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  1. Default Help: planning for Death Valley visit

    Hi,

    By September 11th (!!) I have planned the following route:

    Las Vegas-Death Valley-Lone Pine

    Next day we'll leave early to Seqouia NP

    I don't know exactly how to make the most of our limited time to visit D.Valley. My idea is the following:

    - Leave Las Vegas at 8 a.m. and drive to Shoshone, so we can enter D.Valley from the South, instead of going to D.V. Junction (about 2,5h)
    - Shoshone-Badwater: about 2h
    - Badwater - Devil's Golf Course - Artist Drive - Furnace Creek (southern area of the park)
    - Furnace Creek - Dante's View - Zabriskie Point - Furnace Creek (eastern area of the park)
    - Then from Furnace Creek go North to the sand-dunes, see the sunset ther (about 18:45?) ant then follow to Lone Pine, where we would sleep

    Do you think it's doable? I think the key would be arriving to the sand-dunes in time to see the sunset...

    Does anybody know how long it takes to drive the 21km (bad) road to Dante's View? It's a round-trip way, so I think it might take a lot of time...

    Regards and thanks a lot!!!

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

    Default Sunset is too late for the dunes

    Quote Originally Posted by ataturkster View Post
    - Leave Las Vegas at 8 a.m. and drive to Shoshone, so we can enter D.Valley from the South, instead of going to D.V. Junction (about 2,5h)
    Welcome to the Great American RoadTrip Forum! Death Valley National Park is part of my backyard and so I go over when I can -- there are some very cool old cave residences in Shoshone -- take the gravel road just north of the CalTrans yard (1/4 mile). Road is in fine shape. However, I still think that the approach to Death Valley is the best from the Death Valley Junction in terms of scenery.
    - Shoshone-Badwater: about 2h
    - Badwater - Devil's Golf Course - Artist Drive - Furnace Creek (southern area of the park)
    - Furnace Creek - Dante's View - Zabriskie Point - Furnace Creek (eastern area of the park)
    This is a little out-of-sync. I would suggest that you enter from Death Valley Junction -- go to Dante's View first (it is a paved road all the way to the top) while it is steep and narrow -- not really that tough a drive.

    One of the best drives (for normal passenger cars) in the park will be just on your left (before you get to Zabriskie Point. It is one-way drive (road is packed gravel -- any car can make it) and is called Twenty Mule Team Canyon. It takes about 15 minutes and gives you a bird's eye view of the conditions that borax miners labored under -- plus a great view of scenic rock.

    Stopping at Zabriskie Point and then drive to Furnace Creek -- go the visitor center and the museum and then drive down to Badwater. As you back north, stop at the Devils Golf Course and drive the Artist's Palette.

    And then drive to sand dunes. The problem of reaching them at sunset is that the light leaves that part of the valley about 1.5 hours before sunset. And some of the most spectacular views of the day are still to the west! Personally, I would enjoy the sand dunes from the car and keep on going!

    If you have time, a short walk through Mosaic Canyon is very, very cool. Take the gravel road just past Stovepipe Wells and walk 1/4 or 1/2 mile up the canyon.

    And then the drive up to Towne Pass (along CA-190) is awesome and be sure to stop at Panamint Springs for an iced tea (and/or beer) and enjoy the photos and the redwood burl bar before heading on west on CA-190 for some of the best road shots of the day -- the route through the Darwin Hills (slow down and enjoy the views). Pretty soon you will be at the flats and take the short cut CA-136 to Lone Pine.
    Does anybody know how long it takes to drive the 21km (bad) road to Dante's View? It's a round-trip way, so I think it might take a lot of time...
    Like I mentioned above, it is an easy road to drive -- 20 to 30 minutes each way.

    Mark

  3. Default Very good suggestions

    Thank you so much!!

    I think we'll follow those wise pieces of advice. You really know D.V. very well! I thought I would save some time getting into from the South, but now I see it ain't worth it.

    So you think that with this planning we might arrive to Panamint Springs and even to Darwin Hills still having daylight?

    Thnks again

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 1998
    Location
    Las Vegas, Nevada
    Posts
    10,060

    Default It is all "worth it"

    Quote Originally Posted by ataturkster View Post
    but now I see it ain't worth it.
    Don't get me wrong, that southern road is pretty cool too. But you will be stretched for time as it is.
    So you think that with this planning we might arrive to Panamint Springs and even to Darwin Hills still having daylight?
    Yes, if you pace yourselves you can do all of the above and still reach Lone Pine by nightfall.

    Mark

  5. Default We'll waste no time

    I'm sorry, maybe "it ain't worth it" sounds too strong

    It's funny because in fact I thought that the choice of Shoshone would make us save some time, as we avoided the round-trip to Badwater, but in fact I will to follow your advice to have a better scenery

    I see you like D.V. a lot, and hope we love it too. Some people in our travellers group (not me) think that going through DV after having visited dessertic landscapes in Arizona and Utah will be a kind of waste of time. Specially when the next day we go from L.Pine to Sequoia NP (I think it takes 6,5 hours!) and then the following to Yosemite (many driving hours). I also know that many people think that Yosemite sequoias are enough and skip Sequoia NP. I'm not so sure if we should do that...

