Go Back  Fodor's Travel Talk Forums > Destinations > United States
Reload this Page >

Las Vegas, Mammoth, Bend Oregon Route Suggestions

Las Vegas, Mammoth, Bend Oregon Route Suggestions

Old Apr 26th, 2021, 09:13 AM
  #1  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Aug 2003
Posts: 1,992
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Las Vegas, Mammoth, Bend Oregon Route Suggestions

Hi All:

We are currently in Palm Springs and will be driving our SUV back to Seattle soon but we will be making stops in Las Vegas and Bend Oregon to see friends. I wanted to ask you all for route suggestions on the stretch between Las Vegas and Bend. We will be leaving Las Vegas around the 19th of May and I want to make sure that we should be okay on our routes to avoid any snow. I am hoping that by mid-May the risk will be low, but I know some of the routes can climb to pretty high altitudes as well.

Questions on the segment from LV to Mammoth
The "google suggested" direct route from LV to Mammoth is the 95 to the 226 to Big Pine and then north on the 395 on up to Mammoth and the Lee Vining area.
  • I know Lee Vining is at the eastern end of the Tioga Pass which usually is closed until early June. Is this route normally not a problem for snow in mid May if we aren't trying to go across the pass itself into Yosemite? ( I will check as we get closer for exact conditions of course but thought maybe someone knows generally if this route is problematic in mid-May).
  • Is this the most scenic way to go? Are there other routes more inland from LV we should consider either to avoid high passes or because they are more scenic?
  • If we spend the night in this area, is Mammoth Lakes the best stop-or Lee Vining or June lake area or other? We haven't visited any of these areas.
  • Do you think we need 2 nights in this area to see the general sites? We won't be hiking so it will just be driving around seeing the general area.
Questions on the segment from Mammoth to Bend
Again the "google suggested route" is straight north on the 395 and is about a nine hour drive.
  • Is this the best route to take or should we consider others?
  • We really only like to drive 4-5 hours max per day, so does anyone have potential places they would suggest for overnights? We could either do it in 2 days or 3 days.
  • If we drove the stretch in 2 days on this route then that puts us around Alturas. Any suggestions in this area for staying overnight?
  • If we drove the stretch in 3 days, then the first night would probably be somewhere in the Reno lake Tahoe area (hopefully a bit north). Does anyone know nice places to stay in this area or would it just be better to detour down to Tahoe? The second night looks like it would fall somewhere near Klamath Falls.
We are really open to ideas at this stage of places to stay, routes to take, etc. and we would appreciate any ideas or input!

Thanks in advance!
jpie is offline  
Old Apr 26th, 2021, 02:16 PM
  #2  
 
Join Date: Mar 2003
Posts: 21,727
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
If taking US395 past Reno, change to CA139 in Susanville to get to Klamath Falls.
Michael is offline  
Old Apr 26th, 2021, 04:19 PM
  #3  
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 68,019
Likes: 0
Received 50 Likes on 7 Posts
Just quick -- I wouldn't plan on Tioga Pass in mid May. Normally plowing starts the 2nd or 3rd week of April and after the snow is cleared they still have to assess road damage over the winter. This year hasn't been a heavy snow year but it is snowing up there right now.

I'd head up 395 and follow Michael's suggestion of 139.
janisj is online now  
Old Apr 27th, 2021, 06:32 AM
  #4  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Aug 2003
Posts: 1,992
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Okay great-I will check out the route along the 139 up to Susanville. Is the area around there a nice area to stop for the night?

