Well as i prepare to spend my spring break this year on the road skiing and seeing some national parks i came up with a slight problem. Im heading to Yosemite and heard Kings Canyon was a must to see...But my problem is if i go to both of these places, plus ski at Mammoth Mountain, whats the easiest way to get back on I-15 and head to Utah?? Anyone done this trip before? what should i check out?? Which Utah National Parks are a must?? thanks
How are you getting to Mammoth and beyond?
Yosemite and Kings Canyon are pretty wonderful, a couple of questions:
1) how long is your Spring break?
2) How are you getting over the Sierras to go Mammoth from Yosemite? This time of year, you have two choices from Yosemite north to Hwy 50 via Tahoe or south to Bakersfield and the cut-off to Hwy 395 north. Both are scenic and both will take ALL of a very full day to reach Mammoth.
Once you leave Mammoth (great skiing by the way) the most scenic would be south on US-395 and pick up CA-190 thru Death Valley National Park (still one of our favorite in the entire NP system) and the US-95 to Las Vegas at I-15.
If time is short -- fasted route to Utah (from Mammoth) is up to I-80 to Salt Lake.
If time is medium -- US-50 across Nevada is special -- that stretch is called the "Lonliest Highway in America". Ely is worth a stop and exploration!
Personal choices: Utah parks-- Zion #1, Canyonlands #2, Bryce #3, Capital Reef #4.
Thanks for the reply...My only concern is if i hit Tahoe, then Yosemite, and then Mamamoth, is it still possible to go to kings canyon?? whats the view from 395 south? cause it looks like theres a way into the park? I only have about 10 days to do all this so it will be a rush, so only like a day in each place...also, hows the weather in death valley at the end of march?? never been to any of these places...thanks for any help yall can give
Same Question Part II
Same question -- if you are going from Tahoe to Yosemite --- what route are you planning to use to get to Mammoth? There is NO open road between Yosemite and the eastern Sierra (where Mammoth is) this time of year!
Now, if you are still planning a route south from Yosemite, you can go into Kings Canyon NP (and stop by Sierra Summit Ski area on CA-186). The snow should be ideal at Sierra Summit for Spring conditions. And if you want a real treat!!!!!! See if you can go on up the road past Lakeshore up to Mono Hot Springs. There is an older resort up there with quaint cabins and good nordic skiing -- but if you get there ask a local for directions to "Little Eden" it is about a 15 minute walk from the resort and is one of my all-time favorite natural hot springs. Set against a cliff, the pool is hot, deep and large, with ferns and the most incredible view of the snow-covered Sierras you will ever see.
The approach road to Kings is east of Fresno on CA-180 to CA-160.
Upon your return to the valley, pick up CA-99 to Bakersfield take the CA-58 cut-off to US-395. Yes the trip up 395 is great. One of my favorite drives in the west.
Weather in Death Valley in March is great. Clear, temps in the 70's and 80's. Great for hiking.
This is a huuuuuuuuuuuuge trip to accomplish in only 10 days. Are you sure you don't want to just hang at Mammoth and ski for most of it. Lots of mountain to ski in and around Mammoth. Although reaching Mono Hot Springs would create a memory to last a lifetime!
Have an Adventure!
Sorry for not answering you question before...I am heading from tahoe to yosemite but am not sure how id get there...it looks like the best way would be to head back on 50 out to 49 and then back in on 120?? that way i could drive all the way through yosemite...but what roads are closed?? is 120 closed this late in the winter? i was thinking i could drive through yosemite and head on 395 into mammoth, then just follow it south when im done?? but it doesnt look like theres a way into kings canyon off 395? is there at least a nice view if i cant get in?
Im sure i could stay in cali all break and love it and who knows i might, im just going to attempt to make it to these areas because they are the main NP i havent seen in the west...Sorry if im confusing you and i appreciate the help, maybe ill have to skip out on a few more days of school to extend the trip...thanks
Your approach from Tahoe to Yosemite is fine. But Highway 120 over Tioga Pass, through the high country of Yosemite NP is still closed. Last year it did not open until May 24th. The earliest it has ever opened is April 8th. If you ever get the chance to drive it (when it is open) it is fantastic!
There is no other road that you can use this early in the year to cross the Sierras unless you go back to US-50 or South to CA-58 and over to US-395.
I still think you are trying to travel too far on your break. These are serious mountains and one has to drive hundreds of miles in either direction to reach the other side.
The only way to reach US-395 from Kings Canyon NP is on foot or on horseback. Again, these are serious mountains. There are no roads, there are some knarly four-wheel drive trails but you will not be able to use them this time of year.
To see Tahoe, Yosemite, Kings Canyon, Mammoth and parks in Utah will require driving a minimum of 1500 miles. Are you up for the challenge? The driving time won't leave much time for skiing and kicking back at ski lodges....
WOW!! this totally screws with my plans haha...thanks for the information, i hadnt even thought about what roads were open, i thought itd be late enough in the season theyd all be open. Im not worried about the distance, ive gone cross country twice already so am experiance to a point...The skiings the only thing that makes me wonder cause i know ill be dead after a day worth of skiing...Im thinking i skip Yosemite and Kings Canyon this time around and just ski because ill be back in cali at the end of school for another small road trip and have a few days to see them then...
I can go from tahoe to mammoth on 395 right? or do i have to cut up to carson city first...and you said death valley is worth it to? Guess its now just more time to ski and relax, i can handle that milage in 10+ days... thanks again for all the info, youve been a life saver...
Where are you skiing at Tahoe?
Over the years I have skiied at all of the resorts on or around Tahoe. I have some favorites. You could spend all 10 days just doing the different ski areas around the lake. And the parties... Good times!
From Stateline, take NV-207 over the hump to Gardnerville, (great eats on the way -- http://www.roadtripamerica.com/eats/jt.htm) and then you can head south on US-395 to Mammoth Lakes.
There is plenty of hot water around Mammoth too. Be sure an ask a local for directions to Hot Creek, or if you want some privacy consider the Whitmore Tubs (http://www.roadtripamerica.com/lat/981011.htm)
Death Valley is worth it any time you can get there!
Alright, sounds good, ill have to run through my plans again this weekend...Tahoe is the one place i still do not know where to ski?? Whats your favorite place? I need some help on what to see there to? And im always down for a great place to eat along the way, thanks again,
Tahoe -- Spring Skiing
For sheer long runs -- Kirkwood. Heavenly has some great bumps and chutes (especially on north side). Alpine Meadows -- Fun.
Best view from the lodge patio for sipping brews -- Homewood. Actually, I like Homewood the best over-all It doesn't have many gonzo runs -- but I am way past being capable of gonzo skiiing. There is a good site with maps and links to the various resorts (with good vertical stats) at http://www.laketahoeskiing.com/. Squaw is BIG -- too much work for my old bones.
There are plenty of good bars and eats in South shore and up near Mt. Rose. I still like the friendly atmosphere of Carlos Murphys in South Shore. There is a bar/restaurant alongside the ".." river right near Alpine -- darn, I can't remember where it is -- but if you find it, you will know it!