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  1. #1

    Default Road Trip From LA Taking the 5 - Sacramento & Beyond

    This summer, my teen & I plan to hop in the car to meander the 5/99. Visalia, Fresno, Sequoia, maybe Yosemite for a day, Sacramento. Just wander. We want to try something different and go with the flow. Any suggestions?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 1998
    Las Vegas, Nevada

    Default North or south

    Howdy and welcome to the Great American RoadTrip Forum! When I first read this post, I thought you were referring to Sacramento and points north? But the rest of the post sounds like the southern section of the state. So, I'm confused. But I do have a great northern leg to suggest to you!

    Sacramento to Mt. Shasta: Scenic detours while driving north on Interstate 5

    If it's the central valley you're thinking of, I just zig-zagged all through that area. So... let us know which area you're interested in.


  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin

    Default interesting choice

    Welcome to the RTA Forum!

    I've got to say with so many fantastic an interesting roads in California, most people wouldn't pick I-5 or CA-99 through the San Joaquin Valley as the basis for their roadtrip. There's nothing wrong with it, but both routes basically take you across hundreds of miles of farmlands, while most people would prefer wondering a route that takes you along the coast, through the mountains, or across a desert!

    If you get into the mountains off CA-99, you've got a lot of options in the Sierras. Places like Lake Isabella, Sequoia, Yosemite, Gold Country, etc are all in the general vacinity, however they are a pretty significant drive away from CA-99.

    If you do spend time exploring those things, I'd look at crossing the mountains and heading back home via US-395 on the east side of the mountains.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 1998
    Las Vegas, Nevada

    Default Actually, I love those farming roads

    So, assuming you really are starting in LA and heading north....

    At Castiac (exit 176) depart I-5 and take the Lake Hughes Road up to N2 -- there might still be tiny bit of color left at the California Poppy Reserve, because it's been a very late spring. In any case head north on CA SR-14 to Mojave and if you don't mind a few no trespassing signs, you can drive right near the Obsolete Aircraft parking area.

    Like Midwest Michael pointed out -- Lake Isabella makes a very nice drive or you can head west on CA SR-58 and stop in for some really good German pretzels at Kohens in Tehachapi and then drive the back roads to the Tehachapi Loop. Very, very, cool.

    Ooops, I'm late for a meeting. More later today....


  5. #5


    I'd like to begin in LA, show my teen Sequioa, maybe Yosemite, definitely Sacramento. Would like to cruise there & back, avoiding coast, hitting small towns.

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


    How long have you got ? If you wish to avoid the coast, heading up one side of the Sierra Nevada and down the other would be a good option. A nice mountain drive from Kearnville [Lake Isabella] up through Johnsondale and Camp Nelson through the Sequoia NM is real nice. You can stop at the 'Trail of 100 giants' Sequoia grove and walk around the trail of this less visited grove. From Strathmore to Exeter you drive through miles of lemon/orange groves and then through Three rivers to the Generals Highway [198] into Sequoia NP. If you can, definitely make time for Yosemite NP.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Southern California


    We did the following in the summer of '96:

    Lake Shasta
    Mt Lassen National Park
    Truckee (the state park there)
    Lake Tahoe
    Gold Rush country/American River

    All of those are accessible and beautiful! Our kids were a little younger than yours, though.


  8. #8
    Join Date
    May 2009
    SF Bay Area

    Default Some options

    Depending on the tastes of your teen:

    The gold country of course, especially Columbia State Historic park, restored to the days of the gold rush complete with stage coaches and gold panning. Many many many other small towns and state parks along CA49.

    Old Sacramento, especially the Railroad Museum.

    Old Sacramento

    Photo: Don Casey

    Some of the small towns in the delta along the Sacramento River (follow CA160 and pay attention to the road, you'll be on a two lane levee road with farms on one side and the river on the other): Isleton, Locke, Rio Vista, Clarksburg. Locke, although tiny, is especially charming as it had a thriving Chinese community during it's heyday (long since past). The river drive is a great one if you take your time and be careful looking at the scenery.

    Winters is becoming a favorite for me and my wife; due west of Davis on the road to Lake Berrysessa; a couple nice restaurants and a winery or two have tasting rooms in town.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jan 1998
    Las Vegas, Nevada

    Default Two more small roads

    If you're still on CA SR-58... take County Road 223 to Arvin. It's a great descent into the valley and affords a great view. Drive through Weedpatch and them make your way north to SR-33 north.

    Another road I really enjoy is CA SR-165 (exit 391 from I-5) and north through the San Luis National Wildlife Refuge -- the largest wild riparian area in California.. Be sure to take the Bear Creek auto loop (a couple of miles south of SR-140).

    Well, these are some good starts.

    Kudos to Don for the nice photo above!


  10. #10
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Melbourne, Australia

    Default When in Sacramento..

    You might like to experience staying in this beautiful gold rush mansion, not far from the State Capitol and right by Old Sacramento (seen above). A variety of accommodation is offered in this 1885 Llewellyn Williams Mansion.

    Have stayed there several times, and am still awed by it.


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