Yosemite AND Lake Tahoe


Donating Member
I have a business trip that requires I be at Tenaya (sp?) Lodge in Yosemite on May 2&3rd. I am to arrive on May 1st. I am considering riding my Busa there, but I have no idea how the weather will be or what to expect. Coincidentally, I have business at Lake Tahoe on May 8th (need to be there on May 7th). So, I am kicking around the idea of riding the Busa to Yosemite and staying until the 5th then riding to Tahoe.

Problem=how is the weather then? Obviously it would be devastating to hit snow or even very cold/rainy weather? I could sure use some advice on this idea, ASAP.


You are heading to my area Doc.
That is probably the best ride for twisties and intense mountain beauty. There are 4 mountain passes to get from Yosemite to hwy 395 and then down into Lake Tahoe. My guess is that you will ride up 395 from Las Vegas and drop into Yosemite over Tioga Pass (10,000ft roughly). Nice sweepers and some of the most beautiful areas on Earth. Out of Yosemite, take the north-western exit through Groveland and head up to either Sonora Pass or Ebbits Pass. Both are challenging. Plenty of elevation changes and turns that are SOOOOOO tight on the eastern slope you have to slide it a bit to not have to do a 3 point turn! Much of this is on the edge of cliffs. PUCKER UP! And watch out for slow cars.

At the bottom you head south toward Marklieville. If your tired just go straight to hwy 88 and then follow the signs to South Lake Tahoe. But if you still want a challenge, you can turn right before Markliville and cross Monitor Pass back over to 395. Then south to Kingsbury Grade Pass up over the mountain into the other end of South Lake Tahoe near the casinoes. From Yosemite to Lake Tahoe is about 350 to 450 miles depending on which route you choose. It is all knee scraping and you will be tired when done.

As for weather in one month. Snow will be gone from the roads and probably the land if we don't get another storm. April is always dicey. Sun, rain or snow are all equally possible. But if the passes are open, you are probably in good shape in May. The only caution is watch out for early morning ice if snow is still melting then at the highest altitudes. Also watch for sand in the road that was used for traction when it was snowy/icy. Right now it is warm enough at 6000 ft to ride in light clothes. 57 degrees yesterday when I rode. Couldn't push it due to sand. But in a month it should be pretty good if we don't get some rouge storm in later this month. Temps are usually in the mid to high 60s by May up at higher altitudes. June would be wide open. so take your time and enjoy the views. It is the reason I live here. If you do this you'll want to live here too.
YO Shane..you got a place to stay....if you want to ,Only 30 minutes from So. Shore Lake Tahoe..in Gardnerville..near Kingsbury Grade that Sierra Flyer mentioned..You are welcome
as we used your place last year...Heater is on and the beer is cold.....May 03 ....come on up north..hope the weather is OK
Even if you drive your car...same offer. One two or three days is OK with us...PM us..Byfornow DOC... formerly known as Kawafaski. Remember Hoover Dam Overheat...which we fixed when we got back to your house...wrenching frenzy..
Thanks guys, I will be in touch. I need to get some bags and get my sheeeit together FAST. Next weekend I am riding to LA, the weekend after is the Vegas meet, then the following would be Yosemite! I really need to figure out how to haul my stuff. I guess I will opt for driving myself and hope of the bike. If things look rough weather wise, I will take the cage. I hope the weather is warm then. So, let's hook up guys.

Faski, I will be in touch and probably take you up on the space to crash.

Let's keep this thread alive for a bit since I can use all the info possible. Including el cheapo places to stay along the route. So help me out guys, what route should I take? I was thinking Death Valley to Loan Pine to Yosemite... from Yosemite to Tahoe, I will follow SierraFlyer's advice, but need to figure out places to stay, etc.

Doc, Thats awesome country up there. Keep in mind the weather systems can change things real quick in the Sierra's. May 01 I was in the Yosemite valley in t-shirt & shorts, sunny & warm... had lunch, sky got black then hail! We drove out of the valley stopped at the look out, looked back at the valley and got a great lightning show. I suggest checking frequently with the weather channel or accuweather.com while traveling.
Also would love to join you up there I think its about 2-3hrs from here. But I will be at Searspoint for AMA (Sonomafest)
Faski : Arent you goin to Sonoma?
See you guys at Sears point too for AMA. I'll wear a Hayabusa.org shirt in case you run into me. There should be a bunch of us there.
See you guys at Sears point too for AMA. I'll wear a Hayabusa.org shirt in case you run into me. There should be a bunch of us there.

