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  1. Default Las Vegas to San Francisco in ealry May

    Dear Roadtrip America

    Please help me with any suggestions, advice on the following, I have done some research yet not entirely satisfied that I have managed to find the right information :-/ The planned trip is as follows in early May, and certain destinations concern me regarding the weather? (Mammoth lakes, bodie, up through El Dorado national park to sacramento) - I am unsure if some of the routes I am choosing it okay to drive too!?? Please see below and I would really appreciate any advice that you think I need, and any information I need to be aware of, please also let me know if my choices are too optimistic in the time scale I am thinking.....

    Las Vegas to
    Death Valley (1 night) to
    Mammoth Lakes (2 nights) to
    Bodie Ghost Town (1 night) to
    Sacramento (1 night if necessary) to
    San Francisco

    Is a stop between Bodie to Sacramento necessary?

    Again thank you very much for the much needed advice :-)

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


    Welcome to the RTA Forum!

    I think you're on the right track, although there are a couple things that could impact your plans.

    The weather is one of them, as you cross the Sierra Nevada mountains. Some passes will likely still be closed for winter in early May. El Dorado (a National Forest, not a national park btw) has a couple passes going through it. If you're talking about US-50, that route is open year round, however, CA-88/Carson Pass does close for the winter and may not yet be open during the time of your trip.

    The other issue is with Bodie itself. The road itself could be a problem with your rental car contract, and even if that's not an issue, the road may not be open all the way to the park. Here is a great field report from another may trip.

    Where are you planning to stay during your Bodie visit? Mono Lake is probably the closest place to the ghost town with lodging. You could drive from there to Sacramento in a day.

    I also notice you have not included Yosemite in your plans. While its unlikely you could reach the park via Tioga Pass, its still something I would give strong consideration too.

  3. Default

    Hi Michael

    Thank you for the advice, I also read the link that you included that the ghost town can still be visited even if part of the road is closed (by walking quite a way it seems) Would i need hiking boots to walk to the ghost town if the road is closed - or is it not that steep? thanks for the recommendation of staying in Mono Lake also, I will type in the road you mentioned and perhaps just stick to that? may plan Yosemite into the journey if recommended, though wasn't sure if there was anywhere else that would be good to visit on the way to san francisco? as came across this ghost town by chance and thought it looked great with all it's history,
    The first plan was to go the direct route to san francisco, but do you think this route that i'm planning is better? as am open to ideas and swapping visits etc. Planning to hire a 4WD, seems like this would be best...
    Is it worth telephoning bodie ghost town in May to find out if the road is open / closed? is there a number i can call that you can suggest?
    All in all, if you think i am better off changing this whole route (because of the snow situation) then please let me know,
    Thank you for your help, have noted down the roads you mention of US-50....

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Joplin MO


    CA-88 Carson Pass does not close for the winter, it's maintained year-round. I prefer it to US-50 as it's not anywhere near as heavily traveled. However, it may be a bit of a pain getting to from US-395 as Monitor Pass on CA-89 does close in the winter and may not be open yet. However, it does usually open earlier than the other closed passes (Tioga, Sonora, Ebbetts).

    You won't need a 4wd. Even if you have one, the rental company may or may not allow you to take it to Bodie, you need to specifically ask. The last 3 miles of the road in (CA-270) are unpaved. There really isn't any place to park at the end of the pavement to hike in. The 3 unpaved miles are gravel and usually quite washboarded, it can be driven with a standard automobile. It's not very comfortable at anything over about 15 mph. If the road is closed by snow, they close it at 395 and that would be about a 13 mile hike in through snow.

    You can get real-time road closure and restriction information at the Caltrans website.

  5. Default

    Hi Glc,

    thanks for the information, do you think it is best to leave Bodie out at this time of year - May, and plan an alternate route instead? Am really after a nice route and understand the weather in some parts are going to restrict me, maybe I need to re-think this route?

  6. Default

    Thank you for the current weather conditions link!

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    South of England.

    Default Yosemite.

    may plan Yosemite into the journey if recommended,
    Yosemite is one of my favourite places on earth, and in early May the waterfalls will be flowing with the Spring melt, making it quite a spectacular time to visit. The problem is that it is quite possible [probable] that the Tioga Pass [CA120] will still be closed in early May, which would be the best way in from Mammoth Lakes. You would either have to carry on around the north of the mountains and drop down into Yosemite, or head south from Death Valley around Lake Isabella and go up the west side of the Sierras, skipping Mammoth and Bodie altogether. As mentioned, going off paved roads in a rental is usually prohibited and if you were to damage the car or even need recovery due to a break down etc, you would be responsible for costs if you were in breach of your contract. Bodie could well be off limits unless you want to take a risk of having the possibility a large bill.

    If you decided to go to Yosemite via the south you could include Sequoia NP in your plans.

  8. Default

    hi dave
    thanks for the information, sounds like it would be wise to leave out bodie unfortunately and mammoth.
    out of all the possible route from las vegas to san francisco with 4-5nights to play with what would you recommend? i know you mention yosemite and sequoia, any other places you recommend? love the idea of stunning lakes thats why mammoth and lake tahoe were on the agenda, however the route and issue of snow and problematic roads in may has changed these plans. so now am quite stuck with what route to take? prefer to plan ahead than just drive so am now confused with what to do? :-(
    this is all needed advice though so am grateful for finding all this out now :-)
    look forward to reading some advice and more ideas please


    Hi there,
    Please would you let me know any opinions / suggestions for this route please? is it OK?

    Las Vegas to death valley - 1 night

    death valley to Lake Isabella - 1 night

    lake isabella to Sequoia National Forest - 1 night

    Sequoia National Forest to santa cruz - 2 nights

    Santa Cruz to San Francisco - 3 nights

    Many thanks,

    Merged with previous discusion. Please do not start multiple threads about the same trip. - Mod
    Last edited by AZBuck; 03-13-2013 at 09:33 AM.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin


    Welcome to the RTA Forum!

    Your route looks ok from a technical standpoint, but there are a few things worth commenting on.

    First, you're now completely skipping Yosemite, which seems like a shame. If you're coming across the Sierras via Lake Isabella, there's no reason you couldn't get to the park from the west.

    Two, the Sequoia National Forest is not the same as Sequoia National Park. It does still have a few groves of the giant trees, but the biggest and oldest trees are in the national park. You could also see Giant Sequoia trees within Yosemite, if you change your mind.

    Finally, if you go directly to Santa Cruz from Sequoia NF, you would be skipping Big Sur, often considered the most scenic section of the California coast.

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