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  1. #1

    Default Local intel wanted

    Hi All,

    Up front please let me apologise for what i can see is a topic that has many many threads. Ive read many of them that have been most useful, but there are a few things i would like clarification on if someone could please be a saviour and help out.

    The leg of our trip below covers 29 March to 3 April (6 days, 2 of which will be in Napa)

    My wife and i (New Zealanders) are travelling by rental car from San Fran to Napa Valley (for a couple of days - dont really need any assistance for this one but tips are always welcome). From Napa Valley we intend to drive to Yosemite (not sure of the best route for scenic vs. safety/ weather), then back west out of Yosemite (we are aware that the Tiago pass will be closed) and north on the main road immediately north of Yosemite (not sure the name of it as its not on my map (Google maps) but i goes through Sonora). We'd then follow the road East North East until we join up onto USA 395 (near where it links up at the Bridgeport Reservoir). We then plan to travel south on USA 395 past Mono, Mammoth and Bishop, before heading south west on 136 and then East onto 190 through Death valley.

    We then plan to follow our nose to Vegas once out the other side! Any suggestions on the route from Death Valley to vegas would be most welcome.

    My main queries are these:
    - Are the routes i've detailed above likely to be open at this time of year?
    - Is the chosen route scenic or are the better ones that could fit in with our timing (basically a 3/4 day trip from Yosemite to Death Valley to Vegas).
    - Where would you recommend staying on this trip (areas and hotel/motels!)

    Many thanks in advance to all.

    Cheers,

    JB

    Another quick question;, would you recommend us renting 4 x 4 for this trip, or would it not really make a difference?
    Last edited by Mark Sedenquist; 03-10-2007 at 12:12 PM. Reason: continuation of previous post

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    Location
    Torrey, Utah, USA
    Posts
    53

    Default Yosemite to US395

    The next northern road is 108 which goes through Sonora and over Sonora pass which will almost certainly be closed (99%). Next north is CA4 which crosses Ebbets Pass and will be closed. Then it is 88 which crosses Carson Pass, I'm not too familiar with the usual situation there but it is over 8000ft so may well be closed. The first reliable road north of Yosemite is US50 which goes by Lake Tahoe which is actually well worth driving by but adds considerable distance.

    Really no need for a 4x4, if the weather is bad enough to require one you should take an alternate route.

    (As it happens I'm writing this from just outside Yosemite)

    Bob Palin

  3. #3

    Default

    Cheers Bob - thanks for the reply.

    I wonder if all three passes are going to be closed whether we should give either Yosemite or the 395 a miss? Its a bit of a round trip (although i had my heart set on doing both) and may take too long?

    What would you recommmend? If we gave the 395 a miss, is the trip south from Yosemite through Bakersfiled and across to Ridgecrest and north east to death valley still a worthwhile road trip? Or would you still take the 395? Or bite the bullet and do both?!?!

    cheers for the advice - its invaluable.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Upstate NY
    Posts
    87

    Default CA Road Closings

    Just before you leave the valley check with http://www.dot.ca.gov/hq/roadinfo/mtnhwys.htm to determine if the roads are open...

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    Location
    Torrey, Utah, USA
    Posts
    53

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by James Brown
    What would you recommmend? If we gave the 395 a miss, is the trip south from Yosemite through Bakersfiled and across to Ridgecrest and north east to death valley still a worthwhile road trip? Or would you still take the 395? Or bite the bullet and do both?!?!

    cheers for the advice - its invaluable.
    It's a tough call, unless you have been to Yosemite before or know you will in the future I don't see how you can miss it. It's a long haul north from Yosemite to US50 then south on 395 which is one of my favourite roads. The trip south from Yosemite is OK without being thrilling, there are some nice forests! Given your time constraints I think I would skip 395 this time. It's probably a better spring/summer road anyway and there are lots of things to stop and look at.

    bob

    (I'm driving north from Yosemite to US50 and over to 395 tomorrow, I'll let you know how it is 8-)

  6. #6

    Default

    If you plan to go to Yosemite, don't just see the valley. The park is big, but most of the tourists stay down at the main lodge and only see a small part. If you have time, drive around and see Toulumne Meadows, which is in the park, but on the eastern side. I think 395 is worth the drive. Although, it will add considerable time to your drive. The route south from Yosemite is not bad, but hardly scenic. If you take 395 south, you can go from towns like Lone Pine to Death Valley. It's a lot closer than going from Bakersfield. And, an added treat as far as I'm concerned is the scenery on the road. Plus, you go right past the highest mountain in the continental U.S., Mt. Whitney. And, in Death Valley, not that far away, is the lowest spot in the U.S. A 4X4 is not necessary, even in Death Valley. If you haven't been to D.V. before, it's a huge park, and a lot to see. Scotty's Castle is neat, and unique. Zabriskie Point is neat, and made famous by a movie of the same name in the '60's. The lowest point in Death Valley is called Bad Water.

    I hope you have fun on your trip.

    Be aware that D.V. can start to heat up in April & May. Bring lots of water.
    Last edited by Mark Sedenquist; 01-07-2006 at 08:10 PM.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    Location
    Torrey, Utah, USA
    Posts
    53

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Bob&Cathy
    If you plan to go to Yosemite, don't just see the valley. The park is big, but most of the tourists stay down at the main lodge and only see a small part. If you have time, drive around and see Toulumne Meadows, which is in the park, but on the eastern side.
    The whole eastern part of the park will still be under several feet of snow at the beginning of April, the road is currently closed just past Crane Flat and is unlikely to open until at least June.

    I drove from Oakhurst (south entrance of Yosemite) to Lake Tahoe yesterday, I'd forgotten just how slow CA49 is, taking the northern route will add a full day at least to your travel plans and that's without looking at the interesting things along the way.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jan 2000
    Location
    Las Vegas, Nevada
    Posts
    9,486

    Default Good point

    Quote Originally Posted by killer
    I drove from Oakhurst (south entrance of Yosemite) to Lake Tahoe yesterday, I'd forgotten just how slow CA49 is, taking the northern route will add a full day at least to your travel plans and that's without looking at the interesting things along the way.
    Good catch, I was going to add that small detail last night, but forgot. CA-49 is a fun route, but you are right the maximum average speed is about 38 mph (there are some sections where one can achieve near 65 mph), but for the most part, it is slow back-roads lane.

    Mark

  9. #9

    Default

    Thanks for the update on the weather conditions. I had forgotten about the snow in April.

    Sitting here in So Cal, I forget about the conditions elsewhere in the state.

    Thanks again for cluing me in about the snow.

  10. #10

    Default

    What would you guys recommend in terms of things to do in Yosemite at that time of year?

    My main concern would be due to the time of year we'd be restricted by the walks etc we could do (neither of us ski).

    In comparison would the 395 be more interesting? With things to see and do along the way?

    Is there a website or post on this website that describes this route and its attractions?

    thanks again for the help!

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