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driving from mammoth to San Francisco

Stafford, United...
Level Contributor
2 posts
6 reviews
driving from mammoth to San Francisco

At the end of our skiing we intend driving from Mammoth to San Francisco next year. As this will be mid April I presume the Tioga Pass will not be open so we would like to take the opportunity to visit an interesting place on the route to San Francisco and stay for a night. Is there a place anyone can recommend to visit in this vicinity? Preferably not Lake Tahoe as we have skiied here previously.

Napa, CA
Destination Expert
for Napa
Level Contributor
8,428 posts
20 reviews
1. Re: driving from mammoth to San Francisco

It's about a 7 hour drive from Mammoth Lakes to San Francisco if you drive via South Lake Tahoe and Hwy 50. That's your best route when the higher Sierra passes are closed.

Your other options are to go further north to Reno or around the Southern Sierra via Bakersfield. The latter has very little of interest to most visitors at that time of year although the drive from Mammoth Lakes to Lone Pine is highly scenic.

Level Contributor
10,862 posts
11 reviews
2. Re: driving from mammoth to San Francisco

Well you have two choices to get around or thorugh the sierra. You can go south and drive around it through bakersfield and north on 5 or further west and north on 1/101. Or you can go though the sierra, and in April there is pretty much limited choices to get from 395 to the west side of the sierra. That's via 50 through south lake tahoe or via Reno west on 80.

Fremont, California
Destination Expert
for San Francisco
Level Contributor
32,869 posts
6,430 reviews
3. Re: driving from mammoth to San Francisco

In the Lake Tahoe area, you could visit Virginia City, Reno, and Donner Lake instead of Lake Tahoe. As suzie-travels has stated well, there are just 2 choices.

Just mentioning in case you have not done those 3 before.

For Donner Lake, see


Another option is to make your travels a bit longer the first day and drive as far as Napa Valley and stay over night in wine country before you continue on to San Francisco the next day.

4. Re: driving from mammoth to San Francisco

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