    Anyway, as you can see, we still have things to decide :-)

    Thanks a lot

    Thanks

  6. Default Limited time to visit Sequoia N.P.

    Hi,

    Maybe someone who has recently been in Sequoia NP can help me. This forum has been a fantastic discovery for me, it's sooo helpful!

    One day in out West US trip planning: go from Lone Pine (where we will have slept the previous day, coming right form L.Vegas & Death Valley) to Sequoia N.P. (entering by Three Rivers), visit Sequoia (at least drive to Grant Grove) and go to some accomodation near the park. Next day, wake up and drive to Yosemite.

    1) Our first idea was sleeping in Three Rivers, but now I realize that the best idea would be entering the park from Three Rivers, drive to Grant Grove (visiting the two main sequoias) and then go to the east and sleep in Fresno (2 hours from Grant Grove?). I think it wouldn't take longer than driving all the way back to Three Rivers, and the next day it would take less time to get to Yosemite. Do you think it's a better idea?

    2) I've read in the Sequoia NP web page that there are currently some road works in the General Highway that goes through the park. What I understand is that they stop the traffic, and then allow cars to pass every hour. Does anybody know how long the delay might be?

    Our problem is that we have a very limited time to visit Sequoia. I think that it takes 6 hours to get from Lone Pine to the park, and at least other 2 to cross the park and get to Grant Grove. My worry is the possibility of driving a lot of hours, then finding long unexpected delays, and getting to the General Grant Tree when there is no daylight... We could also visit the park the next day, but it would break our planning a little bit (it was assigned to Yosemite).

    By the way, does anybody know approximately until what time is there enough daylight to visit the park properly? (for the 12th of September)


    Thanks a lot!

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
    13,067

    Default Thinking Backwards

    Since you are starting from Death Valley/Lone Pine, it doesn't make any sense to visit Sequoia and then go to Yosemite. There is no direct crossing of the Sierra inside Sequoia National Park, so you'd have to take a couple hundred mile detour (6 hours sounds about right) to get to the park.

    It would make much more sense to go north to Yosemite, crossing Tioga Pass, first. Then you could go down to Fresno and back into Sequoia. This will be much faster than going from Lone Pine, down to Bakersfield, and back north, and will give you much more time to enjoy your trip.

  8. Default Maybe a crazy planning?

    Midwest Michael,

    Our planning was (for this part of the tour):

    1) Las Vegas - Death Valley - Lone Pine (September 11th). Visit Death Valley
    2) Lone Pine - Yosemite (September 12th). Starting to visit
    3) Three Rivers or Fresno - Yosemite (September 13th). Start to visit Yosemite
    4) Yosemite (September 14th). Visit Yosemite
    5) Yosemite-San Francisco (September 15th). Start to visit San Francisco
    6) San Francisco (September 16th & 17th). Visit San Francisco

    Do you suggest the following?

    1) Las Vegas - Death Valley - Lone Pine (September 11th). Visiting Death Valley
    2) Lone Pine - Yosemite (entering by Tioga Pass) (September 12th). Start to visit Yosemite
    3) Yosemite (September 13th). Visit Yosemite
    4) Yosemite - Sequoia Park (September 14th). Visit Sequoia
    5) Sequoia-San Francisco (September 15th). Start to visit San Francisco
    6) San Francisco (September 16th & 17th). Visit San Francisco


    Or maybe we are being too ambitious and would have to quit Death Valley or Sequoia NP visit?


    Thanks a lot!

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jan 1998
    Location
    Las Vegas, Nevada
    Posts
    10,060

    Default Keep Death Valley

    Quote Originally Posted by ataturkster View Post
    1) Las Vegas - Death Valley - Lone Pine (September 11th). Visiting Death Valley
    2) Lone Pine - Yosemite (entering by Tioga Pass) (September 12th). Start to visit Yosemite
    3) Yosemite (September 13th). Visit Yosemite
    4) Yosemite - Sequoia Park (September 14th). Visit Sequoia
    5) Sequoia-San Francisco (September 15th). Start to visit San Francisco
    6) San Francisco (September 16th & 17th). Visit San Francisco
    Adding Sequoia is a bit of a zig-zag, I would suggest that you simply delete Sequoia and then you can spend more time in Yosemite for heading to San Francisco. Yosemite has some of the giant redwoods too.

    Mark

  10. #10
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
    13,067

    Default huh?

    2) Lone Pine - Yosemite (September 12th). Starting to visit
    3) Three Rivers or Fresno - Yosemite (September 13th). Start to visit Yosemite
    4) Yosemite (September 14th). Visit Yosemite
    Now I'm just not following you.

    Were you planning to go from Lone Pine to Yosemite, then go to Sequoia, and then go back Yosemite?

    I think you should have time to visit Sequoia and Death Valley, but yes the second list you've provided, going to Sequoia after Yosemite would make more sense.

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