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  1. Default San Fran to Vegas - Yosemite or US 395?

    Hi everyone

    I realise that this is a very popular topic and this site has been incredibly helpful when planning our trip.

    I am coming from Ireland and plan on driving from San Francisco to Las Vegas on 11th April with two friends. We have given ourselves 2 nights to get there and have decided on 1 of 2 possible routes but we're trying to weigh up the pros and cons.

    Obviously the Tioga pass will still be closed so as I see it, our options are as follows:-
    OPTION 1
    Apr 11th - San Fran to Yosemite - spend the afternoon in the park and stay south of the park, towards Fresno
    Apr 12th - continue to Bakersfield, stay the night at Lone Pine
    Apr 13th - take the 190 through DV and into Vegas

    OPTION 2
    Apr 11th - San Fran to South Lake Tahoe
    Apr 12th - South Lake Tahoe south on 395 to Lone Pine
    Apr 13th - take the 190 through DV and into Vegas

    Our dilemma is basically in deciding whether it is worth spending a few hours in yosemite and having a fairly boring drive on day 2, OR sacrificing yosemite and instead enjoying a more scenic drive on day 2.

    Any advice would be very much appreciated, especially given that things could be further complicated by snow!

    Thanks in advance!

    PS. as an aside, I will be leaving my friends on Thurs 16th Apr and driving from Las vegas to Palm Springs for the Coachella festival. Is it feasible to make this journey in a day, taking in Joshua Tree NP?

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

    Default option one

    Welcome to the RTA Forum!

    To me going to Yosemite would be my choice hands down. Nothing again Lake Tahoe, but I just don't think it can really compare to Yosemite.

    If you go that route, I'd stay close to the park in Oakhurst/Mariposa so you have some time to actually enjoy the place after your drive down from San Francisco. Its already an hour drive from the Valley to those towns, and you'd be looking at nearly another hour to continue all the way to Fresno. I'd also just head straight for Death Valley and stay there instead of cutting your day short, and traveling a bit out of your way by going to lone pine. If you want a more scenic trip this day, travel up through the Lake Isabella area.

  3. Default

    Thanks MM for your quick response.

    I reckon we'll take your advice and stay in Oakhurst and in DV NP. I just wish we had more than a few hours to spend in Yosemite!

    As for getting from DV to Vegas, is our best route the 160 through Pahrump or the 95?

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    South of England.

    Default An early start.


    Another vote for Yosemite, The waterfalls will be flowing and it's spectacular !
    Get an early start from S/F, It'll be worth it.

    To cross D/V take the 190 to D/V junction and State line/Ash meadows road to Pahrump and 160 to Vegas. This will take you past the sand dunes and Furnace creek where a short detour takes you to Badwater, the lowest point in the US. As Michael suggested you could find lodgings in the Lake Isabella area or you could stay at Stovepipe wells just inside the park.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Joplin MO


    LV to Palm Springs via Joshua Tree is a reasonably easy one day drive.

  6. Default

    I was just also wondering, on the second day, driving from Oakhurst to say Stovepipe Wells, is it faesible to go via Sequoia NP? Is it worth the detour? And if so how much time would it add to our journey?

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

    Default Tight for time.

    I would say it's doable if you were to stop near the Lake Isabella area and drive through D/V the following day from there to Vegas, which is also doable.
    The detour you would be looking at would be onto the 198 [The Generals Highway] which is very scenic but mountainous and slow going. You can stop at the Giants forest village where you will witness the biggest living things on earth, the Sequoia tree.

    It took us all day to get from Oakhurst to Three rivers [near Visalia], but that was in a 30' RV and we took a few hikes, but to enjoy it I would allow at least 4 hours to your journey.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin

    Default a bit much

    Yeah, I think you'd probably be biting off a bit too much trying to fit in Sequoia and driving all the way to Death Valley in a single day.

    Before a detour, you're already looking at 7-8 hours to make the trip from Oakhurst to Stovepipe Wells, and I'd say that Dave's estimate of an additional 4 hours would be about right, if you just drive through Sequoia National Park. However, you'd probably want to spend at least a couple hours out of the car looking around a little bit. That would make for a very very long day to then try and make it all the way to Death Valley.

    If you wanted to visit sequoia, then I'd look at spending another night along the way, like Lake Isabella as was suggested, and then finish your trip to DV the next morning.

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