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Ideas for our last 3 nights after Yosemite .

Vernon, Canada
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Ideas for our last 3 nights after Yosemite .

Hi, we have a 3 week trip arranged- almost. We start in San Francisco , then head slowly down to LA, the over to Sequoia and finally Yosemite for 4 nights.

My problem is I have 3 nights left after Yosemite- and we fly back to BC at 6 pm on our last day. I'm not sure how best to use those nights/days. We are a couple with our 13 year old son. He is ok with most things as long as he has a pool to swim in at the end of the day. OH is a keen photographer. I love anything volcanic, we both love wildlife, scenery.

Ideas I'm floating with include Bodie, Columbia ,June lake, Mono lake but it doesn't fill my time. Vineyards are not really of interest as we live in the Okanagan BC surrounded by them.

Any suggestions?Anything slightly further north that's worth a detour?

Many thanks

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1. Re: Ideas for our last 3 nights after Yosemite .

Are you flying home from San Francisco? Do you think that in the time you visited you will have seen/done all to wish to see/do in the city?

Would you be interested in Lake Tahoe?

Edited: 26 June 2013, 00:04
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2. Re: Ideas for our last 3 nights after Yosemite .

Did you know that much of the Eastern Sierra Nevada has a volcanic history? It’s the home of the Long Valley Caldera, which last had a major eruption maybe 6,000,000 years ago. It isn’t dead; you’ve already learned about the hot springs. These extend to the north and south as far as Bridgeport and Owens Lake. Scientists believe the Long Valley Caldera has Krakatoa potential, similar to the Yellowstone mega-volcano. Earthquakes are common in the Eastern Sierra, and one of the giants of California history was at Lone Pine in 1872. Among other things, the vertical displacement created a lake south of town that is a popular recreation area today, big and deep enough to sail small boats.

Just east of Tioga Pass is Mono Lake, where you could spend a whole day enjoying the tufa spires and birds. Tufa is calcium carbonate that wells up from the lakebed and forms soft rock columns. Everywhere you see tufa was once submerged, and the story of why Mono Lake used to be much deeper is a fascinating saga of environmental concerns vs. urban growth. Lee Vining has two visitor centers. There are two good spots (and several minor ones) to access the shore and get near the tufa. One is north of town at Cemetery Road and County Park, where you walk on a boardwalk to the marshes; and the other is at Navy Beach Road on Hwy 120 east where you can walk right to the edge of the water.

North of the lake and accessible by the same road as County Park are the fissures, lava tubes that you can hike to. The little islands in the lake are ancient volcanoes. South of Mono Lake along Hwy 395, you can see the Aeolian Buttes, which are among the oldest existing rock formations in the US.

Devil’s Postpile National Monment is a volcanic area at Mammoth Lakes. The main geologic feature is basalt columns, lava that crystallized into hexagonal formations. This happened over periods of time during the last 100,000 years or so, so the area is now heavily forested. There are several hikes in this small park and meadows, waterfalls, and plant and animal life to see.

If you had more time before returning to SFO to fly home (or if you were driving home), many of us would suggest Lassen Volcanic National Park, the most active volcanic area in the US outside of Alaska, Hawaii, and Yellowstone. You can drive right to a spot with bubbling mud pots, steam vents, and delicious sulfur vapors. A short hike (about 3 miles round trip) goes to Bumpass Hell where the processes are magnified even more and it looks, sounds, and smells as if the volcano could erupt any minute. And it can; before Mt. St. Helens, Lassen was the last major mainland volcanic to erupt and it was in the lifetime of some people still breathing today. Going there would triple your mileage from Yosemite back to SFO. Maybe you can see it on a future trip to California.

Vernon, Canada
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3. Re: Ideas for our last 3 nights after Yosemite .

Thanks-

Lassen sounds amazing!

Would Lassen be do-able over the 3 nights from Yosemite?

San Francisco...
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4. Re: Ideas for our last 3 nights after Yosemite .

We have done this before.

Option 1: From Yosemite to Mammoth Lakes for 2-3 nights Then back to SF. This hits the Eastern Sierras mentioned above.

Option 2: From Yosemite to Lake Tahoe via Tioga Pass. Then up to Lassen then back to SF via Redding.

All very good options. Bumpass trial in Lassen is a mini Yellowstone without the geysers. There are hot springs in Mammoth too though not as impressive and it seems like the middle of Mono Lake is still smoking..

