Here’s another suggestion. You can plan a motorcoach bus & train trip to majestic Yosemite National Park, renowned for its granite cliffs and waterfalls. Half Dome and El Capitan are two of the formations made famous by photographer Ansel Adams. Located in California’s Sierra Nevada, here’s how Amtrak’s website describes it:

“It's a trip you won't soon forget: Catch the San Joaquin to Merced. There, board a luxury motorcoach for a scenic ride through Mariposa and El Portal, and then directly into Yosemite National Park. With spectacular waterfalls, giant sequoias, scenic overlooks and winding trails throughout 1,169 square miles of parkland, Yosemite National Park deserves its reputation as one of the crown jewels of the American national park system.”

Although Yosemite offers far too much to see and do squeezed into one weekend, here’s how, with advanced reservations for lodging, you can get to Yosemite without a car and spend two-nights/one full there


  1. Take the Amtrak California Thruway shuttle from Westwood/UCLA (Gayley/Strathmore) to Bakersfield Amtrak Station. (Leave 6:35am, arrive 9:50am = 3 hours, 15 minutes.)
  2. Depart Amtrak San Joaquin train #713 (Leave Bakersfield at 10:05am, arrive in Merced, CA at 1:08pm = 3 hours, 3 minutes.)
  3. Transfer to Amtrak Thruway motorcoach bus (Leave Merced station at 1:30pm, arrive at Yosemite Lodge at 4:05pm = 2 hours, 35 minutes)
  4. Once you arrive, you can use the free Yosemite Valley shuttle system for convenient access around Yosemite Valley.


  1. Take Amtrak Thruway motorcoach bus from Yosemite Lodge (Leave at 10:00am, arrive in Merced, CA at 12:17pm = 2 hours, 17 minutes)
  2. Depart Amtrak San Joaquin train #714 (Leave Merced at 12:59pm, arrive at Bakersfield station at 4:11pm = 3 hours, 12 minutes
  3. Transfer to Amtrak Thruway motorcoach bus (Leave Bakersfield station at 4:20pm, arrive Westwood/UCLA at 7:15pm = 2 hours, 55 minutes)