There are free shuttle buses in the park, which also drive to trail heads not allowed to access with your own car.
The link below will bring you directly to the information about the shuttle buses on the official homepage of the Yosemite National Park. See the downloadable map there...
Yosemite has more than 3 million visitors every year and most of them go to Yosemite Valley, so it can get very crowded especially during the summer. When you're driving, its also very easy to get distracted by the breathtaking views all around you. It may also be difficult to find parking.
To give the wonderful scenery your full attention, and help the environment, take the free shuttle bus which runs through different points of interest all around the valley. They run every 20 minutes so you don't have to wait too long.
Some shuttle buses are tours or hikers buses and may charge a fee, such as the one going to Glacier Point. But getting around the valley is totally free.
The shuttles run until about 10p at night. The buses are air conditioned and pretty big. All the stops are numbered and you can pick up a pocket map of the schedule and bus routes. We took the shuttle out to Happy Isles after dark to look at the stars. The drivers are helpful and friendly and will point out wildlife and scenery to you.
The best way to get around the valley is to leave your car in the day-use car park and catch the shuttle buses to wherever you wish to go. They run fairly frequently - every 20 minutes or so - are free of charge and help to avoid congestion on the valley's roads.
For those without cars who wish to venture further afield, there are also hikers buses to Toulomne Meadows ($14.50 one-way or $23.00 return) and Glacier Point ($15.00 each way)
Free shuttle bus service is provided throughout the eastern portion of Yosemite Valley year-round. In summer, free shuttle buses run from Wawona to Mariposa Grove and from Tioga Pass to Tenaya Lake and the May Lake parking area. Hikers' buses run daily to Glacier Point late spring through autumn and to Tuolumne Meadows late June through Labor Day. Call 209.372.1240 for hikers' bus fees, schedule, and reservations.
The Shuttle Buses are a great way to get around Yosemite Valley. They go every 10 minutes from early morning to late at night and stop at all important places like hotels, visitor centers, trailheads and car parks. They are free!
And the drivers are an attraction as well, they are constantly talking into their microphones to entertain and inform their passengers, explain some sights, talk about the hotels, the animals, the weather, the mountains or just have conversations with some passengers and the whole bus can listen. I learnd a lot about the quality of pillows nowadays - they are nothing like the pillows in the good old days!
The Yosemite Valley shuttle is free and stops at 23 locations in the park. The shuttles are air conditioned, which is nice because it can get hot in the valley during the summer months. There are a few parking lots in Yosemite where you can park your car and it is a short walk to a shuttle stop. During the height of summer traffic gets very congested and moves very slow.
Rather than driving yourself all around use the (mainly)free shuttle bus to get to the main sites in the park. It is free to get around the valley, to Wawona and the Mariposa Grove and also to Tuolumne Meadows. To get to Glacier Point a fee is charged.
The free Tuolumne Meadows shuttle bus provides convenient access throughout the Tuolumne Meadows area between the Tuolumne Lodge and Olmsted Point (including Tenaya Lake) during the summer. In addition to its regular route, the bus picks up and drops off passengers at Tioga Pass at 9:00 am, 12:00 pm, 3:00 pm, and 5:00 pm.
The Tuolumne Meadows Hikers' Bus provides convenient access along the Tioga Road for hikers wanting to begin a hike along the Tioga Road. The bus leaves Yosemite Valley each morning (July through Labor Day) with stops at Crane Flat, White Wolf, and Tuolumne Meadows Lodge. Per person charge: Adults $11.00, Children $5.50, depending on where the passenger is dropped off. To guarantee seating, hikers must purchase tickets one day in advance.
The Glacier Point Hikers' Bus provides convenient access to Glacier Point for hikers wanting to begin a hike at Glacier Point and end elsewhere or for visitors not wanting to drive to Glacier Point. Visitors may ride the bus to Glacier Point and hike down, or hike up and return by bus. To guarantee seating, hikers must purchase tickets one day in advance.