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  1. Default LA to Vegas via San Fran and Yosemite?

    Hi All

    My husband and I will be taking our first road trip later this month (we arrive 29 Sept :-)).

    We are flying into LA and picking up a car and have 12 days to travel around before getting to Vegas (where we are staying for 3 nights).

    We were thinking of driving up the coast from LA to San Fran, then to Yosemite and then trying to get to the Grand Canyon before ending up in Vegas.

    Does anyone have any suggestions for route, stopovers, how long to stay in each place etc? Any ideas gratefully received

    Many thanks


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

    Default Popular

    Welcome to the RTA forum!

    As you'll find, this is a very popular route idea - in fact, you're at least the third person to create a thread with the same basic idea today! The first thing you should do is spend some time looking around, with these being an excellent place to start.

    The one thing about your specific plans is that if you are going from Yosemite to Death Valley, then Las Vegas is basically on the direct route to the Grand Canyon. While its possible to do all of this in 12 days, you are going to be pushing things a bit and you'll have to keep moving.

    Once you've got a more concrete plan in place, we'll be glad to offer more specific suggestions.

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

    Default A start.

    You might be out of luck for lodgings in the National parks [Yosemite and Grand canyon are very popular] so you could be looking at the surrounding area. To travel up the coast road to SF you will need to allow at least 2 day's of travel, but well worth it for this awesome coastal drive. With one night, the Cambria/San Simeon area would be a good overnight option and then another couple of day's in San Fran to explore places like China town, Union square, [for shops] Coit tower, Pier 39 and a trip to Alcatraz is highly recommended. Yosemite next and another couple of nights to get a taste for the place, perhaps one night on the West side of the Mountains and one to the East. If you get an early start from SF and arrive around lunchtime you should be able to do a little exploring same day. Mariposa, El Portal, Groveland and Oakhurst are all viable places if Yosemite is booked or your budget can't manage it. A rustic place called the "Yosemite bug" is a popular and reasonable choice mentioned here a few times. Next day do some more exploring, the valley floor, Glacier point[a must] and Mariposa grove, and then head over CA120/Tioga pass [lot's more wonderful views] and spend the night around Lee vining/ Bishop. Continue down 395 and into Death valley from Lone Pine, Panamint springs, Stovepipe Wells and Furnace creek all offer lodgings, but vacancies ? I am not so sure. From where ever you end up, head for the Grand canyon, how far you get will depend on your starting point, but stopover and next morning head to the Canyon and have a full day [at least] there and spend a night in the canyon area or close by. [Tusayan, Williams, Flagstaff]. Head back to Las Vegas, perhaps with a short detour through Seligman to Kingman on old route 66.

    Now I make that around 10 day's before hitting Vegas for your last 3 nights, that gives you 2 day's in LA on arrival, or if your LA time is accounted for as well, you can slow down a little and have more time to take in this amazing and diverse area.

    Have fun!

  4. Default

    Thanks both for your replies.
    Appreciate your suggestions of a route plan and stoves Southwest Dave - will have a look at accommodation. We were originally thinking we would find places as we went!

  5. Default How does this sound?

    Hi guys

    Based on your comments, I've tried to work out an itinerary for our trip - do you think this sounds reasonable?

    Day 1: Arrive LA and stay there overnight
    Day 2: Drive up coast and stay in Santa Barbara
    Day 3: Drive up to and stay in Cambria or Big Sur
    Days 4 - 6 San Fran
    Days 7-9: Head to Yosemite - stay 2 nights either in Yosemite or just outside in Mariposa or Groveland
    Day 9: Drive over Tioga Pass and stay in Bishop
    Day 10: Head towards Death Valley/Grand Canyon and see how far we get
    Day 11: Spend Day in Grand Canyon and stay nearby (e.g. Flagstaff)
    Day 12: Go to Vegas for 3 nights

    Would appreciate any thoughts?



  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    South of England.

    Default Look s good.

    Your trip looks very relaxed with a nice amount of time to do a little exploring. As you would of had a couple of day's in Yosemite, you could get an early[ish] start over Tioga and continue on to Lone Pine or even Stovepipe Wells in Death valley, so that next day you get as close to the GC as you can and maximise your time there, possibly Williams.

  7. #7


    Please add to your itinerary....on day 9: Visit Schat's Bakery in Bishop and stock up on goodies. You won't regret it!

    Also, I've never had problems getting a room in the Motel at Furnace Creek (Death Valley) when just showing up in Sept or Oct.; however maybe I've just been lucky.

    And even though for the last few years (I think) Tioga Pass (yosemite) has been closing in November, please remember to check that it IS still open before you travel over it as is HAS closed in Late September before, and it's just worth the caution.

    I wish I were coming with you!

  8. #8
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin


    Just for clarification, Tioga Pass has closed in September before, but the last time it closed that early was in 1948. It would be extremely unusual for the pass not to be open until at least the middle of October.

    Recently the closing date has typically been in mid-November, with it being closed in mid to late October on the early extremes, and in a few cases, its even been open into December.

    Here's the list from the past 20 years or so.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    South of England.

    Default Temporary V's permanent.

    As Michael has pointed out, it would be a very early permanent closure for it to do so before Mid October, but for anyone travelling at this time of year, there is the possibility of temporary closures that happen earlier than the dates shown in the link. These can occur after a snow flurry, or if the temps drop below freezing and the pass ice's up. This is more likely to happen early morning until the sun rises, causing it to thaw, or late PM when the sun is setting, but still more likely not to happen until Mid October onwards.

    You get road signs warning if it is closed on the way into Yosemite and there are alway's Park Rangers about with the latest info.

  10. Default

    Thanks for all your help and suggestions. Can't wait to actually get there now!

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