Edited: 26 June 2013, 02:19
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5. Re: Ideas for our last 3 nights after Yosemite .

I think adding Lassen would be good if you had more time, including an overnight stop or two to relax on the way. It just seems like a lot of miles to add on when you have only three days between Yosemite and SFO. Lake Tahoe would be a beautiful place to spend a day or two with a lot less driving, and maybe include part of the Gold Country (Placerville and Coloma would be perfect) on the way back to San Francisco.

Vernon, Canada
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6. Re: Ideas for our last 3 nights after Yosemite .

Thanks for these ideas

I don't mind driving. Reading about it, Lassen really does look fascinating and is only 4 hours from San Francisco according to google maps, so it may be possible and we would love it. We wanted go to Yellowstone again this year but our son found out it was a super volcano and refused to go! He's ok with Vancouver, Vancouver Island, San Francisco etc!!!!!!!! I would have to hide the info re the next Krakatoa!

I do also think the Gold Country would be interesting , I have a feeling another trip will be needed.

I will carry on researching, but am so grateful for info.

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7. Re: Ideas for our last 3 nights after Yosemite .

You could see some of the Gold Country between Sequoia and Yosemite. It would mean that coming from Fresno up Hwy 41, you would not continue to Oakhurst and Fish Camp but would turn onto Hwy 49.

Hwy 49 is the Mother Lode Highway, named for the Gold Rush of 1849; it goes along the west foothills of the Sierra Nevada. The first real Gold Rush town on this route is Mariposa, which is another of the Yosemite gateway towns, but if you like, you can continue on 49 past Hwy 120. Just north of the junction are the major Gold Rush towns of Jamestown, Sonora, and the smaller but just as interesting Columbia and/or Angels Camp. Then backtrack to Hwy 120 to enter Yosemite.

If you had time to do this, you would have the whole 3 days later for Lassen if you decide to go that far, or for whatever adventure you decide on. There are visitor centers near the north and south entrances. Soon after entering from the south, you get to Sulphur Works (it’s spelled “Sulphur” in this case), where you park and walk right to where the volcano is acting up. The rocks are colored by minerals in the water. Bumpass Hell is a hike, but just about any person in normal health can do it. It was named for a local settler named Kendall V. Bumpass, who discovered it around 1870 or maybe was the first to talk about it. While walking there, he stepped through a thin crust with a geothermal pool under it and severely burned his leg. He went home and talked to newspaper reporters about it, and after his leg healed he took some of them on a guided tour to see it—and fell through AGAIN! The second injury cost him his leg. There is a boardwalk for visitors, and plenty of warning signs. Mt. Lassen is a popular climb, which you may or may not have time for. There are also beautiful lakes (Manzanita Lake is in the north end, and the visitor center there is in a fine old stone building). Lassen has black bears.

There is one park resort, Drakesbad, which is not on the main park road but on a backcountry road from the town of Chester; and it’s generally sold out months in advance. The nearest outside lodgings would be rustic motels, cabin resorts, or campgrounds around Mineral, or in hamlets north of the park. Red Bluff is somewhat over an hour from the park and has a lovely setting right on the Sacramento River, and it has all visitor services.

Don’t put your entire trust in Google maps or any other program or website. Lassen Park is on a rural route off I-5 with lower speed limits. It’s about 250 miles to downtown San Francisco, and another 13 miles or so to the airport. An ETA of 4 hours would be shaving it extremely close; if you have a flight to catch, you might want to drive back the day before.

P.S. You have a good-looking dog :)

Vernon, Canada
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8. Re: Ideas for our last 3 nights after Yosemite .

Yes he is but wont be joining us in this adventure

I like your idea of the Mother Lode highway between sequoia and Yosemite,

Will look up timings

A bit of authentic gold mining plus volcano with pool for evenings would seen ideal

Merced, California
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9. Re: Ideas for our last 3 nights after Yosemite .

One of my favorite places with lots of photo ops is Pt Reyes national seashore north of SF. They have an earthquake trail. It shows where in the 1906 Quake a fence was split and relocated. Blue posts mark the exact location of the fault. The shoreline is incredibly beautiful. I have taken ton of photos there.

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10. Re: Ideas for our last 3 nights after Yosemite .

One thing to consider is when Bumpass Trail opens at Lassen. It typically is closed because of snow till July. It just opened this year and still has snow in some areas and hard going for young kids. So Lassen might not be a good option before July

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