sights on route 395 las vegas - death valley - bishop - reno

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viajero loco
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sights on route 395 las vegas - death valley - bishop - reno

Post by viajero loco » Wed Aug 21, 2013 7:09 am


we are 7 germans driving our rented RV from vegas to reno via death valley and bishop (on route 395). i've read, that its much nicer than just the 95.

but so far i only know what is written here: ... ican_dream
and that there are supposed to be some hot springs.

does anybody have some more details about the hot springs or any other recommendations where we should stop?

thanks a lot! :)
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Re: sights on route 395 las vegas - death valley - bishop -

Post by Bexx » Wed Aug 21, 2013 8:20 am

395 is a beautiful drive. You will be going through some amazing little towns! Just pay attention to the speed limits though. They drop down to 25 in the little towns.
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Re: sights on route 395 las vegas - death valley - bishop -

Post by mudpuppy000 » Wed Aug 21, 2013 10:13 am

Death valley is one of my favorite places to visit. It is incredibly hot there in the summer though (highest recorded temperature on earth) so... Don't go hiking or break down in your RV or you may DIE!!! Seriously! Also, GPS directions are notorious for guiding people onto old mining roads in death valley, so stay on paved highways!

Once you get to the 395 the bristlecone pine forests are really cool to see (oldest living trees on earth), but far off the 395. Probably at least a half day detour. June lake is beautiful too, and there's an old ghost town (bodie) which is amazing.

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Re: sights on route 395 las vegas - death valley - bishop -

Post by nilasnake » Wed Aug 21, 2013 11:01 am

I think bodie is close to catching on fire right now, not sure the current fire status in the be prepared for smoke at least.

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Re: sights on route 395 las vegas - death valley - bishop -

Post by BoyScoutGirl » Wed Aug 21, 2013 11:03 am

You can use to check the status of highways in California, including road conditions and construction, etc. There don't appear to be any closures on 395 right now due to smoke.
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Re: sights on route 395 las vegas - death valley - bishop -

Post by theCryptofishist » Wed Aug 21, 2013 1:56 pm

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Re: sights on route 395 las vegas - death valley - bishop -

Post by pink » Wed Aug 21, 2013 4:00 pm

I love Death Valley, but haven't been there since I started burning..necessary desert fix satisfied by BM I guess. Mono Lake is right on your way, and I just read a review of the restaurant at the gas station at Lee Vining that said its definitely worth a visit.

395 is one of my favorite roads in the world.
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Re: sights on route 395 las vegas - death valley - bishop -

Post by MrMullen » Thu Aug 22, 2013 2:05 pm

Which way do you want to go? There is LV -> 160 -> 372 -> 127 -> 190 -> 395 or LV -> I-15 (South) -> 58 -> 395. Honestly, I don't know which one would be quicker since the I-15S is a fairly fast highway, when it is not Sunday Afternoon/Night.

My advice would be to take the I-15 (South) to the 58 then to the 395 and then head north from there since this route is so much quicker than the other route. I would also recommend that you fill up your gas tank in LV, then top it off in Barstow and you should be good to Bishop and then finally on to Carson, NV.

While on the 395, stop at the Manzanar Interment Camp (, and you can make a detour at Olancha and take the 190 to Death Valley and check it out (Check the temperatures before you attempt to go here), then get back on 395 and goto Bishop, and up to Lee Vining and stop at Mono Lake Park and check out Mono Lake. From Mono Lake, you will drive north to Bridgeport, Carson City and then Reno.

Stock up in Reno since about all the stores are expecting people going to Burning Man. You can do a little gambling in Reno and when you are ready, drive to Burning Man (80E -> 427N -> 447N).

The first route I listed would be a really nice view, but I can see that taking 8 hours or more just to the 395.
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Re: sights on route 395 las vegas - death valley - bishop -

Post by Thecatman » Thu Aug 22, 2013 8:30 pm

A lot of smoke from a fire near Yosemite. Blowing NNE, pretty much paralleling 395. Terrible in Reno, worse in the Carson City/Dayton area. FYI Yosemite is open.

