What time of year are you traveling? Though it's best to avoid both Monterey and Yosemite on the weekends, I would recommend REALLY avoiding Yosemite on the weekends if you can. It just makes for a more pleasant experience with less crowds. Especially if you're traveling between June and August. If not during those months, than avoiding weekends isn't quite as much as a concern.
Also, the drive between Monterey and San Francisco along the coast can be nice (or part way along the coast). It is a windy road and will take you more time, but great views, a few small towns to stop in along the way. It might be nice to give yourself enough time to enjoy the scenery on the drive between Monterey and San Francisco. I guess from my perspective that would mean San Francisco to Monterey and then to Yosemite.
Enjoy your trip. You'll be visiting my two most favorite places.
Right now my reservations are for midweek in June, hoping to avoid the crowds. How long does it take to drive from Monterey to Yosemite?
Also booked a similar trip, we are going SF to Yosemite to Monterey to SF, the main reason is that I thought it would be an easier journey to make from Monterey direct to SF airport on the last day to catch a flight, thought Yosemite might be a bit long. We're spending 5 nights in SF, 2 in Yosemite and 2 in Monterey (just to give us time for a drive down the Big Sur and back) We go 25 June and are due to drive back from Monterey to SF airport on 4 July - is this likely to present any problems on the road on independence day?
At some point over the July 4th holidays, a huge "convention" of Harley owners descends on Gilroy for an annual ride. I don't know all the details, but I do know I was stuck in some horrible traffic once on 152 out of Gilroy because of it. So, for your route back to SFO from Monterey, I would consider taking Hwy 1 to 17 instead. Of course, Hwy 1 gets backed up around Santa Cruz, so you may want to check in with someone from the Monterey or Santa Cruz forums to see which would be a better bet. I will say that the Hwy 1 to 17 route is more scenic!
Thanks for that advice, really appreciate it.