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  1. Default Advice for April Cali Road Trip - please!

    My wife and I are from the UK and we plan to take a week or so to do a roadtrip of some sights outside of LA during April. We have done Vegas, Highway1 and Grand Canyon already so we want to try something new!

    I was thinking of going to Mojave NP - Death Valley - Lone Pine - Yosemite - Kings Canyon - then LA. But am not sure if this is a good idea or not

    1. Will the roads be ok during April?
    2. How long should I take over the route?
    3. Is there anything else I should take in?
    4. Any other recommendations along the way

    Thank you in advance!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin

    Default change of plans?

    Can I assume that you've scrapped your plans for a trip to Monument Valley?

    If you still have the two weeks you work with, that should be enough time to do a nice loop through this area. However, most of the Sierra passes will still be closed in April, so you'd probably want to continue onto Lake Tahoe and then cross, and visit attractions on the west side of the mountains, like Yosemite and Sequoia/Kings Canyon. With 2 weeks, that shouldn't be a problem, and you could probably add Joshua Tree to your list.

    Otherwise, I think I would simply encourage you to look at the other threads you've created for your previous trips. Many of the links you've been provided there will also be very helpful for the planning of this trip, and of course, you've always got the several different search functions to dig deeper into this website.

  3. Default

    Yeh the Monument Valley trip seemed like too much.

    We only have around a week for the road trip so there is a lot to squeeze in.

    Any tips are appreciated

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    South of England.

    Default Kings canyon ?

    Hi, There is also a good chance the Cedar grove road into Kings canyon will be closed, it normally opens mid April. The Generals highway through Sequoia will be open though.

    As Michael has said, Tioga pass will be closed and you could either head up towards Lake Tahoe or your other option is to head South around the bottom of the Sequoias in which case you could possibly stop in the Lake Isabella/ Kernville area and head through the Sequoia NM up the Kern river highway towards Johnsondale and through Camp Nelson..

  5. Default

    Thanks for that.

    I was wondering if I would have to travel as far as Lake Tahoe, I notice that north of Yosemite is both the 108 and 4 that head east towards the 395 - would these roads be closed in April?

    Thank you again for your help

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    South of England.

    Default Unlikely.

    Here is a report on opening and closing dates for the passes.

    With just a week I would head around the Southern end. The reward will be the waterfalls at Yosemite will be flowing nicely in the valley.

  7. #7


    My husband and I took the same route you propose in April/08.

    Death Valley was great - hot, but not too hot at that time of year to get out and do a few short hikes. Natural Bridge, Zabriskie Point and Mosaic Canyon were all fairly short hikes with fascinating scenery. We wish we had time to see Scotty's Castle & Darwin Falls, but one day wasn't enough to do it all.

    We stayed in Lone Pine for a night. Be sure to take a drive through the Alabama Hills, which are close by. You may recognize the landscape from many old western movies and sci-fi series like the original Star Trek.

    If you're into skiiing, you can still ski at Mammoth Lakes in April, which we did. There's several natural hot springs in the wilderness of this area too, but you can drive to them. If you're into hot springs check out the Hot Creek area. Leaving Mammoth Lakes, Mono Lake was interesting with its tufa formations, and just a short drive off Hwy 365.

    Just before Bridgeport is a turn-off to Bodie Ghost Town. This was a definite highlight of our trip, even though we had to hike in for at least a mile. Snow still blocked the road several miles in, but the park was open to pedestrians (wear good shoes or hiking boots). It was worth the hike. Bodie was pretty much abandoned & left as you see it today, and is being maintained as a state historic park in a state of 'arrested decay' - no touristy stuff here. Eerie & fascinating.

    There's some natural hot springs near Bridgeport as well - Travertine & Buckeye. We visited both. Awesome.

    As the previous posters mentioned, you will likely have to cross the Sierras near Tahoe. All other passes were closed. But it was a lovely drive through the mountains and then through gold country to get to Yosemite. We were surprised at how busy Yosemite was at that time of year. Many of the hiking trails were still closed due to snow, but the highlights like Rainbow Falls, Yosemite Falls and Mirror Lake were still accessible.

    Sequoia/Kings Canyon still had snow, but we were able to visit there as well. No problems with roads. Having never seen such large trees, it was a humbling experience - a definite highlight to our trip (along with the mother bear and two cubs we saw in the woods). If you don't mind the climb, take the steps up to the top of Morro Rock - awesome panoramic views. Tip for this area - we couldn't find accommodation anywhere, and we didn't arrive until late in the afternoon. We ended up having to backtrack and stay in a rather squalid (but friendly) motel in Dunlop, because there was nothing else. I would suggest finding a place to spend the night closer to Fresno - Squaw Valley or Oakhurst, and heading up to Sequoia the following morning. If you enter from the south side, Hanford & Visalia were interesting historic towns with lots of accommodation and good restaurants.

    OK, I've babbled on about our trip probably long enough. Even a year later it's still so fresh in my mind - we loved it. Have a great time.

  8. Default

    Heatherette, thanks so much for your help! Its much appreciated!

    With a combination of your guidance and then time we have in the US we have decided on the following trip:

    LA to Sequoia, overnight stay, explore Sequoia and Kings C then drive up to Yosemite arriving late. Have two full days to explore Yosemite. Then up to Lake Tahoe for a one night stay. Down to Mammoth Lake, stay the night then have a full day on the slopes, stay another night. Then drive onto Death Valley, stay the night. Then final day in Death Valley driving onto Coachella again arriving late, for the music festival the next day.

    So its a bit of a quick tour over 9 days, but we think it will be enough time to see the highlights. We arent massive hikers so a few short walks will be fine for us.

    I would appreciate your advice on this, have we underestimated any particular areas?

    Plus the big question! We are away over the Easter weekend, will the snow slopes be shut? Or will they be crazy busy?

    Your advice is greatly recieved!

    Thanks a million!

  9. Default

    If there is still snow on the ground at Sequoia, make sure you go snowshoeing among the big trees. You should be able to get a room in the lodges if you plan ahead. And a good stop between Mammoth Lake and Death Valley is Bodie, Nevada.

  10. #10


    Quote Originally Posted by Nelly View Post
    Down to Mammoth Lake, stay the night then have a full day on the slopes, stay another night. Then drive onto Death Valley, stay the night.

    We are away over the Easter weekend, will the snow slopes be shut? Or will they be crazy busy?
    We weren't there at Easter last year, but I doubt the slopes will be shut. I would think that long weekends would draw business. Don't know if it would be crazy busy - it certainly wasn't when we were there.

    Death Valley accommodation - try Furnace Creek. Oasis in the desert.

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