Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 10 of 11
  1. #1

    Default 3 weeks LA to SF including Vegas & national parks

    Hello everyone, great site. Happy to find it and now hoping for some advice.

    My friend and I are going on a californian road trip from 10 to 31 october (20 days). We land in LA and return home from SF.
    I'm having serieus trouble deciding which route is the most economizing in terms of distance to cover/hours to drive between places we want to visit.

    We'd like to start with 3 days LA, then 2 days Vegas allowing for a little detour in Mojave desert. At the end of our trip (from the 27th to the 31st) we've planned a day in Sonoma/Napa en 3 days in SF.

    Our problem lies in between (from around 10/17 to 10/26): we'd like to visit the Grand Canyon, Death Valley, Sequoia & Kings Canyon and/or Yosemite. We also plan to drive the coastal highway from somewhere around Santa Barbara to SF, visiting Hearst Castle, Monterey,...

    Is this feasable and which would be the best driving route to spend as little time as possible in the car?

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

    Default Popular choice

    Hello and welcome to the R.T.A forums.

    Your plans are certainly feasible in my opinion and you have a nice amount of time to carry them out. It's also a very popular choice and therefor lots of info available.
    Here are some links that offer lots of info for travel in these areas.

    For your trip a possibility [if you have no dates set] would be to go from L/A to the Grand canyon on I-40 and then back to Vegas. From Vegas you can cross Death valley on the 160 and 190 to Lone Pine and head north on the 395 to Lee vining where the 120 [Tioga pass] will take you into Yosemite and then head south towards Kings canyon before heading across to the coast.
    Alternatively go around the southern end of the sierras from D/V but you will have to back track either way to start the coastal section of your trip from Santa barbara area.
    If it's still a possibility then starting in L/A and finishing in L/V could be the best way to keep the mileage down, as you could do the coastal route to San Fran and then back down tracking the sierras along Yosemite and Kings canyon before crossing D/V into Vegas. I'm sure you will get some more info to consider but those links should get you started.
    Don't hesitate to ask for more info if needed.

  3. #3

    Default More advice needed please

    Hi Southwest Dave, thanks so much for the advice! I had a lot of help with the links you suggested and with searching by tags.
    Our trip is slowly coming in focus, but now more detailed questions have emerged.

    At the moment our plans look like this (with app. miles and driving times):
    - 10/11 to 10/13: LA + beach cities (Santa Monica and sorts)
    - 10/14: drive via Mojave national preserve to Williams (overnight)(app. 480m - 9h)
    - 10/15: Grand Canyon + drive via Hoover Dam to Vegas (app. 340m - 6h)
    - 10/16 to 10/17: Vegas
    - 10/18: Death Valley + drive to Bishop (overnight)(app. 310m - 6h)
    - 10/19: drive via Tioga pass to Yosemite (overnight)(app. 110m - 3h)
    - 10/20: drive + Kings Canyon & Sequoia (overnight)(app. 154m - 4h)
    - 10/21: drive via Bakersfield to Santa Barbara (overnight)(app. 340m - 6h)
    - 10/22: Santa Barbara
    - 10/23: drive to San Simeon (overnight)(app. 144m - 4h)
    - 10/24: Hearst Castle + drive to Monterey (overnight)(app.96m - 3h)
    - 10/25: Monterey
    - 10/26: drive to Sonoma/Napa (overnight)(app. 156m - 4h)
    - 10/27: Sonoma/Napa
    - 10/28: drive to SFO to drop car off + SF (app. 54m - 1h30)
    - 10/29 to 10/30: SF

    - I found mileage and driving times on Google maps, but now I'm wondering how correct these data are, especially for the routes through the sierras and along coastal Hw1.
    - I'm also quite apprehensive about the mileage on dates 10/14 (direction Grand Canyon), 10/15 (direction Vegas), 10/18 (Death Valley) and 10/21 (direction Santa Barbara).
    - Is it going to be a problem finding hotels/motels without reservation in Williams, Bishop, Yosemite and Sequoia (or surroundings)?
    - Any idea weather Tioga pass will be a problem on 10/19?
    - I also read throughout the forum that you need to make reservations for a lot of things: the national parks, helicopter ride Grand Canyon, Hearst Castle & Alcatraz. Is this still necessary by mid-october, because that might be a problem if we want to keep some flexibility on our journey?

