Author Topic: Routing in Sierra-Nevada Range  (Read 5145 times)

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Offline urbancoyote

Routing in Sierra-Nevada Range
« on: February 06, 2006, 08:02:02 pm »
I'm considering a trip up Hwy 395 from Mammoth Lakes, CA to meet up with the Western Express Route, on which I will turn west and follow it to San Francisco.

I plan on doing this mid-summer if all works out. Here is what I need to know...

What is 395 like north of Mono Lake? Are there shoulders? what's the traffic like?

Should I follow 395 all the way to its junction with Hwy 206 (The Western Express)? Or should I turn onto Hwy 89 and go through Markleeville and meet up with the Western Express at Woodfords? Or is some other route recommended?

And what is Hwy 88 like going over Carson Pass?

Offline wanderingwheel

Routing in Sierra-Nevada Range
« Reply #1 on: February 07, 2006, 01:40:28 am »
I've ridden most of 395 and driven all of it.  As I recall, there is typically a very generous shoulder for the entire route, but it usually comes with a rumble strip, also.  Traffic is light to moderate, especially north of Mono Lake, but gets heavier as you approach Carson City.  There is a significant climb just north of Mono Lake (which I forgot the name of), but otherwise it is fairly flat.

Highway 89 is much smaller than 395 and does not have a shoulder.  Traffic is lighter, however.  If you take 89, you will have to climb over Monitor Pass to get to Markleeville.  There is essentially no climbing on 395 between 89 and the Western Express.  I think 89 is a much more scenic and interesting route than taking 395 into the Carson Valley.

Highway 88 over Carson Pass is wide open, with a large shoulder and moderate to heavy traffic.  The view from the top looking down on Silver Lake in one direction and out to the ocean in the other is nice.  If you are unlucky and catch a headwind, the climb can be a bit of a grind.  The decent is much nicer, through the forest and all the way down to Ione or so.

If you are feeling adventurous, consider taking 108 over Sonora Pass and down into Sonora, and then following 49 north through the Gold Country back to the Western Express.  It will be a much more challenging ride on smaller roads, however.

One other option is to take 120 over Tioga Pass, through Yosemite, and then following 49 north, but I don't know anything more about the route.


Offline wrightwoodfilms

Routing in Sierra-Nevada Range
« Reply #2 on: February 08, 2006, 01:23:34 am »
the road is shoulder friendly on the 395 to carson vally I think you should skip past carson valley to much traffic and go up 88 89 more scenic although harder climb. I live in Mammoth Lakes. Dont forget to do June Lake scenic loop and stop at trout town joe for coffee

This message was edited by wrightwoodfilms on 2-7-06 @ 9:27 PM

Offline urbancoyote

Routing in Sierra-Nevada Range
« Reply #3 on: February 12, 2006, 12:54:10 am »
Thanks for the detailed info. And Wrightwood, you're right about the
June Lake loop. I've done that and it's very pleasant.

Offline MrBent

Routing in Sierra-Nevada Range
« Reply #4 on: April 28, 2006, 12:18:16 am »
One tight spot to consider: I've driven 395 many, many times and plan to ride a big stretch of it in just a few weeks.  The section from Bridgport to Walker, along the Walker River, is pretty, but there are some rather narrow places that seem pretty dangerous to me.  An alternative, with MUCH less traffic is to take the East Fork of the Walker River heading north out of the east side of town, Hwy 182 to 338 to 208, which swings you into Nevada for a while.  You are dropped back on to 395 six miles north of Hwy 89, which is a fantastic, if strenuous route into the Sierras.  We're headed to Carson City then will take the Western Express to the coast, but my mother lives in Carson City, so we HAVE to go there.  Hwy 89 would the the ultimate route.  Just follow 89 until you can hook up with 88 and Western Express.  You'll be pumped, but you won't be sorry.  

Safe riding and tailwinds!