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The Closest Airport to Yosemite National Park: 7 Options

There’s actually more than one closest airport to Yosemite National Park, 7 really and I want to show you all the options in this post and help you decide what option is best to go with. 

Here are the 7 closest airports to Yosemite National Park:

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  1. Fresno Yosemite National Airport (California): 1-2 hour drive from Yosemite.
  2. Modesto City County Airport (California): 2 hours from Yosemite.
  3. Stockton Metropolitan Airport (Cailfornia): 2-3 hours from Yosemite.
  4. Carson City Airport (Nevada): 2-3 hours from Yosemite.
  5. Reno Tahoe International Airport (Nevada): 3 hours from Yosemite.
  6. San Jose Mineta International Airport (California): 4 hours from Yosemite.
  7. San Francisco International Airport (California): 4 hours from Yosemite.

Now before you get a ticket for Fresno Airport, let me just say that this list shouldn’t be the only deciding factor for you and here’s why:

The ironic thing about this topic is that I’ve covered this topic before (airports close to national parks), and every single time including with Yosemite what I’ve found is that the closest options may not necessarily be the best options to go to because they are usually:

  • Not major airports.
  • Are more difficult to reach.
  • And depending on where you’re coming from, the flights take way longer. 

Of the list above, the recommended options (for most people) would be Reno, San Jose and San Francisco because they are major and despite taking longer to reach Yosemite National Park from, you’ll typically find faster flights to those airports, for cheaper prices and more flexibility. But I’ll be covering the details of every option in a moment so you can decide if anyone of these choices is right for you.

1) Fresno Yosemite National Airport (the closest airport to Yosemite National Park):

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Fresno California.

Driving distance to Yosemite:

60+ miles Takes about 2 hours (it’s north east of the airport).


This is the “best” option for people in terms of shorest driving distance to the park, but reaching this airport might be the biggest con for many. For example, I live in NYC and when I look up flights for Fresno, I typically find this:

fresno airport closest airport to yosemite national park 05

An 8-10 hour flight (plus 1 stop, arriving 2 hours prior, then waiting to get my car, then driving to the park) is a bit much. On the other hand as you’ll see when I cover the major airport options on this list shortly, they’re way better (at least from my point of view) because while the airport is further from the park, the faster flight time really makes up for all the time spent flying here, so I’ll actually get there faster.

The bottom line is that I would only recommend Fresno Airport if you can find a flight without any stops there (or are OK with the extra flight time).

2) Modesto City County Airport:

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Modesto California.

Driving distance from Yosemite:

80+ miles. Takes 2+ hours (the park is directly east from this area).


Modesto is a good town to explore but it is much smaller than Fresno and their airport here is local, so reaching it from a major city is not easy. You’ll likely have to get flights with 1 stop (or more) and thus have longer flight times to endure before you actually land here, and then have another 1-2 hour drive to the park. So like I said with the Fresno option, if you’re OK with getting here and can potentially find a none stop flight, then I’d do it.

3) Stockton Metropolitan Airport:

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Stockton California.

Driving distance from Yosemite:

About 100 miles. Takes 2-3 hours (the park is slightly south east from it).


Stockton has more flight options than Modesto so I would say it’s a better choice in that regard, but it is a further drive to Yosemite which is why it’s #3 on the list. The same exact things I mentioned for Fresno and Modesto apply to this airport too. 

4) Carson City Airport:

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Carson City Nevada. 

Driving distance from Yosemite:

120+ miles. Takes about 2-3 hours. The park is south west of this place and you would have to access the park from the eastern end via the Tioga Pass road. 


I’ve driven to Yosemite National Park before from Carson City and the drive isn’t as scenic as the first 3 options in my opinion but this airport has way more choices than any on the list above. You may be able to find none stop flights to this city and in my case, I only found 1. The choices are still limited but it’s a more flexible airport to land in if you’re looking to explore Yosemite. 

5) Reno Tahoe International Airport:

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Reno Nevada.

Driving distance from Yosemite:

150+ miles. 3 hours (the park is south west from the airport).


This is the first real major airport on the list and it’s also very close to Carson City so if you can’t find a nonestop flight to Carson City, this would be the next best option. Flight times from either option are about the same, but you have more choices with Reno, so I would say if you can find a suitable flight for Carson City, take it but if not Reno is a great plan B.


