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  1. #1

    Default Road Trip - LA/San Francisco/Vegas

    Hey buddies!!

    Nice too meet everybody! Im planning a road trip along California with some friends and i would be glad if someone could help me to suggest some changes in my plans...

    First, im planning a 14 days trip, starting in LA (3 days), traveling along Santa Monica, Santa Barbara, Big Sur and Santa Cruz (2 days), San Francisco (2 days), traveling along Fresno to visit Sequoia National Park and Death Valley National Park (3 days), Las Vegas (3 days) and the last day a trip back to Los Angeles Airport...

    So, i would like to know if the days i've chosen to stay in each city are reasonable and some locations i could include to visit (like yosemit park, outlets, ... ) without changing the total period of traveling (14 days)

    Thanks for the helping!!!!!!!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
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    13,063

    Default

    Welcome to the RTA forum!

    You've got a good plan, but I see 2 issues, that are kind of related.

    First Sequoia and Death Valley are fairly close as the crow flies, but the two are separated by a mountain range, and there is no road over those mountains at this point. Basically, it means a full day drive to get between the two.

    The other aspect is that you have left out Yosemite. Personally, I'd easily drop a day each out of LA and Vegas to spend some time there. The other thing is that this is a point where you can cross the Sierras, via the very scenic Tioga Pass (assuming this Summer trip is going to be in mid-June or later). If you don't want to give up any time in the cities, I think I'd skip Sequoia and use your 3 days to visit Yosemite, drive across Tioga, and then visit Death Valley.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Joplin MO
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    Default

    I would also do it counter-clockwise so your trip along the coast road will be north to south. This way, the scenic overlooks will be on your side of the road.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    South of England.
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    10,748

    Default BIG trees.

    I too would sacrifice time in the City for Yosemite, this place is amazing ! If you do not wish to do so then I would do as Michael suggested and leave Sequoia from your itinerary for Yosemite and drive across the very scenic Tioga pass [CA120] to Death valley. The good news is you can visit the Mariposa grove of giant Sequoia trees close to the South entrance of the park. Although not quite as big as in the 'Giants forest' in Sequoia NP it's hard to tell the difference.

    I would also recommend booking an Alcatraz tour in advance for your visit to San Francisco and the only direct official tickets can be bought here. China town, Union square, [shopping] Pier 39, and Coit tower as well as riding the cable cars are a few more of the main tourist attractions in SF.

    If you wish to stay in Yosemite and/or Sequoia NP during the summer Months you will have to book real early to secure lodgings. Death valley also has a limited amount of lodging options, they can be found at Panamint springs, Stovepipe Wells and Furnace creek.

  5. #5

    Default

    Great!!! Nice tips buddies, im really considering them in my plans!!

    So suppose I decide to visit Yosemite instead of Sequoia NP... Does anyone have indications of good lodgings near from Mariposa Groove and the most beautiful parts of Yosemite Park??? How much time in advance do you think is secure to book the lodgings (for Death Valley and Yosemite Park)?

    Im planning to visit these places in SF.... hope i will have enough time to do what i want hehehehe... traveling counter-clockwise is an idea that i really enjoyed too, because i can enjoy something in LA before going to the airport....

    In addition, I would be so glad if anyone could tell me great places to visit in Santa Barbara, Big Sur and Santa Cruz, places i could take beautiful photos and enjoy a wonderful sunset...

    Many thanks!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    South of England.
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    Default Everywhere you look !

    Yosemite is beautiful where ever you look, and I mean beautiful !!

    As well as Mariposa grove you can drive up to Glacier point which has one of the most amazing views you can imagine. You could spend a whole day wandering around the valley floor and be amazed at every turn and still only 'scratch the surface'. Tioga pass has plenty of beauty along it and many stops such as 'Tenaya lake and the Meadows.

    You can stay inside the park or find cheaper lodgings around it at many towns such as Grovland, Mariposa, El Portal or Oakhurst and to the East of the pass, Lee vining. It often makes sense to stay a night either side but there will depend on your overall plan and which way around you are heading.

    You can find Lot's of info here on the Yosemte NPS site. Once you get your trip 'nailed down' I would book lodgings asap, especially if you are travelling in the height of the summer season.

    You should note that Death valley gets unbelievably hot in the summer months and although it is fine to drive through and take short walks from the car you should be well prepared and carry water, sunhats and cream and keep it in mind when planning your stay.

    You will also find great scenery as you head down the coast and you have State parks such as Julia Pfeiffer burns and you could consider a Hearst castle tour near San Simeon.

    A photo from Glacier point



    Waterfall at Julia Pfeiffer burns state park



  7. #7

    Default

    Many thanks Dave!!! With these tips i have just finished my trip... these are the places and the routes I plan to visit in the summertime...

    Day Places

    1º LA airport - rest
    2º travel to Vegas, going to the theatres and casinos
    3º shopping, going to the circus and Vegas night
    4º lunch at a good Vegas restaurant and travel to Death Valley
    5º Death Valley
    6º Travel to Mariposa groove and after a stop in a hotel near Tioga Pass
    7º Tioga Pass an Glacier Point (Yosemite)
    8º Travel to San Francisco - Union Square, Coit tower and Pier 39
    9º Alcatraz and cable cars, SF at night
    10º Chinatown and travel to Santa Cruz
    11º Travel to Big Sur and San Simeon (Hearst Castle)
    12º Travel to Santa Barbara, Malibu and Santa Monica
    13º Travel to LA - Huntington Beach, Laguna beach, LA at night
    14º Shopping and going to the LA airport

    What do you think????

    I would like to receive some advices about traveling in California roads at night....is it safe? Are there roads a little bit dangerous to drive after the sunset?

    Thanks for the helping!!! A wonderful year for everybody!!!

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Joplin MO
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    Default

    That is a very well planned trip!

    The roads are not particularly dangerous after dark, but why drive after dark unless you have to? You can't see any scenery! If this is a summer trip, you will have at least 14 hours of daylight every day, with daylight savings time it stays light well into the evening.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
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    Default

    The only thing you need to adjust a bit is Yosemite. Tioga Pass is the road that will take you from Death Valley across the Sierra Nevada mountains and then into the Yosemite Valley. Mariposa Grove and Glacier Point are both located south of the Valley, so those would also be after Tioga.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
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    South of England.
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    Default

    I wouldn't want to be doing too much driving after dark, you would miss to much amazing scenery and the chance to relax at the end of a long day. Sunset will come later in the summer Months as well.

    As you are having lunch in Vegas then travelling to Death valley, Furnace creek would make a good place to stop in Death valley as it is only about 2.5 hours away and would give you time to explore nearby. Just down the road is Badwater, the lowest point below sea level in the USA. To get to Furnace creek take 160 to Pahrump and then Ash meadows/ State line Rd to Death valley junction. Stop at Zabriske point on the way !

    As Michael mentioned you would have travelled Tioga pass to Mariposa. I think you may be referring to staying near Tioga pass on night 5 after a day in Death valley and then travelling to Mariposa on day 6, could you confirm ? If that is the case on day 7 you could visit Glacier point and the Valley floor but there would be no need to go back over Tioga pass.

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