    I would really love some advice. Thanks in advance to all who want to take the time for this.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    South of England.
    Posts
    10,749

    Default A bit rushed

    Hi again.

    - I found mileage and driving times on Google maps, but now I'm wondering how correct these data are
    These are normally well short of the actual time needed. They do not take into consideration any city traffic, rest and fuel stops or sight seeing, you would pretty much need the perfect run to match them with no stops.

    an example 15/10 Williams to Grand canyon and to Vegas, I would estimate around 8 hours of driving, 1 hour at the dam and a minimum of 4 hours at the canyon [not enough] you have a 13 hour day. I would def try and work another night for here.
    I would also add 2 or 3 hours on your next couple of days to allow for sight seeing and travel. To visit Kings canyon I would think you would need 4 hours just to take the mountain road to from it, add the travel time to it. Your first day on the road I would think 9-10hours min without any detours

    I think it may feel a bit rushed to do all the things you have listed, but it's taking shape.
    Have you a reason for visiting Sonama, Napa at the end of your trip? They're both popular places to visit but I wonder if it maybe best to cut these out to give you more time else where. I think if you left those and Kings canyon/Sequioas out you would have a good trip. There is a grove of giant Sequoias near the south entrance of Yosemite that would give you a good taste of these giants.

    - I also read throughout the forum that you need to make reservations for a lot of things: the national parks, helicopter ride Grand Canyon, Hearst Castle & Alcatraz. Is this still necessary by mid-october, because that might be a problem if we want to keep some flexibility on our journey?
    We went this time of year and the crowds were gone so I would think you will be O.K. in most places. [we were in an R.V. so had no accommodations] but i think you would be best off booking Alcatraz to save queuing and if you want a heli flight that maybe a good idea to check as they need to take weights of passengers before flights so I am unsure whether you can just turn up or not. We took a flight with Papillon helicopters from the Grand canyon airport in Tusayan. It was an incredible 45 min experience and highly recommended
    Last edited by Southwest Dave; 08-27-2008 at 02:57 PM. Reason: added info

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Location
    The Great Midwest, Illinois to be precise
    Posts
    527

    Default Don't Forget Route 66

    At some point, get on Route 66. i especially suggest Oatman (with the wild burros) and Williams (the Gateway to the Grand Canyon).

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
    13,064

    Default similar thoughts

    I agree with Dave that your trip is probably going to be a faster pace than you might enjoy.

    Speaking from my own experience, I stayed the night in Williams, saw the grand canyon, and then drove back to Laughlin (about an hour south of Vegas) in one day. I thought this would be enough time, but as it turned out we didn't get to our hotel until about 1am, and even then, there was a lot of things at the Grand Canyon that we didn't get to see (we also didn't try to book in a helicopter trip that will take more time). So, it could be done, but I think you'll be fairly rushed and could end up facing a long day. In fact, when you consider the shorter days of fall compared to summer, I think it would be pretty much impossible to even make it back to the hoover dam before dark.

    I'll also say that you might not want to go all the way back down to Santa Barbara before heading back up the coast. At that point, you'll be driving through the Northern edge of Los Angeles Sprawl just to get there. I think I would cut over to the coast at a more northern location, like Santa Maria or even Morro Bay.

  7. #7

    Default Wanted: review trip "California here we come!"

    Hi everyone,

    First of all sorry for this second thread, but couldn't find my first one.

    After all your excellent advice, we've changed our 3-weeks California trip (left out Grand Canyon, added San Diego), but I think we might still be a bit ambitious :-)
    So I'd really appreciate some feedback as to route, time schedule and hotel choices.

