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Lake Tahoe to Las Vegas next week!

Macon, Missouri
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Lake Tahoe to Las Vegas next week!

My husband and I will be arriving in Reno Friday, April 20, for a weeks vacation. We will fly out of Las Vegas Saturday, April 28. The only definite plans we have is April 20 in Virginia City, April 21 and 22 in North Lake Tahoe and April 26 and 27 in Las Vegas. The rest of the days and nights we would like to spend driving and seeing as much as possible between South Lake Tahoe and Vegas. While I realize this may not be the best time to travel in the mountains, my husband loves them and has never been in this area and I'm hoping for some tips on how to make the most of this trip. We know some of the roads will not be open yet and are thinking that traveling on the west side of the mountains and crossing at the north and south ends might get us the most bang for our time. Any suggestions?

Camp Sherman, Oregon
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1. Re: Lake Tahoe to Las Vegas next week!

Yes! Death Valley! Please check out the DV forum page for ideas.

Fremont, California
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2. Re: Lake Tahoe to Las Vegas next week!

I am probably not answering your question as you will be on the Eastern Side of the Sierras when you are in Reno and then driving to Las Vegas. You can enjoy seeing a lot of the mountains and beautiful areas by staying on the Eastern Side. I will answer it from that perspective. If indeed you want to make a much longer drive on the Western Side, do let us know......and what you wanted to include on that trip. Thanks.

In the interim, I will give you this suggestion - and then let us know more about your thoughts on the Western side. Thanks.

Right now your itinerary is as follows:

April 20 Virginia City

April 21 and 22 North Lake Tahoe

April 23 To be determined

April 24 To be determined

April 25 To be determined

April 26 Las Vegas

April 27 Las Vegas

So here is what I would suggest for those 3 days:

April 23:

Drive from North Lake Tahoe to Zephyr Cove and take the midday cruise on Lake Tahoe on Ms. Dixie.

http://www.zephyrcove.com/msdixie.aspx

You will be back in your car around 3:00.

Drive to highway 395 - this will be your route till you get to Lone Pine.

http://www.395.com/

Drive about 2 hours.

Along this drive you will see:

1) Topaz Lake

2) Mono Lake

http://www.monolake.org/visit/vc

and recommend staying the night at one of the places in June Lake Loop.

There is a variety of lodging....and 4 pretty lakes along this loop in the mountains.

http://junelakeloop.com/

Not sure what type of lodging you would like, but 3 places you might want to take a look at (i.e. low end to higher end rate)

1) Gull Lake Lodge

http://gulllakelodge.com/

2) Boulder Lodge

http://boulderlodgejunelake.com/

3) Double Eagle Resort

http://www.doubleeagle.com/

For dinner, Eagles Landing Restaurant

http://www.doubleeagle.com/restaurant.php

or Carson Peak Inn

For funky after dinner drinks where the locals hang out go to Tiger Bar

http://thetigerbarcafe.com/ (note: This is a good place for breakfast as well).

April 24

Drive to Mammoth Lakes and see the town and mountains.

http://www.visitmammoth.com/things-to-do/

This is about a half hour drive from June Lake Loop.

There are also a fair number of restaurants there for brunch....

After seeing Mammoth Lakes, drive a couple of miles down the road and drive 5 miles in to see Convict Lake. I have included the resort web site here as they have some good pictures of the lake here.

http://www.convictlake.com/resort-home.html

After exploring Mammoth Lakes and Convict Lake area, leave by 2:30 or so and head down to Bishop. Stop at Schatts Bakery in Bishop if you like baked goods (its somewhat a destination stop for anyone who likes baked goods).

http://www.erickschatsbakery.com/

Continue south through Big Pine and then stay the night at Lone Pine.

This will put you at a good place to see Death Valley National Park the next day.

Although an older hotel, Best Western Lone Pine works well.

