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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    London, England
    Posts
    5

    Default San Francisco to LA (Via Vegas)

    Hi,
    Myself and a couple of like minded friends (all mid to late 20's) are planning a California/Nevada road trip for later this year. We've come up with a first go at an itinerary and wanted to get some of your thoughts on what we were proposing.
    We've never really been to the area before so we are keen to see/do as much as possible during our time. We're looking for a mix of National Parks (hiking/camping etc.) and cities (especially San Fran and Vegas) and are basically after a good fun 2.5 weeks. Oh, we're flying into SF and out of LA.

    1. San Francisco (Nights 1, 2)
    2. Napa Valley (3)
    3. Yosamite NP (4, 5, 6)
    4. Death Valley NP (7)
    5. Vegas (8, 9, 10)
    6. Bryce Canyon (11, 12)
    7. Grand Canyon (& Hoover Dam) (13, 14)
    8. Palm Springs (or somewhere else on that sort of route) (15)
    9. LA (16, 17)

    I guess it would be good to know any of the following:
    1) Is there anything we should add/omit/swap to our trip?
    2) Any advice on areas to stay/go to in any of these places?
    3) General thoughts - is this achievable etc.?

    Any help would be very much appreciated!
    Thanks,
    Neil

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Tucson, AZ
    Posts
    7,794

    Default Some Considerations

    Welcome aboard the RoadTrip America Forums!

    As you've outlined it, your trip should allow you a great tour of the southwestern US at a relatively relaxed pace. It's quite achievable and is already chock full of some of the best venues already. Just be sure to check at the Visitor Centers at the both the National Parks and cities to get on-the-spot information. There are plenty of alternatives to the major attractions at each of your planned stops. As just one example, consider these sites near the Grand Canyon. If by "later this year" you mean September or later, you shouldn't have to worry about campground reservations, but check the rating of your sleeping bags as it will get chilly at night, particularly at higher elevations.

    AZBuck

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    Central California
    Posts
    378

    Default Zion?

    Neil,

    The only obvious omission is Zion National Park. You can easily spend a day at either Bryce or Zion, but it would be hard to see them both on the same day. I've been surprised to talk to a few people who liked Zion more than the Grand Canyon! I think they are in the minority, but their reason was that you experience Zion from the bottom, looking up, which they thought was more dramatic than from the rim down, like you do in the Grand Canyon. To each his/her own!

    Of course, there are lots of interesting places in the area you'll be traveling through, but you've got the big ones.

    Are you going to the north or south rim of the Grand Canyon? There is a big difference, but I can't say which is better (they are both great). Again, personal preference.

    Have a great trip,

    Craig Sheumaker
    co-author of the travel guide: America's Living History-The Early Years

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    London, England
    Posts
    5

    Default

    Hi guys,
    Thanks for your help - we'll definately take the warm sleeping bags! Just a couple more quick questions:

    1) As we are planning on traveling through Yosemite along the Tioga Pass in the first week of Nov, is it likely to be open? If not, is there another route we could take? If it is open, is it wise to take it at that time of year anyway?
    2) What's the difference between the North and the South rim of the Grand Canyon? I know you say you have no pref but if you were pushed which would you advise us to go for? :o)
    3) On way from Grand Canyon to LA, do you have anywhere that you could recommend for an overnight stop? A lot of the organised tours chose Palm Springs but I have heard it isn't that interesting....any thoughts?

    We've re-organised (thanks to your advise) a little and are currently looking at something like this:

    1. San Francisco (Nights 1, 2, 3)
    2. Yosamite NP (4, 5, 6)
    3. Death Valley NP (7)
    4. Vegas (8, 9, 10)
    5. Zion NP (11)
    6. Bryce Canyon (12)
    7. Grand Canyon (& Hoover Dam) (13, 14)
    8. Palm Springs (or somewhere else on that sort of route) (15)
    9. LA (16, 17)

    Thanks,
    Neil

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Tucson, AZ
    Posts
    7,794

    Default Some More Considerations

    1) Counting on Tioga Pass being open in November is risky at best. Over the last 5 years it has closed anywhere between Oct 17 and Nov 26. But even if it's open when you leave San Francisco, it could close without notice while you're on your way. Unfortunately, there is no good alternate, and if it's closed or you don't want to chance it once you're at Yosemite, you'd have to come all the way back out to CA-99 and down to Bakersfield before turning east.

    2) The north rim is quite a bit more remote than the south rim, requiring longer to get to (and back from) and has fewer hiking, driving and viewing options, as well as fewer visitor services. If you have the time, the north rim is worth it, but if you haven't seen the canyon at all yet, then get the full up flavor of the south rim.

    3) In coming back from the canyon to LA, I think I'd opt for a stop on the Colorado River, either Lake Havasu City (London Bridge) or Laughlin/Bullhead City (Mojave National Preserve and Oatman).

    AZBuck

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    London, England
    Posts
    5

    Default Places to stay

    Hi guys....thanks for the great advice....it really helps.

    Clearly we'll be looking for tourist offices when we get to each of our stops, however, it may well be necessary to book ahead for accommodation in certain places. Do you have any recommendations of hotels/campsites/lodges etc. that may be worth staying at along our route? I guess this also applies to recommended places to eat!

    Neil

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