    10/10: Arrival LAX
    10/10-10/13: 4 nights LA + beach
    Drive to San Diego = US-101, I-5 (3,5 hours)
    10/14-10/15: 2 nights San Diego
    Drive + visit Mojave National Preserve = I-15, I-215, I-15, I-40 (8 hours)
    10/16: 1 night in vicinity of Mojave (maybe Route 66?)
    Drive to Vegas + visit Hoover Dam = I-40, US-95, US-93, I-515 (6,5 hours)
    10/17-10/18: 2 nights Las Vegas
    Drive + visit Death Valley = US-95, NV-373, CA-127, CA-190, CA-136, US-35 (9 hours)
    10/19: 1 night Bishop or vicinity Lee Vining if feasable
    Drive + visit Yosemite = US-395, CA-120 (if Tioga open) (6 hours)
    10/20: 1 night Yosemite or surroundings
    Drive + visit Kings Canyon/Sequoia = CA-120, CA-41, CA-180, CA-198 (6 hours)
    10/21: 1 night Sequoia or surroundings
    Drive to Santa Barbara = CA-198, US-101, CA-154 (7 hours)
    10/22-10/23: 2 nights Santa Barbara
    Drive to San Simeon = US-101, Hwy-1 (5 hours)
    10/24: 1 night San Simeon or surroundings
    Visit Hearst Castle + drive to Monterey = Hwy-1 (4 hours)
    10/25-10/26: 2 nights Monterey
    Drive to Napa/Sonoma = Hwy-1, I-280, Hwy-1, US-101, CA-37, CA-121 (4,5 hours)
    10/27: 1 night Napa/Sonoma
    Drive to San Francisco = CA-121, CA-37, US-101 (1,5 hours)
    10/28-10/31: 3 nights San Francisco
    11/01: Departure SFO

    So what do you think? Are our routes ok? Timing?
    Any good tips for hotels/motels around Mojave-Route66, Bishop-Lee Vining, Kings Canyon-Sequoia, Santa Barbara, along coastal Highway 1, Monterey, Napa-Sonoma?
    Any good wine tasting tips for Santa Barbara or Sonoma/Napa?
    Which route to take to Kings Canyon/Sequoia if Tioga is closed by 10/20?

    Now I'm seeing it all laid out here I'm pretty sure we will be pretty tired after our mega california roadtrip :-)
    Mmmm, only two weeks left...

    Thanx a bunch in advice for taking the time to look at this!
    Last edited by Midwest Michael; 09-29-2008 at 01:53 PM. Reason: Merged With Original Thread

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    South of England.
    Posts
    10,749

    Default Grand canyon?

    Hi MissT,

    Your trip is taking shape nicely, and having had a quick look your travel times appear to be much better.
    Of course it is your trip and you know what appeals to you the most, but for me, to be that close to the Grand canyon and not get to see it is a shame. From the Eastern edge of Mojave you would be around 4 hours away and another 6 hours to get back to Vegas.

    If you prefer cities to natural wonders then that's fine, but we are talking about some of the best natural wonders there are. For instance, you have a total of 10 nights in cities in your first 13, and only 1 night in Yosemite and 1 in Kings canyon and Sequoia [You haven't really the time to do the drive into Kings canyon and the 198 to the giants forest without feeling rushed.] There is nothing wrong with cities if that is what you want but I thought it would be best to point it out.
    Crossing Death valley you could leave by the 160 to Pahrump which them takes you onto Death valley junction and then the 190 rather than the 95 and coming back down on the 373. As Michael said earlier, I personally wouldn't want to leave L/A and then drive all the way back to it's doorstep, I would tend to visit it while I am in L/A.
    Your trip is based on a one way journey, but probably best served as a loop so it is difficult to see the things you want without going up and down each side of the Sierra's.

    If you can check before you leave Vegas if the Tioga pass is closed or not you would be best to go around the southern end via Bakersfield and Fresno if so.

