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Road trip suggestions wanted - Phx - Yosemite -Phx

Arizona
Level Contributor
1,324 posts
47 reviews
Road trip suggestions wanted - Phx - Yosemite -Phx

I'd like some suggestions - we want to break the drive to Yosemite into a couple days, second day ending around Oakhurst, so on our 3rd day, we can get to Mariposa Grove early. This is mid-week in mid-October. We have 3 nights in Yosemite Valley Lodge, and would like to travel back to Phoenix via Tioga Pass road, spending 2 nites. Thinking maybe Bishop after leaving Mono Lake area. I can't yet quite figure best towns outside LA area to stay overnight. Victorville on way up? Quite a few options, hoping someone who has done these routes before can offer suggestions. Trying to keep any single day drive under 400 miles. Thank you.

9 replies to this topic
Los Angeles...
Destination Expert
for Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Park
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1. Re: Road trip suggestions wanted - Phx - Yosemite -Phx

First, have a plan B in case of closure of Tioga (which would likely be temporary in mid-October, but you can never be sure).

That's a long trip to do in 3 days, if you want to see anything along the way, but if it's just mainly driving, not so bad.

Me, personally, would go up to Flagstaff and head west on the I-40, avoiding much traffic and the LA area by taking the 58 to Bakersfield. Also, it's a bit more scenic. Then simply stay on the 99 north to the 41 into Oakhurst.

As for an overnight spot, I'd choose Tehachapi or Bakersfield. Again, purely personal preference, but I'd try to get closer to the park on Day 2 (so I'd pick Bakersfield...but that's about 7.5 hours worth of driving - maybe time to see a couple of route 66 sights, but I'd plan to arrive Bakersfield in the early evening).

If you get to Oakhurst early, you could stroll around the grounds of Tenaya Lodge or if the little railroad is operating near Fish Camp, do that. See Bass Lake. You'll probably think it's pretty wonderful, but it's barely an appetizer for what you'll see in Yosemite.

Bishop would be fine for your return trip (I really love that town) but so would Lone Pine. You could see the Bristlecone Pine Forest (the views are amazing), visit Alabama Hills, gaze up at Mt Whitney, etc (this is near Lone Pine).

Yes, you could do Victorville on the way up - but that would mean you'd already chosen the 10 to the 15. Which is fine, too. Absolutely nothing in Victorville, I'm not fond of it (or Barstow) but it definitely works as a stopping point. It's only a 5 hour drive or so from Phoenix - not sure what you'd want to see on the way (don't think you have time for Joshua Tree and there are not a lot of roadside attractions). You'd have to consult Google Maps on the morning you leave Victorville to see which of the several routes look best for you, in getting onward to Bakersfield. You will have veered east again to go to Victorville, so you either backtrack down the 15 briefly to catch the 395 North (then the 58). I'm not sure that the route is well marked on the surface streets, so you'll end up driving south on the 15 till you see the offramp for the 395 north.

Absolutely nothing on that stretch of the 395, IMO, but it is kind of peaceful.

Here's some info on Tehachapi:

insidesocal.com/66/…

Arizona
Level Contributor
1,324 posts
47 reviews
2. Re: Road trip suggestions wanted - Phx - Yosemite -Phx

Thanks for the ideas, but Bakersfield is nearly 500 miles, and more than we want to do in one day, and why I mentioned Victorville. Sightseeing not important until we get close to Yosemite. We've driven I-10 and I-40 to LA enough to not have anyplace we want to visit along that part. Day 2 would be from somewhere NE of LA area, up to Oakhurst area to spend nite 2. Bishop sounds like a good distance to drive with enough time to visit sights along Tioga Pass road to east, then heading south. What's a good mid-point between Bishop and Phoenix? Thanks!

3. Re: Road trip suggestions wanted - Phx - Yosemite -Phx

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Arizona
Level Contributor
1,324 posts
47 reviews
4. Re: Road trip suggestions wanted - Phx - Yosemite -Phx

I removed my last post as it was too late to change it. Made our reservations for trip up and back, staying at Best Westerns as they seem to be pretty consistent. First night staying in Lancaster, then next night in Oakhurst.

3 nights in Yosemite Valley Lodge, then drive Tioga pass Road sightseeing to Bishop for the night. Then easy drive and sightseeing south to San Bernadino for one more night - we'll have time to enjoy the pool and hot tub each night if we so choose. Not excited about Lancaster or San Bernadino, but it splits the drive up nicely.

Looking forward to new adventures and seeing Yosemite for the first time.

Los Angeles...
Destination Expert
for Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Park
Level Contributor
14,426 posts
120 reviews
5. Re: Road trip suggestions wanted - Phx - Yosemite -Phx

Sounds like a great plan. I had suggested Tehachapi (not just Bakersfield). Again, have a Plan B because we’ve entered our Fall cooling phase (thank goodness).

Goldfield, Nevada
Level Contributor
11,179 posts
34 reviews
6. Re: Road trip suggestions wanted - Phx - Yosemite -Phx

Your choice of where to stay for the first night after Yosemite includes Lee Vining, June Lake, Mammoth Lakes, Bishop, Big Pine, Independence, Lone Pine, and others including several mountain resorts.

Stay near what you want to see and do. Here is a photo travelogue of the eastern Sierra region, showing the most popular sights in the region: travelswithbillandnancy.com/eastern_sierras.…

October is the fall color season in the eastern Sierra region. Here is a map and guide you can download, and print out if you want, which shows you the usual locations of the fall colors: http://tinyurl.com/hw5zeps

Also, check the site http://californiafallcolor.com before your drive. They have frequent updates of the latest "sightings" of colors, so you can choose the best location for the day you are there.

If you drive the June Lake Loop (158), that will put you right in the middle of the aspens which should be in full color, and you can see without any hiking. However on a clear sunny day there may be plenty of other people enjoying the colors too.

Arizona
Level Contributor
1,324 posts
47 reviews
7. Re: Road trip suggestions wanted - Phx - Yosemite -Phx

Thank you - we chose Bishop for the night as it gives us plenty of time to explore Tioga Pass and Mono lake after we leave the valley. Short drive next day also, so time to explore around Bishop before we leave. Thanks for the links - we'll check out our options more.

Arizona
Level Contributor
1,324 posts
47 reviews
8. Re: Road trip suggestions wanted - Phx - Yosemite -Phx

Update - revised our trip home, after Bishop, we decided to drive thru Death Valley on Rt 190 and do some sightseeing there, never been there. We'll continue on to overnight in Las Vegas and place some football bets. Vegas will be a lot more fun than San Bernadino, and our last leg back to Az is still an easy drive.

Los Angeles...
Destination Expert
for Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Park
Level Contributor
14,426 posts
120 reviews
9. Re: Road trip suggestions wanted - Phx - Yosemite -Phx

Yep, Vegas will be a lot more fun than San Bernardino.

Happy Trails! (Sounds like a really great trip, and it's been beautiful weather so far in October).

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