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How long to drive from Zion to Yosemite?

Sydney, Australia
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How long to drive from Zion to Yosemite?

I am wondering how long it takes to drive from Zion to Yosemite? MapQuest is giving me fairly strange route that dips down past Las Vegas, almost as low as Los Angeles, which doesn't seem very direct? The route they are giving takes just over 10 hours - is that right?

Also, if I have to choose between Bryce and Zion what would you recommend for someone who isn't a hiker and is looking for a beautiful scenic drive?

Many thanks!

Salt Lake City, Utah
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1. Re: How long to drive from Zion to Yosemite?

The reason the Mapquest goes south is because the roads have to get past the Sierras Mountains and there is no direct route. Yes, a little over 10 hours if you head to the West Entrance of Yosemite.

There is the option of going in the East Entrance in which case you could head west from Las Vegas going to Death Valley and north to Bishop. Time wise it would be about the same. It is all very empty desert for the most part and would be very hot in the summer.

Bryce and Zions are both very different parks and amazing in their own way. If however you are heading to Yosemite I would chose Bryce since Zions is in many ways similar to Yosemite valley. You will not find another Bryce the world over.

Torrey, Utah
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2. Re: How long to drive from Zion to Yosemite?

I think 10 hours is optimisitc for that route.

Anyway, it depends on the time of year, if Tioga Pass is open (late June, ealry July but quite variable) you would do better to use the East Entrance. From Bryce take the road over Brian Head to Cedar City. Continue east to Newcastle on UT56 an on to Modena and Caliente (you might have to take 319 at the end, can't remember) From Caliente take US93 west to NV375 (The Extraterrestrial Hwy) Pick up 6 west to Lee Benton and 120 west past Mono Lake and over Tioga Pass into Yosemite. These are all good roads and it is a much more interesting route than the southern one, you just have to be sure that Tioga Pass is open. Take water and don't run low on petrol. Leave early so that it is still light when you drie through Yosemite.

http://www.dot.ca.gov/hq/roadinfo/sr120

Bob Palin

Torrey, Utah
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3. Re: How long to drive from Zion to Yosemite?

Just realised you said from Zion to Yosemite, ignore the Brian Head part (though that is fun)

Salt Lake City, Utah
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4. Re: How long to drive from Zion to Yosemite?

What time of year are you going? The best way to drive from Utah to Yosemite would be to go in the east entrance of Yosemite, over Tioga Pass. The pass does not usually open until mid to late June (this year, however, is a low snow year, so the pass may be open by early June). If you are going after mid-June, the most scenic route would be to go north from Zion to Beaver. At Beaver, take Highway 21 to Baker, then follow Highway 50 to Ely, Nevada. That leg would be about 4 to 5 hours. From Ely, take Highway 6 across Nevada. This road crosses some of the most remote country in the continental U.S. You will almost certainly see wild horses. Just past the California state line, you take Highway 120 to Tioga Pass. The whole trip to Tioga Pass would be about 11 hours. You could stop in Ely or Tonopah (Ely is the nicer of the two towns).

Tioga Pass is spectacular. The pass is at 3,000 meters, and it is surrounded by 4,000 meter peaks.

Salt Lake City, Utah
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5. Re: How long to drive from Zion to Yosemite?

Hi,

Again, it depends what time of year you would be travelling. If it is soon, the route would go through Nevada to HWY 58, through to Bakersfield, north on US 99 to Fresno and north on HWY 41 into Yosemite valley.

If your trip is in the summer, I'd take the US 6 route (many choices of how to get to HWY 6). I've driven that route and it is worth the scenic desolation.

As others have mentioned, there are only two roads across the Sierra between HWY 58 and Interstate 80 (not counting the US 50 route that skirts around Reno, NV and goes past Lake Tahoe. One is Tioga Pass. If you are travelling when that road is opened (check Yosemite's website- www.nps.gov/yose), it is the best way given that you are able to see the alpine areas of Yosemite.

California 108 (I think) is closed ocassionally after storms, but might be a spring option.

Another consideration would be how much time you have. If there isn't much, the best option is the first route.

I've spent more summers visiting Yosemite than not. If you have any questions, feel free to write. Another benefit of taking the southern route would be that you could break off at Visalia, drive through Kings'Canyon/Sequoia and down into Fresno from there. You'd be able to see the world's largest tree (General Sherman) and the prettiest - which is also the third largest (General Grant). And there are camping/lodging options.

As far as Zion V. Bryce .... my personal preference is Bryce, but Zion might be easier logistically. You could even go from Zion, up UT89 and make a side trip to Bryce. Or the reverse if you are starting from SLC.

Enjoy!

Orem, Utah
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6. Re: How long to drive from Zion to Yosemite?

a lot longer than 10 hours

7. Re: How long to drive from Zion to Yosemite?

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