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Road Trip MPLS to Yosemite National Park

Minnetonka...
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Road Trip MPLS to Yosemite National Park

I am going to be driving out west next spring and have calculated costs but am concerned about drive time.

I drive a 2013 Ford Focus and get about 38-42 on the highway with two passengers and a light load. The cost isn't a main focus.

For anyone who travels a lot does this seems too ambitious in terms of time or not too crammed? Any input is appreciated. Or alternative state or national parks that would cut time. I was thinking each of these parks have their own personality and are all completely different so keeping that in mind, hit me with some advice.

My tentative plan is as follows:

Wednesday - leave MPLS and camp in the Badlands (SD)

Thursday - Drive from the Badlands to Arches in Utah and crash

Friday - Tour arches, maybe head into Price for dinner

Saturday - Cont. Arches Tour

Sunday - Drive to Yosemite

Monday - Hike

Tuesday - Hike

Wednesday - Relax and Enjoy

Thursday - Push hard for Denver and stay at a nice hotel

Friday - Hang out in Denver

Saturday - Drive to Lincoln or wherever

Sunday - End in Mpls

Any help is appreciated! Thanks!

Atlanta, Georgia
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1. Re: Road Trip MPLS to Yosemite National Park

Have not driven to Yosemite but flew into SFO and drove to the park in May. Had a great trip and the waterfalls were awesome. We stayed at the Lodge at the Falls and it was a perfect place to stay. Book lodging for inside the park ASAP.

From Arches to Yosemite will be a super long day- too much imo. Also if early in the season cannot come in from the east because Tioga Pass Rd. can be closed. We were lucky and it was open when we were there because of low snowfall amounts this year.

The drive from Yosemite to Denver will take 2 days. We have driven from Denver to SFO before and stopped one time in SLC and another time in Reno area.

Badlands NP or Custer SP in the Black Hills of SD would be a good place to stop but don't think you will have time to do much else. If not doing any camping, hiking, etc. then could just stay in Rapid City and make a quick stop by Mt. Rushmore.

LA
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2. Re: Road Trip MPLS to Yosemite National Park

In "Spring" the eastern entrance to Yosemite is not open and you would have to take an alternative pass over the sierras to access the western entrance to the park. Adds up to 6 hours each way.

You cannot make that drive from Yosemite to Denver in one day. Sorry.

This is far too ambitious for what you are describing. Better to fly to San Francisco or even Las Vegas and drive from there. From Las Vegas, you could visit Death Valley national park, then continue on west to access Yosemite via Bakersfield.

The National Park system has a good website that tells you all about each park and directions to it. I suggest you read up on these issues. Each park has it's own section. Here is the site for Yosemite:

http://www.nps.gov/yose/index.htm

Minnetonka...
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3. Re: Road Trip MPLS to Yosemite National Park

Also the flying isn't an option as I cannot rent a vehicle without an ignition interlock system. Driving is the only option unfortunately. But I like the idea to stop in SLC on the return trek. Maybe even Grand Junction so we can cut through the rockies on the way home.

Washington State
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4. Re: Road Trip MPLS to Yosemite National Park

Lay out your proposed itinerary with a mapping tool like Google Maps. Note the miles & the suggested behind-the-wheel drive times. Then figure how how long the drive is actually likely to take.

For example, a 500 mile drive might be 10 hours through the mountains, but you know you need to get gasoline, to eat, to take some photos of the fabulous scenery, and to stretch your legs. So that might be 12 hours of travel time. Or the 500 mile drive might be all interstate and only 7.5 hrs w/ nothing really to see along the way. That might be only 8.5 hrs of travel time.

I am assuming that you're young and can sit for hours and hours and hours.

Share your itinerary with us.

Also consider daylight hours www.SunriseSunset.com Setting up camp in the dark is no fun.

Uden, The...
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5. Re: Road Trip MPLS to Yosemite National Park

With an early start you can get to Badlands from Minneapolis in one long day but to Moab from there is too far in one day. Price is nowhere near Moab. Between Moab and Yosemite (with Tioga rd open) you can drive us50 and stay Ely before your next leg to Yosemite. Rd west of Ely is called "Loneliest rd in America" but that's just a gimmich. There will be no traffic jams either though....

