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  1. Default Fly from Las Vegas to Fresno/Merced and then drive to Yosemite

    Hey guys.

    Thank you for having this forum. I've been reading some very helpful posts.

    I'm in California working for some months and before I leave to Europe I will travel for 2 weeks with my girlfriend. This will be in the end of November, so please recommend non-dangerous routes.

    I want to fly from Las Vegas to an airport near Yosemite. There are cheap flights either to Fresno and Merced. My idea is to sleep outside the Yosemite Park but nearby. Do you recommend a place to sleep? That would help me decide if it's better to fly to Fresno or Merced. Then, I would also like to know how to get to Yosemite Park driving from this "sleeping point".

    I also would like to know about possible road closures due to weather or other informations that might be useful.

    Thanks a bunch!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Joplin MO



    I would fly into Merced, and from there you would take Highway 140 right to the park. This highway is maintained year-round and goes in through the valley, but there is always a chance you may need tire chains to enter the park. It's about a 1.5 to 2 hour drive from Merced to the park entrance. I would recommend you get a hotel in Mariposa, there are several to choose from. It's on 140 about 1 hour out of Merced.

    Another option to stay which you may enjoy is the Yosemite Bug. It's in Midpines, which is between Mariposa and the park. There are also a couple of lodges in El Portal right outside the park, but they are a bit pricey for what they are - I stayed at the Cedar Lodge and paid $110 for a room that wasn't worth much more than $50 in my opinion. You definitely pay for location.

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

    Default Drive ?

    Do you have a vehicle while staying in California ? You could actually drive to Mariposa/Oakhurst in a day and save on rental and flight costs, but of course you would have to account for the extra gas cost.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin

    Default what's behind the curtain?

    If its a choice between flying to Fresno or Merced, I'd go with which ever offers the better deal and flight times. Also consider your rental car costs in that equation.

    But I'd can't help but thinking those really aren't your only choices. Afterall, you say you want to spend 2 weeks traveling and I assume that means more than just exploring Yosemite. And if you are going other places, then doing a short haul flight to a tiny airport might not make a lot of sense.

    So what is the rest of your plan? Getting idea of what you are looking to do with your entire time will help others give you the best possible advice, without having to guess about what other important details that could dramatically change the recommendations.

  5. Default

    Hey. Thanks for the suggestions.

    So my plan is more or less like this:

    21-23Nov: Berkeley and San Francisco (I'm currently living in Berkeley)
    24Nov: fly early to Las Vegas
    25Nov: Las Vegas, fly in the afternoon to Merced/Fresno and go to the hotel near the Yosemite Park
    26Nov: Yosemite Park
    27Nov: Yosemite Park
    28Nov: take a train to Berkeley (from Merced) and rest a little bit
    29Nov: drive calmly from Berkeley to LA through the 101 Highway and stop on Cambria to sleep
    30Nov: drive early to LA and stay in LA
    1Dez: LA and during the night fly to the east coast
    2-6Dez: New York

    Please, feel free to recommend alterations to this plan.


  6. Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Southwest Dave View Post
    Do you have a vehicle while staying in California ? You could actually drive to Mariposa/Oakhurst in a day and save on rental and flight costs, but of course you would have to account for the extra gas cost.

    No, I would just rent a car for parts of this trip. The reason why I decided (it's not 100% decided, but...) to fly from Las Vegas to Yosemite is because it's a long drive (6-7 hours according to googlemaps and I don't have a lot of time for visiting all these amazing places. Also, I'm a little bit afraid of the road conditions I would face.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin


    I don't think your current plan really makes a whole lot of sense. Between zig-zagging back and forth, going back home for a break, and spending several days in airports, I think you're going to end up wasting a lot of time and money.

    It would make more sense to do something like this:
    3 days in SF
    24th drive down the coast to Cambria.
    25th drive across to Yosemite.
    26-27 Yosemite
    28 Drive to Vegas
    29 Vegas
    30 Drive to LA.

    This would save a lot of backtracking, and end up with you having more time to explore these places and have less time in transit.

    There really are no dangerous roads in this discussion, and the only place you're likely to run into snow at all is within Yosemite National Park.

    The only day that would really be a long distance day on the road would be the drive from Yosemite to Vegas. Even there, I suppose you could look at flying from Fresno/Merced to Vegas, or drive back to San Francisco (which I'm guessing is where you'd rent the car from in the first place, potentially saving a one way drop fee) and fly to Vegas from there. Driving back to SFO and fly to Vegas would likely take about the same amount of time as driving directly to Vegas, once you factor in airport security delays.

  8. Default

    I will consider this plan. I have to think about it. But you're right, I would be zig-zagging a lot. But I guess since there are so many attractions in California it's impossible not to zig-zag for a while.

    The reason for coming back to Berkeley is not only to rest but also to wash clothes and pick our luggage. It's ok to carry the luggage during the whole trip if we only drive (we had simply to leave it on the trunk), but it's not ok if we have to take flights.

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

    Default Flying makes little sense on this trip

    Flying only makes sense if you have money to burn on this holiday. And I would do the trip in reverse of Michael's suggestion.

    Spend the time you want in San Francisco and then drive to Yosemite (easy one day's travel)

    Spend the time you want in Yosemite and then cross the Sierra Nevada mountains by whatever pass is open or you can go the long way around. But seriously, one of the passes will be open! And US-395 is a great drive.

    You can drive all the way to Las Vegas in one day, but I think you'll enjoy the route more if you stop in Bishop.

    I don't understand driving on US-101 -- that's not the coastal route and Cambria is not on US-101, it's on CA-1. Cambria is a long ways from US-101!

    Anyway, if you wanted to fly (instead of driving) you can fly from Las Vegas to San Francisco or Oakland (go back to Berkeley) and then drive to LA.

    But it would seem to make more sense to drive north on CA-1 to Cambria and then fly from San Francisco to the east coast. Unless your plans are firm for flying from LA, in that case, Michael's route is better.

    Instead of carrying luggage (that you're not using) why don't you just freight forward it to NYC? And there are ample places to do laundry on the road trip. Driving to Berkeley to do laundry is a bit odd.

  10. Default

    Oops, my mistake, I meant the coastal route, so the CA-1. Ok, thanks for the suggestions. I will rethink my plan.

    How can I send my luggage to NYC? Is it cheap?

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