From Lone Pine, you can catch a glimpse of the tallest mountain in the continental United States -Mt Whitney

…bestwestern.com/bestwestern/…

If you do get there early enough there is also a film museum in town

http://www.lonepinefilmhistorymuseum.org/

April 25:

Drive from Lone Pine to Death Valley National Park and see the park.

http://www.nps.gov/deva/index.htm

Enjoy the day and then drive to Las Vegas area. I would suggest staying the night at Red Rock Canyon Casino Hotel. It is a nice one. That way you can see Red Rock Canyon area before doing what you plan to do in Las Vegas.

http://www.redrocklasvegas.com/

vegas.com/attractions/…redrock.html

By staying on the Eastern Side, driving is minimal; you can see a lot of the mountains and desert areas - and have an amazing time.

Now, I know I did not answer your question - so let us know what you plans were for the Western Side. But I did want to share these thoughts with youl.

Have a good time.

Macon, Missouri
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3. Re: Lake Tahoe to Las Vegas next week!

Thanks for the awesome suggestions! My husband wants to stay on the west side because he doesn't care for the desert but we have no ideas on the best route to take to see the most of the mountains. We would be fine with going thru Death Valley to get to Vegas. Also, everything I have read says be sure to have reservations if you are doing Yosemite. Is it possible to see different areas of the park as we head south and do lodging outside of the park?

Washington State
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for Yosemite National Park
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4. Re: Lake Tahoe to Las Vegas next week!

Here is a link to your Yosemite thread. tripadvisor.com/ShowTopic-g61000-i315-k53331… That's the best place to ask questions about Yosemite. Did you read the Top Questions on the Yosemite forum page yet?

Chat with us on that forum about staying in the Valley on April 23rd and outside the South Entrance on the 24th. Stay in Death Valley on the 25th and check the DVNP forum for ideas.

Long Barn...
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5. Re: Lake Tahoe to Las Vegas next week!

OK- It looks like you are planning on driving from Lake Tahoe to Yosemite and then on to Las Vegas. From Lake Tahoe you can take either hwy 50 or Hwy 89 to Meyers. Continue on Hwy 89 to Hwy 88 and turn west over Carson Pass. This is a scenic drive and will take you to Hwy 49 at Jackson. Drive Hwy 49 along the Mother Lode/mining area to Sonora and then take Hwy 120 into Yosemite.

I drove this route last Friday, and the hills along Hwy 49 are green, with wildflowers and the California poppies coming out. You can explore some of these old mining towns along the way. This is a great time of the year for this drive.

You need to work on getting lodging in Yosemite right away. From Yosemite you will travel south on Hwy 41 to Hwy 99 to Bakersfield and on your way to Las Vegas. You might have time to visit Death Valley?

Fremont, California
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6. Re: Lake Tahoe to Las Vegas next week!

Thanks for the awesome suggestions! My husband wants to stay on the west side because he doesn't care for the desert but we have no ideas on the best route to take to see the most of the mountains. We would be fine with going thru Death Valley to get to Vegas.

I really hate to see you spend hours and hours and hours in the car - with less of a mountain view. But of course you know more than someone who travels up there monthly if not more often. Your husband you say wants to see the mountains - the Eastern Side is where gorgeous mountain area is. Its beautiful and well worth the time.

The 49 route is basically rolling hills - its nice but its similar to what you see East of St. Louis - between St. Louis and Branson. Rolling hills, small communities, etc. If you want to do that, I would highly suggest just driving down to Branson for your vacation.....You will see the same as you would on highway 49 (minus of course seeing Lake Taneycomo.). If you want to see mountains and mountain lakes stay on the Eastern Side of the Sierra.

Also, if you want to add 10 - 12 extra hours in the car - just drive the Western Side. Driving this in 3 days to me is doable - but what you will see is a lot more desert and more boring desert than driving the highway 395 route.

But of course - you know more than someone who drove that in January this year from San Francisco to Bakersfield to Las Vegas. By the way the desert there is your "get it done" type trip. There is absolutely nothing scenic in that desert drive - there are a lot of trucks (something you will be used to if you drove to Branson - your truck in Missouri go a bit faster than ours in California). But you like I will be bored to tears within moments.

