Author Topic: Road 395 south in USA?  (Read 2486 times)

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Offline heravanwillick

Road 395 south in USA?
« on: September 26, 2016, 05:33:17 pm »

I'm on a long bicycle tour, currently heading to Jasper - Banff and then into the States.

Since november/december will be too cold for the Great Divide or the Cascades and the Pacific Coast will be very wet,
someone recommended riding down the 395.

I'm very curious to hear if anyone here has experience with that road or any thoughts about that???

Hope to hear from you!

Offline Pat Lamb

Re: Road 395 south in USA?
« Reply #1 on: September 27, 2016, 08:58:22 pm »
Fools rush in...

I'm totally ignorant of this road, but since nobody else has responded, here's a few thoughts.  Playing around with gurgle maps, I noticed a "Starr Sno-Park" south of John Day.  Further south 395 goes close to Lake Tahoe, also known as home to a bunch of ski areas.

It might be a better idea to work your way over to the coast and run the risk of some winter storms.

Offline zzzz

Re: Road 395 south in USA?
« Reply #2 on: September 28, 2016, 11:12:41 am »
I have spent some limited time on 395 from where 89 intersects it south of Tahoe to where you turn off for Tioga Pass into Yosemite (Lee Vining), maybe a 100 miles. It's a very nice stretch, pretty flat with the Sierras immediately to your right, but I can't speak to the balance of it. I also saw on Wikipedia that Lee Vining gets an average of 93" of snow a winter and it's around 1300 miles south of where you are now (route figured as 95 south out of Banff to 2 to 395 in Spokane). You know what kind of milage/ pace you can keep and weather you can make that in a month.

I went over to "Crazy Guy on a Bike" and typed 395 into their journal's search function and it came back with an even 100 pages of hits. You can sift thru that and probably find some good info.


Offline mathieu

Re: Road 395 south in USA?
« Reply #3 on: September 28, 2016, 12:57:11 pm »
I guess much depends on the timeline : when - where?

If you get to Banff early October, you can probably finish US-395 by mid-November. From the Canadian border to Hesperia is about 1300 mi/2000 km:  should be possible in 20-25 days.
US-395 runs through Carson City (4800 ft), which is close to Lake Tahoe (6200 ft) but at significantly lower elevation, which probably makes a lot of difference. US-395 gets to a maximum elevation of 8000 ft south of Carson City, near Yosemite. If that part would be snowed in, or threatened, you could switch over to US-95 near Reno. US-95 gets to a maximum elevation of 6000 ft between Reno and Las Vegas.
You could also follow US-95 from the Canadian border to the Mexican border (1500 mi/2450 km). Most of it in Idaho/Oregon/Nevada is between 4000-5000 ft. See

Just my two cents of advice to a fellow Dutch cyclist.
« Last Edit: September 28, 2016, 06:25:58 pm by mathieu »

Offline jamawani

Re: Road 395 south in USA?
« Reply #4 on: September 28, 2016, 09:57:51 pm »
US 395 is very, very remote in Oregon and northern California.
And cold in winter.

I got snowed in near Susanville, California on Memorial Day.
Averages for December at Burns, Oregon -
Hi - 35F; Lo - 14F; Precip - 1.5 inches; Snow - 10.2 inches

Offline staehpj1

Re: Road 395 south in USA?
« Reply #5 on: September 29, 2016, 07:06:44 am »
Is it important to you that your bike tour is continuous?  If not you might consider taking a train of bus to the coast and riding down the coast in October.  Getting there sooner rather than later is likely to make for better weather.  You will get rained on some, but it probably won't be too bad in October.

I'd expect fairly tough conditions on US395 when you would be there.  Probably some pretty cold weather and snow fairly likely at some point.

Offline heravanwillick

Re: Road 395 south in USA?
« Reply #6 on: September 29, 2016, 08:12:57 pm »
THANK YOU so much for all the replies!
I'm taking it all in consideration.

I don't want to go on trains or busses to speed up to get there, cause I first want to get to Jasper and ride the Icefiels parkway to Banff.

I've drawn a route on the map of what I have in mind now.
Any comments are still welcome of course.

Offline jamawani

Re: Road 395 south in USA?
« Reply #7 on: September 29, 2016, 11:33:50 pm »
The Oregon coast will be pretty brutal in late fall.
Lots of rain, lots of headwinds. The summer northwest wind shifts to southwest.
You would have better conditions - still cool & damp - in the Willamette Valley.
I've ridden the coast during a late spring storm. Constant cold rain in the face.
It made me an evil person.

Your best chance for better coastal weather is south of the Bay Area.

Offline zzzz

Re: Road 395 south in USA?
« Reply #8 on: September 30, 2016, 11:38:20 am »
I'm won't argue the point that the willamette valley is the preferred option. I would say that I think it's still early enough that if you keep your eye on the weather you still have some options.

It all depends on what kind of milage your capable of, right? If you use your current route as a base line your map has 4200k noted on it or to put it another way 42 days at a 100k a day which puts you in San Diego 11/15. That's early enough to clear the winter weather most years. As suggested you could cut over around Portland and pick up the Willamette Valley and if Makenzie Pass is still open you could cut over a little further east for the 2nd best pass in the country, then you could test your luck a little more and see if Crater Lake is still an option. Maybe at that point you want to head back to the coast for awhile and see the redwoods. In my opinion Lassen and Shasta etc were nice but not that great and can be skipped. I would cut back inland a little further south than you're showing (nearer SF) and make your way to 395 and if Tioga Pass is still open (about 50/50 at the beginning of November) go see Yosemite.

I don't think these suggestions are viable unless you can put in a minimum of 100k a day and it would be better w more. The weather in any given year is fickle but at least this way you would have a chance to see some of the truly iconic stuff you'll be passing near. And if we have early snow than you hole up for a day or two, wait for the road to get plowed and make a line back to the coast.

Offline heravanwillick

Re: Road 395 south in USA?
« Reply #9 on: September 30, 2016, 12:05:41 pm »
Jamawani and Zzzz,


Like I've written before. This route, Seattle - San Diego, will take me about 2 months!
There's no way I want to do 100k a day without breaks. I like to stay at places, take days off, enjoy...
When I start rushing, the fun is gone.

Snow or cold doesn't have to be a problem. As long as the roads are still 'safe' to ride and I don't get stuck.
Thanks very much for al the comments!

Offline aggie

Re: Road 395 south in USA?
« Reply #10 on: October 02, 2016, 07:14:33 pm »
I've driven the 395 from Reno to its terminus in Hesperia.  For the most part the road is decent for cycling.  There are a couple of high passes south of Carson City but they do not close during the winter.  At most you would have to wait a couple of days for the road to be plowed.  Again for the most part it has a wide shoulder and has moderate to heavy traffic depending on the section.  The route south from the junction of hwy 58 may be a little sketchy.  There isn't much of a shoulder until you get close to Victorville, CA. and it has pretty heavy traffic.  You could detour over to Barstow and ride down the National Trails Highway.