Results 1 to 10 of 11

Hybrid View

  1. Default Early advice - Lake Tahoe to Las Vegas (& beyond) Via Yosemite in May-Jun

    Good day to you all! Happy to be part of this forum - and this is my first query...

    We (an extended family of six adults) are planning an ~1 month trip of US from India; the dates are yet to be finalized. We'll first fly in to NY and then fly out to Niagara (NY side - cannot go to Canada due to visa). From Niagara/Buffalo, we plan to fly in to (South) Lake Tahoe - either via Reno or Sacremento... or even SFO since the flight options between BUF and Reno/Sacremento are not that great. We'll be renting a 7 seater for our trip - SUVs are expensive so it will likely be a Dodge Caravan or equivalent.

    Need advice regarding the road trip planned below.
    Places to cover:
    • 2 nights in South Lake Tahoe. We'll likely arrive early evening on day 1. During our stay, we plan to cover Heavenly Mountains / Alpine Meadows / Olympic Village / + Emerald beach...experience walking on the snow in the mountains (no skiing or major activities - we are not used to snow!). We'll leave to Yosemite early on the third day
    • 1 night in Yosemite National Park/outskirts (to see Yosemite Valley, Tunnel view, Half-dome,...we are not much into hiking; just drive about and admire from afar; small hikes ok). Plan to stay overnight within the park or near places like Midpine
    • 3 nights in Las Vegas - driving down via Death Valley NP
    • Continue on to rest of journey >> Page (2N) - Antelope Valley, Horse-shoe bend, Lake Powell >> Monument Valley (1N inside the Navajo park) >> Grand Canyon (southern side - 1N) >> to Los Angeles via parts of Route 66 (Seligman/Kingman/Oatman/...) >> PCH to SF in 2 days (via stop-overs at Solvang and Monterrey or Carmel-by the sea) >> SF (4N) >> return to India


    While the rest of the journey may not be influenced by weather or road closures, I am seeking clarification on the early part of the trip, specifically via Yosemite.

    I would prefer to drive south via I395 from SLT till Lee Vining and then take the 120 (Tioga Road) West towards Yosemite. This may be during the last week of May.
    1. What are the chances that the Tioga Road will be closed during that time?
    2. If the Tioga Road is closed, is it worth trying to enter from the west side - will this part of the Tioga road west of the Sierras be open?
    3. Even if I could, will it then require me to drive over to LV by returning back west and then taking the route via Fresno and Bakerfield?
    4. Or, can I still try and enter into Death Valley after skirting the Sequioa National on its southern side? Google Maps suggest we can do this via CA99S > 58E > 14N >I395N > CA 190 E merging on to I95 - a total distance of 580 miles and 10+ hours of driving. I am likely to be the single driver driving all the way, and I can do 8 to 10 hours drives at a stretch...but is it worth this detour if we are only going to drive by DVNP?


    Separately, if there are any overall observations about the road-trip planned, please advice. I have lived briefly near Seattle over a decade back and so I am familiar with driving in the US.

    This plan is drawn up to cover several places on our (my!) bucket-list: Antelope Canyon, Grand Canyon, Monument Valley, Route 66 (alas, only a part of it), Lake Tahoe & snow mountains, Pacific Coast Highway, LV, LA & Hollywood, SF...the road trip section alone is done over 15 nights before settling into SF.

    Is this going to be too hectic? I am likely to be the lone driver till any of the others in our group gain the confidence to drive in US. That said, we' may not be able to extend the trip given our work commitments - so I may just grit my teeth and drive on...however, if you have a strong 'no', please recommend.

    Am I missing out on anything else you recommend? Thanks much in advance for your advice!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
    13,053

    Default

    Welcome to the RTA Forum!

    I would pretty strongly suggest you rework the California portion of your trip.

    Plan to fly into SFO from BUF - as you mentioned, you'll likely have far more/cheaper flight options, it will also create a loop that should save a significant amount on car rental, especially when you need a large/specialty vehicle like a minivan.

