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  1. Default Las Vegas - Death Valley - Yosemite Trip

    Hello,

    I am planning a trip to visit Death Valley and Yosemite (as well as the Sequoia National Park, Kings Canyon Park, and other sites in between) for this April, 7-14. I've been reading some of the forums and understand that roads at that time of year can be tricky. I'm also looking for suggestions on how to break down the trip. We were thinking:

    April 7- Arrive LV am, drive to DV, spend night (Where?)
    April 8- Death Valley, drive and spend night somewhere on the way to Sequoia Park(? Lake Isabella I heard is pretty, is the road open there?)
    April 9- Drive and spend day exploring Sequoia Park and Kings Canyon if possible. Stay in Mammoth.
    April 10- Drive to Yosemite, explore Yosemite
    April 11- Yosemite
    April 12- Yosemite
    April 13-Drive back towards Las Vegas (Suggestions for scenic road?)
    April 14-Drop off car 10:30 a.m. in Las Vegas and fly out

    I realize this is extensive information, but I would appreciate any pointers in terms of roads, weather expectancies (we see its 28F in Yosemite now but next weekend 42F, and 81F in DV), and especially LODGING. MY boyfriend is a big hiker, but I would prefer nice, fairly inexpensive hotels. We would like to camp for a night or two, but I don't know where is best...or if it's better in the cabins/chalets. Again, any advice heartily welcomed and appreciated!

    Allyson

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 1998
    Location
    Las Vegas, Nevada
    Posts
    10,060

    Default The Sierra Nevadas

    Quote Originally Posted by Allyson19 View Post
    I am planning a trip to visit Death Valley and Yosemite (as well as the Sequoia National Park, Kings Canyon Park, and other sites in between) for this April,
    Welcome to the Great American RoadTrip Forum! You have chosen a very popular route -- but I am not sure you fully understand the magnitude of the Sierra Nevada Mountains. Without a helicopter or other type of aircraft you will not be able to complete all of the legs of your trip when planned.
    April 7- Arrive LV am, drive to DV, spend night (Where?)
    There are a variety of motels and campgrounds available in Death Valley. Luxurious lodging would be the Furnace Creek Inn and nice alternatives can be found at either the Ranch or Panamint Springs.
    April 8- Death Valley, drive and spend night somewhere on the way to Sequoia Park(? Lake Isabella I heard is pretty, is the road open there?)
    CA-178 is pretty much open year-round.
    April 9- Drive and spend day exploring Sequoia Park and Kings Canyon if possible.
    There are several posts about this area -- here is a good one.
    Stay in Mammoth.
    Not without a helicopter... Mammoth is on the eastern side of the Sierras and you can't get there in one day from Sequoia in April.
    April 10- Drive to Yosemite, explore Yosemite
    April 11- Yosemite
    April 12- Yosemite
    All good (except that some of the roads are still closed)
    April 13-Drive back towards Las Vegas (Suggestions for scenic road?)
    Tioga, Sonora and other passes are closed due to snow. You either have to go back the way you came or head to US-50 and cross the Sierras near Tahoe. You could reach Las Vegas in one day -- but it will be a very long day -- US-395 or US-95.
    Lodging around Yosemite is plentiful -- national chains to one-of-kind like the Yosemite Bug.

    Mark

  3. #3
    RoadTrippers A & R Guest

    Default

    We camp in Death Valley often, and my work takes me there too.

    Be sure to have plenty of water along.
    We do come along stranded motorists.
    You can buy bottles of drinking water at any gas (petrol) station.
    It can get into the 100's F on any day of the year.
    St. Pats day was over 100 F BTW.

    Cellphone service is spotty at best, usually no service at all.
    If you need service or help, the call box phones along most the roads are better than a cellphone call because the authorities can locate your exact position.

    In an urgent situation, any ranger can unlock the gas (petrol) pumps at any major govt point of interest and sell you fuel at any hour. But keep your tank topped off, it's a long drive through very barren yet beautiful country.

    We would suggest considering a drive to Death Valley Via Parump (insist on a Japan brand car from your rental agency), and then perhaps onto Sequoia.

    That's about all your time may allow.

    Stovepipe wells is beautiful with a nice restaurant and modest accomodations.
    Furnace creek though more pricy, is very nice with activities.

    At Sequoia, many nice motel and hotels outside the park, if none are available inside.
    Close-by Bass Lake is a nice place to stay outside of the park.

    All need reservations.

    Get a full size map.
    We do find travelers trying to negotiate their journey from the tiny rent-a-car company maps and that's trouble.
    Last edited by Mark Sedenquist; 04-01-2009 at 04:04 PM. Reason: removed image that was apparently purloined

  4. Default Re: Las Vegas - Death Valley - Yosemite Trip

    Wow. Thank you so much for the suggestions! I realize now that Mammoth is a little ambitious. We have a friend that lives there which is why we wanted to stay (free*) so perhaps we can take up 395 from Death Valley instead of going around by Sequoia Park. Our priorities are *Yosemite and Death Valley, but after that it's just bonus. Would that be a more realistic plan? We ordered a map from AAA which is really helpful with routes. It appears the round trip (LV-DV-Yos) would be 20 hours of driving...so I'm thinking in a week we could do it, and/or switch the Sequoia/King's Canyon leg for Mammoth (which is supposed to be pretty on its own). Does taht sound more realistic? My friend says there's an opening to the Yosemite park 30 minutes from her place in Mammoth but it's closed. Would the other entrance be feasible to drive to for the day and come back at night?
    Last edited by Mark Sedenquist; 04-04-2007 at 04:06 PM. Reason: Duplicate question is in the next post

