Mammoth Lakes

Top airlines operating at MMH: Advanced Air and United

Rental car options at MMH: Enterprise, National, and Hertz.

Non-stop flight options to and from MMH: Burbank, Bishop, Carlsbad, Hawthorne, and San Francisco. 

How to Get From Mammoth Lakes to Yosemite

Mammoth Yosemite Airport is technically the closest of the Yosemite airports to the park entrance, but it’s not the closest to Yosemite Valley. 

Nonetheless, the road is quite straightforward and beautiful. You’ll go north on Highway 395 then turn left onto Highway 120 East into the park. 

Stockton Metropolitan Airport (SCK)

Distance from Yosemite: 98 miles to Yosemite National Park (2 hrs); 122 miles to Yosemite Valley (2 hrs 45 mins).

The Stockton Metro Airport (SCK) in Stockton, CA is about halfway between San Francisco and Yosemite. 

If you’re keen on visiting Yosemite and the Bay Area this could be a good middle ground. Note that Stockton only serves one airline. 

Airlines operating at SCK: Allegiant

Rental car options at SCK: Enterprise

Non-stop flight options to and from SCK: Las Vegas and Phoenix.

How to Get From Stockton to Yosemite

From Stockton Metropolitan Airport it makes the most sense to enter Yosemite through Highway 120, AKA the Big Oak Flat entrance. 

You can also go in through Highway 140 (Arch Rock Entrance) but it takes about half an hour longer. 

The drive begins in the Central Valley and is very flat and straight but quickly climbs into the mountains. 


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

author bio - Meredith Dennis

Meredith Dennis

Meredith is a biologist and writer based in California’s Sierra Nevada. She has lived in 6 states as a biologist, so her intel on hiking and camping is *chef’s kiss* next level. One of her earliest camping memories was being too scared to find a bathroom at night on a family camping trip. Thankfully, she’s come a long way since then and she can help you get there too!


Looking for more Yosemite travel inspiration guide? Read our related posts below! 

How to Experience the Yosemite Firefall

Where to Stay in Yosemite National Park

31 Things to do in Yosemite National Park

2 Days in Yosemite Itinerary

A Guide to the Nine National Parks in California

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9 Closest Airports to Yosemite National Park [And How to Get to the Park from Them]

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