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  1. Default San Fran to LA via Vegas

    Hi, i could do with some advise/help please. I've read many of the threads which has giving me too many ideas!
    In mid/late October we will be experiencing our 1st road trip in USA.
    After a couple of days in San Fran doing the 'must see' sights we head out for a 11 day trip ending in LA:
    20th Oct - Leave SF
    22nd to 25th - Vegas (accommodation booked) Prob sneak a trip to Hoover and Lake Mead.
    26th - Grand Caynon (accommodation booked)
    28th & 29th - Accommodation booked in LA
    30th - Fly home

    What i need some help with is filling in the gaps - Do we head over the Tioga pass and through Death Valley on route to Vegas? Or do we have time to loop in and out of Yosemite and pick up Sequoia NP then head to Death Valley?

    Have we got time to visit Monument Valley after GC and before LA?

    Thanks in anticaption

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tucson, AZ

    Default Timing Will Be Everything

    Welcome aboard the RoadTrip America Forums!

    It is possible that Tioga Pass over the Sierra Nevada mountains will be open in late October. It is also possible that it will be closed. No one can predict this (but here are some educated guesses) so you should be flexible enough to handle the worst case. If it's open that's the way I'd go - through Yosemite and down US-395 - staying the night in Lee Vining or Bishop. Check ahead to make sure that wherever you might stop is open and has a vacancy. Otherwise, you'll have to head to Vegas using I-5, CA-58, and I-15. With a solid day's drive, you can make it to Las Vegas in one day, or you can lay up in Barstow and take the next day seeing the Mojave National Preserve on your way into Las Vegas. The only other 'open' date you have is the one night between the Canyon and Las Vegas. Again, you could probably make this drive in a single day if you pushed it, but since you have the time, why not take a leisurely drive down through northern Arizona to Wickenburg and then use US-60 and I-10 into L.A. It might be possible to get up into Monument Valley and back to L.A. in those two days instead, but it would mean driving nearly a thousand miles and would put a hard end to your otherwise relaxing trip. I wouldn't think that in October you'd need reservations for either of your two 'gaps' and flexibility may be a greater ally in those cases anyway.

    Last edited by AZBuck; 09-03-2007 at 03:19 PM.

  3. Default

    Thanks for the advise AZ. Can i ask why you'd choose to go over Tioga pass (if open) and not my alternative route picking up Sequoia NP? Is it a more scenic route via Tioga or more pratical given the time scales we're working too?
    I'm tempted to cancel one nights accommodation in LA in favour of a Monument valley visit. Take your point regarding a hard end to the trip.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tucson, AZ

    Default Possible vs. Enjoyable

    The main reason for recommending Tioga Pass over Sequoia is one of practicality and enjoyment. One has to distinguish what is possible - yes, you can run from place to place and 'see it all' - and what is enjoyable - actually taking time to savor these beautiful and tranquil settings. It might be possible to back out of Yosemite all the way to Fresno, head up through Squaw Valley to Sequoia and once again get back down into the Central Valley at Bakersfield in a day, but you wouldn't have any time to get out of the car and hike, smell the pines, listen to the waterfalls, or anything else. If all you're going to do is look through the windshield, just rent the video. You're just trying to pack too much into your two day trip from San Francisco to Las Vegas, particularly by including a lot of two-lane, mountainous and heavily traveled roads to the mix. Just slow down and enjoy. One way to do so is to proceed all the way through Yosemite and then enjoy scenic US-395 down to the around Barstow.

    Last edited by AZBuck; 09-03-2007 at 03:22 PM. Reason: Tags not allowed in Title

  5. Default I love it when a plan comes together!

    Well we're back from the greatest adventure - Our 1st USA roadtrip.
    The weather was kind to us and the Tioga pass was open. Winding down the pass was probably one of the most scary moments in my life!
    We covered 2,000 miles by the time we handed back the rental at LAX which were on the whole, a pleasure to drive on your wide open roads and we had no problems with the lack of gear stick and the steering wheel on the otherside of the car!
    Thank you to all who contribute to this wonderful site, it helped us have the most fantastic holiday ever.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 1998
    Las Vegas, Nevada

    Default Next time -- you gotta try Sonora Pass!

    Quote Originally Posted by Tracy and Chris View Post
    Winding down the pass was probably one of the most scary moments in my life!
    Tioga is one of the gentleness passes in the Sierras -- next time, we can recommend some real scary descents.....

    Glad you had a great time!


  7. #7


    What route did you take? Where did you get to see? Did you see Monument Valley in the end?

    Glad you had a great time. I like how you referred to it as your '1st USA roadtrip' -- are you planning another next year? If you are then I hope you'll come back often as you plan it!

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Keithville, LA

    Default First Trip up the mountains

    I'm glad you had a good time.

    I remember my first time driving up a mountain. I'm from Louisiana, most of which is below sea level, so I had no experience even with large hills before this drive. I was taking the road up to the entrance to Carlsbad Caverns and had to pull over several times to "sight see" aka catch my breath. 3 trips and many more mountain drives later I returned there this summer. I was a little scared remembering the road from before and was surprised at how wide open the road was and the vastness of the run-off area. I'm afraid that I got so excited at how nice the road was that I really had to watch myself not to speed up the road. :)

    So, as Mark said, we'll have to get you your mountain legs and show you some other, scarier, drives.


  9. Default

    Thanks Mark and Laura.... Maybe we'll get brave and take some of your recomendations next time!
    UkCraig - We kept to the intin pretty much, 2 nights in San Fran then 2 days in Yosemite (the best 2 days ever!) staying overnight in El Portal on the west edge of the park and the following night in Lone Pine on the 395. Watching the sun rise over Mount Whitney whilst eating pancakes is a nice warm memory.
    We spent the next day exploring Death Valley entering on the 190 after a side trip to Darwin. Amazingly 40,000 people used to live there and now only 50, so i guess you would call it a semi ghost town.
    We visited Stovepipe Wells, Furnace Creek, Golden Canyon, Artists Palette, Devils golf, Badwater and my favourite Zabriskie point which was definatley worth the short but steep walk from the parking area.
    From Death Valley we pushed on to Vegas via Parump.
    After 4 nights in Vegas we headed out to the Grand Canyon stopping briefing at the Hoover Dam. We detoured at Kingman to take the Route 66 loop to Seligman, stopping to take the usual tourist photos!
    After watching sunset and sunrise at GC we had the long leg of the trip heading towards LA. I felt a real rench leaving GC so soon, what a truely 'awesome' place.
    450 miles later we are in Barstow for an overnight stay, if we did the same trip again i'd just keep on driving. Apart from the town shutting down for the night at 9pm (it was a saturday!!) The unplesant smell in the motel room, the trains kept coming right the way through the night.
    LA was a contrast to what we'd experience from the rest of the trip expecially the roads and their drivers! Malibu & Venice beach got our votes on the best experience in the LA region. The people watching at Venice kept me entertained for hours.

    Road trip number 2 will include Monument Valley, a lot more time to explore the Grand Canyon and hopefully Bryce canyon too

  10. #10


    You bought back some fantastic memories of my own trip to that area last year there. I can 'feel your excitement' having done much of that route myself. Amazing place, isn't it? I look forward to (hopefully) being able to offer some input into planning your next trip!

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