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  1. #1

    Default Yosemite to Zion in Winter (early April)

    Hello everyone,

    My husband and I are planning our first road trip on the western side of the US in April 2014 and have our general itinerary/ dates in place. we're basically doing a big circular route from San Fran, across NV, UT, CO, NM, AZ and back to San Fran again.

    My question is about getting to Zion from Yosemite in April; everything points to all the mountain passes being closed so what routes do you think would be best, balancing out distance/ scenery etc. Also, where would you stop off overnight in between the two parks? We prefer to use state/ county roads rather than interstates.

    Thanks for any help you can give- call me sad but I absolutely love planning road trips; almost as fun as the journey itself!

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

    Default what's behind the curtain

    Welcome to the RTA Forum!

    The fastest way to make the drive would be do head south to Bakersfield, across CA-58 to Barstow, and then up I-15 to Zion via Las Vegas. You could also detour up to Death Valley before Vegas.

    Another longer option would be to go up to US-50 and take that past Lake Tahoe and across Nevada, a route that is known as the loneliest road.

    However, considering this is a loop trip, the best option is going to depend a whole lot on where else you will be going on your trip. Its even quite possible that it might make more sense to do other destinations after Yosemite and before Zion, depending upon what else is on your agenda. Without knowing what else you are planning, its tough to offer a good recommendation.

  3. #3


    Hi Michael,

    Many thanks for getting back to me- at present the route is as follows- San Fran, Yosemite, Tonopah/Ely (for a stopover), Zion, Bryce, Monument Valley, Arches, Canyonlands, Santa Fe, Albuquerque, Flagstaff, Grand Canyon and Mojave (stopover). Definitely a trip more about the NPs, the views and the roads with a bit of desert culture in too. The route is flexible, so long as it starts and ends in San Francisco and can take 2-3 weeks.

    Thanks again for taking the time to help!

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Melbourne, Australia

    Default Pacific Coast Highway?

    You don't mention the PCH in your itenary. It would fit very well into this trip between Mojave and SF, via San Luis Obispo/Cambria. I would however recommend that you reverse the direction of your trip. You will then have the ocean - where all the view points are - on your side of the road as you head south.

    It will also mean that you will visit Yosemite at the end of your trip. Sometimes, the later you get there, the more the snow may have cleared, and the more you will be able to access and see.

    The most scenic route from Ely to the Sierras is US-50 - The Loneliest Road in America. You could take this all the way to Carson City, over the mountains, and then head south to Yosemite.

    With visiting so many national parks, be sure to buy the annual pass at the first park you visit. It will save you a lot over all the individual entry fees.


    p.s. Love your username! Make sure you take your UK automobile club membership with you. It will give you access to free maps and tourist information at the AAA. At one of the AAA offices in SF make sure you get maps to cover all the areas through which you will be passing, including the major urban areas.
    Last edited by Lifemagician; 11-02-2012 at 09:30 PM. Reason: add a p.s.

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


    You certainly have the right idea with your plans and heading north one way around the mountains and south the other makes most sense. If your trip is to extend as far as Arches and Santa Fe I would certainly be looking at making it the 3 week option, as it's a lot of miles to cover with much to see along the way.

    Thanks for any help you can give- call me sad but I absolutely love planning road trips; almost as fun as the journey itself!
    If your sad then so am I, and probably most of the RTA community !! lol We are mainly like minded people with different styles of travel. As you continue with your planning you will find many amazing places in between the main destinations and there is always a surprise or two in store no matter how careful the planning. With that in mind make sure you leave a little ''wiggle' room in your travel days for some spontaneity.

  6. #6


    Thanks for all your advice guys, great idea Lifemagician- hadn't even thought about doing it in reverse, it would certainly buy us 3 extra weeks of snowmelt time and though unlikely, more of the roads may be open. US 50 is looking like the likeliest candidate so far. Hadn't even though about the pacific coast highway so will add that in too. re- the username, yep I'm quite happy to sit staring at maps for hours; all my previous road trips in the US (washington dc- orlando and orlando- key west) were done without satnav, paper maps all the way!

    I'll no doubt be back again as the trip progresses for further advice x

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