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  1. Default I NEED ADVICE! January road trip - Carmel to Death Valley

    Hi all

    I'm new to this, so please excuse any idiocy on my part.

    I'm doing a mini road trip in California in January and although I've visited a few times before, I've never been in the winter, so I was hoping for a bit of advice from you seasoned RoadTrippers. I'm also coming with my girlfriend who has never visited the USA, so I was hoping to show her some of your amazing country

    I'm spending a few days in San Francisco before driving to Carmel.

    I then wanted to drive to San Simeon, visit Hearst Castle and drive over to a hotel near Sequoia National Park all in the one day (about 250 miles I think) and I was wondering whether that is too much given the distance and driving conditions at that time of year.

    The plan is to visit General Sherman early the next day and then set off in the direction of Death Valley. I know the roads across Sequoia will probably be closed by snow, so I was hoping someone might be able to provide me with a decent route to DV, even if it entails staying outside of the Valley and driving in the following day (when I'd also have to continue my journey to Vegas)

    Am I being overly ambitious?

    To recap:
    Day 1 Carmel to San Simeon to Sequoia
    Day 2 Sequoia to Death Valley
    Day 3 Death Valley to Las Vegas

    Thanks in advance

    DDM

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

    Default It's all dependent upon the weather

    Quote Originally Posted by dundeeman View Post
    I'm doing a mini road trip in California in January
    The times and distances of your route is reasonable -- but the big variable is the weather. The Big Sur had a couple of major wildfires this year and if the rains come in January (normal) the road may be closed, in a few places, due to mud slides.
    I then wanted to drive to San Simeon, visit Hearst Castle and drive over to a hotel near Sequoia National Park all in the one day
    This is your most challenging day, because of the time that's required to visit Hearst Castle. Driving from Carmel to San Simeon -- is one of the most amazing coastal routes in the world -- you need to allow at least 5 hours for this trip. If the roads are clear and dry you can drive it in about 3 hours but that would be kind of silly. Depending upon which tour you have booked, you could be at the Hearst Castle at least 2-3 hours, and then the drive to Sequoia would require another 5 hours -- so this day -- best case -- will require 12-13 hours on the road. Better idea would be stay near Morro Bay and drive to Sequoia in the morning.
    The plan is to visit General Sherman early the next day and then set off in the direction of Death Valley. I know the roads across Sequoia will probably be closed by snow,
    Almost no one drives the Sherman Pass road between Sequoia and Death Valley -- in the height of summer, it can take 12 hours to traverse that road -- it's beautiful but challenging.

    It's an easy day's drive from Sequoia to Death Valley or even Las Vegas in one day. Basic Route: CA-99 to CA-58 to US-395 to CA-190 to DV.

    Mark

  3. Default

    Thanks Mark - you're a true gent

    I've driven Highway 1 a few times and I know what you mean about the scenery - it's my favourite drive in the world and given that I'm from Scotland, I can think of no higher praise than that.

    If I might pick your brains a little more, if by any chance the road is closed because of land slides, do you have another recommendation for getting from Carmel to Sequoia (I think I'd have to miss out on Hearst Castle). I know there's the freeway that cuts down toward L.A. inland, but I don't have any idea of places of interest to stop off at en route.

    I've done a bit of gold country in the past and a few years ago I cut over from Highway 1 through Fort Hunter, which was a great drive, to Sequoia, then up through Yosemite to Mono Lake and down through Death Valley to Vegas.

    As I said, my girlfriend has never set foot in the States and I'm determined to show her just how amazing California is, so I really appreciate your help and advice

    Best

    DDM

  4. Default What's an alternative route if CA Highway 1 is closed??

    I'm visiting California next month but I've been informed on RTA that there's a real possibility that Pacific Highway 1 could close if the rain causes mud slides.

    I was hoping to see Hearst Castle, driving down from Carmel, but if this is not possible can anyone suggest a scenic route for me to visit Sequoia (I imagine Yosemite will be closed at this time of year).

    I'm then driving via Death Valley to Vegas, which I'm told is pretty straightforward to do in a day, but again if anyone has any pointers, please share your knowledge

    DDM

    Moderator note] Please keep all questions about the same trip in this thread
    Last edited by Southwest Dave; 12-11-2009 at 03:24 PM. Reason: Merged threads

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    South of England.
    Posts
    10,748

    Default Open to change.

    In case of disruption on route 1, the 101 is your other option if you wanted to visit Hearst castle but Yosemite valley will also be open and could be an option. The high ground will be closed and there may well be a snow chain requirement in place, but the valley is a lovely peaceful place to visit this time of year. Things will be pretty much the same in Sequoia.

    No one can really say what's the best thing to do at the moment but I would take your preferred choice and use the other as a back up and see what the weather is doing as you travel.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Joplin MO
    Posts
    9,270

    Default

    If 1 is closed, you can take 101 to 198 to go to Sequoia, or 101 to 152 to 59 to 140 to go to Yosemite, or 101 to 46 to Cambria to get to Hearst Castle.

    Sequoia and Yosemite never close, but some roads close periodically and some are already closed for the season. You may be required to have tire chains in either park. Before you leave Carmel, no matter which way you go, check on current conditions and forecasts.

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