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Mono Lake, Sequoia National Park and Yosemite

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Sacramento...
posts: 1
Mono Lake, Sequoia National Park and Yosemite

Need advice where to stay in a central location to hit all three places within a 7-10 day period. camping not an option, would need reasonable but nice lodging for potential trip in March, April or May.

Would also like opinions on how to spread trip out during that time period between the three locations, want to see the falls running at Yosemite and do easy-moderate hikes since we have someone who may experience potential asthma issues during visit so nothing too strenuous but two photographers in the group who will want the most bang for their buck. Traveling from Sacramento.....

San Francisco
Destination Expert
for Death Valley Junction, Death Valley National Park
posts: 11,421
reviews: 42
1. Re: Mono Lake, Sequoia National Park and Yosemite

There is no central location to use as a base for exploring all these places. There is no such thing as “hitting all three places” with a quick commute. This is especially true in the early spring when Tioga Pass is closed. In temperate seasons, you can drive between Mono Lake and Yosemite Valley, but it’s a long trip around when the road is closed for winter.

To get from Mono Lake to the other side of the Sierra Nevada when Tioga is closed, you have two choices. One is to go north on 395 to the Tahoe area, west on Hwy 50 to Hwy 49, and down through the Mother Lode to the Sonora area. The whole trip from Lee Vining to Yosemite would be something like 325 miles or more. After seeing Yosemite, take Hwy 41 out toward Fresno to get to Sequoia.

The other choice is to go south on 395 to either 178 or 58 for Bakersfield, go through Porterville and Three Rivers and visit Sequoia-Kings Canyon first. That trip will be close to 400 miles. Later, exit Sequoia toward Fresno to go to Yosemite.

Sometimes Tioga Pass opens in May, but it's impossible now to project that far ahead. If you could make your trip when you are positive the pass will be open, it will much less complicated. In that case, the travel distance from Lee Vining to Yosemite to Fresno to Sequoia would be closer to 250 miles, not counting detours and sightseeing. But there is still no single place that you can use as a base; you’ll have to pack up and move.

Washington State
Destination Expert
for Yosemite National Park
posts: 42,564
reviews: 75
2. Re: Mono Lake, Sequoia National Park and Yosemite

Hi jmicha

If you pop over to the Yosemite NP forum page, you can read about the lodging options for your time in that National Park. This forum is a great place to plan your time in SEKI.

I am, of course, assuming that you have read F_RR's reply and now understand the impossibility of using one location. Yosemite Valley to Sequoia or Kings Canyon is about 4 hours.

When you post an additional thread on the Yosemite forum, we can help you with low activity hikes & walks as well as photography ideas.

Remember that March is still winter, April is a little warmer but still muddy, and May is when waterfalls are really rushing along. May is more crowded as well.

Fremont, California
Destination Expert
for San Francisco
posts: 15,717
reviews: 2,500
3. Re: Mono Lake, Sequoia National Park and Yosemite

It is easiest to do this in very late May or early June - since Tioga Pass may be open by then.....That is a factor and if the snow continues to fall like it has so far this season, it could be a late opening for Tioga Pass (i.e. June....) But who knows - we could get very warm weather again by January and then it might open early.

Since you are in your early stages, I would do it later then earlier if at all possible.

For Mono Lake, stay in June Lake Loop - I would suggest staying at Gull Lake Lodge ...easy walk to two lakes; reasonably priced; and my sister who has allergy problems seems to do ok staying here. its a no frills type place with a small kitchen - but with the separate living room and bedroom makes for a nice place for staying.

From Sacramento I would probably drive Highway 50 to South lake Tahoe and continue to highway 395 (if you want to see part of Lake Tahoe). Drive south on highway 395 to Mono Lake/Lee Vining/June Lake Loop.

I would probably spend 2 nights in this area to see other sites in this area - Mammoth Lakes, Mono Lakes, June Lake Loop;

For Yosemite, the best is to get in park lodging. Check the National Park site for lodging options - I would probably pick the Lodge at the falls...

www.yosemitepark.com/yosemite-lodge.aspx

(Note; Getting lodging will be hard - many book a year in advance).

For Yosemite - I would suggest 2 nights in the Valley - but reservations can often dictate how long you can stay there.

If Tioga Pass is open drive over Tioga Pass - if not its a long day backtracking back to highway 49 and entering Yosemite via the west entrances.

After seeing Yosemite, I would drive the road to Wawona, see the Big Tree area of the park, and plan to stay in Oakhurst. Its a short drive the next day then to Sequoia National park. The Best Western there is nice to stay at with lovely mural of Yosemite painted on the walls of the hotel rooms.

From there go to Sequoia - due to snow, Kings Canyon may or may not be an option. I would stay 2 nights in this area...

4. Re: Mono Lake, Sequoia National Park and Yosemite

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