An update - As soon as I posted "the weather is great here", a boomer storm moved in and has dumped 2 and a half feet in less than 24hrs. It is still going. The passes are no doubt closed for now. They may reopen by month end if there are no more storms. We no NO snow in Feb and March and temps were 60-70 everyday. Most of the snow was gone and now it looks like winter is back? This is really screwed up>
Snow sux! I may drive my car and pull a trailor with my Dual-sport instead... or maybe both bikes... hmmm, that would be fun!
Sounds good guys! I just need to watch the weather. I have a trailer, but nothing to pull it with!!! I intend to trade in my sports car sometime this year, but I got so shafted with taxes (right after the KTM purchase) that I have to wait a few more months...

So, how bad is the weather looking up there?
H-E-L-P! I just realized I have to been in Yosemite on Wednesday evening!!! Time goes fast when you're going fast. Expect some PMs guys. Here are my options...

Drive my cage to Yosemite, then Tahoe, and back = no bike!
Drive my friends truck as above with Busa on trailer!
Drive my friends truck with KTM dual-sport in tow...

So, if the weather is total crap, then I will go with option #1.
So-so weather I go with #3
Decent weather with some dry twisties #2

Help me out brothers! Will there be some good Busa riding available? How about dual-sport?

Thanks so much and expect some EMAIL!

Forgot, I also need some ideas on the best route from Vegas to Tenaya Lodge in Yosemite... then Yosemite to Tahoe...

Dahmn, I waited tooooo long to get started on this!!!
Its been raining here in the north valley all day ( monday ) and more to come. Snow levels are down to about 3500 ft. I dont think I'd bring the Busie this time. I drove up to Quincy on friday and it was 33 degrees at 2pm. Hwy 70 was wet but free of sand... Cant believe the weather is like this I was planning on alot more riding by now. I rode Sunday it was nice but is still about 20 degrees off of normal for this time of year.

Not sure Doc but its supposed to get better soon, I hope its dry this weekend some of us are heading to the Bay area on the scoots. Maybe option 3 wold be good. - Kent
Hey Doc....find something to tow a trailer with...Bring both bikes..DP and Busa.... I have an XR650L tagged and ready to ride. Lot's of trails and roads around here..
hey Doc, Tried to call you this afternoon,

It is snowing now in Truckee (6500ft). Not much is sticking. Too warm. You can think of it as very cold rain. Tioga pass 9500 ft will be a mess or closed depending on hot hot it gets during the day. Call California Highway Patrol road conditions hotline for status. You can get across the major highways like 88 and 80. Chains or 4x4 required to get let through but neither was needed on 80 today over Donner pass. You can ride all day long in the lower mountain areas and the Central Valley. I would think the Yosemite Valley (4500 ft) is rain or light snow. And the light snow won't stick to the warm roads. They could be wet but not icy. Bring rain gear to put over your leathers. I was riding all day yesterday in intermitent rain at Sears Point raceway. It was slick but warm. The track dried out quickly between storms. Roads do too. I rode in the rain this morning up as far as Auburn on my way back to Truckee. It was not uncomfortable. A Dual Sport won't be any better on the wet roads than your Busa. Bring the big bike and stay out of the higher mountains and passes. Thats my opinion.
Hey Sierra,

Sorry I ditched you on the phone. I was juggling a few things at one time, by the time I tried to return your call your office was closed.

I threw the KTM in the back of my buddies truck and will be heading the road shortly... hopefully I will find some good dual-sporting up that way, I imagine there will be quite a bit of off-road/fire trails.

Pacemaster: I will be calling you from Yosemite before I head up to Tahoe. I would like to talk to you about that offer for a resting spot!

Guys: I also brought a tent, sleeping bags, etc. etc., any good recommendations for camping around Yosemite and Tahoe considering weather conditions?

Thanks again!
I made it! When are we hooking up Ralph?

Lotsa twisties here, but COLD and too much traffic... I bet it is hell in summer. I did get some off-roading done. Check: