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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Just wondered if anyone has any experience of the above route in late October (3rd week) ?
A bunch of us are coming from the UK on a bike tour round CA, AZ, UT etc.
Part of the planned route is Death Valley, Mammoth Lakes, Tioga Pass, Sonora, San Francisco. Is this likely to be blocked by snow at this time of year? Even if not snow then below freezing and therefore potentially icy??
Alternatively we could go from Mammoth Lakes to Tahoe and then west to San Francisco from there, but I think the valley floor is still 6 thousand feet altitude so may be difficult this way too.
We have had varied advice and just wondered if anyone here has any first hand experience of what we might face if we plan to go this way in October. It sounds like a great ride so we'd like to go over the pass if we can. All comments welcome.

Boxerpilot.
 

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Early October on average is doable over the high pass's, but then again winter starts her march into cold and snowy October onward ...

Hwy's 120 / 108 / 89 / 4 are ALL Very Very worth while routes and if open a MUST RIDE !!
If it came down to one route weather pending would be Hwy 89 off 395, left on Hwy 4 down to Hwy 49.
This zone is literally my Back Yard !! and ride all these pass's multiple times every season :dance:

Wish you the best once your Northern California adventure begins !!
 

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I believe it was 2 years ago in the 3rd week of October I rode thru' Tioga, which may be the most potentially closed. Or opens latest in the season.
It was super.
Warm, no snow yet. Just beautiful.
But then last May, it was still super winter. But come December, and January and Tioga was still open.
No one can predict the future, but it looks at this time that the winter is being pushed further and further back (but then maybe lasting longer into the late spring.)
So I think you will do fine.
However, be prepared for some rain. Some rain is possible.
dc

Let me also recommend as much as possible of Highway 49. However, skip 50. 49 north thru' Downieville is an excellent ride.
 

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Nothing newer than what motorhead stated... If you want to ride some nice (by my standards) fire roads in the Sierra's... He's your man...

Either way over (120, 4, 108, 89-88) the Sierra's you will be happy with. +1 for hwy 4. Great ride, that one is... They all hook up with 49, which is good by its own right. Several little "gold mine" towns along the way to stop off for whatever.

There are several ways to get from there to the bay. However, I'd suggest 49 to 16 into Sacramento. Slab it to Winters and take 128/121 over to Napa, and get over to 101 South. There are a few ways over to 101... Some spectacular, others just ho humm...

Once on 101 south, you'll get the surprise view of the golden gate...(as soon as you come out of the tunnel) Some pretty good spots in and around these areas... Better get to plannin... only a few more months left.. :)
 

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I'm also headed over the pass approx. Oct 15 +/-, from Fresno up to Reno. It'll be brisk! Riding with 2 LT and 1 GT friends. Watch for a pack of us headed East.

I just came the other way (starting in Omaha, ending in San Jose) in August and it was very good roads and great weather in the elevations - otherwise cooking hot either side.

Traffic in Oct. should be lighter since school is back in and tourist season slows down (not to mention the varmit virus in Curry Village).

Have a great & safe ride!
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Thanks Charlie,
Not long now. Coming out to the US in 2 weeks. We'll be crossing the Tioga on 22nd October if it all goes to plan. We need to decide if we are going to go for that route 48 hours before to cancel the accommodation we are not using. If the weather looks potentially snowy then we'll go the south route (Porterville, Visalia) rather than Mammoth Lakes, Tioga, Sonora.
Lets hope the weather holds up.
 

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If Tioga is closed (and sometimes it is closed after Labor Day - snow or no snow,
I lived in Mammoth for fourteen years but am now in AZ.
From Death Valley I would cut over on Hwy168 to Big Pine and then North to Mammoth.
If Tioga is closed but there is no snow in the area, I would leave Mammoth going N on 395 to Gardnerville and over to Tahoe.
From there I'd take 88 to Stockton and then W on any route to San Francisco.
 
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