Full disclosure: We haven’t done this yet. Update: We did this! It worked. Only hiccup was a long delay in our first Greyhound bus leg, so don’t closely schedule that.
Paying for a car rental when a week of that will be spent in a parking lot is dumb and expensive, so this is the plan and I’m sharing because most of the information I found on this when I was researching it involved a car. Because Molly and I are spending time in San Francisco before and LA after our trip, we’re also mailing some non-trail items (bathing suit! purse! etc.) to ourselves in LA before we get on the bus. We are flying into San Francisco, but flying into LA would work too.* Mostly we just wanted to see SF and the flight was marginally cheaper.
Then we’re taking a Greyhound bus from San Francisco to Visalia, CA – the town near the entrance to Sequoia National Park. In the way of bus travel, it turns a 4 hour car ride into a 6 hour bus ride, but we’ll deal. We get in that evening, but the Sequoia Shuttle into the park doesn’t run until the morning, so we’re spending the night.**
First thing the following morning (6:15am), we’re taking the Sequoia Shuttle into the park to pick up our permit for our hike. After our hike, at Whitney Portal my googlefu tells me that hitchhiking is total the thing from the trailhead into Lone Pine. So here’s hoping that works.
We’re spending the night in Lone Pine, then taking the Eastern Sierra Transit shuttle (395 Mammoth Lakes-Lancaster route) from Lone Pine to the Lancaster Metrolink station. This should take just over 3 hours and the route is cash-only and runs on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays so plan accordingly. Then we take the Lancaster Metrolink into LA Union Station, which takes a little over two hours. Voila. No car required. I’ll let you know how it goes.
|Greyhound bus||$28 per adult||6 hours|
|Sequoia shuttle||$7.50 per adult one way||~90 min – 2 hrs|
|Whitney Portal to Lone Pine||Free||45 minutes of aggressive socializing; 15 minutes of driving|
|Eastern Sierra Transit||$25 per person (cash only)||3 hrs|
|Lancaster Metrolink||$15 (current promotional $11.50)||2 hrs|
* The bus from LA to Visalia, CA is 4 hours and $17 dollars.
** This does not really add to the cost as we’d have to somehow be there at a really early hour anyway – either way we’d have to spend the night in/around Sequoia before we got started.