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  1. #1

    Default Foreigner Looking for advice - Vegas to Tahoe

    Hi Everyone.

    Me and a couple of my mates are coming over from Tasmania, Australia for a 5 week road trip starting early November. We are planning to drive for Vegas to Tahoe during November, and I was wondering if there are any roads we could take that are less likely to be closed because of heavy snow or are perhaps safer and less prone to ice etc?? Any advice would be appreciated.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    South of England.
    Posts
    10,747

    Default Main routes.

    Hello and welcome to the R.T.A forums,

    Although the weather is unpredictable you are very unlikely to see any major delays due to road closures between A and B. Night time temps will most likely be around freezing so if you are driving late in the night or very early morning when no traffic has "trodden" the road you may find ice and should be cautious, especially on mountain passes.
    Are you covering this leg of your journey in one day?

    If so you will be looking at a 10hour + day by taking Hwy 95 to Tonopah and the 6 and 120 to Lee vining before heading on the 395 north towards Tahoe.
    If you have more time then you might want to head across Death valley on the 160 and 190 and then the 395 up the Eastern edge of the sierras. Both are main, year round routes and should pose no real problems. I would check on weather forecasts before setting out, this is quite a good site and offers historical data so you can check the averages of places you may visit.

    If you need any other help with "fine tuning" your trip, please ask.
    Last edited by Southwest Dave; 10-08-2008 at 05:33 AM. Reason: typo

  3. #3

    Default Vegas To Tahoe

    I've done this trip a couple of times. But I would take more than a day.

    From Vegas through Pahrump to Death Valley is interesting. Real old western area. Stop at Furnance Creek for lunch. Death Valley, being lower than sea level is not far from Mt Whitney, the highest point on continental USA - which is out from Lone Pine. If there's not much snow, you can reach the top there.
    The drive along Hwy 395 is not that remarkable, maybe some snow here and there, but turn off onto Hwy 89 is worth taking the time. Very windy and scenic into Lake Tahoe - and worth stopping here and there. Then if you're heading south to LA, take Hwy 49. That's is also one of favourite my scenic roads. Have fun.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    South of England.
    Posts
    10,747

    Default And welcome Lesley.

    Hi Lesley and welcome to R.T.A.

    It's always nice when we have first time posters offering help and advice to other forum users, Thankyou.

    Dave.

  5. #5

    Default Thanks for your help

    Thanks guys.

    We were looking at doing it in one day, but we may need to reconsider. Any nice little towns along the way you would recommend for stopping for the night?

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Location
    The Netherlands
    Posts
    219

    Default

    SW Dave gave you the fastest route but without stops it can be done in 8 hours. It's a great and fast desert drive and totally different from Tassie's scenery. Better would be to make it a 2 days drive through Death Valley though. First day to Lone Pine and second day to Lake Tahoe. Death Valley is awesome in november and many things to see. Between Lone Pine and Lake Tahoe along the eastern Sierras you'll find many places for a stop like Alabama Hills just west of Lone Pine, Whitney Portal a bit up to Mount Whitney, Manzanar NHS, Mammoth Lakes, June Lake Loop, Lee Vining and Mono Lake, Bodie Ghosttown. Last year even Tioga Pass opened till december. But you can't predict. Most chance on snow will be between Lee Vining and Lake Tahoe. Don't worry too much about it. You can call for Cal. roadinfo via 1.800.427.7623.
    Yeehaw

  7. #7

    Default Thanks Again

    Thanks for that Yeehaw.

    One last question, once we finish at Tahoe we are going to San Fran then along to Denver, would it be wise to rent some wheel chains for this journey?

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    South of England.
    Posts
    10,747

    Default An option.

    Hi BigRig,

    I agree with Yeehaw, with no stops and passing by some amazing landscapes,little towns, Mono lake e.t.c you can travel it in a quicker time. If it's a case of just getting from A to B and you haven't booked accommodations, I would consider heading to San Fran from Vegas by going around the southern end of the sierras towards Bakersfield, and then head to Tahoe before Denver. This could save you around 250 miles and 4 or 5 hours travel time by not going back and forth between Tahoe and S/F.
    Last edited by Southwest Dave; 10-09-2008 at 01:42 AM.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Location
    The Netherlands
    Posts
    219

    Default

    Yes, that would be best. Go around the southern Sierras first. You also could include the great coastal stretch then. Drive from Las Vegas to Death Valley, to Bakersfield and to Paso Robles and Cambria then. North along hw1 to Monterey and to SF. You can drive Las Vegas to Bakersfield in one day but your time for DV will be limited. If you want to visit Yosemite NP you'll have to have chains with you in the car in snowy conditions and if you drive to Denver you may need them too. But rentalcarcies generally would not allow to use chains on their cars. Nobody can predict weather and probably you won't need chains at all. Said that, we once traveled I70 (a great interstate) towards Denver begin of october and had 10 inches of snow on Vail Pass and Indepence Pass near Aspen was closed all of a sudden and last week Trail Ridge road (Rocky Mountain NP) was closed for a day. It's like asking: Do you need a 4WD for Oodnadatta Trail or Gibb River road. No you don't in 90% but to be sure....But don't worry too much, there's not that much chance you need chains. The interstates are well maintainted. Wintertires may come handy though.
    Yeehaw
    Yeehaw

  10. #10

    Default Coast Road

    Hi again.

    The reason we are going to Tahoe first is because we want to be in San Francisco for the weekend, so it just worked out that way unfortunately. So it looks like we will be doing a bit of back tracking.

    Are there any other towns that you could recommend for a bunch of guys in their early 20's?? We are really keen to see some of the real USA as opposed to the bigger cities and tourist destinations that are dotted along our itinerary.

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