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  1. Default las vegas to san francisco via yosemite

    hi, just found this site while doing some research for my upcoming travelling in the USA. i just want some advice since it will be my first time in USA, i'm from australia. i will be travelling to USA for two weeks at the end of july.

    i'm planning a trip from los angeles to las vegas visiting grand canyon, and this part of the trip seems fine, driving wise. my concern is from las vegas to san francisco, not much information on this route so i'm worried its not easy to drive?

    i'm planning to leave las vegas in the afternoon/evening, don't know where to stop but from some rough information it will be before arriving in yosemite. (where is best to stay overnight?). early morning leave and arrive in yosemite. not spending much time here, but just want to make some simple memories here as it will be a waste not to. then arrive in san franciso in the evening. is this achievable?

    also i do not want to go through death valley, is that avoidable on this route?

    so in short my rough plan is like this.

    mon- los angeles to las vegas in the early morning
    tues- one day trip from las vegas to grand canyon (north rim)
    wed- leave las vegas in afternoon/evening heading to yosemite
    thurs- arrive in yosemite in the early morning. spend some time then in afternoon drive to san francisco arriving in the evening.

    would this be too exhausting for the amount of days?
    Last edited by Mark Sedenquist; 07-12-2010 at 09:39 AM. Reason: typo in Las Vegas name

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

    Default burnout

    Welcome to the RTA Forum!

    First of all, the trip you are looking at is far and away the most popular and most discussed route on this forum, so its not hard at all to find tons of information, especially about Las Vegas to San Francisco via Yosemite. Here's just a few of the thousands of threads that could help.

    As far as your specific plans, I think you are trying to do far too much in your timeframe, and you're going to have a hard time enjoying much of anything with your current plans.

    The big problem spots start with the Grand Canyon. Its a solid 5 hour drive one way from Las Vegas to the Grand Canyon, which means its just too far to do in one day and have time to see anything. Spending a night along the way is basically a must - and I will note that if you are going to the North Rim, it would make a whole lot of sense to add Zion NP into your trip.

    Your Yosemite plans also just really don't respect the distances and amount of travel time you need either. You don't have to go through Death Valley (although its right on the way, and even if you only drive through, its something that is highly recommended.) but trying to leave on a Wednesday afternoon/evening and get to SF on Thursday evening will leave you very very little time to see Yosemite. Remember, just driving direct on Freeways, LV to SF is 9-10 hours of travel.

    To do a plan like you've proposed, you really would need to get to Lee Vining wednesday night - and that's a solid 6 hours of driving from Vegas. Even that sets you up for a long day on the road Thursday, as going over Tioga Pass is a slow going mountain pass with lots of scenic views that will take a few hours to complete. And once you make it across into the Yosemite Valley, you're still a good 4-5 hours from San Francisco, so your time to explore the valley, much less see some of the other scenic stops like Glacier Point or the Mariposa Grove of Sequoia trees, will be fairly limited.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Joplin MO


    A day trip from Las Vegas to either GC rim is not doable. The closest thing you are going to be able to do is go direct from LA to the South Rim, spend the night, spend a few hours the next morning in the park and drive to LV. Also note that it's going to be a hassle trying to get out of LA on a Monday morning.

    4 days just isn't enough to go from LA-GC-SF through Yosemite. Can you add 2 days?

  4. Default

    thanks for the information, i was worried i was planning too much in two little time so i'm replanning and adding a couple of days in to make it easier. thanks

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

    Default Much more enjoyable.

    The extra 2 day's will make a huge difference and enable you to enjoy the experience.

    As previously mentioned, I would head for the South rim of the Grand canyon direct from LA. With an early start you could get there same day or you could stop short for the night. On day 2 enjoy the canyon, witness a sunset and stay in the National park or nearby, Flagstaff possibly. Day 3 Head to Vegas for the night. Day 4 drive across Death valley via Pahrump on 160 and Ash Meadows/ State line Rd to Death valley junction and 190. I wouldn't leave to late and would aim for the town of Bishop on 395. Day 5 continue into Yosemite on Tioga pass [CA120] which is quite spectacular and do a little exploring. Day 6 A little time in Yosemite and off to SF.

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