Tioga Pass spring alternatives

Discussion in 'West – California, the desert southwest and whatev' started by Boondox, Oct 8, 2019.

  1. Boondox

    Boondox Travels With Barley

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    Glenlivet and I will spend the second half of May 2020 in southern Utah before heading west. We’d like to check out Yosemite and Kings Canyon, but looking at the elevation of Tioga Pass my bet is it might not be open the first week of June. 108 loops over the north end and connects to 120, which would take us to the lower elevation western approaches. Are they generally clear of snow in early June?

    Pete D6F1038D-A5EB-44E0-AD6F-464880DF1414.jpeg
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  2. bykergrrl

    bykergrrl Been here awhile

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    Go to the Yosemite website-they post when the road will be open. Depends on winter weather- been years when it opened late July/August and others with drought conditions when open in May/June.
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  3. rjnutt

    rjnutt Desert tortoise

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    Some historical data for you...
    1ECB3D91-DE21-45A3-9218-D8454F069D0F.png 8C844388-7953-4A27-9A60-D68E6E03E966.png
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  4. bdesj

    bdesj Been here awhile

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    If 108 is still closed when you need to cross, 88 would be the next choice. Doesn't get talked up much here, but it's also very nice and open year round other than brief closures immediately after each snow. Or cross south the Sierra, but that's out of my turf, so I don't know your options there.
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  5. rjnutt

    rjnutt Desert tortoise

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    Yeah, a lot of people bad rap 88 but I think it is one of the nicer drives/rides.
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  6. Boondox

    Boondox Travels With Barley

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    Got that part. My question was if Tioga is still closed when we get there, what east to west roads would likely be open? Looks like 108 or 88 would be Plans B and C
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  7. t6pilot

    t6pilot Been here awhile

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    CALTRANS web page has pretty up to the minute road conditions
    This year I believe it as closed until mid June
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  8. rjnutt

    rjnutt Desert tortoise

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    The only one you can reliably count on that time of year is 88. U.S. 50 and I-80 too I suppose, but they really do suck!
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  9. AloneInTheHills

    AloneInTheHills Been here awhile

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    If I were doing the ride that time of year I'd probably take 395S down, catch some of the sights on the western edge of death valley and then take 178W to Kernville(Sherman Pass may be an option too). From Kernville you can take 99N / M-50, etc up to Sequoia and Kings Canyon and do Yosemite after, coming in from the west.

    It's good riding and probably more enjoyable than some of the northern routes that might be cold depending on the time of day you go through. I've done it from Tioga down to King's Canyon but later in the year.
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  10. t6pilot

    t6pilot Been here awhile

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    I would forget Tioga as way to many RV’s and trailers
    If there open Ebbets or Sonora
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  11. Boondox

    Boondox Travels With Barley

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    Good thought! I retired just last year and still haven't gotten over the corporate mindset of must hurry back to work! I was thinking of working my way from Yosemite south to Kings Canyon and Sequoia because it would set me up for the next leg (Morro Bay north along Big Sur). But what do I care if it adds another day of transit time? :D
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  12. AloneInTheHills

    AloneInTheHills Been here awhile

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    I've done RT1N Ventura up through Big Sur to Monterey - beautiful. If you are able to take it south instead of north it will give you more unobstructed views and easier access to pull offs (no crossing the oncoming traffic) as an FYI. Just depends how if fits with your overall trips. Also, southern UT through Las Vegas and out through death valley is a nice trip that time of year. Just need to time the hot section of DV early if its going to be a warm day.
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  13. RandyM

    RandyM Less talk, More ride

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    The following passes are usually open except during storms:

    Highway 49 through Downieville fairly scenic, twisty, not too busy.
    Highway 50, busy on weekends.(I am not very familiar with 50).
    I-80 very busy especially on weekends, lots of big trucks,RVs, lots of people in a hurry, but still fairly scenic for a freeway. Donner pass road (if open) runs parallel to I-80 from Truckee to Cisco grove and is a good slower paced alternative to I-80.

    Every year someone starts a Sierra passes thread in this forum that is good for information also.
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  14. bdesj

    bdesj Been here awhile

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    49 is very nice- scenic, twisty, small town services along the way. 50 is also very scenic, but probably the worst traffic due to high volume + mostly two-lane. 80 is as good as interstate ever gets, usually flows pretty well even when volume is high because it has two to three lanes each direction. Donner Pass Rd (AKA "Old 40", AKA Lincoln Hwy) is marvelous, just not very long. Also an option (especially if snow is an issue) is Hwy 70- a couple thousand feet lower than the rest, fast sweeping curves up the canyon, lots of historic bridges, occasional passing lanes.

    Sierra pass thread is now a permanent fixture.
    https://advrider.com/f/threads/the-high-sierra-passes-thread-tales-and-photos.1191265/page-67
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