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  1. Default Yosemite to Vegas (not via the Tioga Road)

    Hi all. I'm planning a trip to the states in June and am staying in Yosemite then hope to travel to Vegas in one day. I had planned to take the Tioga pass then go through Death Valley to Vegas which seems to be the usual route suggested on this website. Unfortunately from my research on the Yosemite National Park website it seems that somewhat freak levels of snow (15ft!) will keep the Tioga Road closed form most of June. This is not good as I've (stupidly?) booked accomodation in Vegas so the trip has to be done in one day or I lose my money on the hotel.

    Basically I know I can go round Yosemite via Fresno etc to Vegas pretty easily, but, and this is the clincher, I really want to go to Death valley. Would it be possible to do the drive in one day - Yosemite to Death valley to Vegas not taking the Tioga Pass? I'm not thinking of doing this on my own, there will be two of us doing the driving.

    Any thoughts from experienced road trippers would be much appreciated.

    Thanks

    Jeff

  2. Default 11 hours

    MS Streets and Trips (which I have found to be fairly accurate on mileages and times*) figures this route through Fresno and Bakersfield at 533 miles and a shade less than 11 hours of drving time alone. Add fuel stops, meals, and any traffic problems, and the day could easily be a 15 hour ride. This wouldn't include any time to stop in Death Valley, only just drive through it.

    *Also, I have found that the roads around Yosemite tend to be slow going, so SR41 may take longer than the software suggests (if there are roads they won't estimate correctly, it'll be these).

    If you still want to do this, plan it so that you minimize your stops. Carry snacks in the car to eat, and stop one time for petrol in the middle somewhere. Otherwise stop only to switch drivers -- and you'll be able to get closer to that 11 hour time enroute. Bob

  3. Default

    Thanks Bob, looks like sound advice, much appreciated. I think we'll leave Yosemite around 6am to try and beat any tourist traffic with the intention of doing the full ride and then maybe make a call about whether we actually do go to Death Valley a bit further into the journey (maybe around Bakersfield?). That way we'll know more clearly how the traffic/tiredness/enthusiasm are working out. At least we know that heavy traffic is unlikely through DV!

    Thanks again,

    Jeff

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 1998
    Location
    Las Vegas, Nevada
    Posts
    10,059

    Default A Faster Way

    Hi all. I'm planning a trip to the states in June and am staying in Yosemite then hope to travel to Vegas in one day. I had planned to take the Tioga pass then go through Death Valley to Vegas which seems to be the usual route suggested on this website. Unfortunately from my research on the Yosemite National Park website it seems that somewhat freak levels of snow (15ft!) will keep the Tioga Road closed for most of June.
    I know that this seems like a bad thing -- but for us who live in the west -- this extra snow (& moisture) is a darn good thing,

    Actually there are a couple of alternative routes that should be open -- both are visually stunning and they should allow you to make both Death Valley and Las Vegas in one day -- a long day -- but will be faster than driving around the southern tip of the Sierra Nevada mountains.

    Look at California route 108 over the Sonora Pass and/or California route 4 to Hwy 89 over Monitor Pass (they have been closed but since they are both truck routes, there is a MUCH better chance that they will be open) I believe both are closed right now, but will probably open before Tioga... Road Conditions available here.

    From there you can zoom down US-395 to Lone Pine and pick-up California route 136 to California 190 through Death Valley. As you may know, sections of California 190 was wiped out in a flash flood last summer, but has re-opened. The local's shortcut to Las Vegas from Death Valley junction is along State Line Road (which turns into Ash Meadows Road) and connects with Nevada highway 160 through Pahrump and over to I-15 and Las Vegas.

    That will be a long day -- but you will have a blast!

    Mark
    Last edited by Mark Sedenquist; 05-12-2005 at 08:41 AM. Reason: oops -- darn typo

  5. Default

    Thanks Mark, I will get my maps out tonight and have a look at the routes you suggest, I have to admit I am really disappointed that I'm gong to miss out on the Tioga Pass, (good excuse to go back to California though!) so if there are other visually impressive routes I'm keen to take them.

    Really appreciate the advice, thanks again,

    Jeff

  6. Default

    Have just got back from my roadtrip following the route from Yosemite to Vegas without using the Tioga road (or any other pass north of Yosemite) as they were all closed.

    Basically for those planning to do the same and go via Bakersfield and then take in Death Valley the whole trip took 12 hours, leaving at 6am and arriving 6pm at our hotel in Vegas. That time includes stops for fuel, changes of driver, the call of nature and also for some photo stops in Yosemite and Death Valley.

    It wasn't as bad as we expected and was well worth it, just a shame none of the passes north of Yosemite were open so we missed some good views.

    Hope this info helps someone somewhere.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 1998
    Location
    Las Vegas, Nevada
    Posts
    10,059

    Default Sonora and all northern Passes ARE Open

    Quote Originally Posted by jeff98
    Have just got back from my roadtrip following the route from Yosemite to Vegas without using the Tioga road (or any other pass north of Yosemite) as they were all closed.
    Thanks for the field report -- but what made you think the northern passes were closed? RTA member Bogart used Sonora Pass on the 26th of May. Unless something has happened in the last 24 hours, every Sierra pass is open except Tioga and Sherman Pass on the Kennedy Meadows Road.
    It wasn't as bad as we expected and was well worth it, just a shame none of the passes north of Yosemite were open so we missed some good views.
    Maybe you can use one of the Sierra passes on your return trip? What did you think of Death Valley?

    Thanks for the field report!

    Mark

  8. Default

    I believe that was the first day the pass had been open, but it most definitely was open.
    Last edited by Mark Sedenquist; 06-14-2005 at 09:01 AM. Reason: Added photo

  9. Default

    We did that stretch of the trip on the 24th May as unfortunately things got moved around on the itinery so the roads were definitely closed.

    Death Valley was quite spectacular so I'm glad we made the effort to take the trip through, oh, and very hot! There were still some road delays when I went through on the vegas side of furnace creek but no more than a 15 minute wait.

    Happy driving.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jan 1998
    Location
    Las Vegas, Nevada
    Posts
    10,059

    Default 24th of May -- Mystery Resolved!

    Quote Originally Posted by jeff98
    We did that stretch of the trip on the 24th May as unfortunately things got moved around on the itinery so the roads were definitely closed.
    Oh, that makes sense -- I thought from reading your first post, that you had just been there (June) -- Thanks for clearing that up!
    Death Valley was quite spectacular so I'm glad we made the effort to take the trip through, oh, and very hot! There were still some road delays when I went through on the vegas side of furnace creek but no more than a 15 minute wait.
    I am sure you will be glad to know that, so far, it has been unseasonably COOL in Death Valley -- even on the day you were there. It will be much hotter in a few days.

    Thanks again for the field report!

    Mark

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