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Driving though Sequoia.

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Leeds, United...
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Driving though Sequoia.

Ok, so we are heading from Groveland big oak flat, though to mammoth lakes, lone pine, and then onto lake Isobella where we having a days rafting. Very exciting.

We've got a whole day to get from mammoth to Lake Isobella, so we'd like to do a senic route. One of the route google suggests is via route 22so5 which goes literally though the park. Is this a good idea? Has anyone done this route?

Uden, The...
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1. Re: Driving though Sequoia.

I'd stay away from the backroads in that area. There's enough to see and explore along us395 and ca178.

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2. Re: Driving though Sequoia.

I cannot find any route "22so5" on any map that I have, either the official printed map that Sequoia National Park hands you when you enter the park, or the AAA Eastern Sierra Guide Map, or a general and highly detailed road atlas of California that I have. I don't see that road on any of those. I also typed in "Mammoth Lakes" and "Lake Isabella" into both Google Maps and Mapquest, and got the same directions in both.

So I'm stumped about the "22so5" route that you were referred to. If it does exist, it is probably a remote mountain road, probably a dirt road, and certainly very remote with no services. I would not recommend going on it, since it is unfamiliar country and if you had a breakdown of your car you would be in big trouble being so far away from help. I would definitely stick to major highways that are well-traveled and on which you would be able to get help if needed.

There is no road in Sequoia or Kings Canyon National Parks that crosses over the Sierra Nevada range as does Tioga Road (120) in Yosemite National Park. So there is no way, that I know of, to drive through Sequoia National Park on your way from Mammoth Lakes to Lake Isabella. The basic route would be to take US Highway 395 south from Mammoth Lakes, through Bishop, Independence and Lone Pine, then California Highway 14 south for a short distance, then California Highway 178 west up into the mountains and to Lake Isabella. The total distance to drive is 218 miles (349 km) with a total of 4 hours of driving time plus any time spent at stops along the way.

There is no place along the way where you could see the sequoia trees, in fact you won't see much forest scenery at all on this route, as most of it is through semi-desert areas. You could still visit Sequoia National Park after your time at Lake Isabella, but of course that will take additional day(s).

There are some interesting and picturesque sights that you can include on the day you drive from Mammoth Lakes to Lake Isabella. Adding one or more of these will make that day more scenic and interesting.

While you are still in Mammoth Lakes you could visit Devil's Postpile National Monument. If you do, study that beforehand, as it requires parking and taking their bus to the site itself, and there is a per-person charge for that bus.

Convict Lake would be a short side trip off US 395. Rock Creek Lake another possible side trip from the US. 395 at Tom's Place. Aspendell a third possible side trip, going west out of Bishop. Within Bishop, there is the Laws Railroad Museum, Erick Schat's Bakkerÿ, an authentic Dutch bakery, and the Mountain Light Gallery, the gallery of the late nature photographer Galen Rowell.

East of Big Pine is the White Mountains, where the Ancient Bristlecone Pine Forest is located. The trees there are the oldest trees in the world that reproduce by seed. On dry, rocky, windswept, seemingly inhospitable ridges, the trees hang on tenaciously and some trees there are estimated to be 5,000 years old. Getting there requries a drive of about 1 hour east of Big Pine, and you have to be well prepared as there is no gas (petrol) or water available after you leave Big Pine. The Schulman Grove is at an elevation of nearly 10,000 feet (3,048 m) above sea level, so the air is thinner and the sunlight is intense. If you go there bring sunscreen, hats and sunglasses, and pace yourself carefully if you are not accustomed to high elevations.

Also along US Highway 395 are several fish hatcheries and you can visit at least one if that interests you. A possible side trip from Independence, California goes west up to Seven Pines and Onion Valley. South of Independence is Manzanar National Historic Site, one of 10 internment camps that Japanese-Americans were forced to move to during World War II.

At Lone Pine there are several sights available. You will have an excellent view of the east face of Mount Whitney, the highest point in the United States except Alaska. If you wanted an even closer look you could drive up Whitney Portal Road to Whitney Portal, though it's not necessary as you will still be able to see Mount Whitney from Highway 395 and Lone Pine.

You can, though, drive a short part of Whitney Portal Road, just 5 minutes or so west of Lone Pine, into the Alabama Hills, a picturesque area of rocks and arches that has been used for backgrounds for about 400 movies, TV episodes and commercials. There is also a museum about those movies in Lone Pine.

My neighbors took a 10-day trip through the eastern Sierra region a couple of years ago and reported on it on their web site. Reading their report and looking at their photos can help you decide which sights along the way are of most interest to you. travelswithbillandnancy.com/eastern_sierras.…

South of Lone Pine the scenery gradually gets more desert-like and there are fewer mountain views and it's all less interesting, in my opinion, so once you leave Lone Pine I would just head straight for Lake Isabella.

Depending on where your next destination is, and how much time you have, you still could visit Sequoia National Park after your time at Lake Isabella. You would need another full day for it at a minimum, two days would be better. It's going to take about 4 hours of driving to get from Lake Isabella to Sequoia National Park. More information on the park is at http://nps.gov/seki

An alternative for you, which would be a little closer after leaving Lake Isabella, would be to visit Giant Sequoia National Monument, east of Porterville. There, you would not see the famous sights of Sequoia National Park, but you would get to see examples of sequoia trees. More information on that at http://www.fs.fed.us/r5/sequoia/gsnm.html and ohranger.com/sequoia-natl-forest-giant-sequo…

Edited: 17 May 2012, 10:19
Uden, The...
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3. Re: Driving though Sequoia.

http://www.ucltd.com/MonacheTrail.pdf

San Diego, CA
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4. Re: Driving though Sequoia.

22S05 is a forest service road. If you want a longer, scenic trip and depending on when you travel it may work:

totalescape.com/outside/…

Edited: 17 May 2012, 14:51
San Diego, CA
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5. Re: Driving though Sequoia.

And just to be clear, this road goes through Sequoia National Forest, not the national park.

Leeds, United...
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6. Re: Driving though Sequoia.

Thanks for everyones replies, yes taking the 22s05 was an alternate eroute suggested by google! I was unsure if my car would make it, but if it's a proper road then no problem. Cheers!

San Diego...
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7. Re: Driving though Sequoia.

It seems like a very long drive. Do you have a time estimate for it?

Napa, CA
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8. Re: Driving though Sequoia.

Yes, that road is slow going and not all that interesting. The highlight is the Bald Mountain Lookout but the road leading to it was quite rutted two years ago when we visited and not suitable for a rental car unless it has high clearance.

Also, Sherman Pass itself is one of the steepest in the Sierra with huge drop-offs. So, not a good road for those who don't like heights. It drops almost 7,000 feet in just a few miles. The road is fine though and doesn't get a lot of traffic.

I tried several ways but could not get google maps to show this route.

Lassen National...
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9. Re: Driving though Sequoia.

Also, called Sherman Pass Road: fs.fed.us/r5/…kern-plateau.html

You'll need to buy a US Forest Map for this county. If you lived here I'd also suggest BackCountry Adventures: Southern California:

amazon.com/Backcountry-Adventures-California…

sierranevadageotourism.org/content/kern-plat…

Lots more info on this road in even a quick search.

Edited: 17 May 2012, 20:10
10. Re: Driving though Sequoia.

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