Regarding the Reno and Carson City options, you would also need to get into the park from Tioga Pass, but you should know that from early winter-late spring that road is often closed so be sure to check the conditions (and news). If the road is closed on the day you plan to fly in, then you have 2 options:

  1. Fly into another airport on this list (not Reno or Carson City). You’ll land from the west end of the park and the roads there are typically open year round.
  2. You can still fly into Carson City or Reno, but you’d need to drive an additional 4 hours to go around Tioga Pass and enter the park from the west end (Do this if you’re OK with about a 6-7 hour drive instead of 2-3).

6) San Jose Mineta International Airport:

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San Jose California.

Driving distance from Yosemite:

160+ miles. 4-5 hour drive (the park is north east of this area).


This is one of the best California airports to land in if you’re looking to explore Yosemite for a few reasons:

  1. You land near the coast and if you have an extra day can check out places like Big Sur and Monterey. 
  2. The drive from this airport is pretty scenic too. 
  3. You can also stop by San Francisco and visit places there.
  4. There are way more flexible flight options here (car rental choices too).

7) San Francisco International Airport:

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San Francisco California.

Driving distance from Yosemite:

170+ miles. 5+ hours (the park is basically east of the airport/city).


I’ve personally flown into this airport on a trip to Yosemite National Park before (from NYC). The flight was about 6 hours, plus another 4 or so to get to the park. Although this was the furthest airport from Yosemite National Park, it was the most convenient in terms of the flight options and prices for me.

I did do a check prior for many of the airports I listed above and at the end of the day, San Francisco ended up being the best choice for me, which is why I added it to this list. Now if you do come here too, I would strongly recommend taking the time to see the nature areas around the city especially the Muir Redwoods (one of the best places to see Redwoods in California).

Other questions about airports and Yosemite National Park:

What airport should I fly into for Yosemite National Park?

If you’re coming in from the east end of the park, Carson City or Reno airport in Nevada are ideal. If it’s from the west end of the park, then either Fresno or San Francisco airport are ideal to fly into to visit Yosemite National Park.

Is Yosemite closer to San Francisco or San Jose?

San Jose is about 30 minutes closer to Yosemite than San Francisco.

Is Fresno or San Francisco closer to Yosemite?

Fresno is much closer to Yosemite than San Francisco. It takes about 2 hours to reach Yosemite from Fresno and about 4 or more hours from San Francisco to Yosemite.

What is the closest major city to Yosemite National Park?

There are 2 closest cities to Yosemite National Park, Fresno and Modesto. 

How to decide which closest airport to Yosemite National Park to go to:

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  1. First decide which side of the park you are coming from (if it’s west, start with the airports west of it, if it’s east, then start with the eastern airports).
  2. Next, see which flight options are available in the closest airports to Yosemite National Park. If your first choice doesn’t have a good price, flight time, or flights available, then go to the next closest choice. Choose the airport which best fits your budget, timing and distance (in that order).

Related: More airports close to major national parks!

As I mentioned earlier, I’ve created a lot of posts on this topic, but for other national parks so if you’re planning on visiting more than Yosemite, then here are other amazing national parks and which airports are closest to them (and you’ll find the same story about the major ones that are further from it being the best options):

What to do when you visit Yosemite (or after)!

nearest airport to yosemite national park and more places to see

1) First, check out my post on Yosemite:

I have a list of the best things to do in Yosemite National Park and it’s applicable regardless of which airport you’re visiting from.

2) Visit Kings Canyon:

Kings Canyon National Park is actually close to Yosemite and highly recommended to visit for at least a day!

3) Check out Sequoia National Park:

Sequoia National Park is the third major national park that’s in the vicinity of Yosemite NP and it’s also well worth visiting. In fact if you’re flying into the Fresno airport, I’d recommend going here first, then Kings Canyon, then Yosemite.

4) I also recommend Death Valley National Park:

If you’re planning to head south after Yosemite, then you can find Death Valley National Park about 3-4 hours there. It’s also a nice national park, but in a completely different terrain.

5) Pinnacles National Park:

If you land in San Jose or even Fresno, a great national park to add to your list to vist on the way to Yosemite is Pinnacles National Park

Overall I hope this list helps you find the right airport option when visiting Yosemite and if you have any questions on this, let me know!

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