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  1. #1

    Default Another San Francisco -> Las Vegas thread!

    Hi all,

    First off - great site, lots of very helpful people here.

    We are planning to go to San Fran in April, stay a few days and then drive to Las Vegas.

    We're only spending 3 days on the road trip, and the plan so far is:

    San Fran to Yosemite (stay overnight)
    Yosemite to Death Valley (stay overnight)
    Death Valley to Vegas.

    We've not booked anything yet, so no restrictions on where exactly to stay on the two nights.

    So, this is the route I've pretty much pulled out of thin air: google maps link

    My only concern really is if many roads will still be closed in April? Could this be a big factor?

    If that's not a problem - how does my route look? Is it worth while driving south down towards Santa Cruz, and then heading to Yosemite?

    Many thanks,

    Last edited by Eoin_IE; 01-21-2009 at 01:38 PM.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin

    Default Try again

    Welcome to the RTA Forum!

    Tioga Pass will still be closed in April, thus you will not be able to cross the Sierra through Yosemite. Going south via Bakersfield is the most practical option at that time of year.

    These threads are some of the hundreds of others on the forum that discuss this general area in more detail.
    Last edited by Southwest Dave; 01-23-2009 at 09:54 AM. Reason: Typo, [Typed Yellowstone instead of Yosemite.]

  3. #3


    Thanks Michael, I've had a look through a good few of the threads. The time of year seems to cut down the options somewhat.

    By going south via Bakersfield, do you mean skip Yosemite altogether?

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin

    Default accessable

    You can still visit Yosemite National Park, but it is only accessable via the west side of the Sierras. After visiting the park, you will have to continue south via CA-99 and then cross the Sierras either via CA-58 or CA-178.

  5. #5


    OK, I think I get you now, sorry if I am slow on the uptake - I am not too familiar with the States.

    Another option is to take the coastal route down from San Fran, which looks great as well, but from what I can tell, that would leave a long drive on day 2 to Death Valley, unless we go inland on the first day and stay somewhere - but I haven't a clue where would be a good place to stop.

    Edit - alternatively Santa Barbara seems to be roughly 6 hours from San Fran, and Death Valley, which would be a good overnight spot - is that a good option?

    As I said, I've had a look at a good few of the other threads, but it would be great if I could get some suggestions here as well.
    Last edited by Eoin_IE; 01-21-2009 at 04:22 PM.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Joplin MO


    To get to Santa Barbara in 6 hours or so, you won't be able to take the coast road. That's a full 2 days drive going that way. Can you add a day or two to get from SF to LV?

    You could take the coast road (CA-1), spend the night in San Simeon or Cambria (take the Hearst Castle tour if you have time), then cut across CA-46. You could then take CA-41 to Yosemite and/or Sequoia, or stay on 46 to the Bakersfield area and on to Death Valley and LV.

  7. #7


    Thanks very much for the reply glc.

    Mapquest says that the coastal route from SF to Cambria is about 4.5 hours and then Cambria to Furnace Creek, Death Valley is 7 hours. Does this sound about right?

    Here is the route on MapQuest
    Last edited by Eoin_IE; 01-22-2009 at 02:06 AM. Reason: Added link

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Joplin MO


    Mapquest does not take any stops into account, and does not allow for traffic, much less any sightseeing. I would say SFO to Cambria is going to really take at least 6 hours with minimal stops. The last time I was out there, I was heading the other direction. I spent the night in San Simeon, and going north the only diversions I made were lunch in Carmel, taking the 17 Mile Drive, and driving through the Monterey waterfront. It took me 8 hours to get to Alameda. The coast road can get VERY slow due to other sightseers.

    7 hours sounds a bit short for Cambria to Furnace Creek. I would plan on about 8 hours from Cambria to the west park entrance via 178. Again, 178 is a slow road.

  9. #9


    Thanks again glc. We'll be leaving San Fran on a Sunday, so no doubt other sightseers will be out in force. Those kind of times are pretty much what I've budgeted for at this stage though.

    If we can still see a good bit of Yosemite and stay overnight there, we may still do that rather than the coastal route. It's a tough call!

  10. #10


    Thanks for the advice folks. We've decided that we can't pass up on Yosemite just because the Tioga road is closed. The coastal route looked nice, but we live on the coast here, and we'd rarely get a chance to see something like Yosemite.

    Shame that the drive from there to Death Valley is going to be long and not very scenic, but no biggie.

    Anyhow, thanks again.

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