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  1. Default Grand Canyon --> Death Valley --> ? --> Yosmite --> SF

    Hi there all, first I wanted to say I have been looking at these forums for a while and they've been massively useful in helping me plan my road trip.

    The route we are taking is starting at the Grand Canyon and then going to San Francisco via Death valley and Yosemite.

    I've read this thread and this thread and still have a few questions

    1. Grand Canyon - North or South rim? Both in terms of which is the best to see and which is the best to start this journey from.

    2. Does anyone know anywhere cheap and comfortable to stay around the Canyon for the night before we start this trip?

    3. Driving to Yosemite via Death Valley. Any particular advice on routes? Do we have to basically go via las vegas to do this?

    4. Where would you suggest to stay the night between death valley and yosemite? We only have 2 nights stop between the GC and SF and want 1 in yosemite.

    5. Any personal tips on where to stay in yosemite? Again something fairly budget.

    Finally, any general advice about which routes to take for this journey.

    I know thats a lot of questions, hopefully you guys can help out.
    Last edited by Midwest Michael; 09-06-2008 at 05:36 AM. Reason: link format

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
    13,064

    Default left out

    Welcome to the RTA Forum!

    First of all, there are several hundred threads detailing this general trip. I'm glad you were able to find a couple of them, but there are many many more. I would suggest spending even more time just browsing around here.

    1. Grand Canyon - North or South rim? Both in terms of which is the best to see and which is the best to start this journey from.
    You've left out some pretty critical details of your trip. Where are you physically starting this trip and how do you plan to get to the grand canyon? How does that factor into your trip's timeline. Also, you put this thread in the fall and winter section, when are you actually traveling? The North Rim is generally closed in winter.

    The south rim is the most popular side and it is open year round. The north rim is about 1000 feet higher in elevation, and tends to be more quiet, although with less services. Neither would automatically qualify as "best".

    2. Does anyone know anywhere cheap and comfortable to stay around the Canyon for the night before we start this trip?
    Without knowing more details of your trip, and until you decide question 1, it would be hard to say. However, it will generally be cheaper to stay outside the national park itself. For the south rim, the cheapest places would really be in Williams or Flagstaff, 1 to 1.5 hours from the canyon.
    3. Driving to Yosemite via Death Valley. Any particular advice on routes? Do we have to basically go via las vegas to do this?
    Going via Vegas would be the fastest, most direct route.
    4. Where would you suggest to stay the night between death valley and yosemite? We only have 2 nights stop between the GC and SF and want 1 in yosemite.
    Not knowing when you will be traveling is again going to be a problem, since the availablity of Tioga Pass being open will play a major roll in your route options. You also could really be looking at 2 full days of driving here. Its about 8-9 hours to drive from the Grand Canyon to Death Valley, so I would plan to stay pretty close to DV. However, you'll also have another full day of driving to make it to the Yosemite Valley, especially if you have to go around the Sierras.

    5. Any personal tips on where to stay in yosemite? Again something fairly budget.
    Again, if you are looking for motels, your cheapest options will be outside the national park. You'll find a number of them in Oakhurst and Mariposa, however, you again are looking at about an hour drive to the Yosemite Valley from these locations.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Western/Central Massachusetts
    Posts
    1,703

    Default Welcome!

    Quote Originally Posted by venothedon View Post
    Hi there all, first I wanted to say I have been looking at these forums for a while and they've been massively useful in helping me plan my road trip.
    Welcome to the RoadTrip America Forum!

    1. Grand Canyon - North or South rim? Both in terms of which is the best to see and which is the best to start this journey from.
    The North Rim has a slightly different "feel" from the South Rim due to it's being somewhat out of the way for most travelers, and thus less frequently visited by the quantities of tourists that are found on the South Rim. There is an elevation difference as well, which gives different vegetation.

    2. Does anyone know anywhere cheap and comfortable to stay around the Canyon for the night before we start this trip?
    Flagstaff would be your best bet, as lodging in the park couldn't qualify as "cheap", though I'm sure it is very comfortable.

    3. Driving to Yosemite via Death Valley. Any particular advice on routes? Do we have to basically go via las vegas to do this?
    Going through Vegas would be the quickest route.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 1998
    Location
    Las Vegas, Nevada
    Posts
    10,059

    Default Quickest? Skip Las Vegas....

    Quote Originally Posted by venothedon View Post
    3. Driving to Yosemite via Death Valley. Any particular advice on routes? Do we have to basically go via las vegas to do this?
    If I am reading this query correctly -- your question is what is the quickest way to reach Death Valley from the Grand Canyon on the way to Yosemite? If so, Las Vegas is out of your way and can be skipped. What you would do is stay on I-40 to exit 76 and then take the Kielbaker Road north to Baker and then north on CA-127 to Shoshone and then west on CA-178 into Death Valley National Park. Adding Las Vegas to the route would account for 2-3 "extra" hours.
    4. Where would you suggest to stay the night between death valley and yosemite? We only have 2 nights stop between the GC and SF and want 1 in yosemite.
    Like Midwest Michael mentioned above, if this is winter trip -- Tioga Pass will be closed -- so you would be staying in Bakersfield or one of the central valley towns. If Tioga Pass is still open -- I would suggest Bishop or Mammoth Lakes!
    5. Any personal tips on where to stay in yosemite? Again something fairly budget.
    I always recommend the Yosemite Bug -- larger range of prices.

