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rest stop between Las Vegas - Mariposa

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rest stop between Las Vegas - Mariposa

Hey Guys,

me and my little lady are visiting California/Nevada in Sep/Oct from the UK, and part of our itinery takes us from Las Vegas to Mariposa through Yosemite.

I am looking for somewhere to stay overnight between these two locations along 395, could somebody suggest somewhere, reasonably priced which would break the drive up. Is it likely that if i just drive without booking a room and stop when tired, i will be stuck with No Vacancies??

After the overnight rest i would like to visit Mono Lake and Bodie before driving through Yosemite, on to Mariposa

Any help will be hugely appreciated.

San Francisco
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1. Re: rest stop between Las Vegas - Mariposa

The way your question is worded makes me think you plan to drive through Death Valley and then through Yosemite. Tell me this is not true, that you do not plan to spend any time enjoying these parks. They are beautiful places, and there is nothing on Earth anywhere like either of them. They both deserve a couple of days, or at least one overnight stay if you can't do more.

Browse through the threads on this and the DV National Park forums for suggestions about ways to see the sights in Death Valley. If you have questions, we can probably help.

From Death Valley to Lee Vining, the approximate midpoint is Bishop, which is the biggest town in the eastern Sierra and has a wide variety of lodgings and restaurants. It is about 2.5-3 hours from Death Valley, depending on where you start from.

To be closer to Yosemite, you could go on to Mammoth Lakes or to Lee Vining, the town next to Mono Lake. Do not just drive by and look at Mono Lake; walk around and get close to it, and visit one or both visitor centers (one on Main Street in town, the other north of town). The best walks are on the south shore along Hwy 120 east (signed along 385 for Benton) and north of Lee Vining (Cemetery Road).

Bodie is north of Mono Lake and will be about a 3-4 hour detour. It is well worth going. Bodie is one of the best preserved mining ghost towns in California, not "restored" but maintained as it was abandoned 100+ years ago. If you stay in Mammoth or Lee Vining, you'll be within easy reach of Bodie (more than if you stay in Bishop).

Like Death Valley, Yosemite is not a drive-through sightseeing tour. If you are staying in Mariposa because there is no lodging available in the park, that's understandable. But on your way in on Tioga Pass, take your time to enjoy it. Staying at Mariposa, it's unlikely you'll make the long backtrack to the high country but will probably focus on Yosemite Valley and maybe Wawona.

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2. Re: rest stop between Las Vegas - Mariposa

Hey there, thanks for your speedy response,

After leaving Vegas i was hoping to have a few stop offs and take in the scenery, though only two over night stops, im not much of a hiker so most of what i will see will be road side or easy walking distance.

I really want to see Bodie but didnt realise how big a detour it was, would that time include time to look around Bodie aswell or just driving time??

The main reason that i was thinking of staying in Mariposa was because its closer to San Francisco and we will be flying home :o( on that afternoon.

Is it likely that if i dont book accomidation for these two days i will be able to find somewhere to stay?

Cheers... Stv

San Francisco
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3. Re: rest stop between Las Vegas - Mariposa

This is going to be a very rushed trip, especially if you're going to drive from Mariposa to SFO for an afternoon flight. Are you aware that it is close to 180 miles and much of it is not freeway? To arrive on time for an international flight, factoring in the great unknown of commute traffic in the Bay Area, I would want to leave maybe 6 hours before flight time.

Not sure what your Vegas plans are, but if there's any chance to knock off one day there and start for Death Valley, sightsee and spend a night there, then spend a night along 395 enroute to Yosemite, you'd have a more leisurely and enjoyable time.

You could linger in Yosemite a bit longer and not feel you have to rush to Mariposa to get a good night's sleep before leaving for home. Maybe even go back to Yosemite in the morning after the night in Mariposa to take in any last things you may have missed. Then stay closer to SFO for your last night. Hotels near the airport are nothing to write home about, but you can rest, maybe eat or shop, and be ready for the long flight.

The 3-4 hours estimated for Bodie is for travel and sightseeing. The road is paved part of the way and then gravel and dirt for 9-10 miles. It's rough, but any car driven carefully can go there. You could spend all day, but you probably don't--just enough to get the flavor of a remote mining town high in the mountains.

Along 395, every town has some visitor services. Smaller towns like Independence and Big Pine have mostly Mom-and-Pop motels, which are often a good choice because they don't have websites so they don't always get booked in advance.

Bishop and Mammoth have many small and large motels, indie and chain. You won't be in the peak tourist season. If you don't need opulence and are content with Comfort Inn, Motel 6, Econolodge, or Best Western, you should have no problem in these two towns.

Lee Vining does fill up, because it is the eastern gateway to Yosemite. Many people like to go see the fall colors in the Eastern Sierra. If you're interested in staying there but not necessarily reserving ahead, I suggest you take the lodging lists from these visitor info websites. Call enroute, maybe from Mammoth. It or June Lakes will be your last chance before Lee Vining.

http://www.leevining.com/

http://www.monocounty.org/

The nest major town north of Lee Vining is Bridgeport, which has several choices. It is a few miles north of the turnoff to Bodie.

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4. Re: rest stop between Las Vegas - Mariposa

Cheers mate you're a star, i think i will probs take your advice and perhaps carve a day from my Vegas trip, i think two and a half days are probably plenty, then spend a night perhaps in Lone Pine to see DV, then next day drive to Mono Lake and Bodie and perhaps stay in Lee Vining then third day see Yosemite and spend a bit of time here and then see how far i make it before needing a to stop for the night.

How does this sound?? Perhaps if i dont book anything my plans can change and i can play by ear as i will have three days to work with rather than two??

I do really want to see these parks as i understand how unique each one is.

Uden, The...
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5. Re: rest stop between Las Vegas - Mariposa

Yes, FR gave you great info, as always. Esp, in october I would want to spend at least one night in Death Valley itself. Furnace Creek Ranch and Stovepipe Wells Village are conveniently located. You may book via www.xanterra.com The next day make your way to Lee Vining and visit Bodie. Then next day the morning drive (much nicer with the sun behind you) via Tioga Pass to Yosemite.

You are going to drive one of the most scenic routes in the west.

Tet

6. Re: rest stop between Las Vegas - Mariposa

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