2 Week Yosemite & Northern California Road Trip 2016 – Overview

Road trips are one of the most fun and exciting ways to explore a scenic area… hop behind the wheel, put on some tunes, and go!  There are many ways to do it – stay in hotels along the way, bring a tent and camp, crash with friends, sleep in your car (yuck),  or if you’re really lucky – sleep in a sweet camper van.

Our Escape Campervan in Lower Pines Campground, Yosemite National Park

A California trip has been high on my list for quite some time, but deciding where to go is HARD!  We decided on a road trip starting in San Francisco, with 2 weeks to explore.  We rented a campervan from Escape Campervans for our trip, combining rental car and lodging in one jazzy package.  It was a GREAT choice – see my review of the van here.  After a WHOLE lot of research we decided on a route that would take us to Yosemite, Lake Tahoe, and the northern California coast.   You can see our route below on Roadtrippers (great resource for trip planning once you get the hang of it!), click the link to get details on the route we took and some of the sights we stopped at.


San Francisco – Yosemite – Tahoe – Northern Cali Road Trip on Roadtrippers

Our Route – (Click on each section to see a detailed write up of our stops, with LOTS of photos!)

September 28 – October 11, 2016

Days 1-2: Arrive in San Francisco – Exploring Yosemite Valley

Day 3: Hiking & Trail Running the 4 Mile, Mist, and Panorama Trails in Yosemite

Day 4: Hiking Half Dome via the cables in Yosemite

Days 5-6: Yosemite Valley, Sequoias, Tioga Pass, June Lake CA

Days 7-9: Bodie Ghost Town, Lake Tahoe & Drive back across the state to Russian Gulch State Park

Day 10 – 13: Fort Bragg, Menodcino, Anderson Valley wine/beer, Hendy Woods, Russian River Brewing, Point Reyes, San Francisco

Day 14: Flight home!

Some Road Trip Planning Resources

A combination of internet searching, guide books, and advice from friends all went in to planning this trip.  Here is a list of some of the key resources I found most helpful.

  • Visit California – California tourism website with some great information and road trip route ideas
  • National Park Service – invaluable information on all of the parks – info about entry fees, maps, camping, weather, directions, things to do… you name it, they cover it.  A must visit if you are planning a trip to any of our national parks
  • US-Parks.com – road trip route ideas linking national parks
  • Hip Camp – the skinny on the best campsites, from public campgrounds to private glamping sites.  Helpful reviews on campgrounds to help choose where to stay
  • Roadtrippers.com – road trip planning site… map your route and add things to see along the way
  • FreeCampsites.net – maps and reviews of free camping areas around the country
  • Google Maps – the best way to plan out a route, in my opinion (well, on a real computer anyway – doesn’t work on iphone, etc).  But very easy to map and save a route, save favorite places on the map, etc.
  •  James Kaiser’s Yosemite Guide – I used his website and bought the printed book and used it extensively – it was a big help for our Yosemite days
  • National Geographic Trail Maps – These were excellent for route planning our hikes/runs, as well as keeping us on route when we were out on the trails.
  • Escape Campervans – Their website has a “secret” area only accessible once you book a rental – lots of fantastic tips about places to stop, areas to camp, routes to take
  • Instagram –  search for “check ins” of possible destinations and/or hashtags to see other’s photos…. use these for inspiration when planning hikes, stops along your route, etc.   And don’t forget to follow me 🙂 – @AdventureSneaker
  • Yelp – I never stop anywhere on a trip without checking out the yelp reviews.  Save yourself from a breakfast of poorly cooked eggs with hair on them, check yelp first!!! (not that that happened to me… but it might have… found out AFTER that the joint was only 2 stars)

I’m sure I forgot something – I will update this list for sure.

Stay tuned for upcoming posts with more details about all of the places we went, and happy road tripping!

Where is your favorite road trip route/destination?  Are you a hotel kind of person, or camping?   Where should we hit the road to next?

3 thoughts on “2 Week Yosemite & Northern California Road Trip 2016 – Overview

    1. I went back and forth for weeks about whether to head south from Yosemite down to Sequoia/Kings Canyon and then up through Big Sur/Monterey. We took the trip in the Fall when the wildfire was a big issue in Big Sur, and decided to do the Northern loop instead. A coastal trip is most definitely on our list, it looks stunning and so much fun!


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