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Thread: Winter driving

  1. #1

    Default Winter driving

    Hi folks
    I will be on holiday from Australia and I am driving from Las Vegas to San Jose between 6 January 2007 and 11 January 07. I would like to visit the Grand Canyon, Yosemite, Lake Tahoe en-route but I am very concerned about problems with winter driving. Should I be concerned or not?
    Thanks Warren

  2. Default Plan on Winter weather in January

    Hi Warren and welcome to the Roadtrip America forum!

    I'd plan on winter weather for early January in California.

    The good news is this is best time of year to visit the desert, and places like Death Valley. It's too early for wildflowers, but the daytime temps will be very nice...

    However, the bad news is that there will almost certainly be snow in the Sierras -- Tioga Pass, the direct route over the Sierras near Yosemite will almost certainly be closed. Some of the towns along the edge of the Sierras on the east side may also be attracing skiers as well, so places like Mammoth Lakes or Tahoe may be getting filled up with winter skiers.

    But its very possible to visit Death Valley (about 2 hours from Vegas), spend time there, then start up towards Tahoe to spend the night. Then continue to Tahoe, perhaps spending the night at Reno (where there are lots of large hotel/ casinos) then cycle down the west side of the Sierras to Yosemite (there will probably be snow in Yosemite as well), and from there to San Francisco. You've got 5 days and 4 nights to do this in, so that looks very doable.

    I'm not so sure you'd have time to do the Grand Canyon as well, other than a shorter "fly through" visit via plane to and from Las Vegas. It's around 6 hours drive time (not including stops for gas, to stretch you legs, food, bathrooms, meals etc) from Las Vegas to the Grand Canyon. That's probably a full day there from Vegas, and a full day back, with minimal sightseeing.

  3. #3
    RoadTripper Brad Guest

    Default Expect snow

    Larrison makes a good point... you'll almost definately encounter snow in the mountains and near the Grand Canyon if you decide to go. You might also want to expect at least to see some snowflakes in the lower elevations at that time of year in some spots, if the weather is right.

    From what I have read, we're expecting quite the cold snap this year. However, they also expected us to have another record Hurricane season.

    Take all weather advice in North America with a grain of salt, and just prepare and plan for the worse, chances are, you'll see much better.

    Be sure to pack plenty of warm winter clothing and wear layers while out side. It may be the desert, but it can still get fairly cold with the right conditions. If nothing else, you'll need it for your mountain crossing.


  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 1998
    Las Vegas, Nevada

    Default Winter Driving Tips

    Quote Originally Posted by Warren from Brisbane View Post
    Should I be concerned or not?
    Warren, Winter is a great time to road trip in the states -- here are some tips and suggestions.


  5. #5

    Default Thank you for the advice

    Thanks a lot Guys I am from sunny very hot Queensland Australia and I am not keen to get anywhere near snow, (I saw it once when I was a kid and that was enough). I Have a daughter nursing in San Jose and we will spend Christmas with her before flying to New York for new year then (Niagara Falls and Washington) before flying back to Las Vegas. I thought it would be nice to do some driving back to San Jose but I am very concerned about driving in snow. It will be enough of a battle just staying on the wrong side of the road. Thanks again Warren

  6. #6

    Default Another question please

    Hi again
    I have been reading through all the old threads and have been really interested in the helpful ideas. I was really looking forward to visiting Yosemite but I am put off by ice and snow on the roads so after reading all your helpful hints I thought perhaps I should travel from Las Vegas via LA and up the Coast road to San Francisco and then to San Jose. However I don't want to go any where near LA how can I get from Las Vegas to the Coast road without getting tied up in LA traffic. Also what would be a couple of good stop over spots en-route.

    Thanks Again Warren

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tucson, AZ

    Default Another Answer

    Yep, you can pretty much count on having to negotiate some serious winter driving if you go through the Lake Tahoe area or Yosemite in January. After all, they are winter resort areas and January is the depth of our winter. The alternative way to get from Las Vegas to San Francisco while avoiding Los Angeles and still seeing the Pacific Coast Highway is just to take I-15 out of Las Vegas and through the Mojave Desert to Barstow and then take CA-58 or CA-46/CA-41 to San Luis Obispo. As for things along the way, start by reading this post by one of our regular contributors about the CA-46 option


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