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  1. Default San fransisco to Las Vegas in January

    We are planning to drive from San Fransisco leaving 5th January 2011. Hoping to go via Yosemite and Death Valley , Las Vegas and Grand Canyon. To be back in Las Vegas to Fly to LA on 16th January. Is this reasonable and will roads be a problem to access because of weather? Thanks

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin


    Welcome to the RTA Forum!

    Yes this is certainly possible to do in this time line - in fact its well more than enough, as you could comfortably do this drive over just a few days. However, yes, Tioga and the other Sierra Passes will be closed for the winter at this time. That means, traveling from Yosemite to Death Valley will require you to go around the South via Bakersfield. You also will be looking at needing to carry tire chains for your trip into Yosemite (and also Sequoia if you were thinking of adding that into your trip.)

    Otherwise, I'll let you know that SF-Vegas is far and away the single most discusses trip on this forum, and there are thousands upon thousands of other threads on this subject. I would strongly recommend you spend some time looking around this site - with these being an excellent starting point.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    South of England.

    Default Around the mountains.

    Hello and welcome to the RTA forums !

    You will not be able to cross he Sierra mountain range during January and will therefore have to head North towards Lake Tahoe or South to Bakersfield to get around them. Yosemite will be in "winter mode" and you could face snow chain restrictions in places, where you will have to have them fitted on your tyres to continue.

    You certainly have the time to do the trip quite comfortably but you will need to keep your eye on weather and road conditions as you travel.

  4. Default SF to bakersfield

    Thanks for the reply. If we drive south to Bakersfield how long would that take? And do we then head north through Fresno back to Yosemite? Accepting that the weather will be snowy would an SUV be a good option and will we be likely to get to see some great scenery without the driving being too hairy. We are not used to driving in snow- being non skiing Aussies!!
    Last edited by AZBuck; 06-22-2010 at 07:17 AM. Reason: Quote of entire previous post removed.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tucson, AZ

    Default The Car Matters Almost Not At All

    The drive from Las Vegas to Yosemite by way of Bakersfield and Fresno is pretty much an all-day affair. But the roads are freeway quality all the way to Fresno. There is practically zero benefit in renting an expensive SUV rather than a more fuel efficient and comfortable sedan. It's the driver's experience with snow and ice conditions that matters far more than the 'image' that is the SUV's only real advantage. If the conditions on CA-41 start to test the driver's ability, just turn around and head back out to CA-49 and use it instead to get north to CA-120 and San Francisco, but seriously, with no experience in snow, I'd rate your chances of getting in to Yosemite on dry pavement no better than 50/50 in January.


  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    South of England.

    Default Bakersfield .

    I think we have a little confusion here, and I apologise as I should have been clearer. If you are heading from SF to LV you head East to Yosemite from SF, it is after Yosemite that you need to head South to Bakersfield to continue to Death valley and Vegas. You will need to check conditions as you can enter the park on CA120, or alternatively head further South on 99 to Merced and CA 140, or continue to Madera and 145 and 41 through Oakhurst, which is also the way you will exit the park on route to Fresno and Bakersfield. Caltrans is a good place to keep an eye on road conditions and sites like the weather channel for current conditions.

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