Tet

Minnetonka...
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6. Re: Road Trip MPLS to Yosemite National Park

Time of Travel:

Arrival Trip:

MPLS to Badlands, SD - 7hrs 470 miles. One stop to top the tank and stretch. Approx. 8 hrs.

Badlands, SD to Arches Ntl. - 11 hours 725 miles. One stop just passed Denver (6hrs in) for fuel and stretch. Linger in the mtns. (2hrs possibly stay in Idaho Springs, I have stayed there before). From Denver 5 hrs to Arches. This area is up in the air, staying in the mtns. and continuing to Arches in the morning only takes 3 hrs. So that may be a possibility instead of pushing hard for Arches in one day and missing the mtns. Approx. Varies with plan

Arches to Yosemite - 11 hours 713 miles. Stop twice, no scenery its Nevada..... Approx. 12 hrs.

Return Trip:

Yosemite, CA to SLC, UT - 9 hrs. 550 miles. Stop once, grab some food from the trunk, sandwiches nice and quick. Approx. 10hrs.

SLC, UT to Black Hills Ntl Forest - 10 hrs 650 miles. Stop twice, both maybe 20 minutes. Approx 11.5 hrs.

Black Hills, SD to Home - 9 hrs. 600 miles. One stop, food, get home, get out on the lake and relax.

Both my girlfriend have no problems with the length of riding as she is small and can move around and I have been travelling quite a bit for scouting, just never this far.

I get approx. 450-500 miles to a tank on the hwy. and have planned departing times to avoid rush hour in metro areas (Denver, SLC, etc.). Also, we don't need extravagent housing. A motel or KOA will be more than enough. This shaves some time off since we dont have packing times or need to travel far off the hwy.

LA
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7. Re: Road Trip MPLS to Yosemite National Park

Exactly when are you planning this trip for?

It is really important to know if Tioga Pass is going to be open or closed during your trip. Will make a significant impact in routing your trip

Henderson, Nevada
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8. Re: Road Trip MPLS to Yosemite National Park

I like long drives, but I think you are taking on more than you think. It sounds like you are just driving to visit Arches and Yosemite… This itinerary seems like it is either a hard drive or hiking, nothing in between... I suspect you are over estimating the time saved by KOA's or motels... If camping it takes time to break camp.

As PareoB has pointed out, Tioga Pass doesn’t open until early May (at the earliest) and some years it doesn’t open until June… If the forecasts for continued drought hold, it will likely be May….

In your first post you said “ Friday - Tour arches, maybe head into Price for dinner” Its over 100 miles from Arches to Price… each way… Is there some other reason to go to Price? Moab is only 6 miles from the Arches visitor center with lots of places to eat.

Your comment about “no scenery its Nevada....” suggests that you will miss much on the trip… If you take Hwy 6 into Nevada (instead of dropping down on I-15) you pass along the edge of Great Basin National Park… I have seen herds of wild horses and prong horn antelope from Hwy 6 on either side of the park (and Ely)… On the other hand the I-15 route takes you on the Extraterrestrial Highway… On either route across Nevada the mostly ghost town of Tonopah is fun… and the drive takes you past Mono Lake… worth some time too.

Randy

Minnetonka...
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9. Re: Road Trip MPLS to Yosemite National Park

Wont be leaving until the middle of May maybe the end. I can't believe the pass would have too many issues given the drought California has been facing. In recent years it hasn't opened later than May 2nd.

LA
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10. Re: Road Trip MPLS to Yosemite National Park

This is predicted to be an El Nino year, which means (hopefully) a lot of precipitation.

You should have alternate plans in mind in case Tioga Pass is closed. It makes for a long detour if you cannot use Tioga Pass, and your plans do not allow for the 4- 6 hour detours that would be involved each way.

The driving times may alse be misleading. In May, none of the campsites along Tioga Pass Road are open, and it will be at least 2 hours drive to the valley floor campgrounds. Presumably, those would be additional 2 hours in the dark at the end of a 12 + hour drive from Arches.

You also need to secure campsites in Yosemite. In May, none of the campsites along Tioga Pass Road are open.