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  1. #1

    Default Driving through Yosemite.

    Hi, In just over a month I am going to the US for three weeks, I've hired a campervan from San Francisco and are currently in the process of planning my root, one of my first stops will be Yosemite National Park and then I am planning to aim for Las Vegas, however, when using google maps it seems to suggest that I take a huge journey south around the Sequoia National park area, but if I zoom in the map I can clearly see roads that go through Yosemite that would be much shorter, and as mileage is an issue I was wondering why google maps seems to direct me to a much longer route. Is it possible to take these roads through Yosemite instead of the much longer suggested route?
    Thanks in advance for any help and assistance.

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


    Welcome to the RTA Forum!

    It really depends upon exactly when you'll be traveling. Tioga Pass, the road that runs through the park across the Sierra Nevada mountains, is currently closed for winter.

    The pass typically opens up sometime between mid-may and mid-june, and this has been a relatively light year for snowfall, so it will likely be on the early side of things, but there's really know way to know exactly when it will be right now. If the pass is still closed, you'd either have to go around via the Bakersfield area, or go up and cross the mountains in the the Lake Tahoe area.

  3. #3


    Thank you! Tbh I'm feeling a little out of my depth planning this, and time is pressing, I'm starting my trip on May 10, and 18days later I have to return the campervan to SF. I want to visit Yosemite, Las Vegas, Grand Canyon, Monument Valley, LA and take the coast road back up to SF. All whilst doing as short a trips as possible, driving for no more than 3hours at a time, its proving a difficult ask. Absolutely any and all advice on this would be hugely appreciated.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Melbourne, Australia

    Default Reverse it.

    All the places on your list are possible, but you might like to think of reversing the trip, heading to Yosemite last. It will also have you driving down the PCH from north to south. That way the ocean will be on your side of the road, making it much easier to pull into and out of all the view points and overlooks along the way.

    You could then head from LA straight to the Grand Canyon, Monument Valley and perhaps also to Zion on your way to Vegas. There will be a greater chance of Tioga Pass being open near the end of your trip, so heading from Las Vegas to Yosemite, possible through Death Valley, and back to San Francisco.

    Doing it that way would be the most efficient mileage. If it is still too long for your mileage allowance, you may consider dropping Monument Valley and heading to LV after the Grand Canyon.

    It's a great trip, and entirely possible the way you have planned it. Doing it in reverse will give you a greater chance of Tioga Pass being open.


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

    Default Don't worry.

    You are in for an amazing trip, but I would, if still possible, also recommend reversing the order of your trip for the reasons above. You might be OK with National park campgrounds, but they are popular with limited RV and campervan sites, so once you have sorted out your itinerary I would consider booking in advance. Although I can understand trying to keep your driving hours down, I don't think you should have a 'hard and fast' rule that restricts you to 3 hours of driving. Driving in the southwest is mostly a pleasure and part of the experience, with great scenery and plenty of opportunity to stop and take breaks and photo's. It's far more important [IMO] to finish the day somewhere nice and allow enough free time to fully experience the National Parks and other places.

    It's not the end of the world if you have already booked and your trip direction is finalised, and there is still a chance the amazing Tioga Pass across the mountains will be open. If you need any help with your overnight stops, routing and/or how long to spend where then just ask. In the meantime you might get a few tips from our San Francisco Loop here.

    You can follow the plowing effort [when it begins] on our Tioga Pass Prognosticator thread. You could also take a stab at when you think it might open, or hope it will open ! ;-)

    Check out those Waterfalls, you are going to love it there and it's a great time to visit !

  6. Default

    If the Tioga Pass is closed, then Sonora Pass and Ebbetts Pass will probably also be closed (and the Glacier Point Road in Yosemite). Then the alternative routes are US50 (north of Yosemite, round the southern side of Lake Tahoe), I-80 (even further north), or the route south of the Sierras via Bakersfield. US50 is probably the most scenic option, via Bakersfield probably the least so (although it opens up the possibility of visiting Sequoia National Park, weather and time permitting).

    CalTrans has a web page that lists the closing and reopening dates for the Sierra Nevada passes in recent years:
    Last edited by Southwest Dave; 04-16-2014 at 07:47 AM. Reason: Preferred link format.

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