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  1. Default Tioga Pass alternatives and accommodation

    Hello there

    I am new to this forum but find it has much friendlier advice than another forum I tried so I thought I would give it a go. I apologise up front if the question has been done to death but I did try and find an answer first.

    My partner and I are travelling all around California, Arizona and Nevada in June 2011. Yes I know its a long way off, but the planning is the fun part( and gets me through work every day!)

    We are planning on staying at Stovepipe wells then driving up to Yosemite for a couple of days, before heading to Monterey. I believe the way into Yosemite from our direction is via the Tioga pass. Now it should be open in June but if its not, is there another alternative road in? And is there much accommodation in the area? I would appreciate any recommendations for somewhere to stay in or near the park. Also, we are driving up from Las Vegas so if anyone has any accommodation alternative other than Stovepipe wells we are open to suggestions. We have plenty of time so we can stop for a couple of days here and there.

    Any help appreciated.


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


    Welcome to the RTA Forum!

    Yes, Tioga Pass is the road you'd be looking at. The road typically opens somewhere between mid-may and mid-june, so the later in the month you're traveling the greater the odds that the road will be open.

    If it is closed, you'll have to enter Yosemite from the west side of the Sierras. You'll have a couple options, the sure fire bet it to go around via the Bakersfield area using CA-58 or CA-178 (lake isabella). Those are open year round, but you'll be looking at pretty much a full day from Death Valley to Yosemite by this route, but its about your only option to make the drive in a day.

    The other option that might be available would be to take one of the passes between Yosemite and Lake Tahoe like CA-108 or CA-4. These are seasonal roads too, but its possible that they would be open before Tioga, and they are arguably as scenic of routes as Tioga. These also are going to take a fair bit of time, however.

  3. Default

    Thanks Michael

    I did a google map search and I can see its a bit further to go via Bakersfield etc but we did allow a few days extra in the region for that exact reason. One thing I forgot to ask is, where would I check to see if the pass is open before we leave Vegas? I assume there would be a website we can check? Thanks

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tucson, AZ

    Default Go to the Source

    CalTrans updates road conditions throughout the state on an hourly basis. Just type in the road number (Tioga Pass is CA-120) here


  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    South of England.

    Default Stovepipes good.

    The other lodging options in Death valley are at Furnace creek and Panamint springs. Furnace creek is the closest to Vegas but for your onward journey to Yosemite the other 2 are in a better location [further West] but will still give you chance to explore the valley. Stovepipe is about perfect IMO.

    For Yosemite, it will depend on timing and what route. These are some of the options in and around Yosemite, but you will find more by searching. "Yosemite bug" is one that comes up quite a bit, they offer budget friendly "rustic" lodgings in a good location. In the link I just gave there is a camping option, you will find "Canvas cabins" in the heart of Yosemite but they are not for everyone. If the Tioga is open and you get nearby later in the day, your first night might be better spent in Lee Vining/Mono lake so that you can take your time crossing the Sierra's and cherishing the views early next day, it's a big part of the Yosemite experience.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 1998
    Las Vegas, Nevada

    Default Tioga is usually later than the others

    As mentioned above, it's very likely that Tioga Pass will be open in late June, but if we manage to have a late snowfall and the road is closed, there are several roads that will probably be open and give you access to Yosemite. My favorite pass for June travel is Sonora Pass -- there are literally scores and scores of waterfalls on both sides of the road as you make your way west. From there it's easy to backtrack south to Yosemite. And, in a REALLY UNUSUAL EVENT if Sonora is still closed, US-50 and I-80 will be open. So, from Las Vegas I would not recommend taking the southern route, I'm sure you'll get over the mountain and a June crossing is something you'll never forget!

    It's best if you can stretch this part of the route into two days, but I've driven from Las Vegas to Yosemite Valley several times in a day. Here's an account of a solo road tripper who usually does it in that time span, (and she almost always drives at the speed limit...) Here's some more photos of her favorite route.


  7. Default

    Thanks to everyone, you have offered some amazing advice. I am currently looking at all the new options I now have.

    Stay tuned for what whill surely be more dumb questions!

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