    Mark

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
    13,064

    Default Really?

    Going all the way over through the Mojave Preserve is significantly faster than going through Vegas?

    According to Google, that route is 80 miles longer than going along the south edge of Vegas. I know the Hoover Dam adds some time to the trip though Vegas, so I could see the two routes being pretty close in time, but I'd have a hard time seeing how you could save 2-3 hours when you have to drive an extra hour plus worth of distance to go through Baker.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 1998
    Location
    Las Vegas, Nevada
    Posts
    10,059

    Default I am still convinced

    Not withstanding the wisdom of Google bots, if two identical cars left the south rim at the same time and one left I-40 and one drove north on US-93 94 miles and zig-zagged over St Rose Parkway and thence over NV-160 to Pahrump and over whereas the second one stayed on I-40 as suggested, I would wager car 2 would reach Furnace Creek at least 1.5 hours ahead of Car one. Now, to speed it up even more, if Car 2 exited I-40 (with Car One) at Kingman, but instead took the trucker's express (AZ-68) to Laughlin and then NV-163 to US-95 and then west on NV-164 to I-15 to Baker and back north again, I would wager that the differential would be closer to the two hours....

    Maybe we will have to test this in person one day?

    Mark

  7. Default

    Thanks for all the replies so far. I'm definitely going to spend some more time browsing here before I go.

    We are actually going in just over a week, so its definitely fall rather than winter! And so am hoping Tioga pass should be open?

    It looks like our route is going to be fairly pushed. I didn't realise it was quite so far from Death Valley to Yosemite. I guess this will mean leaving the canyon area very early in the morning.

    We are starting in Las Vegas so if this helps for the north/south rim question. Which one is closer/more on route for us?

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jan 1998
    Location
    Las Vegas, Nevada
    Posts
    10,059

    Default It really is a mistake to do it in one day!

    Quote Originally Posted by venothedon View Post
    We are actually going in just over a week, so its definitely fall rather than winter! And so am hoping Tioga pass should be open?
    Probably so -- it closes after the first serious snow -- here is our best guestimate about when that will be.
    It looks like our route is going to be fairly pushed. I didn't realise it was quite so far from Death Valley to Yosemite. I guess this will mean leaving the canyon area very early in the morning.
    It really is too far to go from the Grand Canyon to Yosemite in one day -- it can be done -- but you will need to be on the road (especially if you take time to drive through Death Valley on the way) about 12+ hours.
    We are starting in Las Vegas so if this helps for the north/south rim question. Which one is closer/more on route for us?
    If you are starting in Las Vegas -- why don't you do Death Valley as a day trip? It's 2-3 hours from the strip and makes a great day trip. There is no real difference in terms of time to go the south rim or the north rim -- although I guess the south rim is closer (maybe -- you can check that with a mapping program). Here is a day trip from Las Vegas to the North rim that I did.

    Mark

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    South of England.
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    10,748

    Default North or South?

    Hello,

    I like Marks suggestion of taking a day trip to Death valley from Vegas if you have enough time there to take a day out. I personally think that from the south rim and spending a little time in Death valley you will get no further than Big pine Bishop area, even with 12 hours+.

    There is very little time wise in going to the North or South rim from Vegas, but if you can make D/V a side trip then you maybe able to save a bit of time from the North rim to Yosemite by heading for the E.T. highway and through Warm springs, which is a good place to stretch your legs. [It's a modern ghost town with a few derelict buildings and a hot pool from the spring that runs down the mountain]. and onto Tonopah/Benton and Lee vining.
    There's not much in it time wise, but we found it interesting and you can make good time on the long, straight and little used desert roads.

    Ideally an extra night between the Canyon and San fran if it could be found. You will wish you hadn't rushed this part of your trip, it is fascinating, but I understand that finding time isn't always possible.

  10. Default

    Thanks for the continued advice. To make it clear we are planning on having 2 nights between Grand Canyon and San Francisco, of which one is in Yosemite. So would we be able to drive 6 hours or so on Day 1, stay the night somewhere before death valley, on day 2 go through death valley and to yosemite in about 6 hours of driving and then day 3 drive to SF?

    Alternatively is there another quicker route you might suggest from the Canyon to San Francisco with 2 nights? Perhaps only going to either yosemite or death valley? I'm quite sad about having to compromise on this but with things already booked (I should have posted here first!) it may be tricky to move things around.

    Oh and thanks mark, yosmite bug looks like a good option for somewhere to stay.

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