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1 night at Yosemite, then down to Las Vegas by Car. My Plan.

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Buenos Aires
posts: 58
reviews: 14
1 night at Yosemite, then down to Las Vegas by Car. My Plan.

Hi. I've been reading lots of posts and the stickies too. I think I'm ready for making questions.

We are visiting San Francisco, Las Vegas and LA. We'll start at San Francisco. Originally we were going to fly to Las Vegas from SF, but we decided to keep the car and drive, spending a night at Yosemite.

We are travelling with our two daughters (4 and 8). We can get our 8 yo to hike (she got to the top of Diamond Head in Honolulu), and I can take our little one on my shoulders or stroller for stroller friendly paths.

My plan is to leave SF at 7 AM, and get to the Yosemite Lodge at 11 AM (where we have one night booked for Oct 17th).

I was thinking on taking a look around the Hotel area, and then hit El Capitan and Tunnel view (by car). I've read that Falls will be dry: Is there a way to confirm water flow prior to our trip?

Is it a good idea to rent bikes with our daughters ages (the little one would go in a seat or trailer)? We would really like to rent bikes.

We'd also like to get to Glacier Point. I've read that it may be a good idea to stay until dark for a beautiful star display. So maybe after an hour or so of biking, we could grab the car and head to Glacier Point. Is this a good idea?

The following morning we would be on the car by 8AM, take Tioga Road (120) (History of Tioga Pass shows a high chance of it being open) to get to Las Vegas. We would stop by Tenaya Lake, then at Tuolumne Meadows, and we'll be on our way to Mono Lake (not sure if we'll stop there) to finally take 395.

I've read that it would be a good idea to replenish fuel and other necessities at Bishop. Is it so?

Then Continue through 395 up to Lone Pine, get 136 / 190 (Passing through Death Valley), arriving to Las Vegas through 160 (from Pahrump).

As far as I have learnt, this is the typical route. Please correct me if I'm wrong.

Please let me know if you would change or add something to my plan (specially considering daughters' age).

I would also like to know where you would recommend to stop for gas after the 4 hour drive from San Francisco, in order to start our Journey to Las Vegas with a full tank the following morning. I've read somewhere that gas prices near or at Yosemite are higher....

Sorry for the long post and quantity of questions.

Thank you so much in advance.

Regards,

Mx

Edited: 12:55 pm, September 19, 2013
LA
Destination Expert
for Kohala Coast, Island of Hawaii
posts: 9,327
reviews: 1
1. Re: 1 night at Yosemite, then down to Las Vegas by Car. My Plan.

You can check the Yosemite Falls webcam for conditions. the inverted yellow triangle on the rock face is where the water should be.

www.nps.gov/yose/photosmultimedia/webcams.htm

Last week the upper falls was completely dry. The lower falls had a tiny bit of dampness that could not even be described as a trickle.

I wouldn't be too optimistic about October 17th. The winter weather pattern probably will not have set in by then.

LA
Destination Expert
for Kohala Coast, Island of Hawaii
posts: 9,327
reviews: 1
2. Re: 1 night at Yosemite, then down to Las Vegas by Car. My Plan.

With little kids, I might stop at Mammoth, which is an hour before Bishop. They have the wonderful Schat's bakery there, as does Bishop, although they are technically owned by different and not collegial Schat's brothers.

Where are you staying between Yosemite and Las Vegas? That is going to be a brutal long day with little kids.

Edited: 1:27 pm, September 19, 2013
Buenos Aires
posts: 58
reviews: 14
3. Re: 1 night at Yosemite, then down to Las Vegas by Car. My Plan.

Thank you! I know it will be very long. But we'll take our chances. I think that with some stops in the middle we will make it just fine. I'll add the bakery to our route! Thanks! Mx

San Diego...
posts: 8,360
reviews: 29
4. Re: 1 night at Yosemite, then down to Las Vegas by Car. My Plan.

Yosemite Falls will be dry at the time of your trip, unless you get really lucky and there is a rain the day before you are there, but that is unlikely. Bridalveil Fall will likely be dry as well. There is some water flowing in Vernal and Nevada Falls, but to see them up close you have to hike up to them. You can see them from Glacier Point, but from far away. There will be some flow in the Merced River. You can confirm water flow by checking the webcams at www.nps.gov/yose/photosmultimedia/webcams.htm

I don't know what you mean by "hit El Capitan" but you will drive right by it on your way to Yosemite Lodge and again on your way out of the valley. You can stop and get out at certain places to look at it, though on the part the road that is closest to it you can't stop. There is no trail going up El Capitan or anything; it is a massive mostly vertical rock wall. Unless you are an experienced, skilled rock climber all you can do is look at El Capitan.

