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Old 10-03-2018, 09:58 PM   #1
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Yosemite / Lake Tahoe - advice needed

Looking to plan a 10 night trip to Yosemite and Lake Tahoe areas in June 2019. Thinking of renting a large class C RV in San Francisco and doing a loop out and back. Two small families. Am I crazy? Yes. Does anyone have any general advice, campground suggestions, must see attractions/experiences in those areas, roads to avoid or anything that only locals might know? Not trying to see it all. Just want a fun experience that the kids will never forget. Any help would be greatly appreciated. Thanks.

PS I’m open to suggestions on other loops if we can fly in relatively close, rent an RV and comfortably do it in 10 nights. I have considered a Zion, Bryce and Grand Canyon loop too.
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Old 10-03-2018, 10:36 PM   #2
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Make sure you have campground reservations at least for the weekends.. the campgrounds there-ish gets full quickly.. and June is summer vacation already.. if you are thinking of taking Tioga pass (highway 120) be sure to have a backup plan if it didn't open in June.. I would avoid highway 108 thru Sonora pass..


For Emerald bay/inspiration point area, plan to go there on non-weekend days or show up early (before 9-10am) or be prepared to sit in traffic for awhile..
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Old 10-03-2018, 11:38 PM   #3
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Looking to plan a 10 night trip to Yosemite and Lake Tahoe areas in June 2019. Thinking of renting a large class C RV in San Francisco and doing a loop out and back. Two small families. Am I crazy? Yes. Does anyone have any general advice, campground suggestions, must see attractions/experiences in those areas, roads to avoid or anything that only locals might know? Not trying to see it all. Just want a fun experience that the kids will never forget. Any help would be greatly appreciated. Thanks.

PS I’m open to suggestions on other loops if we can fly in relatively close, rent an RV and comfortably do it in 10 nights. I have considered a Zion, Bryce and Grand Canyon loop too.
Dave just was at Bryce . Not to be missed ! Pat
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Old 10-04-2018, 12:44 AM   #4
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I'd fly into Sacramento and go from there! SAC is a piece of cake. The I-5 is right there and Tahoe is 2 hours east. There should be places up there to rent...I know there is a Camping World and others on I-80. FLying into SFO is crazy! You'll be more relaxed with the traffic away from the Bay Area. Born and raised in SF we fly out of Oakland...best kept secret as well as Sac. Just a thought!

North shore or South shore Tahoe? I totally agree with caddoster....traffic especially on the weekends is ....ugh!

Of the two I would pick your latter choice of Bryce,Zion and the Grand Canyon.
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Old 10-04-2018, 02:16 AM   #5
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Thinking of renting a large class C RV in San Francisco and doing a loop out and back.

Make sure you read the contract, especially the part about cleaning the RV. Your efforts to make the RV presentable will not likely satisfy the renter so be prepared to pay for professional detailing.

Which is why my daughter never got to camp in a rental RV, despite her pleas.
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Old 10-04-2018, 06:02 AM   #6
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We flew into Vegas and drove through Nevada and entered the park from the east and northern entrance, still snow covered. Some roads are narrow in the park, a small RV should be fine. Try to be there when there is a full moon, the park puts on a show down in the valley by the hotel.
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Old 10-04-2018, 07:29 AM   #7
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Crowds

Going anytime in the summer will be crowded for sure, traffic will be terrible inside the park especially on the weekends. It will make it very difficult to get around inside the park so I would be sure to take all that into consideration on anything you plan. I've had the luck of several back packing trips out to places like Yosemite and we always would leave right around Labor day weekend and never dealt with any crowds and only once did we have trouble finding a place to camp and that was because of bear activity they closed campgrounds not normally closed yet.
Off all the National Parks I've had the pleasure to visit Yosemite and Grand Tetons are top two on my list.

All the best and safe travels to all,
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Old 10-04-2018, 07:30 AM   #8
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We did SF, Mono Lake, Yosemite, Sequoia NP, San Luis Obispo, and back up the coast to Half Moon as a loop. Might be too much for 10 days, we did 3 weeks combination tent and hotels but it was a great loop to see.

For the GC option, we did LV, to Zion, then Bryce staying at Kodachrome, North rim, south rim, then the Hoover Dam and back to Vegas.

Of the 2 we liked the California loop the best.

I think you'll already be hard pressed to get campsites IN the parks.
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Old 10-04-2018, 09:59 AM   #9
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Concur with flying into Sacramento vs. SF as it's a much easier airport to traverse and closer to your destinations. I did a google search and found several rental opportunities:

https://www.google.com/search?q=clas...nt=firefox-b-1

As previously stated, make reservations for the most popular parks ASAP and avoid weekends if possible, especially in Yosemite in June. You may want to take a look at King's Canyon and Sequoia National Park's as well.

