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Vegas to Mammoth Lakes

Sabre Man

Member
Aug 20, 2018
37
29
Ireland
We'll be driving from Las Vegas to Mammoth Lakes in early September in a Model 3 long range.

There seems to be two routes worth considering after stopping for a charge in Beatty, NV, either north or via Death Valley. I'm leaning towards Death Valley as I suppose it will be more scenic, although it seems to be maybe 30 to 45 minutes longer.

Has anyone else done this drive? What do you think?
 

Misterbee

Member
Apr 2, 2016
203
262
Los Angeles
I just did this trip in reverse, going from Mammoth to Vegas. We were in a Dual Motor LR M3, pulling a teardrop trailer, so we had to charge more frequently. I recommend the route through Death Valley, as it is very scenic. There are Level 2 chargers at Furnace Creek Ranch (not the Inn) near the post office, and a day pass for the mineral spring-fed swimming pool can be had for $10. Topping off there might give you some piece of mind, as there’s not much in terms of charging until you get to the Supercharger in Lone Pine. From there you should be good to make it to Mammoth, although the last 40 miles or so are a steep climb. If you feel the need, there are Level 2 chargers in Bishop. I would recommend the PlugShare app, as well as EV Trip Planner, for any Tesla road trip.
 

ProphetM

Member
Jun 1, 2015
552
604
Las Vegas, NV
I would definitely take the northerly route on US 6, CA-120 and Benton Crossing Road. According to Google Maps, it's 30 miles farther versus NV-266/CA-168/US 395, but only adds about 15 minutes of drive time. It's 5 miles further than the most southerly route through Stovepipe Wells, but actually takes 10 minutes less drive time.

Going the northerly route, you can stop for just a bathroom break in Beatty if you need it and then charge more quickly in Tonopah since you'll be starting from a lower state of charge. Beatty to Mammoth Lakes via the middle route is only 190 miles but you're gaining a lot of elevation so your usage is going to be higher than rated; you'd want to get pretty full at Beatty to make it. Taking the northern route, from Tonopah it's less than 130 miles, and also most of the elevation gain will be behind you. So it may even be quicker to take the northern route when you add in charging. Brief supercharge during a bathroom break in Beatty, then lunch and longer supercharge in Tonopah seems like your best bet. I peaked at over 140 kW rate of charge in Tonopah when I passed through last month.
 
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golfnut

Member
May 8, 2016
143
105
California
If you have never driven thru Death Valley I would choose that route. I did the reverse route from Mammoth to Vegas and I am glad I chose the DV route. Amazing scenery and a nice conversation starter when you tell your friends about the adventure.
 
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ProphetM

Member
Jun 1, 2015
552
604
Las Vegas, NV
I feel like my previous post may be a little confusing regarding the 3 possible routes so I thought I'd recap:

Southern route from Beatty:
NV-374, CA-190, CA-136, US 395
215 miles, 3:52 drive time
Charge at Lone Pine, which is often a very busy charger.

Middle route from Beatty:
US 95, NV-266, CA-168, US 395
190 miles, 3:21 drive time
Charge to nearly full at Beatty.

Northern route from Beatty:
US 95, US 6, Benton Crossing Road, US 395
220 miles, 3:38 drive time
Charge briefly in Beatty, charge in Tonopah to about 70%
 
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Sabre Man

Member
Aug 20, 2018
37
29
Ireland
I feel like my previous post may be a little confusing regarding the 3 possible routes so I thought I'd recap:

Southern route from Beatty:
NV-374, CA-190, CA-136, US 395
215 miles, 3:52 drive time
Charge at Lone Pine, which is often a very busy charger.

Middle route from Beatty:
US 95, NV-266, CA-168, US 395
190 miles, 3:21 drive time
Charge to nearly full at Beatty.

Northern route from Beatty:
US 95, US 6, Benton Crossing Road, US 395
220 miles, 3:38 drive time
Charge briefly in Beatty, charge in Tonopah to about 70%

It seems to be a choice between scenery (Death Valley) or getting to Mammoth Lakes faster. Is there anything else in favor of the last two options in addition to saving time, like scenery or other attractions (eg. a nice place for lunch, interesting places)?