Just so I am sure I understand, Tioga pass is route 120 that runs east-west through Yosemite ending near Lee Vining, right? We are not planning on taking that road, but I assume that travelling north up the 395 near that junction should probably be okay that time of year?
jpie is offline  
Old Apr 27th, 2021, 09:13 AM
  #5  
 
Join Date: Mar 2003
Posts: 21,727
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
395 veers into Nevada, thus avoiding the higher passes to the Lake Tahoe area. It should be fine.
Michael is offline  
Old Apr 27th, 2021, 04:14 PM
  #6  
 
Join Date: Nov 2010
Posts: 11,149
Likes: 0
Received 17 Likes on 4 Posts
If you wanted to avoid Klamath Falls, you can stay on US 395 through Lakeview to Valley Falls and get on OR 31 to get to US 97 just south of La Pine. You get to see the Oregon Outback driving OR 31. It is also known as the Volcanic Legacy Highway (about 120 miles). An interesting side trip off 31 is the town of Fort Rock with a big rock of the same name.
You'll find much better lodging opportunities near Carson City or Reno than in Lee Vining.
tomfuller is online now  
Old Apr 29th, 2021, 12:19 PM
  #7  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Aug 2003
Posts: 1,992
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Okay, so I think we have at least decided some of the routing for the trip:

We will leave Las Vegas fairly early and route through Death Valley via the 95 and the 190 and push on to make the first night stop at Mammoth Lake itself. That is 5 hours and 40 minutes and 338 miles. But the shorter route of 5h 21 m going further north on the 95 and cutting across the 266 looks like it has a pretty high summit of around 7000 ft. We figured we could stop in Stovepipe Wells for lunch. But we think whichever route we take, it is probably worth pushing on to Mammoth.

From there I think we will take a leisurely day and leave Mammoth after munch and only go as far as Reno since there are better lodging and dining options there.

The next decision after that is to decide whether to to take the Klamath falls route or the route tomfuller mentions via Lakeview. We would probably spend the night in either Klamath Falls or Lakeview. Does anyone have a strop opinion about either route up to Lakeview or Klamath Falls or the routes from Klamath Falls versus Lakeview to Bend?

Also, we are considering taking the route from Bend to Seattle via the Columbia River route joining that route near The Dalles or further west like Biggs Junction if that stretch is more scenic. We have seen some of that route (but mostly further west toward Portland) over the years, but I wondered if the 84 on the Oregon side going west is prettier than the highway 14 on the Washington side going west? We will probably stop around Portland for the night, so either way we should have plenty of time to sightsee.

Many thanks again for the help!

Last edited by jpie; Apr 29th, 2021 at 12:23 PM.
jpie is offline  
Old Apr 30th, 2021, 06:18 AM
  #8  
 
Join Date: Nov 2010
Posts: 11,149
Likes: 0
Received 17 Likes on 4 Posts
If you stick with Lakeview, the Executive Inn and Suites is probably the best. There are about 7 hotels/motels in Lakeview. There are a lot more choices in K-Falls but heavier traffic. It is only 3 to 3.5 hours from Lakeview to Bend.
Leaving Bend, I like taking 97 to Madras then US 26 to Government Camp and OR Rt. 35 north on the east side of Mt. Hood to the town of Hood River. Hood River is known for kite surfing on the Columbia River. I like the waterfalls on the Oregon side of the river instead of Rt. 14 on the Washington side. There is a toll bridge across the river called "the bridge of the Gods" not far from Hood River.
tomfuller is online now  
Old May 1st, 2021, 09:30 AM
  #9  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Aug 2003
Posts: 1,992
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
I think we will end up taking your route from Bend to Hood River. We are spending the night in Portland near the airport so that would be a more scenic route. We do know Hood River from visiting many years back. Is the stretch between Hood River and the Dalles nice? We could take the 197 up to the Dalles if that stretch is nice.

Thanks for the info on Lakeview as well. We decided after Mammoth we are going to only go as far as Lake Tahoe. That opens up the option of cutting over to Redding for the next night where there are more choices and then going up to Bend from there. But we still haven't decided 100% on that.

Thanks again all for the suggestions and help-it has been super useful.
jpie is offline  
Old May 2nd, 2021, 04:22 AM
  #10  
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
Posts: 20,681
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Going through Death Valley be sure to download the old visitor guide and in particular PRINT the following map

https://www.nps.gov/deva/planyourvis...-Las-Vegas.pdf

If it's hot (which it can be) take the FASTEST route. If it isn't that hot, take the SCENIC route.

