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Rv or Car trip San Fran to Steambooat in Winter

Ulladulla, Australia
Level Contributor
40 posts
43 reviews
21 helpful votes
Rv or Car trip San Fran to Steambooat in Winter

Hi!

We 2A + 12yo son are travelling to San Fran in Jan 19 and would love some ideas on what and how to see the area, we have around 10 days to make our way to Steamboat Springs.

I've wanted to see the Yosemite and death valley areas for years however not sure this is a great idea in Winter? and wonder if we skip this area and look at it in a better season in years to come and spend more time ?

We like the backroads and small little towns meeting locals rather than other tourists everywhere such as Los Olivos, Pismo, verde and the like!

I am really looking for ideas so a little about us to help with your opinion...

From a beautiful part of Australian coast, have experience in Driving trucks and Rv's in Aus, new Zealand and the USA, love camping and not afraid of driving big miles for a great reward at the end??? Some areas to mention we Have seen and loved to further help with your thought process and opinions: Canadian Rockies between Whistler and Banff, South CA (Pismo to LA) coast in August, Daytona and Orlando over December/January and Colorado rockies in the winter, South and North NZ in different seasons.

Is it a bad idea to travel in RV in Winter with poor road conditions and limited entry to places???

We can change to a car for the trip but obviously plans for accommodation are more specific rather than travel in RV where plans especially for accommodation can be modified along the way.

A very rough plan with no particular order:

San Fran 3 days

Napa valley to coast

Muir woods

Lake Tahoe

Any other suggestions?

Mammoth mtn (Ski area)?

Yosemite? (which parts as I understand Tioga pass closed in winter)

down to Death Valley and into Vegas to fly out

or

skip the YNP area and do the coasts to Napa a little in the north and then south to the Big Sur area and across to Vegas and fly rest of journey to Colorado?

Or skip the south just head across to Slat lake city from Napa/Tahoe area? (what are the roads like across Navada to Utah in Winter?)

We are open to any suggestions and really appreciate any ideas and opinions!

I am a bit worried I have made this question too big and open?? however we have learn't over the years the local knowledge is best and we try to offer the same any time we can help someone else!

Thanks in advance & have a great day from AUSTRALIA!

Regards

Mick

3 replies to this topic
Long Beach...
Level Contributor
8,232 posts
1. Re: Rv or Car trip San Fran to Steambooat in Winter

RVs and snow, ice, freezing weather-- not a good combo. If roads requires chains, you'll need to wait out the storm or void part of your rental agreement, but chain and put them on. And what about freezing pipes? But if you avoid the upper elevations, you'll be OK. But I think the desert (or coast) is the best option for an RV in winter.

Yosemite, similar challenges with chains, but you could take YARTS Bus into the park. Stay outside of the park if necessary in El Portal or Mariposa. Yosemite can be magical in winter, with a light dusting of snow..

Death Valley is awesome in winter!

No RV Parking at Muir Woods

I would stay in hotels/cabins if visiting Lake Tahoe and Mammoth, rent a 4wd.

San Francisco, Ca
Level Contributor
22,719 posts
79 reviews
50 helpful votes
2. Re: Rv or Car trip San Fran to Steambooat in Winter

This is a duplicate of a post in the SF Forum that has more answers: https://www.tripadvisor.com/ShowTopic-g60713…

(Unfortunately, it's probably more appropriate here in the California forum or the Road Trips forum, but the SF Forum is where the majority of answers are posted.)

Ulladulla, Australia
Level Contributor
40 posts
43 reviews
21 helpful votes
3. Re: Rv or Car trip San Fran to Steambooat in Winter

Thanks lemoncurls & SFSusanW for your help, there is so much to consider and so many more questions!

I will read some more info on the SF Forum as suggested.

Reply to: Rv or Car trip San Fran to Steambooat in Winter
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