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Driving from Bay Area to Bryce Canyon around Thanksgiving

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san jose
posts: 36
reviews: 1
Driving from Bay Area to Bryce Canyon around Thanksgiving

Google map give 2 routes: one (CA-120E) is by going through Yosamite, Cedar city, the other is going south via Bakersfield, Las Vegas (LV) and up north again to Bryce. The Yosamite route is shorter distance-wise. Google map gives about equal driving time for both routes (~12hr), but Yahoo map actually pegs an extra hour (~13hr) since it goes through winding roads in high Sierra. Since we travel around Thanksgiving time, will there be snow in Nov for that part of high Sierra (Yosamite, Mono Lake), Any chance of road closure around Nov? The reason I ask is that we will be going to Las Vegas after we are done with Bryce/Zion before heading back to bay area so I like to try a different route when we go to Bryce, plus the benefit of visiting Mono Lake on the way. But I am kind of worried about the weather/road condition if I drive through Yosamite during Thanksgiving time.

Thanks,

Salt Lake City, Utah
Destination Expert
for Utah
posts: 13,122
reviews: 117
1. Re: Driving from Bay Area to Bryce Canyon around Thanksgiving

I have not done the route across Nevada. Whether it is even a possibility depends on the weather conditions over the pass. If it is open I would go that way for the exact reason you gave, just a different route.

I just checked the nps website for yosemite and they recommend calling direct to the park to get the latest updates for the road.

The year we went to Yosemite we went the week before Thanksgiving. We hit a huge storm over Donner Pass that closed I-80 for 4 hrs. At Yosemite it snowed 18inches that night. It was a beautiful winter wonderland, the hotel had sleds that we took out sledding, lots of fun, but the high mt roads were definitely closed.

Encinitas...
Destination Expert
for Zion National Park, Joshua Tree National Park
posts: 12,991
reviews: 9
2. Re: Driving from Bay Area to Bryce Canyon around Thanksgiving

Tioga Pass, the east exit of Yosemite has already had some closures due to snow.Check the Yosemite forums for that.Odds are it may be closed when you want to drive it.You will have to drive around on the other route.

Las Vegas, Nevada
posts: 92
reviews: 2
3. Re: Driving from Bay Area to Bryce Canyon around Thanksgiving

The Tioga Pass is usually closed before Thanksgiving. Here is a link to a web site showing the closing dates since 1933....the average being Nov. 1st

www.monobasinresearch.org/data/tiogapass.htm

Edited: 9:59 pm, October 11, 2010
san jose
posts: 36
reviews: 1
4. Re: Driving from Bay Area to Bryce Canyon around Thanksgiving

Thank you all for the feedback. Sounds like the Yosamite route is mostly out around thanksgiving time.

san jose
posts: 36
reviews: 1
5. Re: Driving from Bay Area to Bryce Canyon around Thanksgiving

Oh, a follow-up question--I know it could snow in Bryce during thanksgiving (or Zion?). What is the likelihood that we might need 4 wheel drive for any part of the road (Las Vegas->Bryce->Zion->Page->LV)? We have reserved a Prius for this trip to save on gas. But if there is a chance that we will need a 4x4, we'll just take our own SUV instead.

Thanks,

Torrey, Utah
Destination Expert
for Torrey, Capitol Reef National Park
posts: 1,009
reviews: 46
6. Re: Driving from Bay Area to Bryce Canyon around Thanksgiving

The need for a 4WD really depends on road conditions and your willingness to drive in those conditions. The roads are ploughed regularly but in a big storm they become snow covered - you can guess as well as anyone else whether such a storm will hit during your trip.

Torrey, Utah
Destination Expert
for Torrey, Capitol Reef National Park
posts: 1,009
reviews: 46
7. Re: Driving from Bay Area to Bryce Canyon around Thanksgiving

If the weather looks good for your trip I reccomend taking US50 across Nevada and going back by the southern route. You will see some amazing desert country. If you need to save time use I80 to Reno then alternate 50 across to Fallon avoiding Lake Tahoe.

8. Re: Driving from Bay Area to Bryce Canyon around Thanksgiving

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