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  1. Default Aussie Traveller

    We are a family of five seeing the West Coast in December. We have a few days after Christmas in the Grand Canyon and will make our way to San Fran over 2 days. We have a four wheel drive. We are looking for a scenic route, taking in Yosemite if possible. Not sure if passes will be closed this time of year. Any suggestions very welcome, including stop-over places.
    Thanks

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
    13,063

    Default 2 days

    Welcome to the RTA Forum!

    Unless it is a unusually warm fall, the most of the passes, including Tioga will be closed for the season by December.

    The bigger problem though is that with 2 days, you don't have a lot of time for sightseeing. Just going direct, you're looking at a good day and a half to make the drive to SF from GC. With that extra half day, you can take a real quick tour through Yosemite, but you're not going to have time for much more or additional scenic drives.

    Your best bet likely will be to spend all of your first day on the road just trying to get to Fresno (about 10 hours on the road). You can get up early on the morning of day two, head into Yosemite, stay there until mid afternoon, and then finish the 4 hour trip to SF, getting there in the evening.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Joplin MO
    Posts
    9,270

    Default

    The passes across the Sierras are as follows, south to north:

    CA-58 Tehachapi Pass - almost always open
    CA-178 Walker Pass - Maintained in winter, but subject to closure by snow and rockslides
    CA-120 Tioga Pass - Closed in winter
    CA-108 Sonora Pass - Closed in winter
    CA-4 Ebbetts Pass - Closed in winter
    CA-88 Carson Pass - Maintained in winter, but subject to closure by snow
    US-50 and I-80 are aggressively maintained in winter as they are major through highways, but are subject to closure by major storms.

  4. Default

    Thanks Michael, that's a great help to us. We might have to save Yosemite for another trip (without the kids) as we would love to do some hiking there.

  5. Default

    Thanks GLC, that will give us something to work with.

  6. Default

    Thanks again Michael - I have another query - would it be easier and quicker to head back to the West Coast and travel up to SF and bypass Yosemite altogether?

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Joplin MO
    Posts
    9,270

    Default

    In December, there are cons to both approaches. Yosemite may be quite snowbound. The coast may be foggy and rainy. It would be a shame simply heading up I-5 and seeing nothing but farmland. With only 2 days to get from the GC to SF, that may be your only reasonable option, the coast road is quite slow.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
    13,063

    Default not really

    With 2 days, I certainly don't think that going to the Coast is going to be easier. The fact is that you've got a 1.5 day trip in front of you, so you're only going to have a half day to explore whereever you go. The coast going to add a few more miles, and be a little harder to do on your timeline. Basically, you could head over to the Morro Bay area, drive the coast up the Big Sur stretch, and then get back on the Freeway around Monterey.

    Either can be done, but you're going to have to rush through either of them.


    I'll also note just for a point of reference that GLC left off Sherman Pass, located between CA-178 and Tioga. This route is also closed in winter.

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