We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The Tripadvisor website may not display properly.We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

San Francisco to Las Vegas via Yosemite in January?

Auckland Central...
Level Contributor
16 posts
172 reviews
132 helpful votes
San Francisco to Las Vegas via Yosemite in January?
Save

In late January 2013 we have planned to drive from San Francisco to Las Vegas (in one day) and like the idea of driving through Yosemite and Death Valley on the way. However, I have read there can be complications with closed roads during the winter. Does this mean that the route would become impossible and we would have to go the Bakersfield way, or there are other roads within Yosemite that we could take instead to get through to the other side of Yosemite and carry on to LV? Any advice on the topic would be much appreciated.

(Extra info: couple in 20s, haven't driven with chains before but have driven in icy conditions, not interested in doing the hikes).

Washington State
Destination Expert
for Yosemite National Park
Level Contributor
91,541 posts
196 reviews
166 helpful votes
1. Re: San Francisco to Las Vegas via Yosemite in January?
Save

Oh dear. More planning made without checking the forum first.

One day via Yosemite? Not likely, especially in January. Your day would need to be ...

Depart San Francisco at 6 am. IF, and it's a big IF, the roads are clear, enter via Hwy 120. This route goes over 6,000' elevation. Get to Yosemite Valley by 10:30 am. Leave by 12:30 pm and head out Hwy 41 / Wawona Road, again over 6,000'. Stop at Tunnel View. Exit the South Entrance around 1:30 and continue on Hwy 41 to Fresno, then Hwy 99 to Bakersfield (at least 3 hrs from the South Entrance) and finally Hwy 58 to I-15 & over to Las Vegas (arriving at least 5 hrs after you leave Bakersfield.) So that may be an 11 pm or midnight arrival.

Without any stops, this is about 13 hours of driving. With two hours in the Valley, a few stops for meals & gasoline, this is at least a 16 hour day. And if the roads are snowy, you'll travel much much slower or need to use the further All Weather Route Hwy 140 both into & out of the Valley. Tule fog in the morning as you drive from San Francisco? Longer still.

Crossing the Sierra Nevada mountain range: tripadvisor.com/Travel-g61000-c158581

Tule Fog (winter condition in the flat Central Valley of California ... Hwy 99) www.youtube.com/watch?v=i8PnA1CqkkY

Visit Death Valley as a day trip when you're in Las Vegas.

Long Barn...
Level Contributor
4,717 posts
8 reviews
12 helpful votes
2. Re: San Francisco to Las Vegas via Yosemite in January?
Save

Your plan is overly ambitious and unrealistic. The timing of your trip is peak storm time, but even in perfect weather the days are short and it is just way too much to attempt.

I love to drive, but you should really consider taking one of the many flights from S.F. to Las Vegas.

Auckland Central...
Level Contributor
16 posts
172 reviews
132 helpful votes
3. Re: San Francisco to Las Vegas via Yosemite in January?
Save

Thanks for taking the time to respond. Yes, I think we have underestimated the vastness of these trips between cities! I have actually read forums extensively for weeks but they all seemed to differ on time of year or some other aspects of the trip (or were very old). This has made it hard to judge accurately what is feasible so thought I would ask people that were experienced with the area for some insight (which has been very helpful). Also American winters are very different to those we are used to (which have very little/no impact on travel) so that may be another thing which we have underestimated!

4. Re: San Francisco to Las Vegas via Yosemite in January?

-:- Message from Tripadvisor staff -:-

This topic has been closed to new posts due to inactivity. We hope you'll join the conversation by posting to an open topic or starting a new one.

To review the Tripadvisor Forums Posting Guidelines, please follow this link: http://www.tripadvisor.com/pages/forums_posting_guidelines.html

We remove posts that do not follow our posting guidelines, and we reserve the right to remove any post for any reason.

Removed on: 14 December 2013, 09:17
© 2021 TripAdvisor LLC All rights reserved.

This is the version of our website addressed to speakers of English in Singapore. If you are a resident of another country or region, please select the appropriate version of Tripadvisor for your country or region in the drop-down menu.