It's interesting that you say that Lone Pine can be busy. I wouldn't have expected that.

I know that superchargers in California can be very busy but I'm not expecting superchargers in Nevada and Arizona to be particularly busy.
 

Misterbee

Member
Apr 2, 2016
203
262
Los Angeles
It seems to be a choice between scenery (Death Valley) or getting to Mammoth Lakes faster. Is there anything else in favor of the last two options in addition to saving time, like scenery or other attractions (eg. a nice place for lunch, interesting places)?

It's interesting that you say that Lone Pine can be busy. I wouldn't have expected that.

I know that superchargers in California can be very busy but I'm not expecting superchargers in Nevada and Arizona to be particularly busy.
It really depends on the Supercharger. There are I think four Superchargers in Vegas, and when I was there the one at the south end of town was very busy, probably with people going to Southern California. The one at the east end of town, near Hoover Dam, had plenty of spaces. Time of day also matters. I was at the Flagstaff charger twice, and it was much busier at 5pm than at noon.

One other scenery note. Amargosa is worth a stop, just to see the opera house.
 
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cpa

Active Member
May 17, 2014
3,170
4,152
Central Valley
I drove the "middle route" from Beatty to Mammoth Lakes via Lida Jct., Deep Springs, Big Pine (CA168), then north to Bishop and Mammoth Lakes on US 395 two years ago. I drove it in our 2014 Model S85. I charged to 98% at Beatty, and then just enjoyed the ride. I arrived at Mammoth Lakes with about 9%. I just took it easy up Sherwin Grade outside of Bishop. In California the highway is serpentine, and there are not a lot of areas where you can drive fast until you approach Big Pine. You also might encounter cattle on the highway in September, so be careful! They have the right of way.

I happen to like the scenery along SR 168. Deep Springs College is tucked into the small valley between the two passes.

There are no places to eat once you leave Beatty until you reach Big Pine or Bishop, about 18 miles north. And I am sorry to report that the brothel at Lida Jct. (NV 266/US95) burned down a few years back. :eek:
 

PLUS EV

Running on Empty
Sep 16, 2016
6,389
9,960
Seattle
I've driven all of these routes in my Model S and most of the routes I have driven many times over the years in ICE vehicles as well.

If you have never been to Death Valley, I would take the route through the National Park. Since you're just doing a drive through, I would try to see the Furnace Creek Visitor Center, Badwater Basin and Zabriskie Point. They are all fairly close to each other and you will see much of the rest of the park on your drive through. Taking the direct route from Las Vegas to the Lone Pine supercharger and seeing all three of these places on a single charge would be really tight even in a LR Model 3, but it could be possible given the warm weather if you drive slowly. Another possibility is to just stop and top off at one of the L2 chargers mentioned previously in this thread.

If you want to play it safe, rather than taking the direct route from LV to Lone Pine, you could drive LV to Beatty first and top off at the supercharger there and then drop down into the national park and see those 3 places I mentioned before heading east to Lone Pine. This is not very direct and will add over an hour to your trip. You will also mention the aforementioned Amargosa Opera House by going this way and that is kind of a cool place.


The middle route is the most boring imo although that Deep Springs College that cpa mentioned does fascinate me. I don't think you can stop and get a tour there or anything though so not really worth making that drive.

The northern route takes you up into high elevations near the CA/NV border and is quite scenic. Snow can be a real issue on that drive through much of the year, but in September it should not be a problem.

Believe it or not, a couple Aprils ago, I drove through Death Valley and it was 100F and as I left the park around sunset, I noticed a storm coming in and even felt a few rain drops. Then I ended up on this northern route and hit snow a few hours later near the CA/NV border and hit heavy snow as I approached Mammoth Lakes. The last few miles of driving into Mammoth was ill-advised with all-season tires in that weather, but I was too low on charge to turn south and head to Lone Pine. I was lucky to not only make it to the Mammoth supercharger without getting stuck in the snow, but also to be able to find a room within walking distance of the supercharger, so I plugged in and walked to the hotel (This was before idle fees and the supercharger was never going to get anywhere near full anyway). When I woke up my car was buried in about 2 feet of snow at the supercharger lol. I waited till just before sunset that day to drive out of town and fortunately the roads to the south had been cleared so I made it out that way (I was headed north so this was a huge detour, but I was just happy to get back to dry land :)).
 