    From SF I would drive directly to Yosemite, then go to Tahoe, and then head back down to DV/Vegas. Your problem with going to Tahoe first is that the major attractions of Yosemite are on the west side of the Sierras, so that would require you to cross the mountains 3 times - once to Tahoe, once over Tioga to Yosemite, and then backtracking again over Tioga to get back to DV/Vegas. Tioga and the other Sierra passes are beautiful drives, but they are slow and time consuming - and if you were only planning to spend one night in Yosemite, you'd end up spending nearly all of your time driving back and forth!

    Going to Yosemite first also helps with the potential issue of Tioga being closed. In late May, the odds of Tioga being open are around 50/50, so if it is closed, you'd have even more backtracking and driving if you followed your original plan. It really would take more time to drive than you've currently planned for. If you go to Yosemite first, and Tioga is still closed, you can just drive back out to CA-49 and head north to one of the other passes closer to Lake Tahoe that typically open earlier or stay open all winter.

    After Vegas, I'd certainly try to fit Zion National Park into your trip - it would easily fit into a loop between Vegas and Page.

    As far as being too hectic, I don't see anything that's out of line with the timing of your trip, but I could easily see giving yourself another few days for the roadtrip being helpful. You mentioned this being a month-long trip, and you're only dedicating half of that to the actual roadtrip. I suspect if you can't extend the trip, you might at least consider spending a day or two less each in NY and SF to have a little more relaxing/less stressful roadtrip.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    South of England.
    Posts
    10,741

    Default Reverse loop.

    I would agree that a loop would work well flying in and out of SF for that portion of your trip. However I would suggest you reverse your trip for two reasons. The first is that heading south down the coast will put the Ocean on your side of the road and secondly, visiting Tahoe and Yosemite towards the end of your trip will give you a greater chance of the Tioga Pass being open, and boy what a spectacular drive it is. So if you started out SF >LA you would then head to Grand canyon> Monument valley>Lake Powell etc > Zion(?) >Las Vegas>Death valley> Yosemite> (depending on Tioga Pass) Tahoe >San Fran. Whatever you decide I would plan on spending 2 nights around Yosemite as it is a spectacular place, even if meant dropping Tahoe.

  4. Default

    @Midwest_Michael, @Southwest_Dave: Thank you!! This adds so much clarity.

    Michael: The idea of doing Yosemite first never struck me. I now understand why this makes it so much easier. It will also be simpler if I rent a car from SFO to do a loop (note: I did find a few online car rental agencies that were offering no additional costs for dropping off in another city anyway...I guess it also depends on whether the city is in the same state or closer in distance...)

    I was mulling a drive thru Zion on the Highway 9 that leads to Mt. Carmel Junction enroute to Page. Will jot that down for sure!

    Dave: You got me...will include another night in Yosemite! I initially thought about changing the route to counter-clockwise as you suggested; the biggest challenge I see for myself is whether we will be able to reach Grand Canyon Village and nearby view points before sunset if I leave early from LA? I do plan to add a couple of pit-stops in Oatman/Kingman/Seligman...

    1. Should I factor in about 14 - 15 hours for the drive including the breaks? We would probably have to leave from LA by 4 am or so...
    2. If I do the route counter-clockwise, should I swap around some more from the plan below?
      SFO>>Carmel (1N)>> Monterrey/Solvang (1N) via PCH >> LA (4N) >> parts of Route 66 to GCNP (1N) >> Monument Valley (1N) >> Page (2N) >> LV (3N) via Zion >> Yosemite (2N) via DVNP >> Lake Tahoe (2N) >> SF (4N)


    [Just to clarify; the 1 month includes about 26 nights in USA (above 21N + 4N in NY and 1N in BUF) and then >48 hours of flying in/out from India and a day or two of rest on returning! :)]

    Also, do you think I can reduce 1 night from the PCH plan and add it to any other place? I do not want to reduce the time in big cities...this will be the first time visit to USA for 3 of my family members and they want to experience the big cities in full!

