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Driving to Yosemite, Mono Lake and Sequoia NP during March

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Herzliya, Israel
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Driving to Yosemite, Mono Lake and Sequoia NP during March

Hello!

As part of our trip during March we will be heading out of Death Valley into Yosemite Valley, and were hoping to visit Mono Lake and Sequoia NP while in the area. From there we will continue to Lake Tahoe. But I'm not sure in which order we should visit them in order to minimize driving distance, and if it's not too big of a detour vs directly going to Yosemite Valley. From what I understand some of the roads may be blocked because of snow, so I'm not sure about the routes.

Washington State
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1. Re: Driving to Yosemite, Mono Lake and Sequoia NP during March

The road from the eastern Sierra to Yosemite Valley is closed. To include all of these destinations means crossing the Sierra Nevada near Tahoe or circling around the southern end of the mountain range.

This appears to be the route you are describing: http://goo.gl/maps/xTu6r

I hope you have about at least a week for this multi-destination drive.

If you have questions about visiting Yosemite NP, this is the place to ask. The Top Questions has info about winter driving. In March, we hope that there are not as many snowstorms requiring folks to use tire chains. But so far this year, there haven't been enough snowstorms.

LA
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2. Re: Driving to Yosemite, Mono Lake and Sequoia NP during March

I think you get to chose either Mono Lake or Yosemite/ Sequoia NP. They are on opposite sides of the Sierras, and you cannot easily get from one to the other before Tioga Pass opens.

Uden, The...
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3. Re: Driving to Yosemite, Mono Lake and Sequoia NP during March

How long do you have for this trip? You can't cross the Sierra from 395 to Seki at all. Summer or winter and the drive from 395 to Seki in winter is via Walker pass or via Tehachapi south of the Sierra. The only all weather road north of Tioga pass is hw88 and that's a long detour. Also that part of 395 (north of Bishop) can have heavy snow and chains may be required. 395 will lead to Lake Tahoe though and from Tahoe you eventually can take 88.

Los Angeles
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4. Re: Driving to Yosemite, Mono Lake and Sequoia NP during March

There's no way you could do this in March without a lot of backtracking (or making a big circle - a really big circle). You don't say where you want to end up after this leg of your journey, but to give you an idea of why people are saying you best have about a week for this, here's a possible itinerary:

Death Valley to Bishop, stay Bishop, see Mono Lake.

Drive up towards Reno/Tahoe to take the interstate (I-80) around the Sierras and either hit the 5 towards Yosemite, or if your map-using skills are good, find the back road (49) towards Yosemite. I do not think you can get from Bishop to Yosemite in one day unless you would be willing to drive more than 8-9 hours through varied and often scenic terrain (including Donner Pass, which could be slow going - I wouldn't rely on google map times for this trip at any time of year, but the Donner Pass can close for snow and can require chains - since you will be in a rental, you would have to find someplace to stay until the roads were clear, because you most likely won't be permitted to put chains on your rental). We're all hoping it will snow heavily in March, as that is one month where lots of snow is still possible and we really need it.

So anyway, plan to stay one night between Bishop, maybe even two if the weather requires it (Sonora could be your second stop).

So - Death Valley, 1 night.

Bishop - 1 night

Somewhere between Bishop and Sonora - possible 1 night (maybe Tahoe)

Sonora or maybe a little closer to Yosemite - 1 night

Yosemite - 3 nights would be the minimum for me, but I suppose you could do two, but that would give you really only 1 full day in Yosemite.

Sequoia - 2 nights

In March, it is very unlikely that you can get to Sequoia by the 180, since the General's Highway will almost certainly still be closed between Kings Canyon and Sequoia. So allow 5 hours to drive to Sequoia via Three Rivers - maybe stay Three Rivers 2 nights if you want to spend 1 day in the park. If you can get reservations at Wuksachi, allow 6 hours to get from Yosemite to Wuksachi at that time of year (and I'm speaking only of the driving - not comfort break, gassing up your car or eating; there's no gas in Sequoia btw). If you spent only 1 night in Sequoia, you'd have a long drive to get anywhere that you might be going next - and no time to see the park. I'd stay 2 nights in Sequoia minimum, and you'll still feel you rushed it.

That's 9 nights. Now, it's possible the weather will be grand and you'll feel like driving hours and hours on that Bishop towards Sonora/Yosemite day, so you could make it 8 nights, and see just a little of the two parks (and you will have done ALL of this in order to see Mono Lake - keep that in mind; Mono Lake is beautiful and weird and wonderful to photograph at dawn and dusk, but it's unlikely you'll actually be there at those times without major planning - and, I can't imagine spending much more than an hour or two there).

SO. The alternative is to go DV-Three Rivers-Sequoia-Yosemite. Again, I don't have a clue where you are going to next, which could play a role. DV to Bakersfield/then Three Rivers then Sequoia for a night, then Yosemite - makes much more sense.

DV - 1 night

Three Rivers - 1 night

Wuksachi/Sequoia - 1-2 nights

Yosemite - 3 nights

Still would need to carry chains, for sure, that time of year, but the all-weather road into Yosemite Valley (140) will be open and you can almost certain navigate it without chains (same is probably true of the 198 leading into Sequoia). Unless there is an actual storm on the days you visit, you should be okay without chains (but they will ask if you have them at the ranger kiosk, as weather changes quickly up there). If it does storm, just wait it out...be prepared to add a night in your itinerary for that possibility.

San Diego
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5. Re: Driving to Yosemite, Mono Lake and Sequoia NP during March

Hello! I have been reading this thread with great interest. We are thinking about a road trip up to Tahoe --from San Diego in mid March.

First leg: Driving to China Lake in the late afternoon/evening--arriving late--staying at the Best Western.

Second Leg: Driving to Tahoe up the 395--stopping in either Mammoth or Mono Lake for lunch--arriving in Tahoe that afternoon.

Two questions: will we need chains? And where is the best place to stop for lunch on the way up to Tahoe?

THANKS!

Uden, The...
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6. Re: Driving to Yosemite, Mono Lake and Sequoia NP during March

That Best Western is in Ridgecrest but it's a good place to stay overnight.

This thread belongs to ShirBrr so suggest to open a new topic ("ask a question") for yourself.

Buenos Aires
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7. Re: Driving to Yosemite, Mono Lake and Sequoia NP during March

Drive road trip LA - Vegas - Sequoia Park - Tahoe - SF during february , is it possible to drive and enyoy at the same time? How long does it take and wich roads should we take. Cause we have to concern about the snow period. Thanks a lot for helping us

Edited: 27 September 2014, 02:14
Uden, The...
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8. Re: Driving to Yosemite, Mono Lake and Sequoia NP during March

Fernanda suggest to open a new topic for yourself and be more specific like how long you have for this trip and if you want to visit Yosemite also.

9. Re: Driving to Yosemite, Mono Lake and Sequoia NP during March

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