Author Topic: Sierra Nevada Pass Options  (Read 9212 times)

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Offline pjlingley

Sierra Nevada Pass Options
« on: April 08, 2009, 02:16:15 pm »
Hello All,
I am looking for information in regards to crossing the Sierras from East to West around the end of May 2009.  I have driven a few of the main routes, and am looking forward to riding Tioga from Lee Vining into Yosemite and then North.  In preparation, I am trying to establish a few alternative routes to account for snow closure, etc.  I am aware of Sonora Pass, 108 I think, but that it is it until the Interstate through Tahoe.  I plan on camping most of the way and am using a road bike and trailer.  I don't mind a steep, long climb, but would like to avoid the Interstate. 
Thanks,
PJ
Ride Lots!!

Offline wanderingwheel

Re: Sierra Nevada Pass Options
« Reply #1 on: April 08, 2009, 05:37:35 pm »
There is Carson Pass, 88 I think, which is guaranteed to be open.  Other than Highway 50 (Echo Pass), it is the only non-interstate I can think of south of Tahoe which is kept open through the winter.  I believe Ebbets Pass, Hwy 4, and Monitor Pass, Hwy 89, are closed for the winter.  Carson Pass is not as spectacular as the other passes, but it is probably a better choice thn 50.  If you're headed further north, I'd consider Beckwourth Pass (Highway 70) as well.  Don't forget that you can check with Caltrans for the current highway conditions and expected opening dates: http://www.dot.ca.gov/hq/roadinfo/clsdlst.htm

Sean

Offline valygrl

Re: Sierra Nevada Pass Options
« Reply #2 on: April 08, 2009, 06:13:35 pm »
Hello All,
I am looking for information in regards to crossing the Sierras from East to West around the end of May 2009.  I have driven a few of the main routes, and am looking forward to riding Tioga from Lee Vining into Yosemite and then North.  In preparation, I am trying to establish a few alternative routes to account for snow closure, etc.  I am aware of Sonora Pass, 108 I think, but that it is it until the Interstate through Tahoe.  I plan on camping most of the way and am using a road bike and trailer.  I don't mind a steep, long climb, but would like to avoid the Interstate. 
Thanks,
PJ
Ride Lots!!

Sonora is REALLY steep.  They usually try to get Tioga open by Memorial Day, and I don't think it has been a huge snow year, so it should be OK.  Once they start plowing there will be updates on the Yosemite website.  And... you didn't hear this from me, but you can usually get through a few days before they open it to cars, and if you can ride it then, it's unreal.   Just you and the marmots. 

tioga opening date history:
http://www.nps.gov/yose/planyourvisit/tiogaopen.htm

current plowing status (starts updating 4/15)
http://www.nps.gov/yose/planyourvisit/tioga.htm

snowpack
http://cdec.water.ca.gov/cgi-progs/snow/PLOT_SWC

Offline wanderingwheel

Re: Sierra Nevada Pass Options
« Reply #3 on: April 08, 2009, 07:05:57 pm »

And... you didn't hear this from me, but you can usually get through a few days before they open it to cars, and if you can ride it then, it's unreal.   Just you and the marmots. 

That's a really great suggestion.  I too have been up on the closed passes, and it is just amazing.  Sometimes you have to hike-a-bike for a little bit, but it is more than worth it. 

One more thing to keep in mind: last year the Park Service and Caltrans was very happy to open the passes a few weeks early, but then a very late snowstorm blew in over Memorial Day weekend and closed them again.  I was touring along Highway 49 that weekend, and lots of people were turned around. Bikes could probably have made it through, but it would have been a fairly miserable journey until the weather broke.

Sean

Offline pjlingley

Re: Sierra Nevada Pass Options
« Reply #4 on: April 08, 2009, 11:41:12 pm »
Thank you. Very cool websites.  Getting across the Nevada desert and then through the Sierras has been my only concern thus far.  As for the early 'access', that could not get any better!!  I'll have to align my kharma now and hope for the best.  How are the roads and traffic across Carson or Echo?   

As for the late snowfall, I am just expecting to get hit with a classic spring dump.  But it beats the baking I'd endure crossing the desert to get there.  Oh well, thats the fun part.   

PJ
Ride Lots!!

FredHiltz

  • Guest
Re: Sierra Nevada Pass Options
« Reply #5 on: April 09, 2009, 07:22:35 am »
Sonora is REALLY steep.  They usually try to get Tioga open by Memorial Day,

Also, Tuolumne Meadow campground opens a good deal later than the Tioga Pass road. They have to wait until the ground thaws so the septic system will work. Check it out if you plan to camp up there.

Sonora Pass climbs at 25% for a loooong way. That was the last time I had to push my bike until I got to Brandon Gap in Vermont. It was gorgeous and I would do it again.

Fred

Offline wanderingwheel

Re: Sierra Nevada Pass Options
« Reply #6 on: April 09, 2009, 10:57:23 am »
Carson Pass has a significant amount of traffic, but the road is in good condition and there is a very wide shoulder.  It's a decent ride, but it pales in comparison to the other passes.  There will be may more services along 88, if that matters.  Highway 50 will have even more traffic because it goes by the south shore of Lake Tahoe.  It will aso eventually turn into a limited-access highway on the way into Sacramento, but I believe there are side roads if you decide to go that route.  Of the two, I'd take 88 unless you really want to go by Tahoe.

Sean

Offline mikedirectory2

Re: Sierra Nevada Pass Options
« Reply #7 on: April 10, 2009, 02:53:01 pm »
Just you and the marmots. 

Sorry to sound dumb but what is a marmot?

« Last Edit: April 10, 2009, 07:45:00 pm by jsieber »
May the skies be blue and the road be flat... Happy Riding.

Offline valygrl

Re: Sierra Nevada Pass Options
« Reply #8 on: April 11, 2009, 12:05:30 am »
Oh!  Cute furry rodents that live at high altitudes.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Marmot-edit1.jpg
« Last Edit: April 11, 2009, 01:54:43 pm by jsieber »

Offline MrBent

Re: Sierra Nevada Pass Options
« Reply #9 on: April 11, 2009, 01:07:02 am »
Good advice here.  I've ridden Carson Pass a couple of times.  It does have some traffic, but I didn't find it too bad--and there is a shoulder much of the time.  Dropping down the west side, however, I suggest you NOT take the ACA route that connects with Mormon Immigrant Trail.  That road itself is fine, but getting all the way down to Folsom has some VERY nasty sections, especially below  Placerville--tight, narrow, steep little climbs with huge load of traffic.  It's one of the nastier sections I've ridden. 

Instead, continue down Hwy 88 to the Fiddletown--Silverlake Rd. (This is what it's called on google maps.  I think it's Shake Ridge Rd. or something similar on AAA maps.)  Study the maps.  From Fiddletown--amazingly cute gold country burg--you can easily get to Plymouth and find some back roads to connect to Folsom.  You definitely want to take the American River Bike path and others through to Davis.  From Folsom on, the ACA is fantastic!

Have a great adventure.

Scott