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Yosemite Double Back?

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Toronto, Canada
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Yosemite Double Back?

Looking for some advice. Was initially planning to drive from SF to Yosemite for 3 nights and then down to Santa Cruz. I like the idea of driving through the Park on 120 and seeing Mono Lake, Lee Vining, Mammoth Lakes, etc. in lieu of staying in YNP. However, from the maps, it looks like we would have to retrace our steps and exit Yosemite the way we came, OR drive much further south around ( or through) Sequioa and/or King' Canyon. Is this correct, or are their alternatives that I'm not seeing? What about the issue of potential road closures due to the weather? ( our dates are Oct 16-19). Would we be stuck?

Los Angeles
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for Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Park
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1. Re: Yosemite Double Back?

You can't drive *through* Sequoia and Kings Canyon as in, get from the east side of the Sierras to the West side. You have to drive around them.

If it were me, I'd go through Yosemite twice. The views each way are so different. You could, of course, head south on 395 to Ridgecrest, then take the 58 to Bakersfield and go around the Sierras (some of that drive is very scenic, the part past Ridgecrest is not).

Weather should not be affecting the roads on your dates, although it is not unheard of for snow to fall on the Tioga Road in mid-October (in which case, you'd have to find an alternate route to Mono Lake). The extended forecast goes out to Oct 12, with no snow in sight.

No, you wouldn't be stuck, you'd have the option mentioned above for getting back to the West, or you could take the 395 north to the 80 (through Sacramento). You might be covering some long distances, but you wouldn't be stuck. The 80 can close due to snow, but *extremely* unlikely in October.

San Diego...
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2. Re: Yosemite Double Back?

Those suggestions are good; you might also consider this:

Day 1. Drive from San Francisco to Highway 120 through Yosemite to Lee Vining. About 5 to 6 hours of driving time, with the last couple hours highly scenic (Tioga Road). Stay that night either in Lee Vining or the June Lake area. Once you get down to Lee Vining, you should have no more worries about snow.

Day 2. Drive from Lee Vining to Lone Pine, which is normally only a 2-hour drive, but fill up the day with sights along the way, possibly including Mono Lake, June Lake Loop, Mammoth Lakes area, Bishop and Highway 168 west from Bishop, Tom's Place and Alabama Hills. Stay at Lone Pine that night. For a travelogue illustrating these places, see travelswithbillandnancy.com/eastern_sierras.…

You will be there at a time when fall colors will be visible in many locations. For a guide, download monocounty.org/docs/EasternSierraFallColorGu… and check for daily updates at http://californiafallcolor.com

Day 3. View Mount Whitney from Lone Pine in the morning sun, then make the drive over to the coast, such as Cambria or San Simeon. About 6 hours of driving time, and not particularly scenic or interesting. If you arrive early enough and are interested, take a tour of Hearst Castle.

Next day start the drive up the Big Sur coast, and stay that night in either Carmel, Monterey, Pacific Grove or you could make it all the way to Santa Cruz. But I would do the Big Sur drive slowly and finish the day at Point Lobos, then have dinner in Carmel.

Edited: 03 October 2013, 07:38
Fortaleza, CE
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3. Re: Yosemite Double Back?

You could loop south, to the south of Sequoia-KC (either the usual route, Hwy. 58, or the more scenic alternative of Walker Pass by Kernville), or back through Yosemite, or, just to avoid seeing the same scnery again, head west over the next pass to the north, Sonora Pass (Hwy. 108). Or even Hwy. 4, reportedly a much slower road, but then you could drop by Calaveras Big Trees State Park (state parks are open), and see Sierra redwoods.

Edited: 03 October 2013, 20:12
4. Re: Yosemite Double Back?

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