There is a McDonald's in Lone Pine that has a great view of Mt Whitney, and lots of parking. The bathrooms MAY be open. The Eastern Sierra Visitor Center before that has a picnic area but is minimally open due to COVID, maybe water and bathrooms also?

For the stretch heading up the 395, my preference has always been to stay in Bishop and not Mammoth Lakes. Surprisingly, the restaurant options are better in Bishop maybe because it's a more 365-day town than a resort town. That also gives you more time to make scenic stops in DV and possibly also a drive through Manzanar if you've not been.

Just depends on how you want to split the days.

When not staying with friends in Bishop I use the cheap-ish Travelodge on Elm Street ($85).

A mandatory stop in Bishop has always been Erik Schat's Bakkery. They are open. But probably no samples
https://schatsbakery.com/wp/

The Vons at the north end of town is okay for grabngo if you need that. Bishop would also be the best place to gas up. Usually "the Res" ie Paiute Palace on 395 heading west out of town is a few cents less than any of the intown options.

Last edited by mlgb; May 2nd, 2021 at 05:20 AM.
mlgb is offline  
Old May 2nd, 2021, 07:09 AM
  #11  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Aug 2003
Posts: 1,992
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Thanks for the bakery suggestion-we will be sure to stop! We have been to DV before so (as you say) depending on the heat we may slow down or speed up that part of the visit.
jpie is offline  
Old May 3rd, 2021, 08:15 AM
  #12  
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
Posts: 20,681
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
DV Visitor Center bathrooms will be open 8 to 5 pm?

If you have never stopped at the Division Creek Rest Area on 395, it's a good one.

Last edited by mlgb; May 3rd, 2021 at 08:19 AM.
mlgb is offline  
Old May 3rd, 2021, 09:33 AM
  #13  
 
Join Date: Jan 2012
Posts: 10,811
Received 25 Likes on 3 Posts
I second Schat's Bakery. Think sandwiches! I stay with friends in Bishop who introduced me & the locals know what's good.
MmePerdu is online now  
Old May 25th, 2021, 10:17 AM
  #14  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Aug 2003
Posts: 1,992
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Hi All:

I just wanted to circle back now that we have finished our trip and are home in Seattle. We ended up changing up the route a bit. We decided to take the route from Las Vegas through Death Valley as planned to Mammoth. That was a very scenic route and was one of our favorite stretches. From Mammoth, we ended up deciding to only go as far as Tahoe for the night where we stayed at the Marriott Timber Lodge-one of the nicest places we stayed. We then routed over from Tahoe to Redding. We chose to go that way because we didn't love the lodging choices in the Reno area or what would have been the night after Reno between Reno and Bend. It was good that we decided to go to Redding (via Sacramento) because we had a storm system move in with fairly heavy snowfall-surprising for mid-May! And that system moved directly towards the Reno area and on up to the area around Susanville, so Redding turned out to be a good choice. The drive from Redding up to Bend was also lovely. We enjoyed Bend, although as an area known for 260+ days of sunshine we arrived in pouring rain. But what are you going to do-it's the NW, right? The drive up to the Dalles and then along the Columbia to Portland from Bend was also really scenic, and curvier than I expected near the Deschutes River. We did drive by Multnomah Falls, although since it was a weekend, the parking lot was too full to stop. But we had visited before so we were okay with just driving by.

Thanks all for all the advice-it was very helpful in planning our route!
jpie is offline  
Related Topics
Thread
Original Poster
Forum
Replies
Last Post
mad99
United States
26
Feb 4th, 2021 04:52 PM
jilkovina
United States
11
Oct 18th, 2008 11:19 AM
Cherilyn
United States
5
Aug 5th, 1999 10:45 PM

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is On
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are On


Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Do Not Sell My Personal Information


All times are GMT -8. The time now is 06:43 PM.