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
    13,053

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by chetanls View Post
    Also, do you think I can reduce 1 night from the PCH plan and add it to any other place? I do not want to reduce the time in big cities...this will be the first time visit to USA for 3 of my family members and they want to experience the big cities in full!
    Well, your plan is extremely city heavy, and you certainly can chose to keep it that way, but you're really sacrificing the ability to see the things that really make the US unique. There are great cities all over the world, but the natural wonders that you're talking about can't be found anywhere else on earth!

    So having said that, there are some spots you need to give yourself a bit more time.

    Going from LA to the Grand Canyon, especially if you want to detour onto Route 66 at all, is basically a full day all by itself. You shouldn't plan to really see much of the Canyon at all that day. I would really recommend you plan to spend 2 nights at the Canyon, so you can actually spend a full day there.

    Page to Vegas in a day isn't difficult, but it won't leave much time for Zion. Again, keep in mind with your planning that a big group means more and longer stops - and even if you aren't planning major hikes, things will take longer to see than you expect.

    If you are going to go counter clockwise, I would still go from DV to Tahoe and then Yosemite, for all of the reasons I previously explained - just in reverse. However, I would also agree with Dave that Tahoe might be a place you look to skip - again, if you aren't willing to trim down any of the time you have in cities. I would drop that before I'd cut out a day along the PCH.

    Another thing to consider would be skipping Niagara Falls. Detouring there means an entire extra flight, a bunch more time spent at airports, etc. I think you'd probably be better served using that time out west, again if you think you really need 4 days each in SF and LA, and instead of even 3 days each.

  6. Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Midwest Michael View Post
    There are great cities all over the world, but the natural wonders that you're talking about can't be found anywhere else on earth!
    Agree Mike...that is why I said most of the road-trip is from my bucket-list than that of the family :)

    Left to me, I would do exactly as you said. I love SF though but I would cut out on the rest.

    Quote Originally Posted by Midwest Michael View Post
    However, I would also agree with Dave that Tahoe might be a place you look to skip - again, if you aren't willing to trim down any of the time you have in cities. I would drop that before I'd cut out a day along the PCH.
    I shall try to factor in this advice. A naive question though: We want to experience snow on the mountains. If I drop Tahoe and extend the stay in Yosemite, which place would you recommend?

    Quote Originally Posted by Midwest Michael View Post
    Another thing to consider would be skipping Niagara Falls.
    Yeah; it just happens to be on the bucket-list of most of my fellow travelers though - me included. Unfortunately, it is very hard for us to plan repeat travel to the US or Canada...our Indian currency and purchase parity is quite detrimental. Hence the inherent rush to cram in lots more than how we should ideally plan. I will take a call on this as we get nearer to our travel dates.

    Quote Originally Posted by Midwest Michael View Post
    again if you think you really need 4 days each in SF and LA, and instead of even 3 days each.
    If you look at my schedule, invariably I will end up reaching late evening to every city and will be departing early morning on the day of leaving. So, 4N will actually give me only 3 days. I am not considering any city-sights on the day of arrival or departure...

    Once again, I am very thankful to your insights. It is really helping fine-tune my plan.
    I have to finalize my plans and apply for visa etc by around Feb next year...can't wait.

Similar Threads

  1. Advice Please: Las Vegas to Sequoia NP to Yosemite to Lake Tahoe
    By bigtiny in forum Planning Summer RoadTrips
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: 01-20-2017, 08:33 AM
  2. May 2011 RoadTrip from Las Vegas to Lake Tahoe
    By msbeth72 in forum Spring RoadTrips
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: 05-24-2010, 07:03 PM
  3. Replies: 3
    Last Post: 05-11-2010, 07:51 AM
  4. Las Vegas, LA, San francisco, Lake Tahoe and Yosemite
    By alisaii in forum Planning Summer RoadTrips
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: 04-10-2010, 04:39 AM
  5. San Francisco to Lake Tahoe to Yosemite or Mammoth to Las Vegas
    By timsie in forum Fall & Winter RoadTrips
    Replies: 3
    Last Post: 10-23-2007, 07:18 PM

Tags for this Thread

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •  
  • Find the Perfect Hotel
    Search RoadTrip Motels
    Enter city name

    Loading...



  • MORE STORIES