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las vegas to Yosemite best route August

dorset
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las vegas to Yosemite best route August

Hi there,

I am travelling with my family from Las Vegas in August to Yosemite (El Portal). Having done some research/looked at various forums we need to stop somewhere on the way. We only really have the luxury of one night stopover.

Has anyone any suggestions the best place to stopover enroute? I would be keen to do Tioga Pass so would Bishop be a good place to stop overnight? Is it feasible to do Las Vegas - Bishop in one day? We can leave Vegas early morning. Is it then feasible to drive Bishop - El Portal in one day? Again prepared to leave Bishop early.

We have 2-3 nights booked in Yosemite to enjoy but were looking to do Tioga at a relaxed pace if possible. Death Valley will be so hot so would probably not stop to see anything so is it best to still go through Death Valley without stopping or choose alternative route?

Any help/suggestions would be very much appreciated.

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El Portal
El Portal
California
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Tioga Pass
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Yosemite National Park, CA
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1. Re: las vegas to Yosemite best route August

Most of us suggest stopping a bit farther north, either Mammoth Lakes, or Lee Vining. They are both at higher elevation than Bishop and will be cooler.

But Bishop and Mammoth are only 44 miles apart, so it's less than an hour's drive.

Many foreign visitors enjoy visiting Death Valley in the heat of summer. With some common sense and attention to heat, proper clothing and footwear, it's not a death sentence

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Mammoth Lakes
Mammoth Lakes
California
Lee Vining
Lee Vining
California
Bishop
Bishop
California
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2. Re: las vegas to Yosemite best route August

Hi

Here is a direct link to that topic from the Top Questions on the right: www.tripadvisor.com/Travel-g28926-c182361 I also think it makes sense to be further north. Then you can enjoy a full day along Tioga Road for your first Yosemite tourism. There is a Top Question topic about Tioga Road.

Definitely get out of your lodging early each morning and get to the place in the Park that you want to explore. August is the busiest time of year.

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Tioga Road
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Lee Vining, CA
Goldfield, Nevada
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3. Re: las vegas to Yosemite best route August

I would choose Mammloth Lakes instead of Bishop because the higher elevation (7,880 feet vs. 4,150 feet above sea level) means cooler temperatures and that will be welcome in the heat of August. I would avoid Death Valley completely in August as temperatures can reach 120 F (48 C) in the afternoons there in the summer. People will argue that Death Valley is popular with tourists in the summer, especially foreign tourists who want to experience the hottest place in the world. Do NOT go to Death Valley in August, period. You wouldn't enjoy it. Trust me on this.

Your route from Las Vegas to Mammoth Lakes is: U.S. Highway 95 north from Las Vegas to Beatty, gas up fully in Beatty, then continue north on 95 about 45 more minutes to Lida Junction, where Nevada Highway 266 intersects with 95. Turn left there to go west on 266, up over Lida Summit (where you will have your first view of the Sierra Nevada) and down into Fish Lake Valley, where you briefly enter California then re-enter Nevada.

In the California part you have the choice of taking California 168 west up over Westgard Pass and down into the Owens Valley. But most of that road is twisty, curvy and winding, and there is no cell phone signal. The only reason to take 168 from there is if you were going to visit the Ancient Bristlecone Pine Forest. Instead, continue north on 266 which becomes Nevada 264 when you cross into Nevada again. You have a chance to fill up on gas again in Dyer; otherwise continue north on 264 to where it ends at U.S. Highway 6.

Turn left onto U.S. Highway 6 and go west on it over Mongomery Pass and down into California. You will see Boundary Peak on the left, so named because the summit sits exactly on the border of California and Nevada. It is the highest point in Nevada but not the highest in California. You go through an agricultural inspection station (you should not bring any fresh fruit or live plants on this drive). Then you come to the crossroads of Benton, California, where there is another opportunity to fill up on gas.

At Benton turn right of U.S. 6 onto California 120 east. If you were going directly to Yosemite you would stay on 120 east all the way to U.S. 395. However if you are going to Mammoth Lakes, after 7 miles on 120, turn left onto Benton Crossing Road, because this will bring you closer to Mammoth Lakes. Continue on Benton Crossing Road up over Wildrose Summit and down into the Long Valley Caldera, where you will have this view of the Sierra Nevada: https:/…2C_Benton_Crossing.jpg (Except there won't be snow in August).

Benton Crossing Road ends at U.S. 395 where you will turn right and go just a few miles on 395 north and exit at California 203, where you turn left to go up to Mammoth Lakes. A possible short side trip before going up to Mammoth Lakes is Hot Creek Geologic Site. It requires driving on a dirt road for 2 miles, but it is flat and smooth. It is pretty to see: https:/…stelprdb5262905.jpg You are not allowed to go in the water, but you can see it and learn about the geology of the Long Valley Caldera, a dormant super volcano.

This will be about a 6 hour drive. The second half of it is at fairly high elevation (Lida Summit, Montgomery Pass and Wildrose Summit are all over 7,000 feet in elevation) so it will be much cooler than going through Death Valley. I can't ever remember it being hot at Lida Summit; maybe 80 F at the most even in August. Fill up often at gas stations because gas stations are few and far between. You might encounter free range cows on Highway 266 at Lida Summit or wild horses on U.S. 6 before Montgomery Pass. So drive cautiously in those areas and I would not drive this route at night.

