I'm not sure how long, but I would head south on US 395 to CA 120. It is a beautiful drive with lots to stop and see.

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Here's a link to Google Maps with the route highlighted: https://goo.gl/maps/BwJJH

Add about 15% to that driving time estimate to make it realistic, then add time for stops such as refuelling, meals, toilets and sightseeing.

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A good part of the drive along Hwy 395 is very scenic. There are some nice stops if you have time, such as Carson City, Bodie and Mono Lake. Depending upon your starting point in Reno without stops you can probably make the drive to the entrance gate at Tioga Pass in about 2.5 hours. However, if you are driving into Yosemite Valley it is another 1.5 hours without any stops. The drive along Tioga Pass is one of the most scenic in the state of California and should not be rushed.

You must have lodging reservations for Yosemite. If possible avoid being in Yosemite Valley over a weekend and especially over Labor Day holiday weekend.

And cross your fingers that there are no forest fires.

Assuming you are driving when Tioga Pass is open (its open now and closes when there is heavy snow generally end October to first part November when it closes for the winter). There are places to stay all along the way.

In terms of the drive from Reno to Yosemite assuming you want to stay on highway 395 to Tioga Pass it takes two to two and a half hours (depends where you are starting from in Reno).

If on the other hand you want to see Lake Tahoe on the drive also, drive up Mt. Rose Highway if you are int Reno, see the scenic drive along Lake Tahoe (good views) and then drive back down Kingsbury Grade to highway 395.

If you decide to just do 395, here are some of the things you can see on the drive

1) When you leave Reno, you will first drive through the Topaz Lake area (its sad this year due to the drought).

2) Then you can will get to Carson City. There is an excellent Nevada railroad museum as well as Nevada state museum there. If you drive out highway 50 you can also see the historic town of Virginia City (silver rush town)

3) You will then drive through Gardnerville/Minden area. There is a good chocolate shop in town.


4) After you leave this area, you will then see Topaz Lake. The season is a bit different for fishing (January on). You will go through the California border crossing station in to California. This is a short couple of minutes where are you going type questions.

5) After that you get into the scenic area which is written about in cowboy poetry - nice mountain canyons, good views, especially when you get to Bridgeport. From Bridgeport you can drive out 14 miles to Twin Lakes and see those Lakes (or you can skip it). If you like soft servce icre cream, Jolly Kone is one of the best.

6) As you start the drive towards Lee Vining, you will see a sign that points the way to Bodie. Its paved except for the last 3 miles (which is easy dirt road and easy to drive). Its a historic ghost town well worth seeing if interested in that type of history)


7) When you get to the top of the summit, you will get good views of Mono Lake. If interested you can drive in and see Virginia Lakes. Signs will point this out.

8) Then you drive down the summit to Mono Lake and the visitor center there. There is also another sign you will see pointing the way to a nice lake to go see about 5 miles in which is called Lundy Lake


9) As you drive through the small town of Lee Vining, you will see some tourist shops and cafes.

9) Tioga Pass is just past Lee Vining. You will be in the park in 1/2 hour or less. This will be the Toulumne Meadows portion of the park. To get to the Yosemite valley area takes another 2 hours or so drive at 45 mph which is the park speed limit.

10) If you have trouble finding lodging in the park, you might consider spending time in two very delightful hiking, lake, lodging areas in the Eastern Sierras. The first one you will get to is a 14 mile road and is called June Lake Loop. This is a very short drive from Lee Vining. You will get amazing views of Mono Craters.

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Or you can continue to Mammoth Lakes with amazing views of the Minarets and also Devils Postpile


Just south of Mammoth is a nice fish hatchery as well as a short drive into to see another scenic alpine lake called Convict Lake.