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  1. Default San Fran to Vegas Road Trip Help needed please?

    Hi, Matt here from London.

    Me and my girlfriend will be travelling from San Fran (leaving on Sunday 26th July) and arriving in Las Vegas on Saturday 1st August. Like most people we are struggling to agree a route for those 6 days and nights in the middle part of our holiday.

    We want to stay for 2 nights in Yosemite and 1 night in Death Valley but are seeking recomendations for the other 3 nights and the route that we take. Other destinations that we like the look of are Monterey, Mono Lake and Tecopa. As this is our 1st US Road trip I would prefer to drive on the tourist friendly routes but obviously see as much as possible.

    We are aware of the heat and would rather not to drive for more that 3 hours on average each day. Any help on routes, accomodation ($120 budget per night) and places to see would be a great help.



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

    Default starting out

    Welcome to the RTA Forum!

    Well, to start, its pretty hard to travel in the western US and get anywhere driving less than 3 hours a day. Keep in mind, this is a pretty big country and you're looking at 4-5 hours just to get from San Francisco to Yosemite. That doesn't mean you should have to drive too much more than that, but 3 hours is a very low average number to drive.

    Having said that, it should not be hard to find touristy things. There are hundreds of threads about traveling through this part of the country. I really would start just by taking a look at what's already been said to get you started.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Joplin MO


    I suppose that being from the UK, anything over 70F is "heat" to you. However, the only areas of "oppressive" heat are in the desert east of the Sierras - Death Valley and Las Vegas specifically. However, I would not be concerned about driving more than 3 hours - any vehicle that you would rent here will have air conditioning.

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


    Hi Matt,

    We want to stay for 2 nights in Yosemite and 1 night in Death Valley but are seeking recommendations for the other 3 nights and the route that we take. Other destinations that we like the look of are Monterey, Mono Lake and Tecopa.
    If that is what appeals to you then go for it !

    You could head to Monterey from SF and explore part of the coast around Big Sur for a night or 2 and then head to Yosemite. Mono Lake is on route as you leave Yosemite over the very scenic Tioga pass [120] and you could leave the Valley after lunch, enjoy Tioga and stop at Mono lake/ Lee vining as your second night "at" Yosemite. That would leave you 2 nights to drive too and explore Death Valley on route to Vegas.

    It's a fantastic drive from Yosemite to Vegas and you will see amazing landscapes that we don't see the likes of here in the UK.

    Some suggestions;
    San Fran > China town, Union square, Pier 39 and book an Alcatraz tour.

    Yosemite, As well as the Valley floor take the drive up to Glacier point, just awesome.

    Mono Lake; There is a gas station on the junction of 120 and 395, follow the road up the hill past the station for a good view of the lake. In the station there is a diner called "Woah Nellies Dellie" with real good grub !

    Death Valley; For accommodation you could choose Stovepipe Wells near the sand dunes or
    Furnace creek near to Badwater. It's worth stopping at just for a wander around and to grab some lunch and a cold drink.

  5. Default San Fran to Vegas road trip advise??

    Hi, further to a recent thread on this site and your kind advise my girlfriend and I have decided the following route from San Fran to Vegas from 26th July to 1st August:

    Day 1: Depart San Fran and drive to stay overnight in or near Sacramento via Napa Valley.

    Day 2: Drive from Sacramento to stay in Lake Tahoe

    Day 3: Drive from Lake Tahoe to stay Yosemite NP

    Day 4: Stay in Yosemite

    Day 5: Drive from Yosemite and stay in either Kings Canyon or Sequoia NP

    Day 6: Drive to and stay in Death Valley

    Day 7: Depart Death Valley and drive into Vegas.

    I would really appreciate it if someone could advise firstly if there would be a much better route, or suggest what are the most scenic roads to use on the route above?

    Also any suggestions on neighbouring towns/villages that can be recommended to stay in overnight near Sacramento and Lake Tahoe would be great (places with bars and restaurants etc). Also places to stay and routes to take along the whole route is pretty much what is needed.

    On many other threads it has been noted that some roads are shut at certain times of the year?

    Thanks, Matt
    Last edited by Midwest Michael; 04-02-2009 at 03:25 AM. Reason: Merged - Please do not create new threads to ask questions about the same trip

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    South of England.

    Default Need to start booking

    Hi Matt,

    If you want to stay inside the parks then you will need to book in advance and asap to get reservations. By using the NPS website you can locate each park and get a list of available accommodations, but I must emphasise, you need to do it quickly !

    There are lodgings outside each park that may offer better value but they will still get booked up in season.

    From Tahoe you can come down the 395 and enter Yosemite from the East over the Tioga pass [120] or you could take the less travelled Sonara pass to Jamestown and enter the Valley on the Big Oak flat road [120] from the West.

    The Tioga pass is the main route that you will be referring to the closure, but it will be fine when you travel.

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