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What to see between Yosemite Valley, and LA

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Bancroft, Canada
Level Contributor
16 posts
10 reviews
What to see between Yosemite Valley, and LA

Me and a friend of mine have a big trip to Cali planned out for mid April. We are looking to fly into LA spend some time with a family member I have there for a day, then make our way to Big Sur, and over to Yosemite Valley for a couple days. What is a must see between Yosemite Valley and LA? We are forced to take western side of park back as I've been informed Tioga Pass will be closed when we go there, plus I've already seen as far as Mono Lake on the East side anyways, so I guess I just wondered what is interesting and a must see on the drive back to LA on the west side of yosemite. Even something as simple as an hour stay, or visit. Or a quick lake to visit, or any scenic little trails to hit up. Something that can break up the long trek back to LA that makes us feel like we accomplished even more!

I also wondered about perhaps flying into LA, driving up the coast and over to Yosemite, and flying back to Canada from Fresno Yosemite Airport?? Do you think this is possible with car rentals, and affordable? I know it gets expensive switching airports and cities, just wondered if fresno is cheaper!


Grover Beach, Ca
Destination Expert
for Pismo Beach, Cambria, Big Sur
Level Contributor
17,163 posts
9 reviews
1. Re: What to see between Yosemite Valley, and LA

Once you're out of Yosemite and hit the Fresno area, it's a long boring drive through ag land, brown skies, small farm towns and.... Bakersfield.

There might be a few places worth a stop once you crest the Grapevine, such as Frazier Park, Fort Tejon and Castaic Lake. At least there are plenty of dining options along the Highway 99/I-5 route, but I would try to get back to LA ASAP, myself.... if it were me.

Edited: 10:12 pm, March 18, 2013
Washington State
Destination Expert
for Yosemite National Park
Level Contributor
47,169 posts
92 reviews
2. Re: What to see between Yosemite Valley, and LA

You can visit Mariposa Grove at the southern end of Yosemite on your last afternoon, and then sleep in Oakhurst that night. So your final drive to L.A. will be 1.5 hrs shorter than leaving from Yosemite Valley.

Maximize the time you spend in the Park and minimize the time you spend driving down Hwy 99 & I-5.

However, here are some ideas ... "Farm fresh food: the San Joaquin Valley" tripadvisor.com/Travel-g28926-c175348

It would be quite expensive to drop the car at FAT and fly home. It's doable, but expensive.

Bancroft, Canada
Level Contributor
16 posts
10 reviews
3. Re: What to see between Yosemite Valley, and LA

Thanks guys! I kind of had a feeling it was going to be a straight shot and boring, but I'd love to see Mariposa Grove and Castaic lake so I'll definitely fit those in. And Thanks for the tip on staying in Oakhurst, I like that idea a lot! I researched more on flying and its just not doable with our budget... Going to cost WAY more than just gasing up a small car for a 4 hour drive. And 99 may be boring, but 395 was RIDICULOUS... It was neat to see change in terrain but OH MY GOODNESS I've never felt like I've been in a car that long till then. ( And I drive to Texas all the time from Toronto, so thats saying something! )

Thanks again!

4. Re: What to see between Yosemite Valley, and LA

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