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Fly Vegas to Fresno or drive all the way?

Dublin, Ireland
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Fly Vegas to Fresno or drive all the way?


I'm travelling alone to California (plus Vegas) in late Sept. My next main stop after Vegas will be SF (for an onward flight)

I want to take in Yosemite but can only give it one night maximum, and ideally just one very long day.

Any views on whether its worth flying, early morning, from Vegas to Fresno and picking up a car to access Yosemite from there and then onwards to SF (either late that night or the next day)...or would that be a waste of time & money - should I just drive to Yosemite from Vegas?

Thanks for any advice :)

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1. Re: Fly Vegas to Fresno or drive all the way?

Well by flying you'd surely have many more hours to visit Yosemite than if you drove which is many many hours.

Visalia, CA
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2. Re: Fly Vegas to Fresno or drive all the way?

It would be a lot of driving but it is doable. You could drive from Las Vegas to Lee Vining and stay a night there. I've never done that drive but have read on TA that it is very pretty. According to my phone its 340 miles, about 6 hours without stops.

From From Lee Vining it is about 90 miles to Yosemite Valley over Tioga Pass. The road is 1 lane and mostly good though it is a bit narrower on the west side of the Sierras. You might want to stop a few times on the way over the pass. There is a lookout from which you can see the back side of Half Dome. You may also want to stretch your legs at Tuloumne Meadows. From Yosemite Valley itself to SF it is about 220 miles.

The flight from LV to Fresno last about an hour. From the Fresno Airport to Yosemite Valley is about 2 hours. If you don't mind the driving I think that would be a nice drive. However if you want to hike and do other things in Yosemite that doesn't leave you much time.

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3. Re: Fly Vegas to Fresno or drive all the way?

1 lane over Tioga Pass? You mean 1 lane in each direction, so not a multi lane hiway

San Diego...
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4. Re: Fly Vegas to Fresno or drive all the way?

You can fly from Las Vegas to Merced, California on Great Lakes Airways. I think they have 3 flights a day, and the fare is reasonable if you book well in advance. Then you can take a YARTS bus from the Merced Airport to Yosemite Valley. See http://yarts.com for the Highway 140 route. That way you can get all the way from Las Vegas to Yosemite Valley on the same day without renting a car or driving at all.

Los Angeles...
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5. Re: Fly Vegas to Fresno or drive all the way?

I think if you added up the hours you would not really save much time flying. The extra driving time could be a wash since you could drive through the scenic Owens Valley, past Mono Lake, up Tioga Pass, through Tuolumne Meadows and along Tioga Road to get to Yosemite Valley. Spending time in airports and driving from Fresno or Merced is meh! If you had another half day or more you could see some of Yosemite Valley, drive to Glacier Pt. and make a few other stops and you've done a lot.


Fremont, California
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6. Re: Fly Vegas to Fresno or drive all the way?

Fly from Las Vegas to Reno, Nevada - not Fresno. Fly Southwest Airlines - there are several flights each day. Let's say you got one of the flights before 8:00 a.m. (there are later ones.).

There are multiple flights each day. Reno is so close to Lake tahoe you could drive to Tahoe, have breakfast, see the lake, drive down to highway 395 via Kingsbury Pass.

Drive south on highway 395 to Tioga Pass (about 2 hours away). This will give you an opportunity to see the Tolumne Meadows. Then drive through to the valley and back out of the valley and take 120 out of the park towards San Francisco.

It would be a long one day , but a beautiful day.

The drive to other places is boring - and dull. Fresno, I know is an option, but to see the best of the best, just fly Southwest to reno. Car rental is on the airport for most types of cars - so generally you can be on your way within half hour of landing even if you have to pick up luggage (shorter if all carry on.).

I would fly but just change your location to reno.

Edited: 20 July 2013, 05:18
San Francisco...
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7. Re: Fly Vegas to Fresno or drive all the way?

I don't want to jinx you, but we had a 5 hr delay when we flew from San Jose to Vegas (to go to Utah). Have you looked into the availability of one-way car rentals? My sense is that you can't do it from every airport and/or the fees can be steep! if you like nature, Zion is a couple hours from Vegas, but very different than Yosemite. I much prefer nature, so personally I'd cut time in Vegas, in favor of Yosemite or any natural place.

8. Re: Fly Vegas to Fresno or drive all the way?

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