Edited: 14 May 2018, 06:02
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4. Re: las vegas to Yosemite best route August

I think it's safe to go through Death Valley, especially if you leave Las Vegas early.

Going that route, you get to see the very scenic eastern Sierras along the route and see the interesting towns of Lone Pine, Big Pine, Bishop, and Crowley Lake.

Lots of good places to stop for lunch along the way. Bishop, especially

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Lone Pine
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5. Re: las vegas to Yosemite best route August

** “I would avoid Death Valley completely in August as temperatures can reach 120 F (48 C) in the afternoons there in the summer. People will argue that Death Valley is popular with tourists in the summer, especially foreign tourists who want to experience the hottest place in the world. Do NOT go to Death Valley in August, period. You wouldn't enjoy it. Trust me on this.” **

August has become one of the busiest visitation months in Death Valley, and it is almost entirely from international guests who are often required to take their holidays in the summer and thus have no choice – but often because they are attracted by the mystique and lore of Death Valley. It is indeed the world’s hottest place, with the world record high temperature of 134° or 57°C set in 1913. Folks want to experience that, but they have also seen pictures or movies showing the bright snowy-colored Badwater salt flats, the stupendous, expansive panorama at Dante’s View, the colorful mineral oxide-dyed rocks at Artists Palette, the volcanic crater they can walk into, the lively pupfish that occasionally populate Salt Creek into summer (I have seen them as late as August), the other intriguing animals and birds that make their living in land that looks too barren to support anything bigger than a squirrel, or the ruins of Rhyolite and Harmony Borax Works poking out of the ground to remind us people hardier than ourselves who made the desert their home in decades past

If folks are fascinated with Death Valley and want to visit in the summer, they should – especially when they are coming from another continent and there’s no telling when they might have another chance. If they have heard about its enormous natural diversity, beautiful and calming landscapes (and even the most rugged of Death Valley landscapes have a way of being calming), or spectacular, unique natural marvels, they should come. Even if they are merely curious, as long as they are informed and are willing to take proper precautions (that’s why the summer travel Top Question is there), they should. Most health and safety concerns are easily addressed.

While Hwy 95 has its charms (historic mining communities, quaint little towns, and lots of wide open natural space), it is nothing like 395 It is far from the mountains, lacks the dramatic and diverse scenery that 395 has all the way from Reno to Lone Pine, and unlike 395, doesn’t have a lot of towns or settlements for the occasional traveler who can’t take all that wide open space. And of course, it doesn’t have Death Valley.

I’m expecting to go down and work there again soon, probably July and/or August. I'd be there now except for other obligations. I was there last year in May and June and it was balmy, and as always there were scads of people from all over the world who were captivated by what they saw. We get visitors from France, Italy, Germany, The Netherlands, the British Isles, Korea, the Czech Republic, and more – and of course from all over the U.S. Our basic info flyer is available in those languages (yes, Czech), Spanish, Chinese, Japanese, Russian, and more. I’ve been working in Death Valley in the summer for years, and I just don’t hear a lot of griping. Oh, a few people will say they've never experienced such weather, but it is more in astonishment and fascination than discontent and perturbation. And the adjustments and precautions are worth it when they get outside and see the brilliant colors, amazing shapes and textures, and incredible variety that Nature has put together in this piece of land the size of Lebanon and Luxembourg combined.

Yes, do come to Death Valley. I promise you’ll have a wonderful time! Not only that – if you visit Death Valley on the way from Las Vegas to Yosemite, I’ll also let you see the Alabama Hills, Mt. Whitney (Lone Pine movie museum optional), Manzanar, (Ancient Bristlecone Pine Forest optional), Mammoth Lakes, Devils Postpile National Monument, June Lakes, and Mono Lake (side trip to Bodie optional).

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6. Re: las vegas to Yosemite best route August

Another lodging option is June Lake, north of Mammoth and just 12 miles south of Lee Vining and the Tioga Pass Road. It is a small town but has quite a few lodging options. (Unfortunately, dining options are pedestrian, but oh well.)

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June Lake
June Lake
California
Lee Vining
Lee Vining
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Tioga Pass
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7. Re: las vegas to Yosemite best route August

It is a GIGANTIC mistake to go to Death Valley in August. Your body is coping with 120 degree heat and you can't enjoy the scenery.

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San Francisco
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8. Re: las vegas to Yosemite best route August

Well, then thousands and thousands of people from all over the world are making a gigantic mistake, and having a good time!

Now the OP can see both sides and decide for themselves.

Tullamore,Ireland
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9. Re: las vegas to Yosemite best route August

FriscoRunner - wonderful post. I can only get time off in summer and I’m so glad I went to Death Valley because I will never have the chance to visit at a cooler time of the year and it would have been a great shame to miss it. We were well prepared and had a great time. Dare I say the weather even added to the attraction as it is so different from anything we will ever experience back home. But I can see why the local instinct might be to say don’t go. My instinct would be to think people are crazy to come to Ireland in winter but folks from warm climates love the novelty of the cold, damp weather.

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