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  1. Default Vegas to Yosemite to Monterey Trip

    Hi All

    We were wondering if we could get some advice on a trip we're currently planning. We've already had help from another forum and stumbled across this one which is great!

    Basically we're travelling to California/Nevada for 16 nights mid may to beginning June. Our current route is this

    Vegas
    Yosemite
    Tioga Pass
    Monterey
    (driving down the coast to LA)

    If the Tioga Pass is shut (we'll be travelling Memorial Day Weekend)

    Vegas
    Yosemite (East)
    South Lake Tahoe
    Sonora
    Yosemite (West)
    Monterey etc.

    The difference between the two routes is around 7 hours it seems - not sure what this would actually be taking into consideration traffic and so on.

    Our main questions are - is this feasible? And does anyone have any recommendations of a stop off point between Vegas and Yosemite East/South Lake Tahoe. We were looking at Mammoth lakes but as it's our honeymoon want somewhere a bit special to hide away for a couple of days to escape memorial day traffic!

    Another question for anyone that has seen Yosemite - if we travel to the East side, is it worth going to the West Entrance as well? (and by worth I mean worth the extra few hours!)

    Or are we better off seeing one entrance and having more time there rather than try to pack it all in?

    Thanks in advance! And apologies for all the questions!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    South of England.
    Posts
    10,749

    Default Tioga Pass.

    Hello and welcome to the RTA forums.

    Basically the Tioga pass is the east entry point to Yosemite, so if it's closed you will see very little of the park accept for what you can manage on foot from the entry kiosk.[Not much] To see Yosemite valley and the waterfalls etc with Tioga being closed, you need to enter the park from the west. An option would be to go south around the mountains via Lake Isabella/Bakersfield area and then you could also visit Sequoia NP. Either way a drive through Death valley is a pretty cool experience ! [Although it will be hot if you know what I mean]

    You have plenty of time to complete your trip at a relaxed pace and could also include an overnight visit to the Grand canyon NP. You could drive from LA to GC [perhaps an overnight stop on the way] and then return to Vegas, which could make for cheaper round ticket airfares.

  3. Default

    Thank you! and thank you for that advice - The route through Death Valley, Lake Isabella and up to Yosemite certainly looks doable. Looks incredible from the quick Google search i've done as well!

    We just need to find somewhere to stay now but seems it's all minimum stay for the weekends - can you recommend anywhere just outside of Yosemite (west) that we could stay and maybe travel in?

    Our flights are prebooked already unfortunately so not much change there, we flying into LA, then driving to Vegas hopefully early the next day (wont be a prob with the jet lag!) then from Vegas have 8 nights to travel about until we end up in a lovely hotel in Malibu before we have to go home, so wanted to pack in Yosemite and also the Big Sur coastal drive and so on in those days.

    We didnt want to book too many hotels but looks like over Memorial Day weekend in particular we'll have to get booking - leaving the rest of the time unbooked for us to do as we please, exciting!
    Last edited by Mark Sedenquist; 01-30-2013 at 07:53 PM.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    South of England.
    Posts
    10,749

    Default Surrounding towns.

    Yes bookings would be recommended/needed. Hopefully Glacier Point in Yosmite will be open, [also on the high ground] as it is one of the most spectacular views you will find anywhere !

    Oakhurst is the largest town offering a wider range of deals and closer to Yosemite are Mariposa, Groveland and I think there are options in El Portal. You can look for suggestions using the RTA browser to the top right of the page. I would imagine the NP lodgings are booked out, if not I'm sure they would pretty expensive ! It would also depend on whether you are already planning to stop a night between LV and Yosemite, it would be advisable if you are going through Death Valley and a must if you were to visit Sequoia as well.

    You will love Yosemite Valley !

  5. Default

    Perfect thanks for that - you've just completely changed our route for the better!!

    Tenaya Lodge looks lovely - but minimum 3 night stay and it's not cheap. Having said that - we are putting giving us money on our wedding gift list and it does look worth it for the location. Im assuming it wouldnt matter if the Tioga Pass was shut if we stayed there but going to do some more research on that one.

    Will plan for a stop on the Friday which might be a bit risky with all the Memorial Day Traffic but not sure there's much we can do about that save staying in Vegas for another night. I think a good stop would be Bakersfield?

    I think then we'll head to Monterey on the Tuesday which gives us 4 nights on the coast until we reach Malibu which im hoping is long enough, i'm sure it will be though.

    I'm very excited now - roll on May!!

    Thanks for all your help so far - been brilliant :)
    Last edited by Mark Sedenquist; 01-30-2013 at 07:53 PM.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    South of England.
    Posts
    10,749

    Default Another option.

    The Bakersfield area would be a good choice, trying to do the trip from Vegas via DV in a day would be a long one ! There are smaller towns in the area such as Lake Isabella . We liked Kernville just because it was so quaint and peaceful, but not a lot there ! Other options would include Porterville and Exeter on CA65 and if you were to go via Sequoia NP you will find Three rivers close to the southern kiosk.

    If you stopped around Lake Isabella/Kernville you could opt for a wonderful and quiet [but slow going] mountain drive up the Kern River Highway/Mt highway 99 through Johnsondale and up the Great Western divide Highway through Camp Nelson to CA190 into Porterville. After Johnsondale on the Great western divide Highway is a secluded grove of Giant Sequoias called the 'Trail of 100 giants' where you should find peace and quiet. As I mentioned it's slow going and you wouldn't have time to drive this section and visit Sequoia same day, but it is an option if you are in no hurry, the weather is nice and you feel up for it at the time.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Joplin MO
    Posts
    9,271

    Default

    The historical opening dates for Tioga Pass show about a 50% chance of it being open by Memorial Day. If it's closed, you can't even drive to the east entrance kiosk, the closure gates are down at the bottom near Lee Vining. The kiosk is at the very top of the pass.

    You could try to be somewhat flexible - if you want to stay on the east side for a night (Bishop, Mammoth Lakes, etc.), if the pass is still closed you could get across the Sierras from US-395) on Carson Pass (CA-88), that pass is open year-round. Monitor Pass (CA-89) is usually open by then. Sonora Pass (CA-108) or Ebbetts Pass (CA-4) might be open. There are plenty of hotels, etc. on the northwest side of Yosemite in the Sonora area.

  8. Default

    Thanks! Sorry for the late reply.

    We've decided to leave that day inbetween Vegas and Yosemite clear so we have the option of doing either route. I know this runs the risk of expensive hotel rooms due to Memorial Day but don't want to be tied into either route as im guessing the route on the Tioga Pass is well worth doing. Fingers crossed it's open! I shall be checking from the beginning of May quite regularly.

    Does anyone know how far in advance you need to book the tours in Yosemite? We want to do the Glacier Point tour (if it's open) but dont really fancy driving it as heard it's quite a hard drive?

    Getting very excited now!

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Joplin MO
    Posts
    9,271

    Default

    The drive to Glacier Point (if it's open) is no harder than driving Tioga Pass.

  10. Default

    Quote Originally Posted by glc View Post
    The drive to Glacier Point (if it's open) is no harder than driving Tioga Pass.
    Are the driving conditions bad on either? If you arent used to that sort of terrain/driving on other side of road / etc ?

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