West Coast Train & Bike Adventure: Yosemite to San Diego

Train travel offers an enchanting blend of comfort, convenience, and scenic beauty, making it a great choice for exploring the vibrant cities and breathtaking landscapes of the West Coast, including Yosemite.

Whether you're journeying from San Francisco to Los Angeles or onward to San Diego, incorporating your bike into your travel plans can transform a simple trip into an adventurous exploration.

Note a small quirk: you might need to book your bike space via phone due to a website issue. If you experience any issue with the Amtrak website, just call, it's often a better experience: 1-800-872-7245

Why Choose Train Travel?

Scenic Routes: Trains like the Coast Starlight offer unparalleled views of the Pacific coastline, lush forests, and rolling hills, making the journey as delightful as the destination.

Eco-Friendly: Opting for train travel is a sustainable choice that significantly reduces your carbon footprint compared to flying or driving.

Stress-Free: Forget about traffic jams and the hassles of airport security. Train travel provides a relaxed environment where you can stretch out, wander to the café car, or just gaze out the window. The seats are super wide which makes it ever smoother than a car ride.

Bike-Friendly: With facilities to accommodate bikes, trains offer a unique opportunity to explore each destination on two wheels right from the moment you arrive.

Your Train Options from San Francisco to Los Angeles:

  1. The Coast Starlight: 20$ bike reservation 
    Seattle - Portland - Sacramento - Los Angeles

    Known for its stunning vistas, the Coast Starlight is the longest route. But the comfort and views are worth it. You can enhance your experience with a private room that includes meals served in the dining car.

  2. The San Joaquins: Bikes spots are free without reservations on this route.
    San Francisco Bay Area (or Sacramento) Stockton - Modesto - Merced - Martinez - Fresno - Bakersfield. And other stops along the way.

    For speed, the San Joaquins is unmatched, connecting San Francisco to LA with minimal hassle. Frequent departures give you flexibility in planning your travel. Just buy a ticket and go!

    To go from SF to LA, it involves a bus from San Francisco to Emeryville, then the San Joaquins train from Emeryville to Bakersfield, then another bus from Bakersfield to Los Angeles. Your Bike will be stored in the luggage compartiment.

  3. The Pacific Surfliner: Free bike reservation
    San Luis Obispo - Santa Barbara - Los Angeles - San Diego.

    This route requires a bike reservation but promises a comfortable journey with beautiful ocean views.

    Each Pacific Surfliner train has room for seven bicycles. Book early with a bike reservation to avoid spaces being sold out, especially if traveling on a weekend or holiday.

Continuing South: Los Angeles to San Diego

The Pacific Surfliner again takes center stage for the journey from Los Angeles to San Diego. It remains bike-friendly with required reservations, and scenic ocean views continue to accompany you southward. Current service interruptions due to landslides may require a bus transfer, but this is usually well-managed, ensuring your adventure stays on track.

Tips for Bike Security

  • Lock Your Bike: On the San Joaquins and Pacific Surfliner, it’s wise to secure your bike. While theft is rare, it's better to be safe than sorry.
  • Baggage Car Security: On the Coast Starlight, bikes are stored securely in the baggage car, so there’s no need for a lock.

Journeying from San Francisco to Yosemite with Your Bike via Amtrak

Traveling from San Francisco to Yosemite National Park with your bike via Amtrak involves a combination of train and bus services. Start your adventure by catching an Amtrak bus in San Francisco that takes you to the Emeryville (or from Okland) station. From there, board the Amtrak San Joaquins train heading to Merced.

This train is bike-friendly and does not require a bike reservation, allowing you to bring your bike along at no extra charge.

Once in Merced, transfer to the YARTS (Yosemite Area Regional Transportation System) bus that provides direct service to Yosemite. YARTS buses are equipped with bike racks, making it easy to continue your journey with your bike. If not, they'll be sorted in the luggage compartiment and you will have to take the front wheel out.

This service drops you off inside Yosemite National Park, at Curry Village.

You can pedal through the park's stunning natural landscapes.

Be sure to check the schedules and availability in advance, especially during peak travel periods, to ensure a smooth connection throughout your journey.

Making Your Trip Seamless

Despite the detailed logistics, traveling with your bike by train is straightforward once you’re familiar with the system.

Plan ahead by checking train schedules and booking your bike space early, especially during peak travel seasons.

Train travel with a bike opens up a world of possibilities. Imagine cycling through the bustling streets of Los Angeles or along the sunny beaches of San Diego, all without the constraints of a car.

It’s not just a journey; it’s an experience that invites adventure at every stop.

For any questions or tips on how to make the most of your train and bike travel, feel free to reach out or comment below.

Again, our experience was better by calling the hotline 1-800-872-7245 than using the website which has many issues.

Happy travels!