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a VirtualTourist member asked on Jun 12, 2013

Yosemite National Park

South Lake Tahoe to Yosemite route

I am planning to travel on route 395-S and CA-120 to reach Yosemite from South Lake Tahoe. Would like to know whether the road will be open in June last week and how is the drive itself?

This is kind of first time, I am driving in hills and your replies are appreciated

9 Answers

answered on 6/12/13 by
a VT member from Greensboro

It is all dependent on weather, but usually the road is cleared once Memorial Day runs around, so you should be good as far as road opening. The road itself is a well-paved road, there aren't a lot of hazards to worry about. The hills are not too bad, there is a steep climb... what car will you be driving? A rental, or something that you have had before?

It is actually a beautiful drive along the Sierra and then through the Tuolumne area, my favorite part of the park. Enjoy it, stop by Mono Lake while you're at it. You won't regret it, if you have the time to take a leisurely drive.

If you have any other questions, feel free to ask!

answered on 6/12/13 by
a VT member from Sacramento

Both of the roads you mentioned are currently open and there should not be any weather delays in late June. During the winter State 120 is the most problematic and usually is closed between Lee Vining and just east of the Yosemite Park compound. The road is called Tioga Road and reaches an elevation of just under 10,000 feet. Currently there is maintenance work going on on 120 and traffic is limited to one lane for part of the ride.

Both US 395 and State 120 are beautiful roads and well worth the visit. Be sure and take a visit around Mono Lake. Close up there are amazing rock formations that are well worth seeing.

Use this link to check on the road conditions of mountain roads in California. Twice in the last fifteen years it has snowed in this part of the Sierras.

answered on 6/12/13 by
a VT member from Chula Vista

The info previous is spot on. The drive is beautiful and roads should be quite open at that time of the year. One point however, if you plan to stop in the park to tour, don't expect to find hotels with open rooms for the night. Most places within an hour (sometimes more) of the Park are booked up to a year in advance. Just an advanced warning.Also, 395 is considered one of the "loneliest" highways in the US. Like driving the Baja, make certain you get gas when it's available, and not expect to find some when your guage is near empty.

answered on 6/13/13 by
a VT member

Thanks for all your replies...

I will be driving a rental car like Toyota Camry/Chevy Malibu...

answered on 6/13/13 by
a VT member

I also found another route CA-88 and 49... Can someone tell me how is this route? Is it scenic like 395...

How is the drive? I have already booked the hotel in Oakhurst and also found the drive from South Lake Tahoe to Oakhurst via CA-88 seems pretty short compared to CA-395. I was intending to take CA-395 just to see the scenic views. If CA-88 has similar scenic views then I would prefer the shortest route... Please provide your suggestions for me

THanks all for your help

answered on 6/13/13 by
a VT member from Stockton

Hwy 88 is the best kept secret so don't share it. 395 is not what I would call scenic. It is mostly high desert and as you figured out the "long" way around. The Hwy 120 over Tioga pass is scenic, but I think you will find Hwy 88 just as pretty if not more so. Plan to make a quick stop at Cable's Lake on Hwy 88 it's very pretty and a good place to stop and take a break. If you want to stop for lunch try Mel's Diner in Jackson. Jackson is at the intersection of Hwy 88 and 49. If you turn right at the intersection it's about 1/2 mile down on your left up on the hill. Also, Rosebud's Café on Main Street is very good. If you go a little further north on 88 the fire station will be on your right and that's Main Street, turn right and Rosebud's will be about 1/4 mile on your left. Let me know if you decide to go that way, I have other secrets I can share.

answered on 6/13/13 by
a VT member

Sure, I would prefer Hwy 88 because it saves me some time, Please share your secrets

Appreciate your help

answered on 6/13/13 by
a VT member from Stockton

Couple of things you can do, if you have time you can stop at Columba (CA) state park (check the state www site for info). It's just off Hwy 49 and you can walk it and leave whenever you want. If you want to save some time, check the map and just past Tuttletown you will see Rawhide Road. If you take that it takes you over to Jamestown and cuts some time off your drive. You can stop in Jamestown (there is a great Harley shop) park in the HD parking lot, look around the shop (great logo clothing), then just walk a couple 100 feet to Main Street. The National Hotel is a good place for a drink (never eaten there). The area is also known for underground caverns there is even one that has a underground zip line. Check out,

answered on 6/23/14 by
a VT member

This has been very helpful as I am also traveling from south lake Tahoe to Yosemite in July. We are staying at Yosemite lodge at the park but would like a place to stay in between. Any suggestions without getting too much out of the way? Thank you!

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