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  1. #1

    Default California - LA - San Francisco - Nat. Parks - Vegas

    Hi RoadTrip America Folk,

    Great forum you have here been browsing many a thread.

    Planning a road trip in June with the family starting in LA heading to San Francisco then on to Yosemite National Park, Sequoia National Park, Death Valley and then on to Vegas.

    We've hotels booked in LA, SF and Vegas but none for the national parks part of the trip or the one night we plan to stop near Hearst Castle. So that's why I'm posting to ask for recommendations, first up is highway 1 looking for a motel near Hearst Castle what towns would be good should I book in advance or would it be OK to just roll up?

    After San Francisco we'll be heading to Yosemite entering at Big Oak Flat highway 120 what would be the best place to stay other than in the park and if we head out via the Tioga Pass and then down highway 395 can we enter Sequoia from that? Doesn't look like it from my map.

    We leave San Francisco on Monday and need to be in Vegas Thursday as that's when our hotel is booked for - Encore at the Wynn :)

    Plus, looking for a place to stay after Sequoia to set us up for the drive through Death Valley.

    Any tips/advice greatly received - thanks in advance

    Karma Police

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Joplin MO


    The closest lodging to Hearst Castle is in San Simeon, it has a few hotels, rates vary from $70 to almost $200 a night. There are 5 listed on, plus an unlisted Motel 6. I'd probably prebook to be safe. The cheapest are the Motel 6 and a Days Inn.

    The only way you are going to be able to go to both Sequoia and go over the Tioga Pass in your alloted time is go to Sequoia first.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    South of England.

    Default I agree.

    Hello and welcome to the RTA forums !

    I agree, with the mountains in the way you will be better off heading to Sequoia first and then Yosemite. Squaw valley is the gateway to the Sequoia and offers some lodging options [you will find a link to NP options within the link] or you will find lots of options in Fresno. On the way to Yosemite Oakhurst will offer good value lodgings but there are plenty closer to the park or within. If you still decided to head to Yosemite first on 120 then Groveland has some nice lodgings [like this one]but if you don't mind some rustic accommodation take a look at the Yosemite bug as an option. Heading out over Tioga pass puts Bishop in a good location to stop over before heading into Death valley where you could spend the night or continue to Vegas, Furnace creek would be a good spot to stay.

    Personally I would book, or at least check out the current situation for lodgings close to the NP's but you should find somewhere if you decide to "wing it".

  4. #4


    Hi again and thanks for the replies.

    Sounds like it makes sense to book in San Simeon as we know we'll be passing there on way to SF.

    Never thought of going to Sequoia first as Yosemite is closer to SF but as we want to travel over Tioga pass then I'll take your advice.

    So does this sound doable:
    Monday drive to Sequoia - Tuesday drive to Yosemite - Wednesday drive Tioga pass overnight at Bishop - Thursday drive through Death Valley to Vegas.

    We stay four nights in Vegas and plan on driving out to the Grand Canyon can we fit Hover Dam in on the same day or should we save that for a separate day?

    I'm using google maps for driving time are they good?
    Got myself a copy of this road atlas
    Looking forward to your replies

    Can't wait for June!

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    South of England.

    Default Thoughts.


    Google maps by the most part are over optimistic and you should add on 20% for drive times, but then when you are driving the PCH and Tioga pass you could take ages doing so to take in all the viewpoints and stops.

    If you are staying at the Grand canyon, then yes you could stop at Hoover dam on route and even consider taking part of the original route 66 through Seligman, if you mean Grand canyon and back in the same day you won't have enough time at GC never mind Hoover dam. With 10 or 11 hours driving from Vegas to GC and back is not something we recommend as a day trip.

    With the time you have available the way you have laid out your time is about right, but it will be a little rushed especially in Yosemite. There is a grove of giant Sequoias near to the Southern entrance of Yosemite [Mariposa] that could be an option instead of Sequoia NP and give you a little more time by cutting back the miles.

  6. #6


    Thanks Dave.

    No, we're not staying at the Grand Canyon and as you say a 10 hour round trip is a bit much, we'll look at flying there and doing Hover Dam another day.

    Good suggestion on Mariposa Grove (features in this video from park service) over Sequoia NP that will give us more time in Yosemite and we won't be rushing from here to there, thanks for that makes sense now. We only decided on Sequoia as it was on the map.

    So now we can head out Monday to Yosemite (just need to decided where to stay) spend all Tuesday there and head out Wednesday to Bishop via Tioga pass with Thursday driving through Death Valley to Vegas.

    Yeah! Much happier with that schedule.

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

    Default Tioga warning.

    No problem.

    Depending on the time you arrive in Yosemite it would be possible to head towards Mariposa and have a look around before settling in for the night. Glacier point is a must, the views will take your breath away [as well as the elevation] and you could easily spend a day at the valley floor exploring. It would be possible to go up to Glacier point and then head across Tioga pass after lunch, it 's just how the timing works out.

    One word of warning depending on when in June you are travelling, in early June there is a chance that the Tioga pass may not yet be open but there is a chance it will open in May.

    To Glacier point

    You can find previous opening and closing dates for Tioga pass here in our predictive challenge.
    Last edited by Southwest Dave; 04-17-2010 at 11:38 AM. Reason: Added link.

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