ProphetM

Member
Jun 1, 2015
552
604
Las Vegas, NV
It seems to be a choice between scenery (Death Valley) or getting to Mammoth Lakes faster. Is there anything else in favor of the last two options in addition to saving time, like scenery or other attractions (eg. a nice place for lunch, interesting places)?

It's interesting that you say that Lone Pine can be busy. I wouldn't have expected that.

I know that superchargers in California can be very busy but I'm not expecting superchargers in Nevada and Arizona to be particularly busy.

Well, the Lone Pine supercharger is in CA so there you go. That's a major corridor for vacationers.

For the northern route, you'll pass through Goldfield which is pretty cool as a near ghost town. Tonopah has the lovely Mizpah Hotel and I hear the restaurant there is good but I haven't personally eaten there. It's a slight walk from the supercharger. I've driven all 3 of the routes at various times but not as much as PLUS EV, I would agree with him that the middle one is the most boring. But desolation can be interesting, too. :) I quite enjoyed the drive on the northern route although there isn't as much to stop for as on the southern route.
 
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PLUS EV

Running on Empty
Sep 16, 2016
6,389
9,960
Seattle
I actually did eat at the Mizpah Hotel a couple years ago. While I'm happy they opened it back up, I can't say that the food was all that great. But still probably the best food you will find in Tonopah. Last time I drove through I think even the McDonald's was shuttered lol.

And yes, I enjoy the solitude of drives across the desert, but solitude is in abundance on all three of these drives, so you don't really need to seek it out by taking the middle route :) Actually, seeing that the OP is from Europe, if he has never been to this part of the world, he may be shocked at how little there is. Just a few small towns here in there and sometimes 100 miles of desert in between them.

Lastly, I apologize for the typos in my first post, but I cannot edit now. Meant to say west to Lone Pine and that you would miss the Amargosa Opera House, which by the way was featured in Robert Plant's video for "Big Log," one from the early days of MTV :)
 

ProphetM

Member
Jun 1, 2015
552
604
Las Vegas, NV
Regarding my comment about Lone Pine being very busy - today someone posted a photo in the Model 3 Facebook group of a temporary urban charger that has been added there. It's 3 urban chargers on a pallet. It must be pretty busy for them to have felt the need to add that.
 

Silicon Desert

Active Member
Oct 1, 2018
3,520
3,365
Sparks NV / GF 1
Regarding my comment about Lone Pine being very busy - today someone posted a photo in the Model 3 Facebook group of a temporary urban charger that has been added there. It's 3 urban chargers on a pallet. It must be pretty busy for them to have felt the need to add that.
I've travelled that route a lot in the last couple years, and from my perspective, the Lone Pine location has gotten busy only during the last several months with a lot more 3s and more S/x on the road.
 

PLUS EV

Running on Empty
Sep 16, 2016
6,389
9,960
Seattle
Regarding my comment about Lone Pine being very busy - today someone posted a photo in the Model 3 Facebook group of a temporary urban charger that has been added there. It's 3 urban chargers on a pallet. It must be pretty busy for them to have felt the need to add that.
2 of the 3 plugs deliver 50kW and the other one is dead. It's been there for a while. See the threads on the temporary urban superchargers and of course the Lone Pine thread.
 

Misterbee

Member
Apr 2, 2016
203
262
Los Angeles
Regarding my comment about Lone Pine being very busy - today someone posted a photo in the Model 3 Facebook group of a temporary urban charger that has been added there. It's 3 urban chargers on a pallet. It must be pretty busy for them to have felt the need to add that.
I charged there right after Memorial Day, and noticed the charger on a pallet. Makes sense to add some capacity for summer vacation season, although it wasn’t busy when I was there.
 

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