Yes - if you had 5 to 6 days going to Yosemite would make a little bit of sense. But you do not have that time. We once drove from Yosemite Valley to Lake Tahoe in a day - and we have sworn to never do that again. its a long slow drive - and you can be subject to snow, etc. You will then need to exit Yosemite to continue to Bakersfield to then drive the long boring desert stretch (4 to 5 hours or so) to Las Vegas.

Those who are trying to steer you to the Western Side never have made this trip.....

And you are not going to see the best mountains......Of course you could stay another day in Mammoth Lakes - its about a six hour drive from there to Las Vegas and enjoy it more. I added on Death Valley just because its spectacular - but now that I know you hate deserts -just "bypass it/"

Just realize that once you get to Las Vegas you are in the desert.

Have fun - your trip is one I would never take having been born in California

as it will not be any fun - but enjoy it as it looks like you want to do that as you have never been here.

Fremont, California
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7. Re: Lake Tahoe to Las Vegas next week!

By the way - we had a wonderful 2 week trip to Missouri just recently (october 2011).

While we loved the Ozarks and Branson; we loved Kansas City; we had a good time in St. Louis and also driving about - you are planning a trip to replicate what you can do in Missouri.

1) Highway 49 is like the rolling hills in Branson - but the roads (several) are not as fast. Also, there is no entertainment like in Branson. So basically you are doing a vacation inferior to what we enjoyed in Missouri.

2) The desert stretch of driving south of the mountains to Las Vegas is boring - but high - so also subject to snow for hours on end. There is absolutely nothing to do there except for a crummy lunch or fill up on $4.50 to $5.00 gallon of gas. Absolutely lovely for 5 hours right? You get this on the route you are planning. I would far better drive the interstate from Branson to Kansas City because at least you can find some places for lunch and also for cheese tasting along that route.

3) You say your husband likes mountains - but I think he might only like hills. The area you are seeing will be more like the 4000 to 5000 foot level similar to Missouri. Its nice - mountains in California however are 9000 - 14,000 feet and that is what he would see for the entire drive on the Eastern Side. Hills are nice - but enjoying mountains is better.

4) Check to see if Tioga Pass is open on the Eastern side - you will be in the park in 20 minutes versus 9 hours drive you are planning. You will be driving 12 extra hours on the western side.

But again, I support those who want to do what they want to do on their vacation - but I feel sorry for the 2 of you as that trip will be one I would never take in one stretch given the magnificent opportunity you have on the Eastern side to have a leisurely vacation.

People drive the Western Route when they are in San Francisco to Las Vegas as the route of choice as they do not want to go to the mountains.

If they want the scenic route they go to Tahoe first.

Have a good trip however whatever you decide.

I think you will find the gas cost; the similar sights to Missouri on the West side however ok - if you have not seen mountains before.

Long Barn...
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8. Re: Lake Tahoe to Las Vegas next week!

The OP posted on the Yosemite forum about visiting the park. No doubt the drive along the east side of the Sierra Nevada mountains is scenic, but I think (and most will agree) that Yosemite valley is the most scenic in the Sierra Nevada Mountains. The challenge at this point will be lodging.

There is no way to avoid driving in the desert whatever route is driven....Las Vegas is in the desert.

I think your numbers are off-- "You will be driving 12 extra hours on the western side." Lake Tahoe to Yosemite valley is about 5 hours. Yosemite to Las Vegas using Hwy 99/58 is about 8 hours. Driving from Lake Tahoe to Las Vegas using Hwy 395 is about 8 hours.

If the poster is interested in the mountains I think it would be a mistake to skip Yosemite......my opinion. The drive on Hwy 88 through over Carson Pass is a scenic route and passes two lakes. However, the drive from Fresno to Las Vegas is not so much.

Washington State
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9. Re: Lake Tahoe to Las Vegas next week!

Yosemite Valley lodging is available for the OP on her dates.

10. Re: Lake Tahoe to Las Vegas next week!

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