We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

Bishop to Yosemite

singapore
Level Contributor
228 posts
3 reviews
Save Topic
Bishop to Yosemite

Hi All,

We are planning to visit the Yosemite National Park on 6 Nov 2012 departing from Bishop. We are keeping our fingers crossed that Tioga Pass is still open.

Planned to start drivinging from 8.30 am from Bishop and we will be staying at Yosemite Lodge at the Falls. On 7 Nov, we planned to leave YNP around 1pm to drive to Monterey.

Questions:

- Any points of interests that is worth a visit? or should we just drive straight to YNP?

- Points of interest not to be missed at YNP during our short trip

Thanks!

Washington State
Destination Expert
for Yosemite National Park
Level Contributor
60,151 posts
114 reviews
Save Reply
1. Re: Bishop to Yosemite

Hi cherrycc

Read the Top Questions in the upper right. In particular, the article describing the route from Las Vegas to Yosemite is a good choice to read.

Also read the fall trip reports in the Top Q and the Itineraries. After you've looked thru some of the material, let us know which things interest you. It's just not possible to describe everything when your stay is incredibly short. I think you'd have time for only one or two things in Yosemite Valley. If you're trying to see Glacier Point, add another 2 hours to your drive. If you're trying to visit the Mariposa Grove of Giant Sequoias, you need more time.

This is going to be very tough!

San Francisco
Destination Expert
for Death Valley Junction, Death Valley National Park
Level Contributor
14,875 posts
49 reviews
Save Reply
2. Re: Bishop to Yosemite

Your stay in Yosemite is extremely short. From Bishop to Yosemite Falls is about 240 km (150 miles), and it is a scenic and beautiful area with plenty of places where you’ll want to stop and look around. We wish you had planned another day, or at least more time during the two partial days you’ll have in the park. We will be back on standard time, so daylight will be shorter.

Bishop has a fine little museum on the east edge of town, the Laws Museum. It’s a collection of old buildings assembled into a “village” around a historic railroad station with trains. The buildings contain themed exhibits. You might have time for this the day before, if you are staying over in Bishop.

On the way up, Mammoth Lake is a year-round vacation resort area in a forest and mountain setting. Mono Lake is a unique natural feature, a wildlife habitat and home to intriguing formations called tufa spires. Even after numerous visits, I can still spend a whole day or more around Mono Lake. At least go to one of the visitor centers in Lee Vining and drive to one of the viewing spots (the best are Navy Beach, on Hwy 120 east; or County Park, on Hwy 395 north of Lee Vining). Tioga Pass is a steep, winding mountain road that cannot and should not be rushed, both for safety and maximum enjoyment of the scenery.

As Pacific said, you’ll need to be selective about what to see and do in Yosemite. I think you’ll need to plan another trip in the future to catch up on the places you’ll just glimpse in passing and wish you had time to enjoy at leisure.

Also, be aware that it’s about 4 hours from Yosemite Valley to Monterey. Sunset will be about 5:00 p.m. This means that for a couple of hours, if the weather is clear, you will be driving with the sun going down directly in your face; just so you are aware of this.

singapore
Level Contributor
228 posts
3 reviews
Save Reply
3. Re: Bishop to Yosemite

Thanks, yes very limited time and wish we can revisit again! Seems like we can only be spending more quality time in the valley itself.

I am in dilemma here. The above plan is based on Tioga Pass open and there is no sure date when the Tioga pass will be closed or the announcement date that it will be closed.

on 5 nov, we will be driving from LV to Death Valley and staying the night at bishop. 6 nov, bishop to yosemite. What is Tioga pass is "suddenly" closed?

I read some alternative routes:

(1) Lee Vining/Mono Lake, Mammoth Lakes

Distance: 390 miles/624 km, 410 miles/656 km

Time: 8 hours

Travel north on US 395 to Minden; take Highway 757 west to Highway 206 south to Highway 207 north to US 50 west.

(2) Death Valley

Distance: 450 mi/720 km

Time: 9 hours

Take Highway 190 west to US 395; take US 395 south to its junction with Highway 14. Take Highway 14 south to Mojave. In Mojave, take Highway 58 to Bakersfield. From Bakersfield, head north on Highway 99 to Fresno. In Fresno, take Highway 41 north into Yosemite National Park.

(3) Las Vegas

Distance: 495 mi/797 km

Time: 8-10 hours

Take I-15 west to Barstow; Highway 58 west to Bakersfield; take Highway 99 north to Fresno. In Fresno, take Highway 41 north into Yosemite National Park.

If tioga pass is closed, maybe we should skip Death Valley?

this is my current planned route for LV - Bishop: http://goo.gl/maps/5Nju5

We will reach LA on 26 oct and be in Vegas/ GC during 1-4 nov, should I hold on the booking for the Bishop hotel first and decide when we are in LV?

Fyi, yosemite already booked Yosemite Lodge at the Falls (can be cancelled) and Bishop, no booking done yet.

Any advice?

Cheers :)

San Francisco...
Level Contributor
5,481 posts
167 reviews
Save Reply
4. Re: Bishop to Yosemite

If Tioga Pass is closed you will want to skip Yosemite entirely . When the park is subject to snow the Park Service requires that all vehicles carry snow chains - the rangers will ask to see them when you enter and generally the requirements for chains are needed in November although requirements have been required earlier depending on the weather.

