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  1. Default West coast with Ski

    Hi
    I am planning on travelling to either San Francisco or Los Angeles (reversible route we dont mind the start point) with wife two teenage boys in early April 2017.
    Our plan at the moment would be:
    Arrive LA stay 3nights
    Drive Grand Canyon 2 nights
    Drive Las Vegas(via Hoover Dam) 2 nights
    Drive Mammoth Mountain (via Death Valley)2 nights Ski
    Drive to Lake Tahoe 2 nights Ski
    Possibly drive to Yosemite Valley for 2 nights and then on to San Francisco for a 3 night stay.

    The concerns I have are can we actually get to the ski resorts in a hire car/SUV due to poor weather/conditions and would we need/get chains for the vehicle ?
    If we head from Las Vegas to Mammoth /Lake Tahoe would it then be a difficult trip to Yosemite as the pass is closed or would there be better routes that involve other ski resorts and a visit to Yosemite.

    Ideally we would like to visit all the above but only if not too many hours stuck in the car.

    We have only really just started planning so any advice /observations would be welcome.

    Many Thanks

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
    13,063

    Default

    Welcome to the RTA Forum!

    For someone who has just started planning, you've done an excellent job. Everything you've listed should work quite well. In April, Tioga Pass, which goes directly through Yosemite will still be closed, however, there are a couple passes that are open year-round near Lake Tahoe that will make it easy for you to visit Yosemite, between Lake Tahoe and San Francisco.

    A standard rental car should work just fine, and you shouldn't need chains to get to the ski resorts, unless they were in the middle of a serious storm (and you probably wouldn't want to be skiing then anyway!)

    Really, the only thing I'd suggest, if that if you can add 2 more days, head down the coast from SF to LA, which is both a great drive and could cut down your car rental and airfare costs a bit.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Joplin MO
    Posts
    9,270

    Default

    There is a possibility you would need chains but not very likely. It's not a point of whether you NEED them to get through, but whether the CHP has determined that you must have them. All wheel/4 wheel drive vehicles with snow tires satisfies the chain requirements 95% of the time.

    From Tahoe to Yosemite, I recommend Carson Pass (CA-88). It's very scenic, maintained year round, and not very heavily traveled.

  4. Default

    Hi
    Thanks for all the helpful info, the impression i had was that I could not travel from Tahoe /Mammoth to Yosemite during winter without a 8 hour drive as the Tioga pass was shut so the suggestion of Carson Pass will need some further research .
    If this proves too difficult would you suggest sticking to the East from Mammoth and dropping down to Las Vegas and staying for a night in Death Valley or should we stick to the Yosemite plan.
    Once again Thanks for all the advice.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
    13,063

    Default

    As previously mentioned, you won't be able to go over Tioga Pass, but if you're planning to go to San Francisco anyway, you'll have to cross the Sierras somewhere, and thus Yosemite isn't that much of a detour.

    I think you need to do a little more research and studying of maps, as that should make our recommendations pretty obvious.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Joplin MO
    Posts
    9,270

    Default

    To get to Yosemite from Tahoe, you would take US-50 west to CA-89 south to CA-88 west to CA-49 south. If you are coming from Mammoth on US-395 north and don't need to go to Tahoe, the CA-89 "shortcut" over Monitor Pass may or may not be open yet. This year it opened on April 5. You would have to go all the way to Tahoe.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Location
    Brisbane, Queensland, Australia, Australia
    Posts
    142

    Default

    Is there any way you could travel a little later. Like late May. That way, there could be a chance Tioga Pass would be open and that is one of the best drives I have ever been on. If you can fly in and out of L A, the trip down the coast road from San Francisco to Los Angeles is beautiful and the pull off's are on your side of the road. That's an advantage as the road has lots of bends in places. Few Elephant Seals to be seen. Hearst Castle if you were interested. Beautiful towns like Carmel and Solvang.

    Keith.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
    13,063

    Default

    Considering the OP's desire to get some skiing in during this trip, early April is probably the latest into the spring they can do this trip - there's really no way to do both Tioga and Skiing on the same trip. It is worth noting however, that the other Sierra passes can still be very scenic drives in their own right.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Location
    Brisbane, Queensland, Australia, Australia
    Posts
    142

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Midwest Michael View Post
    Considering the OP's desire to get some skiing in during this trip, early April is probably the latest into the spring they can do this trip - there's really no way to do both Tioga and Skiing on the same trip. It is worth noting however, that the other Sierra passes can still be very scenic drives in their own right.
    Your right of course. I slipped up and forgot the skiing part. Thanks for pointing that out Michael.

    Keith

  10. Default

    Hi ,
    Thanks again everyone ,i will be getting the maps out and checking the plans again.

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