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  1. Default Napa to Mammoth Mountain February

    Hi all,

    We are planning a road trip from SF via Napa Valley to Mammoth Mountain in February next year.

    The reason for going to Mammoth is to go snowboarding but we want to make the most of the journey and see some of Yosemite if possible.

    Can anyone advise if this is a viable trip at this time of year? We were thinking that as the drive to Mammoth is pretty long from Napa we might be better to just go to one of the Tahoe resorts such as Squaw or Heavenly but then we don't get to see much. Is it worth the trip to Mammoth and where can we stop and stay along the way?

    We will then go back to SF direct from Mammoth so any advice of where we can go on the way back would be much appreciated too.

    Thanks in advance for any help :-)

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tucson, AZ

    Default Impossible: Impassable

    Welcome aboard the RoadTrip America Forums!

    The biggest problem with your plan is that most of the roads and passes over the Sierra Nevada are totally snowbound and closed from roughly November to May (±). So to get to Mammoth Mountain from the Bay Area you will have to go at least as far north as Lake Tahoe (US-50). Also, having done it, I can tell you that a drive through Napa Valley at the 'wrong' time of day can turn into an agonizing crawl with far more stop than go. With both those caveats, I wouldn't plan on getting out of San Francisco, through Napa and around the mountains to Mammoth in a single day. If by 'place to stay' you mean an overnight stop, then I'd probably suggest the eastern side of Sacramento. Once past that point, most accommodations are going to be of the resort variety, and not worth the price if you're not going to be using their facilities. Also, being on the east side of town means that you won't have to fight any morning rush hour at the start of your second day.

    There is no "[going] back to SF direct from Mammoth" at the end of your trip for the reasons noted above. You'll have to backtrack precisely over the same route that got you to Mammoth in the first place. Note, also, that Yosemite is really significantly off your route and doesn't fit all that well with the rest of your plan.


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


    You will have to plan on entering Yosemite via the west side of the park into the valley as you can not enter from the east for the reasons stated above, road closures, hence the reason Buck mentioned it's off route. You don't say how much time you have available for the road trip but it's possible to create a loop and go via Napa and Lake Tahoe one way and then via Bakersfield to the south the other way, perhaps detour into Death valley.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Joplin MO


    In addition to US-50, you can get across the Sierras on I-80 or CA-88. CA-4, CA-120, and CA-108 are all closed in February. You may also be required to use tire chains to get to Mammoth and to enter Yosemite, even from the west.

  5. Default

    Thank you all for your replies and info.
    I was thinking we would have to go up to Tahoe and then down to Mammoth. I was planning to go as follows:
    Day 1: SF - Napa - stay for 2 nights
    Day 3: Napa - Tahoe or a town on route to Mammoth - stay 1 night
    Day 4: On to Mammoth - stay 4 nights
    Day 8: Mammoth - LA

    Does this sound do-able? Also are there any places of interest between Sacramento/Tahoe/Mammoth that would be worth a stop?

    Thanks in advance

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Southern California


    If you'd like a little bit of California history, the Donner Memorial State Park is really interesting. The museum there explains the significance of the Donner Party, why they had to resort to severe survival methods, and other things about the Truckee area.

    Continuing on the California history thoughts, there is Manzanar National Historic Site, one of the Japanese-American internment camps in California during WWII. It's on your way south from Mammoth, heading towards LA.


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