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  1. Default Sierra Nevadas trip Spring 2018

    Any advice gratefully welcomed.
    I'm planning a short road trip (about 9-10 days) starting and finishing in San Francisco late April 2018. I'd like to go to Lake Tahoe, Yosemite, Sequoia National Park and hopefully fit in a drive along the Pacific Coast. The 'first brush' plan is to rent a car in SF and drive to Lake Tahoe via Sacramento. Stay 2 days at Lake Tahoe and then drive to Yosemite, staying 3-4 nights at the Yosemite Lodge. From there drive through the Sequoia Park to the hot springs near Lake Isabella (stay 1 night nearby). From there to the coast (near Morro Bay) and drive back to SF along the coast (maybe stopping 1 night at Monterey.

    Does tis seem achievable (without too much stress) in the time frame? My wife and I like to drive no more than 2 hours at a time before having a break for a walk etc. Also I would be driving a bit slower that some folks., as I'm from Australia and will be driving of the other side of the road that I'm used to (though I did fine with it in 2016 through the Blue Ridge Mountains VA).

    Thanks fellow road trip lovers.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
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    12,985

    Default

    You have a good start to your planning, but you might be pushing things a bit too hard in some areas.

    Are you planning to spend any time in San Francisco? (You'll want at least one night after you land, to rest after a long flight).

    Yosemite to Lake Isabella via Sequoia National Park is too much for one day. Really, getting from Yosemite to Sequoia and seeing the National Park is a full day by itself, you probably need to spend the night just outside Sequoia.

    Similarly, Lake Isabella to Monterey via the coast would be a very full day on the road, and you'd probably be better off spending the night near Morro Bay, explore the area, and then continue up the coast the next day.

    It's also worth noting that Tioga Pass, through Yosemite, will not yet be open in April, so you'll have to find another route across the Sierras to get from Tahoe to Yosemite.

  3. Default

    Hi Michael,
    Thanks for your sage advice.
    Yes we will be staying in SF for 2 nights to get over the trans-Pacific travel.
    In relation to Tahoe to Yosemite, would it be best to take the 395 sth near Carson City, then the 120 West at Lee Vining?

    cheers, Leigh

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Melbourne, Australia
    Posts
    6,922

    Default You will need to enter Yosemite from the West.

    CA-120 is Tioga Pass, and as Michael said, it is not likely to be open in April. It typically opens sometime between mid May and mid June.

    If you want to go to Yosemite, you will have to enter the park from the west entrance, either after visiting Tahoe, or after visiting Lake Isabella, and before heading to the coast around Cambria via Paso Robles.

    Lifey

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    South of England.
    Posts
    10,696

    Default Reverse it.

    First of all I would recommend you reverse the order of your trip so that you head south down the coast with the ocean on your side of the road and many of the scenic pull outs. Having had a couple of days driving along the coast to the Morro Bay area you would head inland to Lake Isabella for a night and then Sequoia for a day/night. I would recommend 2 nights at Yosemite which is a magical place ! So if your 2 nights in SF are part of the 9-10 days it would be time to head back there, or you could skip Lake Isabella and head from Yosemite to Lake Tahoe for a night.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Joplin MO
    Posts
    9,215

    Default

    There most likely will not be any passes over the Sierras open between CA-178 and CA-88. CA-120, CA-108, and CA-4 all close for the winter, as does CA-89 between US-395 and CA-4.

  7. Default

    thanks folks for your great input. Based on some of your ideas and a review of where it's most convenient for me to fly into and out of the US and my timeline, I've come up with the following:
    will arrive at LAX (qantas arrives about 7.00am), then fly straight to SF and stay there 3 nights (plenty of time to acclimatize and see a couple of friends)
    we'll then drive to Tahoe (not sure Nth or Sth part - advice appreciated) and stay 2 nights.
    then drive to Angel's Camp (about halfway from Tahoe to Yosemite) and stay i night.
    Drive to Yosemite and stay 4 nights (I love it there so happy to spend that time - it will be first time for my wife)
    From Yosemite, drive to Grant's Grove and stay there 2 nights (and visit the various site nearby).
    Then drive to the coast (maybe Morro, maybe slightly further Sth) and stay 1 night.
    Then drive via coast back to LAX to fly out (late evening). (no problem with returning rental car to different location).

    Looking forward to any further thoughts, particularly in relation to Sth or Nth at Tahoe.
    Btw, good to see your post Lifey. You were helpful with our 2016 trip.
    cheers

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

    I think I would just do a complete loop if I were you. While your plan is pretty solid, doing a loop would solve two potential issues.

    First, you'd have to be very careful about flying onto SF right after you land at LAX. If you are not flying on the same ticket, then your connection isn't going to be guaranteed - that means if your first flight is delayed, you are delayed going through customs, or you can't make your flight to SF for really any reason, it's your problem, not the airline's. Even with a 7am scheduled arrival, I don't think I'd want to schedule an onward flight until the next day at least, just to be safe.

    The other issue is that if you go from Sequoia to Morro Bay, you'll miss out on the famous Big Sur section of the coast - but on the flip side, if you went from Sequoia to Big Sur, then you'd probably need 2 nights before making it to LA.

    If you drove the whole thing, you could eliminate both of those problems. Arrive in LA, spend a day there recovering, then head up to Sequoia, Yosemite, Tahoe, SF, and then drive down the coast back to LA.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Melbourne, Australia
    Posts
    6,922

    Default Good to hear.

    Quote Originally Posted by leigh.blashki View Post
    Btw, good to see your post Lifey. You were helpful with our 2016 trip.
    cheers
    Glad to hear it Leigh. I (and others) would have loved to read about that trip. Maybe this time you can keep a journal, and let us know in the Field Reports how it went. You can do this as you go, or after you return home. Of course we love to see all those lovely pics you took. Reading reports often designs my trips. So often places are mentioned with which I am not familiar, and I want to go check them out.

    Quote Originally Posted by Midwest Michael View Post
    First, you'd have to be very careful about flying onto SF right after you land at LAX. If you are not flying on the same ticket, then your connection isn't going to be guaranteed - that means if your first flight is delayed, you are delayed going through customs, or you can't make your flight to SF for really any reason, it's your problem, not the airline's. Even with a 7am scheduled arrival, I don't think I'd want to schedule an onward flight until the next day at least, just to be safe.
    .................................

    If you drove the whole thing, you could eliminate both of those problems. Arrive in LA, spend a day there recovering, then head up to Sequoia, Yosemite, Tahoe, SF, and then drive down the coast back to LA.
    I would urge you to follow Michael's suggestion to do a complete loop. It is a loop I too have done. A comfortable drive with so much to experience in between. One flight is enough for any trip.

    On the other hand, I know the concerns about connecting flights. I have several times booked two tickets, as I usually have to connect to the east coast The chances of arriving late with Qantas on this leg are few and far between. Of all my flights we have only been a little late once, and of folk with whom I speak, none have experienced it. Still you can avoid any connecting concerns by doing the whole trip by car. You have the time, why spend anymore time than necessary in airports?

    Lifey

  10. Default

    tks Michael, this makes good sense and is probably economical (flight LAX - SFO for 2 people would be much more than an extra day car rental and petrol). I will explore this.

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