Erin De Santiago a RoamRight Blog Author

Highway 395: Gateway to the High Sierra

Highway 395, or officially U.S. Route 395, begins in Southern California and runs all the way up to Washington. In California, you'll drive alongside the Sierra Nevada mountain range, home to some of California's best sights, including several national parks and national monuments and at least 20 wilderness areas. The eastern Sierra Nevada mountain range provides a great backdrop for a California road trip. You'll find the highest peak in the contiguous United States, the largest alpine lake, and 100-million-year-old granite mountains. During winter months, enjoy snow-covered peaks at popular ski destinations like Mammoth Lakes, Lake Tahoe, and June Lake, while spring brings the best waterfalls in places like Yosemite. Some of Highway 395's not to miss sights along the Sierra Nevada include:

National Parks

The Sierra Nevada is home to several national parks, including Yosemite, Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks. Snow can close some of the roads to these parks during the height of winter as roads like Tioga Pass into Yosemite top over 10,000 feet in elevation.

Yosemite is one of the most popular national parks and is accessible directly from Highway 395. If you're hoping to see Half Dome, but are not much of an adventurer, entering Yosemite off Highway 395 on the Tioga Pass will grant you a glimpse of Half Dome from the seat of your car! 

National Monuments

Devils Postpile National Monument is located above Mammoth Lakes and is certainly worth a stop if you have extra time, as the bizarre columnar basalt rock formations are quite a sight. Because of its popularity, Devils Postpile is primarily accessible only by shuttle bus during the most popular months, so you'll need to allot a few hours at a minimum. 

National Historic Sites

As you drive along Highway 395, you'll find lots of signs denoting historic sites. Sites like Manzanar are worth detouring off the highway for. Manzanar was one of the war relocation camps used during World War II to intern Japanese American citizens and resident Japanese aliens. 

Towns Along Highway 395

As you drive along Highway 395, you'll encounter some charming little towns like Lone Pine, Bishop, and Bridgeport. Lone Pine is the gateway to Mt. Whitney, the highest point in the lower 48 states at 14,496 feet above sea level. If you're a fisherman, you'll want to visit Twin Lakes in Bridgeport,  renowned for its record setting Brown Trouts. Bishop is the gateway to a number of lakes and recreation areas, popular for fishing and cross-country skiing. If you're a fan of microbreweries, Bishop has its own brewery in the center of town. 

Quirky and Unique Sites

Highway 395 is filled with fun and quirky sites you'll want to explore or at least stop at for a photo or two. From small little General Stores to a field of interesting metal sculptures, Highway 395 is a destination in itself! 

Where is your favorite driving route?

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About the Author

Erin De Santiago

Erin De Santiago, a RoamRight Blog Author Erin is a travel and food writer who currently splits her time between the Netherlands and Belize. She's traveled to 60+ countries on 5 continents with a passion for culinary travel, luxury hotels, and all things Disney. Her writing has appeared in numerous online outlets including Gadling, BootsnAll, CNN, Art of Backpacking, TravBuddy, CBS, and more. She was the major author of Belize's official visitor magazine, Destination Belize 2013; wrote the official AFAR Guide to Belize; and is also AFAR Magazine's local Belize expert.. In addition to writing for other publications, Erin maintains several blogs, Our Tasty Travels, No Checked Bags, Pooh's Travels, and the brand new Caye To Belize. Follow Erin on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Google Plus.

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