You can drive to Tunnel View easily. It's at the far western end of the valley. Follow the signs that say "Highway 41 Fresno." Tunnel View is the overlook on that road before the road goes into the long Wawona Tunnel.

Yes, it's a good idea to rent bikes and ride around and some of the bikes have child trailers or whatever they are called. http://tinyurl.com/knjg3u9 I'm not sure when they stop renting bikes for the year; more information is at http://www.yosemitepark.com/bike-rentals.aspx

Glacier Point is about a 1-hour drive from Yosemite Valley. Sunset is at 6:19 p.m. on October 17th, so I would leave Yosemite Valley no later than 4:30 or so. Yes, you can remain up there after dark to do some stargazing; just note that Glacier Point is at an elevation of 7,214 feet (2,199 m) above sea level, and will be chilly at night, even if the day was hot. So bring blankets to keep warm for stargazing.

To drive from Yosemite Valley to Las Vegas all in one day is a very long drive. If Tioga Road is open, the route through Tioga Pass, Lone Pine and Death Valley to Las Vegas is 424 miles 678 km), it's 9 hours of driving time plus time spent at stops along the way. If Tioga Road is closed, you will have to take a southern route from Yosemite Valley through Fresno, Bakersfield and Barstow to Las Vegas. That route is 483 miles (773 km), about 8 driving hours plus time spent at stops along the way.

Whichever route you use, I think it's too much driving for one day. It will be tiring and you won't enjoy it, you will feel rushed all day and exhausted by the time you finally get to Las Vegas. I would stay somewhere between for one night.

If you use the Tioga Road/Lone Pine route, your choices of where to stay between include June Lake, Mammoth Lakes, Bishop, Big Pine, Independence and Lone Pine. If you choose the southern route, your choices of where to stay include Bakersfield, Tehachapi and Barstow. The southern route is far less scenic and interesting; I would use the Tioga Pass/395 route if Tioga Road is open.

Gas prices in and around Yosemite are higher, but the gas station at Crane Flat in the park is a good location to fill up on gas. The gas station in Lee Vining is also expensive. The price will be better in Bishop, but Bishop is 146 miles (235 km) from Yosemite Valley.

Edited: 1:42 pm, September 19, 2013
LA
Destination Expert
for Kohala Coast, Island of Hawaii
posts: 9,327
reviews: 1
5. Re: 1 night at Yosemite, then down to Las Vegas by Car. My Plan.

There is a nice footpath and pedestrian bridge below El Capitan. There are climbers that hang out there, and there are people associated with the park who have telescopes set up so people can look at the climbers. The people there are very friendly and willing to answer any kind of climbing question you have.

Buenos Aires
posts: 58
reviews: 14
6. Re: 1 night at Yosemite, then down to Las Vegas by Car. My Plan.

Thank you for your suggestions! We'll have time to relax in Vegas (I hope). Spending a night on the road would imply one night less in Vegas, and some things have been paid for already.

Please understand that It's not that I am not taking into account your input, It's just that at this stage of the planning that night is difficult to squeeze in.

We'll make the best out of it.

Any other suggestions will also be very much welcome!

Thanks again for all the valuable information!

Mx

San Diego...
posts: 8,360
reviews: 29
7. Re: 1 night at Yosemite, then down to Las Vegas by Car. My Plan.

Yes I understand. However it is almost 4 weeks until you arrive at Las Vegas, which should be long enough to change or cancel a night there without any penalty. I'd suggest canceling the first night in Las Vegas, and take a night at Mammoth Lakes or Bishop. But it's your trip and you know what is best for you and your family.

Buenos Aires
posts: 58
reviews: 14
8. Re: 1 night at Yosemite, then down to Las Vegas by Car. My Plan.

Thank you. I'll see what I can do!

Mx

9. Re: 1 night at Yosemite, then down to Las Vegas by Car. My Plan.

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Edited: 3:16 am, March 10, 2014
Buenos Aires
posts: 58
reviews: 14
10. Re: 1 night at Yosemite, then down to Las Vegas by Car. My Plan.

Thank you! One doubt: Do they close Tioga Pass with a light snow or must it be a heavy snow to get it closed? Thanks again! Mx

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