Without getting caught up driving through the city itself, can you give a tourist a route to some scenic overlook looking upon the Golden Gate Bridge and the San Francisco Bay? I’d becoming from Reno (on a Saturday). Or, if you give me an endpoint, I could mapquest it?
If you one day to see one of the following, which is worth the drive?
A) Driving to some scenic view of the San Francisco Bay/Golden Gate?
(Just to say you’ve been there, basically.)
B) Scenic drive in Napa Valley
C) A trek to see Half Dome in Yosemite?
D) Finding that famous Redwood tree you can drive through?
(Or, can C and D be done together?)
As you can tell, I prefer scenery to cities. if I pick C, how daunting is the road along Tiago Rd through the park? I believe this is Route 120? Could a tour bus take this road, or are we talking 4x4?
I don’t think C and D can be done together in a day, as the famous redwood is up on the north coast. But A and B could easily be done together by taking 80 to highway 12 through to 101. Though honestly, I’d recommend March through May for Napa, when you’re likely to have sun but the hills are still covered with an unbelievably vivid green carpet of grass. They’re pretty yellowed and dull this time of year.
The Placerville area is really pretty and a lot closer than Yosemite to Reno. I think they have farms where you can pick blackberries and apples, though I’m not sure if it’s exactly the right season for that. Heck, you could also just go to Tahoe or Eagle Lake – somewhere in the Sierras north of I-80 and not more than two hours from Reno, there are a bunch of waterfalls and swimming holes you can get to with just a short hike, but I don’t remember exactly where.
I’m not much help, am I?
The northern approach to the Golden Gate Bridge is scenic and accessible without going through the city. I’d recommend heading south on 101 to the last Sausalito exit and going up Conzelman Rd. to Hawk Hill - 300 m elevation view of the GG Bridge, SF, and more.
It is nice (I went up to the Napa Opera House Thursday for a concert), but as illoe mentioned, the hills are brown this time of year. The vineyards still look pretty.
Trek or drive? Half Dome is visible from a wide array of areas in the park - there’s a nice overlook just southwest of Bridalveil Falls on the 41 which will give you a good view of Half Dome too. Glacier Point is a popular and car-accessible viewing point as well. You can see Half Dome from some places on the 120, but not as many due to intervening terrain. There’s a spot called Cloud’s Rest which has a great view of Half Dome, but is accessible only by walking, not driving.
I think that’s up near Redwood National Park. About 3 or 4 hours Yosemite -> Bay Area, and 5 or more hours Bay Area -> Redwood NP. That’s a lot of driving. I wouldn’t even try to do all that in one day.
ETA: There is also a Giant Sequoia (not a Giant Redwood, but a relative) in Yosemite that was carved so people could drive through it, but it is not on a road anymore. You’d have to walk to it. If my memory doesn’t fail me, it’s in the Tuolumne Grove off the 120 near Crane Flat.
Completely non-daunting. The Tioga Rd. closes seasonally due to snow, but in summer is useable by any normal vehicle, including buses.
There is a nice little nine hole golf course near the Palace of the Legion of Honor that you can drive to and walk around and it has some very nice views of the Golden gate bridge. Drive throught the presidio. Sorry i can’t be more specific it has been years since I have been there.
I second this. It’s the perfect view of the bridge, and whenever we have first time SF guests in town, we always to here for a photo op.
On a clear day, head up to the top of Twin Peaks. It’s a huge hill in the middle of town. It has a giant funky looking radio antenna on top. Just head southwest on Market Street until you go past the Castro District and you start heading up the hill. Market becomes Portola, I think. Then take Twin Peaks Blvd up the hill to the top.