Mike sent in an email and asked: “My wife Trisha, our 2 year old daughter Amy and I are headed up for Valentines Day. I saw Brian’s post about gas prices. Where is there to get gas in Yosemite?”
Well Mike you have 3 basic options for gas inside the park. There’s a Chevron station at Crane Flat on Highway 120 that uses a card lock system so gas is available 24 hours a day. This is the one I use most often. There is also the Shell station on 140 to Merced in El Portal and another station in Wawona. During the summer you can also get gas in Tuolumne Meadows when the Tioga Road is open. There is however, no gas in Yosemite Valley so plan on getting gas at one of the stations outside the Valley.
Anymore gas prices in California are next to highway robbery so I recommend the following plan of action. If you’re coming from San Francisco stop off in Tracy and get gas. There are a bunch of stations right off the freeway. If you come 120 through Escalon stop at the AM/PM in Oakdale and top off. This should give you enough gas to make it up into Yosemite Valley and whatever local destinations you have from there. On your way out stop at one of the stations in the park to top off. There are a couple places on 120 whose gas prices are ridiculous even by California standards and this way you’ll effectively miss them.
From Merced stop in Merced for gas and them Mariposa. Gas prices are reasonable in Mariposa and the people are friendly. I recommend getting a bite to eat too. You should have enough gas from there to get all the way into Yosemite and whatever local destinations you have in mind. Get gas at one of the park gas stations on your way out and you should be good until Merced if you go back the way you came.
From Fresno it’s pretty much Fresno and Oakhurst. Prices are reasonable here too. If you plan to leave this way I recommend heading into El Portal and topping off your tank before you head out. It’s a bit longer from the Valley to the south entrance in Wawona but you should be good all the way back to Fresno.
Whatever you do, be sure you have MORE THAN ENOUGH gas especially in winter. Getting stuck alongside the road, waiting for AAA to bring you gas in freezing weather sucks. You don’t want to put your family through that. Better safe than sorry with this one unless you enjoy sleeping on the couch.