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49er Rally planning!

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Eric Christison
Posts: 10
Eminent Member
Topic starter

Howdy all, I'm doing a bit of planning- or simply wishful thinking, in regards to the upcoming 49er rally. I am traveling solo from Las Vegas and am hoping to ride over Tioga Pass/Yosemite (Westbound- if the road is open then) enroute from Vegas to Mariposa Fairgrounds, chiefly using Hwy 395 on the Eastern slope of the Sierras.  Otherwise, I suppose I would have to got through Death Valley and Hwy 190/178/43/etc up to Mariposa from the South. So, does anyone have better suggestions or thoughts for non-interstate driving these routes, and/or anyone planning to go either of these directions and want to meet up along the way? It's still penciled in as May 27th-31st and I was mulling over being there for the full 4 days. Cheers,


Posted : 03/27/2021 21:40
Wynne Benti
Posts: 2
New Member

Hi Eric,

Tioga Pass should be open as it has been a pretty thin snow year. Mule Days is scheduled to happen over Memorial Day weekend in Bishop, so there is merchant pressure on CalTrans to get Tioga Pass open for that event. If you come via Bishop, perhaps we can ride over together. If Tioga is open, that's the way I'll go, via the Merced River. About five hours from Bishop.

Shortest route from Bishop to the '49er is via Tioga Pass: North one hour to Lee Vining (gas at the turn). Once you're through Yosemite, turn left at Crane Flat (Chevron) on Big Oak Flat Road, then sharp right at the stop sign on El Portal Road/Hwy. 140 (straight takes you into the valley) and exit Yosemite NP. This route will take you to El Portal (gas) down the Merced River to Mariposa. It's the quickest route from Bishop when open and should be open this year. Haven't gone that way since before it burned, but it's always a beautiful ride down the Merced.

Another fun route is straight across 120 from Yosemite to Chinese Camp (just before the 49 cutoff to Sonora), left on Main Street through Chinese Camp to Red Hills Road through Red Hills Recreation Management Area > La Grange, CA > Snelling > Merced Falls > Hornitos > Cathays Valley > Mariposa. A nice scenic ride through ranching country. This is usually on the '49er Poker Run or a recommended scenic day ride. 

Most direct (and coolest) route from Las Vegas, if you want to ride Hwy 95:

Fastest route 1: Las Vegas via the White Mountains to Bishop: North on 95 (gas up in Beatty). From Beatty, head north to 266 west (left at the old Cottontail Ranch, just a trailer on the corner). You'll soon pass Gold Point, an old ghost town, access via a new paved road, a somewhat interesting side trip. Continue on 266 west over Lida Summit to Oasis (Fish Lake Valley, CA). Turn left on 168, west to Big Pine over Gilbert Summit to Deep Springs Valley, and up over the White Mountains, dropping into Big Pine on US 395. Lots of curves. North fifteen miles to Bishop. Brown's Town Campground in Bishop is on US 395 (hot showers). Mountain Rambler Brewery serves meals and their own beers. Rain Shadow, the newest brewery plans to be open by that weekend.

Route 2: Las Vegas to Beatty > Death Valley (190) to Lone Pine. West from Beatty (NV 174/CA 190) over Daylight Pass to Stovepipe Wells, straight to Towne Pass (nice sweepers) to Panamint Springs (gas/camping/restaurant) > up a curvy steep grade to more curves. At the intersection of 136/190 stay north on 136 past Keeler to Lone Pine; OR turn left on 190 to Olancha then south to Walker Pass (178).

From 395 (wear your heated gloves):
From Bishop many routes to Mariposa: north to Tioga (120-fastest); Sonora (108); Monitor (89)/Ebbets(4) or Carson Pass (88-almost always open, of all the passes). All passes lead to Hwy 49.