Bodie is closed because a different fire.
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Re: sights on route 395 las vegas - death valley - bishop -

Post by beer » Thu Aug 22, 2013 9:27 pm

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Re: sights on route 395 las vegas - death valley - bishop -

Post by bluevireo » Thu Aug 22, 2013 11:12 pm

There are two hotsprings near Bridgeport, which is about 1.5 hrs N of Bishop and 2 hrs S of Reno. The more remote hotspring is near Buckeye campground along a narrow dirt road west of town (between Twin Lakes Rd and 395). I'm not sure about using a larger RV along this road, but I've seen large trucks on the road so it may be okay. It's perhaps best to access it from Twin Lakes Rd, both in and out, rather than taking Buckeye Rd that goes back N from the hotspring to 395 since I recall this section of road to be fairly narrow with blind corners, and you're fairly high up on a ridge (great views though). The second hotsprings - Travertine - is accessed about 1/2 mile S from the center of Bridgeport, turning east on Jack Sawyer Rd. and following a dirt road about 1 mile. Because of its closeness to 395, it is extremely popular and crowded with locals and families in summer.

Last I checked, the hotsprings in Hot Creek near Mammouth Lakes (about 1/2 hour N of Bishop) were closed because of severe injuries from the scalding water. It's nice to see the steaming Hot Creek from the roadside south of town (between 395 and the "old highway," but I wouldn't go exploring in the water without a local guide because of many safety issues that have happened over the years. It may be mostly fenced off by now anyway.

As far as the route from LV, I'd head north from LV, probably to Pahrump, NV and take 372/178 to Shoshone, CA and then south a few miles to China Camp and do a hike there along the creek and date palm farm, and then enjoy a date shake before heading N to Hwy 190 - Death Valley. Another idea is to take Nevada Hwy 95 (or 160) N to 373 and then drop south to 190 - Death Valley passing Ash Meadows Nat'l Wildlife Refuge. I enjoy birdwatching and it's migration season, so both China Camp and Ash Meadows are hopping with migrant wildlife these days. Regardless if those two places interest you, I think these two routes are much more interesting visually, varied and off-the-beaten path than taking the Interstate Hwy 15 west from LV and then taking Hwy 58 to 395.

Regardless of which route you take, the entire area west of Las Vegas to the Sierras is essentially the very hot and very dry Mojave Desert, so have twice as much ice and water than you think you'll need and then double it.

Taking 395 is much longer, obviously, but driving along the eastern edge of the Sierra is spectacular. If anyone in your group hasn't been to Yosemite, it's well worth the hour drive (and $20 entrance fee that's good for a week) up to Tuolomne Meadows and Olmstead Point from Lee Vining to do a little hiking in the area. Better - if you have the time after BM - is to return via 395 and take 120 west all the way to Hwy 140 Yosemite Valley itself (hopefully the large fire in the northern part of Yosemite will be controlled in two weeks, but as of now I think 120 to 140 into the valley is still open). From Yosemite Valley you can get back to LV by taking Hwy 41 through Fresno to Interstate Hwy 5 (stop at Mariposa Grove in Wawona). Hwy I-5 connects to Hwy 58 in Bakersfield, to Barstow and onto LV.

Along 395 itself, I'd stop at the Visitor Center at Mono Lake (overlooks the lake in Lee Vining just east of 395) and then drive out to the south shore and walk out to the tufa formations. There's also a nice county park just north of the lake close to 395 that's a good stopping point for a food/rest break with a short trail down to the lake with intersting signage about the lake levels over the years. If you have time, Hwy 203 goes through Mammoth Lakes west up the hill (Minaret Rd) to a great overlook of the sierras and the Minarets rock formation. It's a paved road and should be fine for a large RV. Bodie State Park is actually quite interesting too, which is about 10 miles east of 395 ($5-10 entrance fee) between Mono Lake and Bridgeport. Finally, Lake Tahoe is worth the short side trip on Hwy 50 from Carson City if you haven't seen it before, perhaps for a swim in the (very cold) lake and then lunch or dinner at South Lake Tahoe.

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