If you decide on the Zion/ Bryce loop (which I also recommend), you may want to consider going out of your way to visit Great Basin NP. It's one of the least visited parks due to it's remote location, but one of my favorite parks for that reason:

https://www.nps.gov/grba/index.htm
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Old 10-04-2018, 11:15 AM   #10
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Two small families sounds like at least 6 people. Keep in mind you have to pack everything up for even the shortest sightseeing or errand. If someone is tired or ill,they can’t be left behind at the campground. Many campgrounds now have small sleeping cabins that would likely be about the same if renting a large comfy van were factored in, especially considering mileage. Will car seats be needed? Can everyone have a seat belt? The trip is a fantastic idea—I’m encouraging alternate options. Edited to add that I have friends who do this kind of fly and drive trip. They usually hit Costco on landing w a list—buy inexpensive sleeping bags and other gear, cooler, small grill, and donate it all to charity when they leave.
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Old 10-04-2018, 11:19 AM   #11
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And a plug for my town—Placerville—and surrounding area (Coloma, a state park site of the original gold discovery, especially interesting for kids. And the hardware store downtown P’ville. Between Sacramento and Lake Tahoe on highway 50.
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Old 10-04-2018, 11:36 AM   #12
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re: Yosemite



depends on which part of June you are going, if you want to camp inside Yosemite you need to plan on doing reservation on either Jan 15 or Feb 15, at 7am Pacific time.. because by 7:01am they will all be gone


if you stay outside the park, keep in mind that going into the park on the weekends means traffic (I think wait time to get into the park is 1-2 hours), and for summer months weekdays and weekends are not much different... you should plan on going in before 9am, park and use the shuttle system to get around the valley.



I like Kings/Sequoia NP better too, but it has gotten rather crowded recent years too.. they have a shuttle system for the summer months too, it is definitely easier to get a campsite there tho, since there's a bunch of roadside ones in the nearby national forest if you don't mind a little driving.
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Old 10-04-2018, 01:17 PM   #13
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If you take US 395 between Lake Tahoe & Yosemite (entering Yosemite from Lee Vining on CA 120/Tioga Pass) be sure to stop at Bodie State Historic Park, an interesting and real ghost town, at least real compared to the various tourist traps around.
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Old 10-04-2018, 02:35 PM   #14
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And a plug for my town—Placerville—and surrounding area (Coloma, a state park site of the original gold discovery, especially interesting for kids. And the hardware store downtown P’ville. Between Sacramento and Lake Tahoe on highway 50.

Well, now that you mention it: A loop that includes CA-49 takes you through the gold country. Leaving Yosemite, CA-120W takes you to Moccasin, where you pick up hwy 49 (route of the 49ers!), then Jamestown, Sonora, Columbia, Angels Camp. Lots of history, places to pan gold, etc. (Read up on your Mark Twain stories). Must also mention that CA-49 continues through Placerville, Auburn, Nevada City, then north then east through the Sierras to US-395.

This is actually one of those routes where you should take your time, and stop wherever it looks interesting, because it will be.
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Old 10-04-2018, 04:37 PM   #15
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Bodie is a great idea. It's a gravel road to get there though, so conditions vary. If you go that route, I'd fly into Reno, which is about an hour's drive from Tahoe.
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Old 10-04-2018, 06:05 PM   #16
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Well, now that you mention it: A loop that includes CA-49 takes you through the gold country. Leaving Yosemite, CA-120W takes you to Moccasin, where you pick up hwy 49 (route of the 49ers!), then Jamestown, Sonora, Columbia, Angels Camp. Lots of history, places to pan gold, etc. (Read up on your Mark Twain stories). Must also mention that CA-49 continues through Placerville, Auburn, Nevada City, then north then east through the Sierras to US-395.

This is actually one of those routes where you should take your time, and stop wherever it looks interesting, because it will be.
Good suggestion! We stayed at the 49er RV Ranch a few years back in our HiLo. We had fun visiting the surrounding sites, including the Columbia State Historic Park which is very close to the RV Park. Here is an interesting video done by Huell Howser. Most Californians are familiar with Huell:

Here is the campground website:

49er Ranch RV Park: RV Campground and Resort Columbia CA
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Old 10-04-2018, 09:46 PM   #17
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Thank you everyone for your advice! I appreciate you taking the time. As we know when traveling the little details can be the difference between an ok trip and an incredible trip.
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