88 (Carson Pass): Preferred when Tioga is closed. North on 395 past Topaz Lodge (Chevron, good restaurant in the casino with a view of the lake, tent/RV camping & motel) > Riverview/Dresslerville Road in Gardnerville (NV 756, turn left at the only 7/11 past the big Washoe Chevron) to Hwy 88, turn left, straightaway to Woodfords, up and over Carson Pass- a spectacular pass and scenic ride to Jackson (inexpensive gas at the Jackson Rancheria-Casino). 

178 (Walker Pass): Lone Pine south on 395 to Walker Pass (178), then west (Walker Pass campground at the pass and a PCT crossing). Red Rooster Cafe in Mountain Mesa/great breakfast-best pancakes. Kernville is an option with many campgrounds north along the river. LA and Bakersfield converges on it on Memorial Day weekend (make your reservations). The RV Parks usually will have a few extra tents spaces (Camp Kernville, Rivernook). Kern River Brewery for lunch/dinner. McNally's Fairview Lodge on the River and McNally's Outpost in Kernville. Many routes to the 49er from Kernville. An interesting paved route through the Sequoias via Camp Nelson. Lake Isabella Motel is an overnight option right on 155/178 (with campgrounds past it on 155). Nelda's is pretty good for breakfast in Lake Isabella-but everything is crowded.

155 West from Wofford Heights to Glennville is a super curvy road, past the world-famous Fulton Hot Shots, to Hwy 65. Rural side roads can be followed north from 65 to Hwy 41 to Mariposa. The fruit stands will be open. You can bypass Bakersfield from 178 to 65 as well. 

If I was coming from Las Vegas, I'd bypass Hwy 95, and take 160 to Pahrump. Route 1). Pahrump to Shoshone via Tecopa then down Jubilee-Salisbury Pass, the Badwater Road to 190, stay at the lodge in Panamint Springs or any motel with air conditioning Lone Pine; or Route 2). Belle Vista to Amargosa Junction/190 to Furnace Creek (shortest of the two).

Boulder Creek RV Resort in Lone Pine, south of town has showers, tent spaces. InterAgency Visitor Center at the corner of 136 and 395 has nice restrooms, good gift shop. 

US 395/178 winds pick up around noon. The canyon can be super windy as well. Hope all this wordiness is somewhat helpful.

Posted : 04/09/2021 07:04
Eric Christison
Posts: 10
Eminent Member
Topic starter

Route update! It turns out Yosemite is going to have day use/entrance reservations requirements again this Summer. So, if you are thinking of going through Yosemite to the 49er Rally (or at any point in 2021) you will need to make a reservation for it- and the time frame for doing so is as follows:

First day to reserve

Arrival date

April 21

May 21–June 30

April 28

July 1–31

May 5

August 1–31

May 12

September 1–30

May 14–September 23

seven days in advance

I just copied this schedule from the NPS site. Obviously, if Tioga Pass is still closed, this is a moot point. I just thought to share this info so folks could plan accordingly, AND it should also be noted that a single vehicle reservation only lasts for 3 days access to the park instead of the previous 7 days.


Posted : 04/10/2021 10:37
Eric Christison
Posts: 10
Eminent Member
Topic starter


Fantastic options! Thanks for all the recommendations. Even if Tioga is open and I was able to get reservations, I'm reading that there could still be a considerable wait at the entrance, and I'd rather be riding the extra distance vs. sitting in traffic. I especially like your Southern route through Kernville as an option-having never travelled that way before. I will let you know when the time gets closer, which route I'm going to take. Thanks again for the suggestions!


Posted : 04/12/2021 13:06
Lawrence Erkie
Posts: 37
Trusted Member

@16810 The NorCal webpages don't mention anything about what may happen in 2022.  What does the rumor mill say about this year's 49er?  After last year I missed my personal lack of rally fix; I'm chompin' at the bit to go.

Posted : 01/28/2022 10:15
Eric Christison
Posts: 10
Eminent Member
Topic starter

Looks like the info & registration for this year's 49er are up!

May 26th-30th in Quincy, CA


Posted : 02/16/2022 19:00


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