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  1. Default Las Vegas - Yosemite - Napa - San Francisco


    I would really appreciate any suggestions as we have never been in California and we are trying to organize this trip as efficiently as possible.
    We are planning going to Las Vegas - Yosemite - Napa - San Francisco first week of August for 9 nights.
    The itinerary is following:

    Day 1 Flying to Vegas
    Day 2 Vegas
    Day 3 Morning: rent a car and drive towards Yosemite
    Day 4 Yosemite
    Day 5 Either half day Yosemite and then to Napa or drive in the morning to Napa
    Day 6 Napa/Sonoma
    Day 7 Half day Napa, then drive to San Francisco
    Day 8 & 9 San Francisco
    Day 9 Fly back home from San Francisco

    The itinerary is by no way final, the only thing we know for sure is that we spend 2 nights in Vegas for family reunion and fly back from San Francisco on day 9. Everything else is customizable.

    I think we are OK with Napa and San Francisco.
    But the Yosemite part is far from OK.
    We are looking at the best possible route from Vegas to Yosemite. We have approximately 2.5 days for it, so please advise what to see, where to stop (and for how long), where is a good lodging not too far from the main road.

    Is it better to spend 2 nights in one place and then drive around, or divide it between different places so we can cover more?

    P.S. What car would you advise to rent in Vegas? Should we get SUV? What are the roads conditions to Yosemite and in park and all around the park ?

    Thank you in advance

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Joplin MO


    I would go to Yosemite via Death Valley then up 395. Spend a night in Bishop or Mammoth Lakes. Enter Yosemite via 120 (Tioga Pass). Spend the next night in the park or outside the western entrances. Then continue your trip.

    Standard car is all you need. There is nothing you will encounter where all-wheel drive would be beneficial. The only thing that would be mandatory is a good air conditioner - it will be VERY HOT in Death Valley. If you get out to walk around, wear wide brimmed hats, sunscreen, and bring bottles of water.

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

    Default Either side.

    Hello and welcome to the RTA forums !

    Between Vegas and Yosemite is Death valley, and driving through it via Pahrump to 190 to 395 and heading North towards Bishop and Lee Vining, then into Yosemite on CA 120, [Tioga pass] is by far the most popular route and the bonus is, it's direct and spectacular ! DV will be extremely hot and you won't be able to stray far from the car, but you will still enjoy this weird and wonderful landscape. Just carry water in the car and make sure you have sun cream and hat protection, even for a short stop.

    You will probably be best off splitting your nights on either side of the Sierra's, one in Bishop/Lee Vining area, then take the Tioga pass into the Valley and spend the night on the Western side, Mariposa, El Portal or cheaper lodging at Oakhurst. That will take most of your day up so next morning I would try and get up to Glacier point, a spectacular view point that you really don't want to miss.

    A standard rental will be fine, the roads are paved and in good condition, and any that aren't, then your rental agreement policy would not let you take an SUV off road anyhow.

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