Tioga Pass - Yosemite to Las Vegas

Old Jun 12th, 2007, 03:56 AM
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Tioga Pass - Yosemite to Las Vegas

Hi!

I am considering driving from Yosemite National Park to Las Vegas via Tioga Pass in the first week of October. I have some done searches on driving times and I am getting variable answers from 7 hours - 11 hours.

1. How long will it take to drive? I want to do it in one (long) day - is that stupid? We will have stops but how long if you went straight through.

2. What is Death Valley like in early October? I have never been to the US so please tell me if I am being a silly tourist to drive this way.

Thanks for your (as always) invaluable help!
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Old Jun 12th, 2007, 10:20 AM
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topping. anyone?
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Old Jun 12th, 2007, 10:39 AM
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Weather varies, of course, but I would expect Death Valley in early Oct to be hot, but bearable. If you were going that way, I would plan to spend the night rather than try to just drive through; some of the roads are a bit slow, and things are spread out.

7 hours would be going south through Fresno and Bakersfield; the Tioga pass route will be substantially longer, though quite scenic. There's always a chance of early snow closing the pass, though I think that is unlikely in your case.
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Old Jun 12th, 2007, 10:49 AM
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If Tioga Pass is open, it is 225 miles and 4 1/4 hours of driving to Death Valley; Death Valley to Las Vegas is 140 miles and 2 1/2 hours--a total of about 7 hours.

We always stay for a night at Furnace Creek Lodge, but it would not be "stupid" of you to drive straight through because you would at least get a chance to see Death Valley.
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Old Jun 12th, 2007, 11:45 AM
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Welcome to California!

With this being your first visit, please try to set aside an overnight in Death Valley. You will see some of the best scenery in the state. We usually have some of our best weather in October, warm and clear. The drive along the eastern side of the Sierras between the bottom of Tioga Pass and the turn off to Death Valley is spectacular. At the turn off at Lone Pine, you can look up and see Mt. Whitney, the highest peak in the continental U.S. Then, in about 100 miles, you are at Badwater, the lowest point.
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Old Jun 12th, 2007, 12:17 PM
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Happytrails, are you counting distance from the park boundary or the valley? I can't see making it from Yosemite valley to Death Valley in 4 hours; it's a good 1.5 hours just to the east entrance at Tioga Pass (plus stops).
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Old Jun 12th, 2007, 12:42 PM
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The quickest route is Hwy 120 to Hwy 6 to Hwy 95 to Tonoapah and then south to Vegas. Depends on where you are in Yosemite how long it will take.

If you have the time and inclination (and a good radiator) you can also go through Death Valley. But, it would be a pity not to spend some time there. This is also the most scenic route.

I would avoid the Fresno - Bskersfield route unless you are leaving from Wawona and even then, I would not do it. Too much traffic and smog. And, it will be blazing hot there in the Central Valley. The desert route through Nevada is hot too but the altitude mitigates the climactic conditions.
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Old Jun 12th, 2007, 12:54 PM
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Wilees, I think it's quite a good idea, but I would agree that an overnight stop would be nice. The scenery is fantastic on this route.
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Old Jun 12th, 2007, 05:57 PM
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I use maps.google.com, which I have found to be EXTREMELY RELIABLE on gross distances such as these.

I figured from Yosemite Village to Death Valley via Tioga Pass.

The estimates are for driving time only--not for pit stops, meals, photos, etc.
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Old Jun 12th, 2007, 06:27 PM
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Who would have thought there woukd be such diverse times for this trip!

My Microsoft Streets and Trips which I found very reliable last year when we did a road trip in California) gives this information.

Starting in Yosemite Village and going via the Tioga Pass, Bishop, the West Entrance to Death Valley National Park, Furnace Creek and the East Entrance to the Park, then on to Las Vegas - driving time with no stops 8hrs 54 minutes.

Like some others, I recommend an overnight in Death Valley. At the beginning of October, the Furnace Creek Inn is still closesd, but the Ranch is open. Here's the web site which has both places on it:

http://www.furnacecreekresort.com/

I'm not sure how many hours of daylight there are at the beginning of October, but personally I'd rather do the whole drive in daylight.
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Old Jun 13th, 2007, 09:54 AM
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I agree, do the whole drive in daylight. Some of the roads in Death Valley had some damage (2 years ago) and you need to stay away from pavement edges and potholes.
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