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  1. #1

    Default Sierra Nevada National Parks trip

    I just joined this site and really like it. We have been driving as a family out west for 6 years and have lots of fun. There seems to be lots of knowledge about the Seirra Nevada areas and parks and we need it.
    We are planning a trip from Illinois to Yosemite, Kings Canyon, Sequoia, Death Valley to Las Vegas. I'm planning on going south on 395 from Carson City to Tioga Rd into Yosemite. After a couple of days, travel to Kings Canyon and Sequoia. Would be able to leave Yosemite in the AM, drive to Kings and Sequoia, stay one night in that area and have adequate time to see those two parks in that day and most of the next? We would probably head then to Hwy 178 to get to Death Valley. Maybe stay on the way. I need to plan the mileage but any specific tips on this area or driving through. We really like staying in the NP lodges/inns if possible. We probably have about 5 or 6 days once we get to Western Nevada to Lax Vegas. We don't want to be rushed but some parks are doable in a few hours/half day.
    Thanks

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 1998
    Location
    Las Vegas, Nevada
    Posts
    10,059

    Default What time of year?

    Quote Originally Posted by gharlan View Post
    I just joined this site and really like it.
    Glad to hear you are enjoying this forum!
    We are planning a trip from Illinois to Yosemite, Kings Canyon, Sequoia, Death Valley to Las Vegas. I'm planning on going south on 395 from Carson City to Tioga Rd into Yosemite.
    I just want to confirm that this will be a summer trip -- as the Tioga Pass is closed in the winter months.
    After a couple of days, travel to Kings Canyon and Sequoia. Would be able to leave Yosemite in the AM, drive to Kings and Sequoia, stay one night in that area and have adequate time to see those two parks in that day and most of the next? We would probably head then to Hwy 178 to get to Death Valley. Maybe stay on the way
    The Lake Isabella area would be good place to stop for the night. More later -- I have to leave the office.

    mark

  3. #3

    Default

    This will be in July 2010.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    South of England.
    Posts
    10,748

    Default Slow going.

    I need to plan the mileage but any specific tips on this area or driving through.
    Although you won't have problems with the Tioga pass in July due to snow, the parks are going to be getting busy and when you are planning mileages you will have to consider that it is slow going in and around them. I think that you should be OK to get an overview of the parks with 6 days from Carson to LV and you could drive through Sequoia National Monument to Lake Isabella via Johnsondale and take a walk along the "Trail of 100 giants" grove of Sequoia and follow the Kern river into the lovely little town of Kearnville.
    To get lodgings in or close to the parks you would need to book early in the year to secure them for a visit this time of the year.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Location
    South Central Orange County
    Posts
    249

    Default

    If I had to make a choice between the two, I'd spend more time at Yosemite than at Sequoia/Kings Canyon. There are more impressive views at the former (e.g. Glacier Point), and you can even see the big trees at Wawona.

  6. #6

    Default

    Is it worth driving to the Cedar Grove area of Kings Canyon (into the canyon) especially after just being in Yosemite? Kings Canyon looks like a big park but very little of it accessible by car.
    If not we could go the Grant Village area, get our NP stamp and then head south into Sequoia and the down to the Lake Isabella area after that.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    SF Bay Area
    Posts
    777

    Default Kings Canyon

    The drive to Cedar Grove is scenic, possibly even spectacular, but if you're not going to spend any time at the end hiking in the park, and if you're feeling tight for time, then you can probably skip it.

    You're right, other than CA180 in and back, the park is all about hiking, not driving.

    The drive IS different than Yosemite, (a much narrower canyon for example) but if you want to save time this is a drive you can skip. In fact, due to the narrowness of the canyon the drive loses something if you're not in a convertible with the top down... in some sections all you see are granite walls shooting past on either side.

    That said, for the best experience in the parks, you should spend some time on a trail. There are trails for all levels of experience and ability, pick some and get a closer look at nature than through your windshield.

    Have a great trip!

  8. #8

    Default

    Thanks for the insight. We loved being in Zion Canyon which this sounds somewhat similar to. I agree that being out of the car is better and we do that but just trying to plan the week. And we always try to pack too much in. If we drive in that way we could stay at Cedar Grove and hike some. Any recomendations for hikes there, maybe 2-3 miles out and back?

  9. #9
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    SF Bay Area
    Posts
    777

    Default confession time....

    The few times I've driven out to Cedar Grove, I've just driven out and back.

    Probably one of the reason's I'm harping on getting out of the car is the load of guilt I carry for never hiking that area.

    That said, I would suggest you hit the NPS website for Sequoia/Kings Canyon (jointly administered); which lists some hiking options in ALL areas of the park. This will better help you decide where you want to spend your time.

    You're gonna love these parks.

  10. #10

    Default

    I did check the website last weekend so I have some hiking info. Thanks.

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