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most scenic drive from Yosemite to Patrick's Point/Redwoods

Denver, Colorado
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most scenic drive from Yosemite to Patrick's Point/Redwoods

We're doing a big road trip this summer--Colorado to Yosemite, then Yosemite to Patrick's Point

State Park/Redwoods NP, then to Bend, OR to visit family. Anyone have suggestions on the most scenic drive between Yosemite and Redwoods NP? And a great place to stay in between? We'll have camping stuff with us but are also open to getting a hotel somewhere. We're traveling with a 3yo so would like to break up the drive. Google maps is sending me north through Reno then through Redding, but I'm wondering if we should head west earlier to take the 101 up the coast? Please let me know if there is anything we shouldn't miss!

Thanks!

Point Lobos State Reserve
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San Jose, California
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1. Re: most scenic drive from Yosemite to Patrick's Point/Redwoods

I checked Google maps to see what it would tell me, and from Yosemite Valley, it is telling me to go west to the SF Bay area and then north on 101. Totally different answer than you got and totally NOT the route I would choose - LOL.

One thing to note - Hwy 101 doesn't hit the coast until Eureka. Hwy 1, which is on the coast and a spectactular drive, will add lots and lots of time to this already long drive. So I think the coast drive is out since you only have 1 night enroute.

A route that would combine the need to get where you are going with some scenic views would be this:

Hwy 120/49/4/I-5 through Sacramento and up to Williams (sounds complicated, but when you look at a map, it really isn't)

Hwy 20 to 101

Hwy 101 all the way up to Patrick's Point.

On this route, Hwy 120 and 49 are scenic, I-5 is a fairly boring interstate, but you won't be on it that long, 20 is pretty good, and 101 is scenic. It will be close to a 9 hour drive. You may hit some traffic around Stockton and Sacramento depending on time of day, but it shouldn't be bad at all.

As for where to stay, if you just need an overnight, Williams is a nice small town and Granzellas Inn is good. It isn't an exciting place - just a Sacramento valley farming town. This will be about 4 hours into your drive - would be a good overnight if you had spent the morning in Yosemite and started the drive after lunch - you'd get to Williams for dinner.

If you start your drive earlier in the day and want to stay someplace more scenic and interesting, then a town along Hwy 101 would be my pick. Maybe Willits. I don't know much about that town, but we have been through there a few times and it seem to have a nice downtown.

Another option would be to take I-5 all the way up to Redding and then Hwy 299 over to the coast. I-5 up to Redding is pretty boring, but 299 is nice - through the mountains.

Denver, Colorado
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2. Re: most scenic drive from Yosemite to Patrick's Point/Redwoods

LOL-- I think when I first did the google map search, it was routing me from the east-side of Yosemite, because when I searched again, it sent me west to SF and then up the 101. Google maps is actually saying that her route through Sacramento is 25 min longer than just taking the 205 to the 101, but is there a chance of hitting a lot of traffic around SF? Thanks for the advice on places to stay, november_moon!

San Jose, California
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3. Re: most scenic drive from Yosemite to Patrick's Point/Redwoods

There is always a chance of hitting traffic going through the SF Bay area. The 205/580/101 route will take you through the heart of the east bay, which gets really clogged. If you are travelling anywhere around commute times, it will take you forever to get through the bay area. If you are travlling outside of commute times, it should be ok. Another consideration, if you are travelling on a Sunday (or Monday of a long weekend) there will be a lot of people travelling from the mountains back to the Bay Area, which creates a lot of slow traffic. In general, when travelling long distances, people avoid going into the bay area if there is an easy way around. These freeways are pretty busy any time of the day.

One neat feature on Google Maps is Traffic. It is a layer that you can turn on and it shows traffic patterns in red/yellow/green. You can see what conditions are now or set it to a particular day and time to see what the average is for different days of the week and time of day. This is helpful for route planning.

Henderson, Nevada
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4. Re: most scenic drive from Yosemite to Patrick's Point/Redwoods

I wouldn't go via Reno...

The easiest would probably be Hwy 120 out of Yosemite, via Big Oak Flat, down through Oakdale to Hwy 99. From there you get options... either north (I-5 in Sacramento) until you cut over towards the coast (there are lots of places to cut over) or immediately west and go through San Francisco and north on Hwy 101.

Yosemite to San Francisco is about 4 hours, San Francisco north to the Oregon coast is probably a full 10 hours of driving, maybe more.

101 offers lots of stopping options, and lots of motels plus some camp grounds. It would be an easy trip to break up with one or two nights along the way.

Randy

Napa, CA
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5. Re: most scenic drive from Yosemite to Patrick's Point/Redwoods

San Francisco to Trinidad is just a bit over 5 hrs driving but I would avoid driving through the Bay Area due to possible traffic delays. Instead, take the routes November Moon suggested. My personal preference would be I-5 to Redding and 299 to Arcata. 299 is pretty scenic as it skirts the edge of the Trinity Alps and follows the Trinity River. You could spend the night in Redding and enjoy the Turtle Bay area in the evening.

Also, to get to I-5 from Yosemite, follow the directions that google maps gives you which will bypass Oakdale by taking Hwy 4. It's a prettier drive and less congested than 120.

Denver, Colorado
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6. Re: most scenic drive from Yosemite to Patrick's Point/Redwoods

Thanks for all of the tips--good to know about the Bay Area traffic. Thanks again!

7. Re: most scenic drive from Yosemite to Patrick's Point/Redwoods

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