  5. Default Las Vegas - Death Valley - Yosemite Travel

    I am looking to stop in Mammoth during a trip from Las Vegas to Death Valley to Yosemite and back to LV in 7 day. I realize Mammoth is a little ambitious, but we have a friend that lives there which is why we wanted to stay (free*) so perhaps we can take up 395 from Death Valley (versus going around by Sequoia Park, Kings Canyon) Our priorities are *Yosemite and Death Valley, but after that it's just bonus. I'm curious if this is a realistic plan? We ordered a map from AAA which is really helpful with routes. It appears the round trip (LV-DV-Yos) would be 20 hours of driving...so I'm thinking in a week we could do it, and/or switch the Sequoia/King's Canyon leg for Mammoth (which is supposed to be pretty on its own). My friend says there's an opening to the Yosemite park 30 minutes from her place in Mammoth but it's closed. Would the other entrance be feasible to drive to for the day and come back at night?

    Another quesiton is, my boyfriend and I have comprised and will be camping 3 of the 6 nights. He just bought a special NorthFace sleeping bag for 0 degree weather. I do not have one (although I'll steal his!) and am concerned. Would camping in any of these places be realistic this time of year? Yosemite I'm guessing is still pretty cold...maybe even snow? and since Death Valley can be 100 degrees, that is the other extreme.... Any experienced camper info would be appreciated, re: what to bring, expect, etc. Thanks!
    Last edited by Mark Sedenquist; 04-04-2007 at 03:51 PM. Reason: Navigational Format

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 1998
    Location
    Las Vegas, Nevada
    Posts
    10,060

    Default Tioga Pass will be still be closed in April

    Quote Originally Posted by Allyson19 View Post
    I am looking to stop in Mammoth during a trip from Las Vegas to Death Valley to Yosemite and back to LV in 7 day.
    This trip is certainly doable, (as is explained above) but you will not be able to reach Yosemite from US-395 in April.... Without a helicopter -- Tioga Pass will still be closed.
    I realize Mammoth is a little ambitious, but we have a friend that lives there which is why we wanted to stay (free*) so perhaps we can take up 395 from Death Valley
    Sure, that is a reasonable day trip -- I drove that same route about a month ago.
    Our priorities are *Yosemite and Death Valley,
    If your priorities are Death Valley, Mammoth and Yosemite -- you will have to reach Yosemite from the north (go across the Sierras by Lake Tahoe) and then you can travel down the western slope and back to Las Vegas on I-15.
    It appears the round trip (LV-DV-Yos) would be 20 hours of driving...
    Not in April -- you still have to get over the mountains some place.
    My friend says there's an opening to the Yosemite park 30 minutes from her place in Mammoth but it's closed. Would the other entrance be feasible to drive to for the day and come back at night?
    If your friend drives ~80 mph, on a nice summer day she might be able to reach the eastern approach to Tioga Pass from her place in Mammoth Lakes (SR-120) but again, Tioga Pass is closed in April.
    Another quesiton is, my boyfriend and I have comprised and will be camping 3 of the 6 nights. He just bought a special NorthFace sleeping bag for 0 degree weather. I do not have one (although I'll steal his!) and am concerned. Would camping in any of these places be realistic this time of year?
    Sure, camping is fine this time of year -- but you need to be prepared. Here are some comments about tents and other gear.

    Mark

  7. Default Yosemite Campground

    I like upper pines camp ground. It's flat like most of the other camps and not to far from the bus stop to get you from place to place around the valley. Remember there are many bears in the Valley and keep your food in a bear locker ! NO exceptions! I was there just before the valley got its first snow (i live 2 hours away) and enjoyed the quiet without the crowds. If you bring your toddlers prepare for any type of temperature of weather and ready to bundle up the little ones since they are more sensitive to cold nights. Camp curry is great if you want to stay in a tent cabin, there are tons of activities in curry village but you will pay much more than if you rent a camp site.
    Last edited by Midwest Michael; 04-01-2009 at 07:07 PM. Reason: Sorry, New members may not post off-site links

  8. Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Ross & Alice View Post

    (insist on a Japan brand car from your rental agency)
    Curious as to why? Better mpg? I'm about to do alot of the spots this thread outlines, but in a Jeep Liberty.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
    13,064

    Default Personal preference

    Other than a personal perference, there is no reason I can think of for wanting an import rental car. Generally, when you're talking about the differences between imported and domestic brands the issue of reliability, but that's a long term issue that is more relevant to purchasing a vehicle. All major rental agencies are going to have nearly new cars in their fleets.

    The one things I would say about a Liberty is that SUVs are usually a huge money maker for rental companies and not very good deals for a consumer. You will usually pay much more for a SUV rental (both rental rates and fuel consumption), a small suv like a liberty will have less cabin space/leg room than in a standard sedan, and you can't take a rental vehicle off road or any place a regular car can't go. Unless you are getting a really good price or you have a very large amount of gear, you might want to reconsider the liberty.

  10. Default

    Actually looking at your plans it seems I'm doing almost the same trip at the same time, but going the other direction.

    Remember to wave ;)

    Micheal : interesting. It was a special that Dollar were having and I liked the idea of being able to fold the back seats flat and sleep if need be. I find most rental companies offer several choices when you arrive on top of the vehicle you booked. 20mpg the Liberty averages isn't so bad with the rediculously cheap gas prices at the moment!

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