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LV to Yosemite - Google Times Correct?

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Brisbane, Australia
Destination Expert
for Brisbane
Level Contributor
6,886 posts
57 reviews
LV to Yosemite - Google Times Correct?

Hi, If I Google driving directions LV to Yosemite it takes us along ... Route 95 to Tonopah, then onto 6 and turning right onto 120 leading us into the park.

It gives a time of 5 1/2 hours ... is this close to reality for actual driving time? And is this route open in the fall ... around Sept maybe early October?

I have asked this timing question on a couple of threads and so far haven't gotten a very clear answer so would really appreciate a clear idea of the time frame.

Thanks.

Edited: 7:45 pm, August 20, 2013
Mariposa, California
Destination Expert
for Yosemite National Park
Level Contributor
2,158 posts
37 reviews
1. Re: LV to Yosemite - Google Times Correct?

If I drive straight to Yosemite valley using the route you mention, with no stopping, somewhere around eight hours. It's less time to the east gate of Yosemite, but many people are asking for times to the very itself since that's where many postcard sights are found. To Tuolumne meadows take off about ninety minutes.

October is transition time and occasionally even end of September. This means cold storms can blow through closing the pass for a few hours or a few days. The final closure doesn't normally happen until later in the fall, but the temporary closures can still wreak havoc.

San Diego...
Level Contributor
8,830 posts
33 reviews
2. Re: LV to Yosemite - Google Times Correct?

That estimate is for only up to the park entrance. From the park entrance to Yosemite Valley you have another 2 hours of driving plus time at stops.

You could go the route Google gives, but it is not nearly as scenic as the route described in this article: tripadvisor.com/Travel-g28926-c182361/Califo…

Los Angeles
Destination Expert
for Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Park
Level Contributor
10,479 posts
87 reviews
3. Re: LV to Yosemite - Google Times Correct?

There is no really clear answer. I think that time is good if you do not get behind slow cars or moving road blocks (it's calculated by assuming you go roughly the speed limit the whole time). There should be no trouble in the late summer/early fall. No snow. There could be other hazards (sandstorms come to mind, but that's rare).

Right now, though 120 is closed (fire). That's why no one can guarantee you that time. Most of the time, people use real time data as they travel long distances to judge whether they need to change routes. Also, the 6 is, if IIRC, mostly 2 lane (someone please comment if someone hasn't already). For us, that means that Google times up to the Sierras can be an hour more - or, on rare occasions, as much as 30 minutes less because I have a lead foot and do not advise others to speed, and try not to. But people do, out on those 2 lane roads - the locals and frequent travelers like to speed, so some people will give you shorter times. Which are possible on some days.

Brisbane, Australia
Destination Expert
for Brisbane
Level Contributor
6,886 posts
57 reviews
4. Re: LV to Yosemite - Google Times Correct?

Thanks guys. I understand the timing issues ... speed, conditions etc ... I just needed to know that 5 google hours wasn't 10 real hours and we would be stuck somewhere in the dark.

We really just need to get to Yosemite to meet friends but still take advantage of some nice scenery along the way. Here in Australia we have loads of flat featureless landscapes but almost no snow covered alps so that would be what we are looking to see.

Thanks again.

Near Yosemite...
Level Contributor
3,778 posts
6 reviews
5. Re: LV to Yosemite - Google Times Correct?

I agree with marmot that close to 8 hours to Yosemite Valley is closer than the 5.5 hours. I have made this trip a few times and there is little traffic to worry about. Also, Hwy 120 is not closed now in the portion that you would travel on your route. Late September/early October is the fall color season and you should see some color changes on the aspen trees.

LA
Destination Expert
for Kohala Coast, Island of Hawaii
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9,326 posts
1 review
6. Re: LV to Yosemite - Google Times Correct?

Yes at least 8 hours.

It is almost two hours from the eastern entrance to Yosemite (Tioga Pass) to the more familiar Yosemite Valley sights.

Brisbane, Australia
Destination Expert
for Brisbane
Level Contributor
6,886 posts
57 reviews
7. Re: LV to Yosemite - Google Times Correct?

Great ... thanks. That clears that up. We "may" think about stopping one night somewhere. Good to know the distance within Yosemite itself.

Thanks again.

San Francisco
Destination Expert
for Death Valley Junction, Death Valley National Park
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11,746 posts
45 reviews
8. Re: LV to Yosemite - Google Times Correct?

** “Here in Australia we have loads of flat featureless landscapes but almost no snow covered alps so that would be what we are looking to see.” **

You have a far better chance of seeing the diverse, dramatic scenery you want by going through Death Valley and up Hwy 395, which runs close to the east side of the Sierra Nevada. We can’t predict how much snow there might be in October; that’s early in the season and it is possible there won’t be any. But for variety and views, this route has Hwy 95 and Tonopah completely whipped. You’ll see Mt. Whitney, Mammoth Lakes, Mono Lake, and all of the eastern Sierra Nevada close up, along with a string of charming small towns. Hwy 95 is flatter, with less diverse topography and far fewer towns, although Goldfield and Tonopah are interesting historic mining communities.

If you have a day to be flexible, it would be nice to take your time and see Death Valley (not just drive through it), see Mt. Whitney and some of the other sights along the way, stop over at Mammoth Lakes or Lee Vining, and see Mono Lake and Tioga Pass the next day on your way to the rendezvous with your friends. You’ll be more rested. You’ll also avoid starting over Tioga Pass in the afternoon and driving due west with the sun starting to set directly in your face while you’re trying to enjoy this beautiful, scenic, steep, curvy mountain road, As others mentioned, we can’t give precise time estimates because conditions change day by day, and also we do not know exactly where in Yosemite you are ultimately headed.

San Diego...
Level Contributor
8,830 posts
33 reviews
9. Re: LV to Yosemite - Google Times Correct?

You may or may not see snow (probably not), but you are likely to see fall colors on many of the trees. You can download a guide to where colors are typically found at www.monocounty.org/docs/FallColorGuide.pdf

And during the fall, daily updates of sightings are posted at http://californiafallcolor.com

This travelogue documents many of the sights that lie between Death Valley and Yosemite: travelswithbillandnancy.com/eastern_sierras.…

Edited: 2:36 am, August 21, 2013
California
Level Contributor
1,079 posts
10. Re: LV to Yosemite - Google Times Correct?

I want to add this reality . . .

* the sun starting to set directly in your face* driving west on the Tioga Pass highway can translate into . . . becoming blinded by the sun where you see absolutely nothing as you drive around a curve going uphill on a twisty curvy steep mountain road. Granted, the Tioga Pass ;highway is paved and it is a good road in good repair. But you will be driving westerly and the sun sets in the west. Being blinded by the setting sun as you drive around curves is not a pleasant road trip experience, in my opinion.

Take Frisco's advice and use an extra day for this trip so that you can drive the Tioga Pass road with the sun high in the sky.

Edited: 2:45 am, August 21, 2013