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Thread: RoadTrip advice

  1. Default RoadTrip advice

    Hi everyone,

    I wanted to start by saying I think this website is amazing! The amount of information is unbelievable. I will be using this site for every trip I plan from now on.

    Currently, I am planning a road trip to visit as much as I can in the west. We have 25 days (June 17th - July 11th), and a rough outline of the plan is:

    -Starting in Grand Lake, CO
    -Visiting Arches, Canyonlands, Bryce, Zion, and the Grand Canyon
    -Spending a night in Vegas
    -Death Valley, Sequoia/Kings Canyon, Yosemite, San Francisco
    -Few days in wine country
    -Driving up the coast to Seattle
    -Glacier, Yellowstone, Tetons
    -Back to Grand Lake

    We don't have a set plan for how much time we're spending in each place. I'm sure some of them will be a quick drive through, while we will spend a day or two in others. The main goal of the trip was to see as much as we could in the time we have.

    My main question is about the section from Vegas to SF. I found tons of threads on the topic, but couldn't really nail down the best way to go for what we want to see.

    My original plan was to take 190 through Death Valley, then up 395 to see Sequoia/Kings, across the Tioga Pass through Yosemite, and finally into SF. From what I understand after reading through the info here, you can't see Sequoia/Kings from the east. Would you recommend driving across 178 (Sherman Pass?) and then up the east side of the parks, or skip sequoia, follow 395 to Yosemite, and take the Tioga pass instead? I've also heard the Tioga pass is incredibly busy that time of year, so maybe skipping that would be better?

    Thanks for any advice you have for that section of the trip, and if there are any other 'must-see' things along the route we have, I'd love the suggestions.

  2. #2
    Join Date
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    Default A very full plate....

    Quote Originally Posted by wharkcom View Post
    I wanted to start by saying I think this website is amazing! The amount of information is unbelievable. I will be using this site for every trip I plan from now on.
    Well, thank you and welcome to the Great American RoadTrip Forum!
    Currently, I am planning a road trip to visit as much as I can in the west.
    Your schedule seems a little time-challenged to me -- I hope you will be able to be flexible when on the road and open to dropping about 1/3 of the stops -- you will be zooming through so much of this area, it will look a little like an IMAX film. Wow, you live in Grand Lake -- that is a gorgeous place to call home!
    My main question is about the section from Vegas to SF. I found tons of threads on the topic, but couldn't really nail down the best way to go for what we want to see.
    Well, let's see what we can do here.
    My original plan was to take 190 through Death Valley, then up 395 to see Sequoia/Kings, across the Tioga Pass through Yosemite, and finally into SF. From what I understand after reading through the info here, you can't see Sequoia/Kings from the east. Would you recommend driving across 178 (Sherman Pass?) and then up the east side of the parks, or skip sequoia, follow 395 to Yosemite, and take the Tioga pass instead? I've also heard the Tioga pass is incredibly busy that time of year, so maybe skipping that would be better?
    OK, let's unravel this a little bit. CA-178 connects US-395 with CA-99 at Bakersfield, but it does not go over Sherman Pass. It does go by Lake Isabella, which is very nice and if you go the southern route, I would recommend it. Sherman Pass is reached from US-395 on J41 and it is one of my favorite drives in the Sierras, but given your time pressure, not a good choice. From Las Vegas to Sequoia National Park (using the slow road over Sherman Pass, it would easily take 16 hours... Here is an excellent thread that discusses these various routes in detail.

    But I would actually recommend that you go north on US-395 and enjoy the awesome views of the eastern slope -- swing by Bishop, Mammoth Lakes and take the June Lakes loop before heading west over Tioga Pass into Yosemite.

    A truly awesome side trip would be to go east on CA-168 at Big Pine and drive the paved road up to the Bristlecone Forest -- incredible views of the Sierras and the trees are something to see. Here is a field report for this area.

    Happy Planning!

    Mark

  3. Default

    Mark,
    Thanks for the advice! I finally found Sherman Pass on the map, and we've decided that's probably not the best option considering the already rushed schedule we have. As long as we're not already too far behind schedule, we'll definitely try to see the Bristlecone Forest as well.

    As for being rushed and having to cut things out of the trip, we planned the Seattle - Glacier - Yellowstone part last so we could skip it if we had to. Visiting Seattle and Montana were more to visit friends than see the parks, and I've been to Yellowstone a few times already, so cutting it out won't be too bad. We're just going to play the whole thing by ear, and if we miss out on some things, it just gives us a reason to go back again :)

    Thanks again for all the help!

    -Will

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