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  1. Default Death Valley Is it worth the extra miles

    We are a family of four, two teenage kids, from Oxford England. This is probably our last vacation as a family (San F/Yosimite/Ventura). I've got most stuff planned but can't decide best route from Yosemite to Ventura. There are hundreds of threads but virtually none mention Death Valley which on paper looks really interesting.

    Question: Is Death Valley loop worth the extra miles and given my overal route what is the best way into and out of the park and any must sees whilst there?

    I've allowed two days with an overnight stop, where?

    Question2: I've seen stuff on forums about people being worried about driving in US from security pov. I'm not, should I be?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    South of England.
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    10,749

    Default

    hi there
    i'll start with question 2 [it's easier,lol!] no,you should'nt. just use common sense like you would here in the u.k.[like not going around rough nieghbourhoods at night ha!] and you will be fine.
    as for question one,well it's quite a diversion and wether it's worth it is a matter of opinion.indeed it's a fascinating place,and one that you won't see the like of back home[or most other places in the world,if any]. depending on when your going,but seeing as you posted here, poss june to august where the temps are going to be around 100d plus, so you won't want to wander far,although it's still a spectacular drive with lots to see.
    from yosemite you can cross the sierras via the tioga pass [hwy120] a spectacular drive and head south on the 395 to lone pine and then s/e into death valley,through stovepipe wells [a stop here to see the sand dunes .this is the most popular location for an overnight stop in death valley.
    the other option is to continue on the 120 to benton then the 6 to tonopah and then south down the 95 to scottys junction to see scottys castle on the 267.
    either way your looking at 2 very full days travelling. you would leave death valley heading south on the 127 and the 15 to barstow.
    death valley info.
    having said that the "easy option" [but a very worthy one] would be to head south on the 41 towards fresno[visit glacier point in yosemite,what ever you decide]and then take the 180 into thekings canyon area. from there it's a lovely drive through the giants forest on the generals highway and you get to see the largest livin thing on earth. which ever you decide,
    HAVE A GREAT TRIP!

  3. Default summer family vacation

    WOW what a trip! I am also planning what is probably our last family vacation together with 2 teenagers and possibly a friend. We are going Houston to San Fransisco then San Diego. Thanks for asking the Death Valley question, I had somewhat the same.

    My question is Houston - San Fran - San Diego - Houston, How much time do we really need? Is 10 days enough?

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
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    13,064

    Default vegas route

    I'm surprised you didn't find much information about Death Valley in all of the threads we have that talk about it. Death Valley is a very popular topic, especially since it is basically right on the direct path from Las Vegas to Yosemite.

    If you've got the time, I'd say its worth the detour. If nothing else, the simple contrast from the mountains of the Sierra to California's eastern deserts has always been one of those things I've just found amazing to look at. If you are going that far, you might also look at going to Las Vegas. At that point you'd be just a couple hours away.

    That said, Death Valley is a long detour from Yosemite to Ventura (it would basically double your distance). If you're not going to Vegas and you've got limited time, you might look at spending some time at Sequoia/Kings Canyon instead.

  5. #5
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    May 2003
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    Default For tex

    Quote Originally Posted by textravler View Post
    My question is Houston - San Fran - San Diego - Houston, How much time do we really need? Is 10 days enough?
    Textraveler, If you go back an read the responses you got the first time you asked this question, I think you'll have your answer.

  6. Default Revised route south from Yosemite

    Many thanks Gommy and Midwest Michael I really appreciate your expertise. You have convinced me to take a shorter route, that looks great also, and give D.V. a miss this time round (hope I can come back).
    I minded to overnight somewhere around Isobella lake to make for an easy if less spectacular drive into Ventura on the second day.(Does this make sense 178/99/166/33, where to have lunch?).

    For day one even though we are east of Yosemite I was thinking of going over I120 as all threads say it's spectacular, then it's a question of when to get off the 395 west to give a route through Kings and Sequoia. (Is it even possible from say Bishop? or do I have to go too far south)

    Gommy if I went the Fresno - 180 route what is the road (number) you call the Generals Highway? I

    Is the road from Exeter to Kernville a nice drive?

    Sorry lots and lots of questions but I probably only get one go at this and you guys have all the answers

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
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    South of England.
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    Default

    hi.
    For day one even though we are east of Yosemite I was thinking of going over I120 as all threads say it's spectacular, then it's a question of when to get off the 395 west to give a route through Kings and Sequoia. (Is it even possible from say Bishop? or do I have to go too far south)
    when you go over the 120 into yosemite [tioga pass] that crosses the sierras that gives you access to kings canyon/sequoias by way of leaving yosemite to the south on hwy 41 towards oakhurst and fresno,you do not go back over the 120. i highly recomend going to glacier point in yosemite it is spectacular.

    Gommy if I went the Fresno - 180 route what is the road (number) you call the Generals Highway?

    from fresno take the 180 through the squaw valley,it then splits into the kings canyon road and the generals highway.you can take the diversion to kings canyon [if you plan to visit there,although i doubt it unless you can find an extra day] which is in and out[but will take up a lot of time] and then continue to the giants forest on the 180 towards three rivers.

    Is the road from Exeter to Kernville a nice drive?
    i loved this drive,first of all you will drive by miles of lemon/orange groves and then a twisty mountain road with lovely scenery but expect a slow pace. get on the mountain road 190 through quaken aspen and then through johnsondale and down the kern river highway following the river all the way into the lovely little town of kernville.
    be sure to stop off at the trial of hundred giants on the way,nr johnsondale,a quiet grove of sequoias with a short trial walk,we loved it.
    if you want an idea of whats ahead then page 1,3 and 4 of this thread from our trip will give you an idea,but please note it took us a full day to get from lake isabella to three rivers and another to oakhurst,and thats without kings canyon but with lots of stops.the distances really are decieving,especially at "mountain pace".

    another thought! are you actually staying in yosemite overnight [how long]or nearby and if your coming from san fran how come your entering from the east?
    Last edited by Southwest Dave; 04-06-2008 at 07:35 AM.

  8. #8
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    Default Mountains in the Way

    If you are going to take Tioga Pass across the Sierra, then you might as well continue on to Death Valley, at that point, it actually wouldn't be that much of a detour.

    The area you are talking about here is the Sierra Nevada mountains, so going back and forth between US-395 and CA-99 is not a quick task. Even though Bishop and Sequoia/Kings Canyon National Park aren't that far apart on a map, its several hundred mile trip because there is no direct crossing of the mountains at that location.

    I'm also not really sure what you are thinking in the Exeter to Kernville section. There are a number of options if you want to again explore the mountains of this region, but there are a number of options, so I reallly have no idea which of them you are talking about when you talk about "the road from Exeter to Kernville." Again, you'll be dealing with mountain drives in this area that will be very slow going. That's not a bad thing if you are just trying to explore, but its going to be add a significant amount of time compared to taking a more direct route south via CA-99.

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