Death Valley is still a possibility - make your way though as described in your post on the Death Valley Forum and spend the night in Lone Pine, Ridgecrest, or further and then head for Monterey

Long Barn...
Level Contributor
4,717 posts
10 reviews
Save Reply
5. Re: Bishop to Yosemite

I am not so sure you want to skip Yosemite altogether if Tioga Pass is closed. Your route #1 is too long and out of the way. You can drive north on 395 to Minden - take 756 to Hwy 88 and over the mountains to Hwy 49 and south to Hwy 120 into Yosemite. You could also take Hwy 49 to Hwy 140 (low elevation) to Yosemite Lodge.

The dates of your visit is very early for snow season. It is hard to predict the weather, but it could be a lot of snow at Tioga Pass and just light rain in Yosemite Valley.

Unless it is likely to snow in Yosemite Valley you normally will not be asked about carrying chains.

It would be a shame to come as far as you are coming from and not see Yosemite. It is just too bad you do not have more time.

Washington State
Destination Expert
for Yosemite National Park
Level Contributor
60,151 posts
114 reviews
Save Reply
6. Re: Bishop to Yosemite

Crossing the Sierra: tripadvisor.com/Travel-g61000-c158581

>> What is Tioga pass is "suddenly" closed? <<

Tioga Pass would be closed if there is a snowstorm. No one announces the date of a storm; it just happens. Weather forecasters can predict a few days in advance, but the severity of a storm varies. If it's a big storm, Tioga Pass (and Tioga Road) is closed. Then if the weather turns warm and the snow melts, the road is re-opened. If it just gets stormier and colder, the road is closed for the season. This isn't anything that can be planned in advance.

You need to come up with two plans, and to do the one that works when you're visiting.

singapore
Level Contributor
228 posts
3 reviews
Save Reply
7. Re: Bishop to Yosemite

Yeap, so if tioga pass is closed,

Options I have now:

A. Skip YNP entirely, After Death Valley, spend the night in Lone Pine/ Ridgecrest (instead of Bishop) and then head for Monterey.

OR

B. From Bishop "You can drive north on 395 to Minden - take 756 to Hwy 88 and over the mountains to Hwy 49 and south to Hwy 120 into Yosemite. You could also take Hwy 49 to Hwy 140 (low elevation) to Yosemite Lodge."

--> how long will this take?

As our car is rented with Dollar, I don't think they allow snow chains?

Cheers :)

Washington State
Destination Expert
for Yosemite National Park
Level Contributor
60,151 posts
114 reviews
Save Reply
8. Re: Bishop to Yosemite

If Tioga Pass is closed, I'd guess (and it's just an educated guess) that there is a huge storm in the Sierra Nevada mountain range that is dumping snow on Tioga Road. So taking hwy 395 north up the eastern side of the Sierra to the next open pass (Hwy 108 or Hwy 88) means that you'll encounter snow. So Option B won't really be viable for you.

Option C has more miles ... "The easiest and least scenic is to travel around the southern end of the Sierra. Drivers can select curvier Highway 178 through Isabella or longer Interstate 15 & Highway Hwy 58 through Barstow . From Las Vegas to central California, a traveler may prefer to drive through Death Valley and use Highway Hwy 178, stopping for the night as needed. Or the traveler may prefer the straightforward route. From Highway 395 to Yosemite, the more scenic route through Lake Isabella might be the faster choice. Both Highway 178 and Highway 58 lead to Bakersfield , then use Highway 99 north to Fresno and Highway 41 to the South Entrance of Yosemite National Park. Note that Highway 99 can be incredibly foggy in the winter, so drive carefully."

Use Google Maps for mileage estimates. If it's stormy or if you stop the car for gasoline, meals, stretching your legs, etc, your drive time will exceed the Google Maps estimate (they don't allow any time to stop at all.)

Dollar does not allow tire chains. I'd guess, and again it's a guess, that there are some visitors who end up using chains anyway. But in early November? I'd be surprised to see a huge storm in the mountains and to see folks buying chains for their rental cars.

San Francisco...
Level Contributor
5,481 posts
167 reviews
Save Reply
9. Re: Bishop to Yosemite

>>B. From Bishop "You can drive north on 395 to Minden - take 756 to Hwy 88 and over the mountains to Hwy 49 and south to Hwy 120 into Yosemite. You could also take Hwy 49 to Hwy 140 (low elevation) to Yosemite Lodge."

--> how long will this take?<<

That route is going to be at least an 8 hour drive and that's a lot of driving for only one night in Yosemitie

Fortaleza, CE
Level Contributor
9,183 posts
376 reviews
Save Reply
10. Re: Bishop to Yosemite

Bishop to Yosemite if Tioga is closed but Carson Pass or Echo Summit are open: http://goo.gl/maps/UFIHb, http://goo.gl/maps/2ITqR

Death Valley to Yosemite by southern route http://goo.gl/maps/eNi7b (Hwy. 58, Tehachapi Pass, can be closed by snow, but usually only briefly).

Death Valley to Monterey http://goo.gl/maps/JNF8f

Tioga Pass is much higher than Yosemite Valley, so after Tioga Pass is clsoed people still drve to Yosemite from the west.

I think most, but not all, car rental companies prohibit use of chains. Do a search on their Web site or phone them.

Edited: 09 October 2012, 17:53