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  1. Default SF to Yosemite To Death Valley To LA to SF

    Hello RTA!

    I am planning a road trip around 22nd of March 2017.
    Planning to drive from

    San Francisco to Yosemite
    Reach, next two days explore park, fourth morning leave.
    Spend three nights there.
    (I believe I can enter from Arch Rock Entrance or Big Oak Flat Entrance. Maybe take a detour and try the Southern Entrance. Any advice on where to stay, as close to the Park (or inside) as possible. Wanted to stay at Yosemite Valley Lodge but it seems there is no availability.)
    Nearby Yosemite are some small old Gold Rush era towns. Any recommendations on visiting any such places?

    Then Yosemite to Death Valley.
    Spend two nights there.
    Anything near DV?

    Then DV to LA
    Spend maybe 3 nights (want to set up some work related meetings as well)

    Then come back to SF.

    Any advice on best routes (scenic), and best places to eat/sleep in?
    Anything else that I should keep in mind?

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

    Default road closures

    Welcome to the RTA Forum!

    I think you're going to have to adjust your plans, because of road closures.

    The first is that Tioga Pass, which takes you over the Sierras through Yosemite is closed for the season, so there is no direct way to get from Yosemite to Death Valley. The fastest/most direct route at this time of year is to go around via the Bakersfield area which is basically a full day drive. Otherwise, you have to go up and around via Lake Tahoe, which takes even longer.

    Second, Big Oak Flat Road is also closed right now due to storm damage, so you can not get to the Yosemite Valley via that route - which means you can't enter the park from the Groveland area. You'll have to enter the park via Mariposa or Oakhurst. It is also worth noting that you are required to carry chains in your car when visiting the park at this time of year.

    Lodging withing Yosemite typically fills up months in advance, so it's not surprising that you haven't found a room available within the park. The closest places with lodging are generally also in Mariposa and Oakhurst. Keep in mind, both of those places are about a 45 minute to an hour drive from the Yosemite Valley, so keep that into account while planning your stay.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Joplin MO


    Also, you will not be able to take the PCH (CA-1) from LA to SF. There's a failed bridge at Big Sur which will not be replaced any time soon. If you want a good alternative to I-5, take US-101. It's not much slower and is more scenic.

    If you are going to Bakersfield, you can leave Yosemite via the southern entrance (CA-41), go to Fresno, then take CA-99. For scenery, you can take CA-178 out of Bakersfield to get to DV, it's not any slower than CA-58.

  4. Default

    Thanks a lot guys! Will look these directions up. Any little cozy and quaint tucked away places at DV that anyone can recommend?

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


    Lodgings are scarce in DV (if that's what you mean by places) but you do have options at Panamint Springs, Stovepipe Wells and Furnace creek

  6. Default

    All lodgings are sold out. Am still looking, would really want to visit this iconic landscape. Any lodging suggestions for nearby towns to DV?

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin


    If you're going to visit a National Park on short notice, you're almost always going to have to stay outside the park and commute in. For most of Death Valley, Beatty, Nevada is probably the closest place with a wide variety of lodging options. Otherwise, you might look at some of the towns to the west on US-395 like Ridgecrest or Lone Pine.

  8. Default

    Thanks! I booked at Lone Pine. Looks like an interesting town, and with a history of film making (we are film makers ourselves) looks very interesting.

    Has anyone done Bakersfield to Lone Pine via 178 (next to Isabella Lake) route? Looks like a scenic route... (answered by @GLC in a previous post)

    (Would have booked much in advance but were waiting for certain confirmations for the travel. )
    Last edited by theloststory; 03-14-2017 at 09:39 PM.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    South of England.


    If you have time available you should drive out to the Alabama Hills from Lone Pine which was home to many film locations. The Mobus Arch trail is a nice walk with views of Mt Whitney.

    CA178 is a pleasant enough route and your best option in my opinion.

  10. Default

    Thanks @SouthwestDave!

    I am calculating time taken to drive based on Google Maps' estimates (adding about two hours for our breaks, as we both love to stop and take pictures whenever possible).

    For example, Fish Camp CA to Lone Pine, is shown as 323 miles and 5.25 hours on Maps. I am assuming it would take 7 hours. Is that a fair time? I hope I don't underestimate the times required.

    My journeys are SF to Fish Camp
    Fish camp to Lone Pine
    Lone Pine to LA
    LA back to SF

    - Thinking of renting a car from Alamo. Mostly because they are slightly more affordable than Avis and also because they responded faster than Avis and Hertz to my email queries (I still haven't heard from Avis and Hertz). Anything to keep in mind/be aware of while renting a car? I want to buy insurance as well.

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