He is doing the foothills/Sierra only, no coast.
A time frame would help, 4 weeks, 16 weeks? Most of us spend years here and don't see it all.
Sequoia, Three Rivers is a rafting town, maybe take a ride?
Shaver Lake (Southern CA Edison) campground and all the high trout lakes around there. Dinkey Creek?
Hit Yosemite before the kids get out of school and the rest of the entire world arrives (no need to travel to the world, they all come here).
Why then? Frazil Ice and all the wonder, truly a site to behold http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9V9p4mFEYXc
French Camp or Jackson Rancheria to tour the gold country and the many tiny old towns, mines, and caves. Columbia SHP.
Tahoe, Fallen Leaf lake. Make sure you take the bike trails even if you rent bikes if you are in shape.
Or any number of other campgrounds from primitive to Fancy.
Burney Falls SP.
Hat Creek and Trinity national forest area if you like wild, remote, awesome trout fishing.
Mt. Shasta and McCloud.
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When do the kids get out of school in CA? THANKS EVERYONE...all the post/infomation has been a great help. When can one expect the mountain roads to be clear of snow? For John I, we really don't have a time length to make the trip, I hope to do it in 4-5 weeks. We don't want to be rushed from one spot to the other. I'm sure we're find some places we will want to spend 3-4 days and some we're be ready to move out the next morning!! THANKS AGAIN FOR THE INFORMATION, IT MAKES THE TRIP ALOT EASIER TO PLAN!!!
I'd suggest U.S. 395 and Tioga Pass into Yosemite (check with Caltrans website for opening) then up CA49 into Sequoia, 49 again to CA88 over to Tahoe. Depending on the winter, could be May/June for opening of Tioga, same with Sequoia.
The roads are generally clear of snow by May. All except Tioga Pass are open year round, with chains during storms. Tioga can open anywhere from May to July depending on the year. Last 10 years it has been late May to Mid June. Spectacular road up there.
Sequoia can be done by day trips if needed.
Yosemite is best seen by staying in the park, which can be done before the summer.
Tahoe of course has snow much later, but Highway 50 is a well traveled road, just be willing to adjust for weather and wait it out if you head in before June. Lake level in South Tahoe is not a big issue, but early in the season the pass leading into it can be.
All of these are not an issue during non storm times.
Avoid ALL of these during the 4th of July unless you love crazy crowds.
The kids get out of school roughly the second week of June.
Sounds like a wonderful trip. I would think the earlier you get on the road the better as everything fills up so fast in National Parks. If you come in on 15, make sure you check out Joshua Tree, Death Valley and Red Canyon State Park. They are all worth a visit. JT is all dry camping but there are some great spots in 29 Palms, and down in Palm Springs area.
For a route after you leave Yosemite towards Oregon that takes in a lot of the Central & Northern Sierra Nevada foothills and mountains would be something like the following:
Exit Yosemite west on SR120 to SR49, and turn north on SR49 until Jackson, where you can turn east on SR88. This route will take you north thru the most historic section of the Motherlode where the 1849 Gold Rush occured. There is a lot to stop and see. There are RV Resorts (We like Angels Camp RV Resort),and federal CG's along the route (we like Glory Hole Rec Area at New Melones Reservoir near Angels Camp).
Turning east on SR88 will take you up & over Carson Pass (named for Kit Carson who discovered the route) to SR89, where you will turn north towards Lake Tahoe. SR88 was named one of the most scenic highways in the U.S. sometime during the 70's. There are Forest Service (NFS) CG's near Silver Lake & Caples Lake (7000' elev) that provide nice High Sierra camping opportunities.
Turning north on SR89 will take you to Lake Tahoe and beyond, where there are numerous camping opportunites. Just be careful going around Emerald Bay where there is a couple of switch backs where you will need to swing wide. Continue north on SR89 to Truckee, there are NFS CG's along the Truckee River between Tahoe City and Truckee. On the west end of Truckee is Donner Memorial SP CG (the Donner Party) that is at the east end of Donner lake.
Continuing north on SR89 takes you along the east side of the Northern Sierra Nevada where there are State Parks and NFS CG's along the route. Staying on SR89 also takes you thru Lassen Volcanic NP, which I believe has the largest concentration of hot springs, mud pots, and geisers outside of Yellowstone. If you like to fish for trout, Hat Creek north of Lassen NP is a great trout stream. Also along SR89 is SETI, where there is a large array of radio telescopes searching for extra-terrestrial radio signals
Continuing north on SR89 takes you to Burney, where you can decide to turn west on SR299 to I-5 in Redding where you could turn north on I-5 towards Oregon, or stay west on SR299 to US101 on the North Coast at Arcata. Or you can stay north on SR89 until it terminates at I-5 just south of the city of Mount Shasta. From here you can travel north on I-5 to Oregon.
We have towed on all the above routes, except SR299 between Redding and Arcata, and SR120 between Yosemite and SR49, and find them to be a great alternative to I-5 or US99 while in the central/northern part of California.
Good luck with your trip planning, and have a fun & safe trip.
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Thanks again for the help...only thing left to do is get our departure date set. Looking forward to this trip, have done the WA, ID, Mt, and WY thing several times...looks like that will be our return route to TX. Haven't been to CA since I joined the Army in 1970!!! Looking forward to seeing all the sights we can!! Thanks again, hope to see some of you on the road!
Yep, I think EPenny had the route I was wanting to travel down pat! I would like to do a coastal route some day. We're sorta planning/looking at a trip to Alaska in 13'...Got to get some of these thing marked off the list before time catches up with us.