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  1. #1
    spartan Guest

    Default San Francisco to Mammoth Lakes

    Hi

    We're making a snowboarding trip over the New Year period to Mammoth: flying into San Francisco (from England) and then using a hire vehicle (4x4) to drive there.

    Most of the route planning tools suggest routes that use roads that are subject to seasonal closures and, checking on CalTrans website indicates that, in most cases they are all indeed closed already!

    Can anyone help with a recommended route to Mammoth from SF?

    Thanks for any help you can give

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Tucson, AZ
    Posts
    9,358

    Default Recurring Problem

    Welcome to the RoadTrip America forum.

    This is, of course a problem with winter sports in general. You want snow so you can have fun, but that same snow can prevent you from getting to the action. As you point out, most of the highways over the Sierras are already closed for the winter, and will remain so until spring. Your best bet, I think, is US-50 out of Sacramento to join US-395 south. There may be a shortcut connecting the two via CA-89 and CA-88 or via NV-207, but I don't know the status of these secondary roads. My other tip would be to call the resort where you plan to snowboard and ask them which is the best route. My guess is that they make a point of knowing how their customers can get to them and will be more than willing to tell you. Have fun.

    AZBuck

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 1998
    Location
    Las Vegas, Nevada
    Posts
    10,059

    Default Follow-up to AZBuck's route

    Quote Originally Posted by spartan
    Can anyone help with a recommended route to Mammoth from SF?
    US-50 or I-80 (& then US-395 south) would both work if the area hasn't been socked by a large snow storm. If the passes really are closed (closures rarely last more than a few hours) I would head south on I-5, cut east on SR-58 and then north on SR-14 to US-395 and up to Mammoth Lakes.

    But for all intents and purposes you can plan on US-50 being open.

  4. Default Resources on RTA

    Also, between now and then you can keep up with the roads status by using our road trip planning section -- we have links to road conditions sites to keep you up to date. This link goes straight to the California information, but we have links to all other states and other sites as well in the Weather Information and Road Conditions section. Bob

  5. #5
    spartan Guest

    Default Thanks and best regards

    Thank you all very much for the information and advice.

    We'd already guessed that the US50 route was likely to be the most reliable but it sure does look like a helluva dog-leg on the map!

    However, despite the extra distance being about 100 miles further than the direct (but closed, through the mountains) route, it doesn't appear that it'll take that much longer to drive: better roads and less scenery to "Oh my gosh" at?!

    Could anyone give us a realistic (assuming no hold-ups) estimate of the time it should really take to drive? Route tools are saying 340 miles = 6 hours 30 ...

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 1998
    Location
    Las Vegas, Nevada
    Posts
    10,059

    Default What direct route?

    Quote Originally Posted by spartan
    However, despite the extra distance being about 100 miles further than the direct (but closed, through the mountains) route,
    I am very curious what was the "direct" road that you had considered? There really is no direct route between San Francisco and Mammoth.
    it doesn't appear that it'll take that much longer to drive: better roads and less scenery to "Oh my gosh" at?!
    Well, I don't know about that. While most of the roads (using US-50 and US-395) will be four-lane, both are very scenic and both will be subject to road closures due to winter storms.
    Could anyone give us a realistic (assuming no hold-ups) estimate of the time it should really take to drive? Route tools are saying 340 miles = 6 hours 30 ...
    Assuming that the roads are clear and dry, with no serious snowfall in the previous 24 hours, seven hours would be the fastest you could cover the distance. I have been on US-50 in snow storms where 25 mph was too fast... There likely will be sections where the traffic speed will drop to the low 40 mph range (over the passes with the expected high traffic counts) and other sections where exceeding the posted speed limits might be possible. If you are lucky enough to hit an active cell of the white stuff while on the road, the journey could easily take ten or more hours. It will be an adventure!

    Mark
    Last edited by Mark Sedenquist; 12-07-2005 at 09:37 AM. Reason: add clarification

  7. #7
    spartan Guest

    Default "Direct" route

    Quote Originally Posted by Editor
    I am very curious what was the "direct" road that you had considered? There really is no direct route between San Francisco and Mammoth.
    This route is the one alluded to in the original post, as provided by route planning tools:

    I-580, I-205, CA-120/CA-108, US-395

    the obvious flaw being the road through Yosemite (Tuolumne).

    Quote Originally Posted by Editor
    Well, I don't know about that. While most of the roads (using US-50 and US-395) will be four-lane, both are very scenic and both will be subject to road closures due to winter storms.
    Yes, I did try to express some irony in my post. The scenery was not in doubt and we are really only just beginning to understand that getting there is, as you say, going to be as much an adventure as the snowboarding: a real Road Trip!

    I promise to come back to this forum with an update of our experiences (not long now). Of course at the end of our vacation, we'll have to drive back too ...

    Thanks again for all your help and advice.

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