    You must be getting excited with only 2 weeks to go ! I am sure you will have a great adventure whatever you decide.
    Last edited by Southwest Dave; 09-30-2008 at 06:08 AM.

  9. #9

    Default

    Hi Dave, thanx again for the advice and for finding my first post!

    Quote Originally Posted by Southwest Dave View Post
    Of course it is your trip and you know what appeals to you the most, but for me, to be that close to the Grand canyon and not get to see it is a shame.
    I feel the same, but I considered Michaels advice about the need to reserve 2 days to visit it and we don't have those days to spare at that point in the trip. So I guess now I have a reason to came back someday :-)

    Quote Originally Posted by Southwest Dave View Post
    For instance, you have a total of 10 nights in cities in your first 13, and only 1 night in Yosemite and 1 in Kings canyon and Sequoia
    I see your point... That part of the trip is kinda open since we've booked nothing, so we might possibly stay longer around Yosemite/Kings & Sequoia.

    Quote Originally Posted by Southwest Dave View Post
    As Michael said earlier, I personally wouldn't want to leave L/A and then drive all the way back to it's doorstep, I would tend to visit it while I am in L/A.
    I guess you mean Santa Barbara? I thought that taking the different route along CA-198, US-101, CA-154 would fix that. Or do you mean to say that Santa Barbara is in the sprawl of LA? It is indeed a whole lotta distance to cover to get back near LA, so maybe we'll decide to nix it and stay 2 days in Napa/Sonoma instead... Have to see what my friend thinks, because she's been allready in the US for the last 3 weeks.

    About the loop being a better choice, yep thought that also, but the planes were booked somewhere in february when we hadn't even taken a close look to the California map yet :-)

    Getting really exited, but still so much stuff to do before the trip!

    Does anyone have great tips concerning hotels (around Mojave-Route66, Bishop-Lee Vining, Kings Canyon-Sequoia, along coastal Highway 1, Monterey, Napa-Sonoma)? Read on several websites about "bed bugs", something we Belgians haven't heared about before, and not feeling happy about the prospect of encountering them...

    I have to say that this forum has been somewhat of a life (or better "trip") saver!

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

    Default

    Hi MissT,

    I guess you mean Santa Barbara?
    Yes, sorry I didn't make it clearer, I was just wondering if you had considered dropping, Santa B as you have time in L/A and S/D now and make more of your time either at the G/C or to stay an extra night in Yosemite.

    I am afraid I can't help with hotels as we mainly use a motorhome, although the accommodations we have stayed at were fine, not a bed bug in sight! I think it maybe over exaggerated and you shouldn't have a problem if you just use your instincts when finding a place.
    I can recommend "Whoah nellies delli" diner for great food when in Lee vining, it has a diner feel and is tucked behind the gas station on the junction of the 395 and 120 just out of town. Great views of Mono Lake from here as well.

    Have a great time, and we would love to hear how it went on your return.

    Dave.

Similar Threads

  1. Putting Our Recommendations to the Test
    By AZBuck in forum Off the Beaten Path
    Replies: 24
    Last Post: 11-25-2017, 04:19 AM
  2. California in 3 weeks starting from Vegas
    By mary0ann in forum Planning Summer RoadTrips
    Replies: 2
    Last Post: 02-17-2008, 12:00 PM
  3. National Parks pass + National Forest campgrounds
    By Foy in forum Saving Money on Your Trip
    Replies: 5
    Last Post: 10-09-2007, 01:04 PM
  4. Seattle to Las Vegas via National Parks
    By brandybob in forum Planning Summer RoadTrips
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: 07-15-2007, 01:39 AM
  5. Vegas to the National Parks in Utah
    By jw133 in forum Fall & Winter RoadTrips
    Replies: 4
    Last Post: 09-30-2006, 11:57 PM

Tags for this Thread

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •  
  • Find the Perfect Hotel
    Search RoadTrip Motels
    Enter city name

    Loading...



  • MORE STORIES