View Full Version : tahoe to death valley
12-10-2006, 02:30 PM
hi there, was wondering if anyone can help me with a planned road trip. would like a scenic route from san fran to lake tahoe/ heavenly area. And then a few days later a relatively quick but also scenic route from tahoe to vegas. traveling about 18th jan. would really appreciate any help and also what is the best site to find maps ets??
12-10-2006, 02:57 PM
hi there, was wondering if anyone can help me with a planned road trip.Welcome to the Great American RoadTrip Forum!
would like a scenic route from san fran to lake tahoe/ heavenly area. Assuming US-50 is open (snow) I would suggest I-80 to Sacaramento and then pick-up US-50 into the Gold Country at Placerville and on into South Lake Tahoe (& Heavenly). Depending upon when you arrive in South Lake Tahoe, you probably should take Pioneer Trail when you reach Myers (it still gets congested but a lot less than US-50)
And then a few days later a relatively quick but also scenic route from tahoe to vegas.Take the Kingsbury Grade (back side of Heavenly) to US-395 and then south on US-395. It is a long day to reach Las Vegas from Heavenly, but certainly doable. US-395 has lots of scenery and places to stop and check out as you make your way south.
When you reach Big Pine, you have a couple of choices. The fastest route is over Westgard Pass to US-95 (http://www.roadtripamerica.com/GettingOutThere/White-Mountain-Road-Trip.htm)into Las Vegas. But you can also include a drive through Death Valley if you stay on US-395 until you reach the Lone Pine airport. From here follow the signs and head east on SR-136 along the famous Owens Lake (dry lake bed). SR-190 will join you and you carry you all the way into Death Valley and over to SR-127 near the California/Nevada state line. There are dozens of posts here about Death Valley and the route to Las Vegas.
But the local's version is State Line Road to Ash Meadows Road (the name changes but you probably won't notice) to Bell Vista Avenue (same thing) to SR-160 and then turn south and follow SR-160 all the way to Las Vegas.
If you stop and enjoy the views, and the roads are all open and relatively snow-free you can expect to spend 8-10 hours on the road.
the best site to find maps ets??Our paper map choices are (http://www.roadtripamerica.com/maps/maps.htm) here and GoogleMaps (http://maps.google.com/) tends be the one I use.
12-11-2006, 03:57 AM
My husband and I have just returned (Nov18th) from doing this same route and of course our venerable editor has hit the nail right on the head; so all I want to do is BEG BEG BEG you to take the route through Death Valley to get to Vegas. I have never seen anything as breathtaking as the sunset we saw there on Mon 6th November. We changed our schedule by a day and stayed in Furnace Creek Ranch overnight to ba able to take it all in...Badwater Basin...Artists Pallette etc., and I swear you wouldn't regret it.
Admittedly we took a slow meander from Tahoe, taking in Mammoth, Convict Lake, overnighting in Bishop and a leasurely drive into Death Valley, but if I did it again and was on a tight timescale I would miss everything between tahoe and Death Valley just so I could see it all again.
Sorry to harp on, but you HAVE to see it. I'm a fan...can you tell?
Incidentally, Ed....I am STILL trying to get over Las Vegas....it's another world!!!
12-11-2006, 04:00 AM
In fact here's part of 'our' sunset....
12-12-2006, 05:02 AM
Thank you very much for the information and the routes, they are a great help. Also sounds like i should invest some time to see death valley, have a few days spare so can do it slowly and will stop over in one of those ranches u suggested viv. Sunset looks amazing and hope to have similar experiences. Thank you very much for sharing your knowledge.
Thanks to the editor and viv.
Great site will recommend.
01-03-2007, 12:36 PM
Hi there, have been advised to make a trip to death valley on my travels from south lake tahoe to vegas. Would just like to know approx how long it takes to get to death valley from south lake tahoe. end of jan time. What time should i leave to catch a sunset in death valley??
tks and are there any oher must sees along the way??
01-03-2007, 01:19 PM
Would just like to know approx how long it takes to get to death valley from south lake tahoe. end of jan time. What time should i leave to catch a sunset in death valley??It is 98% dependent upon what the weather conditions are when you go. If it is snowing and storming, it could take as long as 12-15 hours. If the roads are dry and clear and you only stop for fuel and rest breaks, you could cover this distance in slightly over six hours.
tks and are there any other must sees along the way?? There are dozens of places to explore and see along the way -- If you like Basque cuisine, the JT Bar & Dining Room in Gardnerville (http://www.roadtripamerica.com/eats/jt.htm)is a must stop! Bodie State Historical Park is very surreal in the winter months, Mono Lake is pretty amazing, June Lakes Loop is a nice side-trip, Mammoth Lakes has great restaurants and the Hot Creek Area is fun to see. Bishop is home to some amazing murals (http://www.roadtripamerica.com/murals/California-Bishop.htm) and also the famous Laws Railroad musuem. Lots of posts on this Forum about Panamint Springs. Sunset happens about 4:45 PM these days, so you would need to leave Lake Tahoe (again depends on the weather) somewhere between sunrise and 8:30 am to reach Death Valley in time to see the sunset.
01-06-2007, 02:04 PM
Photo album of a trip very similar: (http://nivek.smugmug.com/gallery/558004/1)
Unfortunately, Sonora Pass, which I crossed on the way back, is probably closed right now, although you can always check.
01-07-2007, 08:35 AM
Thanks for sharing.