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  1. Default Road trip April/May 2011

    I'm planning a road trip from San Francisco to Vegas and then around the canyons in late April early May. One bit of the route I cant decide on is Yosemite to Death Valley. As far as I can tell the Tioga Pass and all other roads across the Sierras will still be shut in late April so you have to go via Bakersfield and on to Death Valley from there.

    One alternative (and I know this might add a few hours) is to go up to Lake Tahoe via the 50, stay there for a night and drive down the 395 to Death Valley. The reason I thought of this is that the 395 down the east of the Sierras is supposed to be great, while the drive through Bakersfield isnt as scenic, or am i going out of the way for nothing? Any tips would be a real help.


  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Joplin MO



    If you decide to go via Tahoe, I'd recommend CA-88 (Carson Pass) instead of US-50. It's maintained year round and is a lot less traveled than 50.

    Take CA-120 out of Yosemite through Groveland, then CA-49 north. At Jamestown, turn left on Rawhide Rd (County E5) to bypass Sonora - unless you want to sightsee in Sonora. This cuts off a good 30 minutes or more. Rejoin 49 and take that to Jackson to pick up 88.

    At Woodfords, you can either stay on 88 or take CA-89 over Monitor Pass (if it's open yet!). If it's open, that will dump you onto 395. If not, stay on 88 into NV, and take Centerville Ln (NV-756) over to 395.

    If you want to actually spend a night in Tahoe, then coming off Carson Pass turn left on CA-89 over Luther Pass, this will take you down to 50 and into South Lake Tahoe.

    To get from SLT to 395, take 50 into NV, then right on NV-207 and go down the Kingsbury Grade. It will take you down to 88, turn right, then left on 756.

    Note: Even if Tioga is still closed, Sonora Pass (CA-108) may be open - you pick that up in Sonora. Ebbetts Pass (CA-4) may also be open, but it's very slow going, steep, and narrow.

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

    Default Left or right ?

    Hello and welcome to the RTA forums !

    Going North to Tahoe is an option that 'only' adds about a 110 miles and less than 3 hours to your journey, however not all the passes will be closed. The 395 is a scenic drive and a good option, but if you were to head down the Western side of the Sierra's you could also 'catch' Sequoia NP and head past Lake Isabella.

    Both are viable, it's which one takes your fancy ?

  4. Default

    Thanks very much for your replies, both very helpful!

  5. Default

    Thanks for the info so far, I was just wondering if we decided to head south from Yosemite, how long would we need to see Kings Canyon NP and/or Sequoia NP? If we stayed somewhere near Lake Isabella could we do that in one day from Yosemite or is that not feasible?

    Also, would the best route be along the main road through Fresno etc and then head up into the parks, or follow the route that skirts the edge of the Sierras (which look more scenic but I guess will add time?)



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

    Default Kind of.

    There is a good chance to Cedar grove road into Kings canyon will also still be closed when you travel, but you wouldn't have time to do both in a day anyway. You could drive through Seqouia NP on the 'Generals highway' by taking CA180 from Fresno to CA198. Taking CA 41 to Fresno will be your best option given the time constraints, and it would help if you were to start the day just South of Yosemite somewhere such as Oakhurst if you are to reach the Lake Isabella area the same night. It would be a full day but doable or you could just stop around Three rivers or Exeter for the night.

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