Aternative to Tioga Pass?

Old Jan 26th, 2008, 07:14 AM
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Aternative to Tioga Pass?

We will be in Ca in mid/late June. I just checked the opening dates for Tioga pass (thanks whoever posted that website) and out of the last 10 years we would be out of luck 3 years. Getting from Bishop to the west side of Yosemite - what's the best route and how long would it take? It looks like circling the park on the north side on 108 is our best bet. How long would that take?

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Old Jan 26th, 2008, 07:35 AM
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I might be wrong, but I think Sonora Pass on 108 is closed in the winter as well. I don't know the history of when that pass usually opens, but I think this pass is a little lower elevation than Tioga Pass.
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Old Jan 26th, 2008, 09:03 AM
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Mapquest agrees with Iamq. It says circle south and enter at the south gate. 425 miles in 7 hours.
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Old Jan 26th, 2008, 09:46 AM
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If Tioga is closed 108 will also likely be closed. Your options would be

1) South on 395 skirting Death Valley, through Ridgecrest and Bakersfield and then north,

or 2) north on 395 to/near Tahoe and then west on 88 or 50.

Either option is very long.
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Old Jan 26th, 2008, 10:37 AM
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As noted if Tioga is closed Sonora Pass on 108 will also likely be closed. However, 88 (Carson Pass) will likely be open. Another option, saves some miles, but not a lot of time is south on 395/14 to 178 West over Walkers Pass into Lake Isabella and then Bakersfield. It's about a 2.5 hour drive south of Bishop to 178 West. So far it's been a pretty heavy snow fall in the Sierra so mid-june is still iffy for Tioga.
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Old Jan 26th, 2008, 11:35 AM
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Sigh....but thanks very much. I didn't even think about 108 being a high pass also - guess that comes of living in a flat place like Florida! I think I'll see if I can reverse our trip so that we get to Yosemite first - that way if the pass is closed we won't miss out on time in Y.
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Old Jan 26th, 2008, 12:33 PM
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It is way too early to know what the snow pack will be this Spring. This month - we are getting lots of snow, but the spring may warm up and you will be fine. I'd have a plan But you do have to get your Yosemite reservations nailed down

Just for info - all the passes across the Sierra are "high" - but they get higher the farther south you go. So starting south from Tahoe -- Donner is "only" 7000', Ebbets is about 8700', Sonora 9600+', and Tioga nearly 10,000'
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Old Jan 26th, 2008, 12:35 PM
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You have a number of similar messages going about your trip and it's difficult to keep them all in focus.

Is the reason you are going to be in Bishop because you will be visiting Death Valley? If not, you would be better off driving up from LA on I-5 on the western side of the Sierra.

Of course, you could always make this decision when you are out here and know the status of the passes. It is not hard to get lodging in Bishop or Mammoth Lakes in June on short notice. Other than in or near Yosemite itself, there is a great variety of places to stay both in the Eastern Sierra and in the Gold Country.
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Old Jan 26th, 2008, 12:40 PM
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Oops - meant I'd have a plan B.
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Old Jan 26th, 2008, 07:47 PM
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I know this is confusing! I'm very confused! I spent part of yesterday pouring over things and coming up with questions, but since the boys weren't on the computer I posted questions as they occurred to me - sorry! DH still wants to visit Death Valley (one thought), but we plan to keep up with whether Tioga Pass is open. If so, that's what we will do despite the heat. If not (second thought), we will head north to the west of KIngs Canyon. My thought is that we will leave a couple of days open to accommodate that, but go ahead with reservations for just outside Yosemite. Whichever way we go, we will get to Y at the same time. Right, Otis, I'm trying to base this on areas with more motels if Tioga isn't open.
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Old Jan 26th, 2008, 08:06 PM
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You shouldn't worry so much about this. I've visited the area a great deal, and is very likely to be open in late June. My recommendations would be to have a backup plan that went farther north throug Lake Tahoe and back to Yosemite. It's a very beautiful drive.
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Old Jan 26th, 2008, 08:51 PM
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Yosemite is the only area where you have to worry about reservations. Plan everything else around those. If Tioga isn't open, take Highway 88 over the Sierras - it is lovely, less travelled and a much nicer, easier-to-drive highway than the others. Chances are good that Tioga will be open.
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Old Jan 27th, 2008, 12:31 AM
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In order to take Hwy 88, you'll have to cross over Monitor Pass (most likely closed if the others are closed), or cross over at Carson City into the Tahoe Basin. There are no shortcuts this time of year, unless the snow stops falling in March.
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Old Jan 27th, 2008, 07:28 AM
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We came up with an alternate plan last night - going up the Central Valley and western side of Sequoia. I'm going to make reservations for all but those two nights, and just really hope that the snows end early this year. Thanks so much everyone!
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Old Jan 27th, 2008, 05:12 PM
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"just really hope that the snows end early this year"

I hope things work out for you but we (California) have been in a drought for the past year and really need the snowpack. It's what makes our agriculture possible and provides drinking water and electricity for most of the state. Only in the last two weeks have our resevoirs shown any sign of improvement. So, we are hoping for a way above average snowfall year.

That will also make your Yosemite stay more enjoyable with the falls at their fullest when you arrive.
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Old Jan 28th, 2008, 06:10 AM
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Otis - sorry for wishing the wrong thing. We in the midst of a drought in Florida, too - we wished for a tropical storm (NOT a hurricane) all last summer. What I should have wished for was an abrupt end to snow just in time for the pass to be clear for us - is that better?
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Old Jan 28th, 2008, 07:28 AM
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Nope An "abrupt" end to the snow doesn't help one way or the other.

The issue isn't whether it is snowing when you get there - or stopped a few weeks prior. The main issue is how much it snowed all season. We are talking total snow pack. The last snow may fall in March/early April - but if the snow pack is so deep they can't plow through it - the road still wouldn't open. Especially if there is big avalanche danger and the road crews can't get in.

In reality - if snow stops by April the road will probably be open when you get there - but there are no guarantees.
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Old Jan 28th, 2008, 09:04 AM
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Ah! The "snow-iest" place I've lived is Nashville, Tn, where 5 inches (maybe once or twice a year) caused great excitement.
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Old Jan 28th, 2008, 09:17 AM
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We don't talk inches -- here, 5 feet would be a horrible drought - up on Tioga Pass we are talking 20-30 feet of snow and some years much more.
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