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Most efficient route from SFO to Carmel during rush hour

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Orlando
posts: 346
reviews: 111
Most efficient route from SFO to Carmel during rush hour

(repost from my other thread; cross posting to SF forum)

Our flight gets in at 3:50, so assuming all is on time and car rental goes smoothly, that puts us on the road around 5-530 on a Tues. Will traffic be as horrific as I think (it is here in Orlando)? Would love any suggestions for the fastest or most efficient route to Carmel that time of day (we'll save the scenic drive for the drive back to SF).

Santa Cruz...
Destination Expert
for Santa Cruz
posts: 25,201
reviews: 5
1. Re: Most efficient route from SFO to Carmel during rush hour

Go slightly north from SFO and take Hwy 380 up to Hwy 280. Go south. At about Cupertino, take Hwy 85, marked "Gilroy". This runs into Hwy 101 around Morgan Hill. Then watch for Hwy 156 WEST to take you to Hwy 1 and Monterey/Carmel.

Hwy 280 is actually very scenic, as it runs through the foothills of the Coast Range. It is also a very good freeway, 8 lanes, with little traffic. Taking Hwy 85 from there to Hwy 101 bypasses San Jose and its traffic.

Take care on Hwy 156. 156 EAST comes into Hwy 101 quite a distance before Hwy 156 WEST.

I do not think with this route you are going to run into horrendous traffic. You might, however, if you followed the "logical" route of just taking Hwy 101 from the airport all the way.

Santa Cruz...
Destination Expert
for Santa Cruz
posts: 25,201
reviews: 5
2. Re: Most efficient route from SFO to Carmel during rush hour

I think we gave you this route on your other thread. Trust us.

Orlando
posts: 346
reviews: 111
3. Re: Most efficient route from SFO to Carmel during rush hour

Puter~~yes, Kibblesmom suggested the exact same route as the others and we'll definitely take the advice of locals, for sure.

Thanks for the help!

Pacific Grove...
Destination Expert
for Monterey, Carmel, Pacific Grove, Monterey Peninsula
posts: 5,247
reviews: 25
4. Re: Most efficient route from SFO to Carmel during rush hour

The slowest section of the suggested route (I also agree that it's the best) is likely to be on 85 and the first part of 101, but then it will open up around Morgan Hill. Have a safe drive!

5. Re: Most efficient route from SFO to Carmel during rush hour

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