La - Lv - Sf
We are coming to America in December and we plan to drive from LA to Las Vegas in one day. Have a few days in Las Vegas, then drive from LV to Yosemite in one day and then onto San Francisco via Lake Tahoe the next day. Is this possible, as being from little old England cant really grasp the distances involved here! Also, any suggestion en route will be great!
Hello and welcome to R.T.A.
L/A to L/V is certainly possible in one day, just hook up on I-15.
The next part isn't so straight forward. You will not be able to get to Yosemite from the east side of the sierras because the Tioga pass will be closed . Getting to Tahoe [east side of sierras] or Yosemite by the west side by way of Bakersfield are both in the region of a 10 hour day with stops, so to see a bit of either one you will have to cut out the other or you will just be driving by them with the time you have.
Personally I would just go with Yosemite.
If there's any other info you need don't hesitate to ask.
Last edited by Southwest Dave; 09-03-2008 at 06:18 AM.
thanks for the quick reply!
So it looks like we might have to cut out the Lake Tahoe bit and save it for another time then. But can we reach Yosemite from Vegas in one day and how long will just that take? and will it still be worth it if we cant use the Tioga pass? Is there anything else you recommend on the way? Like can we do Death Valley?
I presume the Yosemite to San Francisco bit, without Lake Tahoe, is fairly straight forward as well?
Many thanks for your help!
The valley floor in Yosemite is amazing and worth it I.M.O. As you are visiting in December you have to allow for the possibility of weather causing delays and so forth.
It is possible to cross Death valley on the way but will of course add to your time.
I still think you should allow for a 10 hour day with rests to Yosemite, so to do D/V you would have to think about stopping short and continuing on the following morning.
Yosemite to S/F is a quite straight forward [Weather permiting] and should take 5-6 hours.
Lake Tahoe is also a very direct run to San Fran if you would prefer that option.
Last edited by Southwest Dave; 09-03-2008 at 08:13 AM.
ok, i think we need 2 days to get to Yosemite, which means we lose a day in SF. Oh well, so be it. We definately want to spend one night at Yosemite village, presumably where the valley floor is? (I presume this is all accessable in December?) now we need to decide whether to go east or west of the Sierras?
If i suggest a couple of options, can you please advise which you think is best:
option 1 (East) - LV (95) to Death Valley (395) to say Big Pine or Bishop for an overnight. Then in the morning go round the north of Yosemite via 395 and 108 to Jamestown and then enter Yosemite on the 120 from the west?
option 2 (west) - LV to Death Valley as option 1, but then go south of the sierras and pick up the 99 from Bakersfield for an overnight there or somewhere just further north off the highway? then in the morning pick up the 41 from Fresno and approach Yosemite from the south?
What do you reckon? and how many hours driving do you think each day would roughly be? and will all the roads mentioned in both options be open in December? Also, if you know of any lovely places for an overnight on either option - we are open to recomendations!
Your first option will not be possible in December. CA-120 is the Tioga Pass that Dave refered to earlier. The road crosses the Sierra inside Yosemite National Park, and will be snowbound for the season. If you were to continue up the east side of the Sierra, you'd have to go all the way north to Lake Tahoe before you could cross the mountains.
Going via Bakersfield seems like the only realistic option with your timeframe. Depending upon how much time you spend in Death Valley, I'd think either Bakersfield or Fresno could both be feasable overnight stops. I wouldn't expect hotels to be hard to find in either city, so I would simply see how far you get on that day, and stop when you are ready to quit for the day.
Doubts about the 108.
Yes the village is in the Valley floor.
Both would be good options, but I am pretty sure that the 108 [Sonara pass] is also closed and you would end up at your original spot of Lake Tahoe before you could head across, but I'm sure someone who's more familiar with the conditions will confirm if it is or not.
If you take the southern route then you could leave Vegas on the 160 to Pahrump and head for Death valley junction and then the 190 to the 395. Between Bakersfield and Fresno would be a good area to stop time wise and to get the most out of your time in Yosemite. I can't offer any advice on lodgings as we travel in an R.V. but i would search for rooms in this area and see what appeals as i doubt you will need to book in advance this time of year so you could keep a few options open as to how far you get.
I would think of it as a relaxed 8 or 9 hour day sight seeing and covering the miles.
# sorry, i was distracted from my computer, and now i sound like an echo of Michaels post#
Proof perhaps, that great minds think alike, LOl ! ;-)
Last edited by Southwest Dave; 09-03-2008 at 10:04 AM.
Well, I guess it does say something when we are thinking the same thing.
However, I realise that I misread the "first" option going via 108 instead of 120 (120 west Yosemite will be open), however, Dave is right, the pass via CA-108 will also be closed in December. The two passes don't necessarily close at the same time, but they end up being pretty close. Really, you should plan on all of the passes between CA-178 and US-50 to be closed, and CA-58 will be the fastest route for this trip.
brilliant, thanks for all your help guys - you've been most helpful. Looks like its the south, then west route then. This drive looks the less scenic of the 2, but i suppose we can experience the sights and the mountains when in Yosemite?
You will love the drive through Death valley, we don't get to see the likes of it in the U.K, and Yosemite valley is awesome. There are some great scenic drives both ways but with time and weather considerations they're not feasible, however you will have a great time.
Across Death valley if you follow the route I suggested you will come across furnace creek which is a good place to stop, maybe get a drink and have a look around the museum e.t.c. Just before here you will see the sign for Badwater, the lowest point in the states [and the western hemisphere i do believe].
There is also some good viewpoints and the Sand dunes near stovepipe wells
before heading to Pannamint springs.
You may find these links to the parks interesting yosemite and Death valley.
Have a great trip!
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