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  1. Default Driving from San Francisco to Yosemite in late August

    Any help would be appreciated for our drive to Yosemite from SF in August this year. We leave SF on a Wednesday, what it the best time to set off and how long should the drive take us if we stopped for brunch on the way?
    I have read various reports about the roads leading to Yosemite- busy, treacherous etc. Can anyone advise please.
    Also after 2 nights in Yosemite we are driving across to Monterey, what is the best route to take.
    Apologies for all the questions, but have just found this forum and it looks great.


  2. Default

    Hi scoobydoo,

    Driving from SF to Yosemite in a day is very doable. How long its going to take is going to depend on traffic and where you might want to stop, etc. Without rush hour delays or other traffic snarls it'll take around 4 hours to get to Yosemite. If you stop for meals or to visit somewhere along the way it will take longer of course. The big traffic issues are getting out of the SF bay area itself (just like every other big city).

    The fastest way is probably to head east across the bay and head east through Livermore on 580, then across on 205 thru Tracy and to Manteca via the I-5 and 120 (that's known as the Manteca cutoff since it the shortest route between the I-99 and I-5 major north-south routes). From Manteca, 120 continues east to Yosemite.

    It's been years since I drove this route, so I'll have to deferr to someone else for more current information. The roads to Manteca are all high quality superhighways. The real issue for these would be traffic and rush hour delays.

    The roads into Yosemite are pretty good quality, but you are climbing up into the sierra foothills and the roads may be 2 lanes, and curve back and forth. It will probably be hot through the central valley -- my last August trip through the Central Valley was in 100F + temperatures. And it may be crowded in Yosemite as this is the peak of the vacation/ sightseeing season.

    For a return to Monterey, I'd drop south of Yosemite Portal to Mariposa, and from there down 140 to Merced and then down CA-59 to State 152 and west to Los Banos and over the Pacheco Pass to Gilroy. The road from Yosemite to Mariposa is a curvy mountain road through a national forest. CA-59 is a good quality state highway through the farming communities of the central valley (watch out for changing speed limits when you go through the small towns!) But 152 is a very good qualiity road, and Gilroy is known for its Garlic festival. (I took both of those roads on a visit to the Merced and Los Banos Wildlife Refuges last year). From there you can take state highwy 156 down to PCH (Coast 1) and south into Monterey.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 1998
    Las Vegas, Nevada

    Default SR-140 is closed right now

    Quote Originally Posted by Larrison
    For a return to Monterey, I'd drop south of Yosemite Portal to Mariposa, and from there down 140 to Merced
    By August, the roads may be back to "normal" but as of this date, there are rockslide problems along SR-140 and the road is closed between El Portal and Mariposa.


  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 1998
    Las Vegas, Nevada

    Default Nothing is really trecherous

    Quote Originally Posted by scoobydoo15
    Any help would be appreciated for our drive to Yosemite from SF in August this year.
    Welcome to the Great American RoadTrip Forum! Traffic is going to be congested anywhere around the park in Yosemite, but it would be a stretch to call it treacherous.


  5. Default

    Thanks for the help. Which is the best route out of San francisco to get onto 580. Would you say the San Mateo bridge or the Bay Bridge. We are stopping near Union Square?


  6. #6


    I was staying right on Union Square and found maps to be tricky to figure out in relation to getting onto the Bay Bridge, partly because it's hard to represent on a two-dimensional map the way the ramps onto and off of the double-decker bridge work. Fortunately the sat-nav in my hire car helped…

    These are the directions MapQuest gave me:

    Union Square to Yosemite Valley

    The trickiest bit is getting the right exit as you come off the Bay Bridge, as there are a few in quick succession, and if you get it wrong it'll be tricky to get back on course. Have a close look at this map; it's too much to really fit in one image but if you click the link you can move around and get an idea of what you ned to do to get from the 80 to the 880 successfully!

    Anyhow, good luck getting there, it's well worth the trip. Here's what the 120 looked like six weeks ago; it'll be sunnier for you I think!

  7. Default

    Thanks again for the help/ Can I just check, is it the 580 or the 880 after Oakland Bridge?

  8. #8


    You can either go straight onto the 580 or head south for a bit on the 880 first and pick up the 580 further on; someone suggested to me that this would be quicker and it certainly worked well.

    You can see that both roads run parallel anyway for a while here:,0.692139

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