Driving Las Vegas to Yosemite

Old Apr 22nd, 2008, 12:50 AM
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Driving Las Vegas to Yosemite

My sister and I would like to take a car trip from Las Vegas to Yosemite National Park, and possibly further to see some of the great trees, sequoias, in northern California. Can this be done in a week to ten days? This would be a round trip. We would make this trip in late May or early June (2008).

Which driving route would be most scenic and with the least traffic? What part of Yosemite should we stay in for beauty, good meals, and modestly priced accommodations? We like to do some hiking (2-4 mile round trips), go back to comfortable beds at night, and find interesting restaurants. We are both in our sixties.

xanthippe is offline  
Old Apr 22nd, 2008, 09:15 AM
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You can easily get from Vegas to the western side of the Sierras in two days, leaving you several days to see both Yosemite and Sequoia NP's. If you decide to do only one of these parks, choose Yosemite.

I'm not certain if your reference to "great trees" of "northern California" meant sequoia redwoods (found in -- surprise -- Sequoia NP) or coastal redwoods that are FAR away from even Yosemite. If the former, you will have no problem seeing them. If the latter, save them for another trip.

These URLs should give you all the info on where to stay and dine in and near Yosemite.

The best route from Las Vegas to Yosemite is north on US Hiway 395, then Tioga Pass to the Valley. However, this route may be closed in early June, so prepare for an alternate route. This can either
1) continuing north on US-395, west on US-50, then south on Hiway 49 into the park
2) I-15 southeast to Barstow, Hiway 58 west to Bakersfield, then Hiway 99 north towards Sequoia NP and Yosemite.

Staying within the Valley is recommended even if you get lousy meals at uninteresting restaurants and uncomfortable beds at over-priced accomodations. HOWEVER, after checking the URL above, you should get your reservations ASAP. Your travel dates are only a month away, and some accomodations are fully booked a year in advance.
PaulRabe is offline  
Old Apr 23rd, 2008, 11:38 PM
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Thanks so much, Paul. I was being lazy (and hoping for something more personal than a map), but I really do know how to find out about the national parks. I'm familiar with one-year-in-advance reservations too, from visits to Yellowstone and the Grand Canyon. My semester is ending, and I am grading research papers from two sections of Freshman English and one section of a literature course, so I'm a little busy.

You may wonder if I'm coming from Las Vegas why I don't know my way up to Yosemite, but I will by flying out from Maryland and my sister will be driving to meet me (and provide the car).

I was intentionally vague about the trees because I wasn't sure what options were available. My family had a brief encounter with the coastal redwoods years ago, so we will definitely go to Sequoia NP this time.

If there is a this time. I have no plane reservations yet. This is a recently hatched plan in progress, but if not this soon, then maybe later. Does anyone else have any suggestions for me, such as which cabins/motel near the south entrance to Yosemite, either inside or just outside the park, are especially nice?
xanthippe is offline  
Old Apr 24th, 2008, 03:25 AM
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we wanted to do this trip a couple of years ago during the last week of May, and the Tioga Pass was still closed. You can keep checking on their website, they put regular updates and estimates of when the pass re-opens.
donsyb is offline  
Old Apr 24th, 2008, 12:43 PM
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Tenaya Lodge outside the south entrance of Yosemite, but this place books up early too.

I appreciate your casual approach, but I think if you haven't figured out everything by now this trip ain't gonna happen in the next six weeks. (Written in my best freshman English...)
Jean is offline  
Old Apr 29th, 2008, 03:57 PM
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Hi xanthippe,

Paul's tips are all right on. However, I think I have to agree with Jean that this will be very difficult to coordinate on such short notice - particularly the Yosemite leg of the trip. If you make your plans right now (or relatively soon at least) you should probably be ok for Sequoia. I'm still showing a fair amount of availability for hotel rooms in May and June, but weekends and some dates in the later part of June are filling up pretty quickly. As for Yosemite, I just checked availability with them and with the exception of a few dates here and there practically everything in the valley is sold out at this point. As of right now you would definitely need to look into booking outside the park, although if you are diligent and check availability often you may be able to pick up a cancellation in the valley.

For accommodations outside Yosemite I would also recommend Tenaya Lodge just outside the park's southern entrance, or Yosemite View Lodge which is just outside the western entrance. Both places are very nice and usually have more availability than the accommodations inside the park, although I would not delay in making reservations at either of those places either. Regardless of what happens with your hotel reservations, the plane tickets may still be the wild card, but hopefully you will be able to work something out. Good luck!
WuksachiStaff is offline  
Old May 20th, 2008, 09:08 AM
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Just want you to know Tioga Pass opens tomorrow 8:00 am. Here are the details:


Suzie is offline  
Old May 20th, 2008, 05:14 PM
Join Date: May 2008
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My family spends every summer in Yosemite since my husband is a ranger there. My recommendation is that you try to stay in Wawona at the South Entrance of the park. You might still be able to book a cabin with Redwoodsinyosemite.com. With your own cabin you don't have to set up a tent and you can save a little $ by cooking your own meals. Wawona is about an hour's drive from Yosemite Valley, which is where all the famous scenery like Half Dome, Yosemite Falls, and El Capitan is located. The Valley is also where the mega-crowds are. We prefer to drive to the valley for day trips, but spend most of our time in Wawona hiking and swimming in the rivers.
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