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  1. Default Best NP Tour SF to Vegas Late April 2011

    Hi there! My bf and I are flying into SF from Toronto, Canada in mid-April and plan on driving down to Vegas after a brief jog north of SF to Sonoma. I am using Google maps to try to determine the best route through the Sequoia National Forest and then Death Valley, but need some advice on the best routes...

    -- Is I-5 or I-99 better to Fresno? From Fresno, it looks like we should head east on 180 to get into the park and see the large sequoias and take 198 south out of the park.

    Now what?

    Is it better to head south all the way to Bakersfield and then across on 58/14/395/178

    OR is the faster route to turn at Delano onto 155/178/395/190?

    We would be looking to crash somewhere after going through the Park before tackling the drive through Death Valley and Vegas, and not sure again if Bakersfield is our best option?

    Any great advice on this route would be most appreciated... we had wanted to do Yosemite and go across, but given the Tioga Pass will be closed, figured that we would skip Yosemite this time and at least see the giant sequoias... good decision or not?

    Thanks so much for the advice!

    Cheers from the Great White North

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


    Welcome to the RTA Forum!

    Just because Tioga Pass is closed doesn't mean you need to skip Yosemite. The Yosemite Valley is still completely open (as it is year round) and in spring you'd see the waterfalls at their peak. From there, you could still certainly do Sequoia before continuing around to Death Valley.

    The fastest route from Sequoia to Death Valley is going to be via CA-58.

    CA-155 is a remote mountain road. There is a ski resort on the way, so it is open year round, but I'm not sure what condition it would be in in April (you could still be required to carry chains). I've only driven it a time or two, and that was in the summer. You could still take CA-178 for a more scenic route, but you'd likely be best off going through Bakersfield and then up. The travel time would be a bit more than CA-58, but I'd say its worth the trade off if you aren't in too much of a hurry.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tucson, AZ

    Default Best?

    Welcome aboard the RoadTrip America Forums!

    'Best' is a term we don't much like around here, simply because what is 'best' for one person may not work at all for someone with different interests or priorities. In your case, I'm guessing that 'best' generally means the shortest, easiest routes. There actually aren't a whole lot of choices. I-5 and CA-99 both run down the Central Valley, one on the east side and one on the west. CA-99 is the one you want as it is a more direct route to Sequoia. You are right that your choices of roads into/out of Sequoia are limited to CA-180/CA-198. To get to Death Valley, you would take CA-198 back to CA-99 south to Bakersfield and then CA-178 across the southern end of the Sierra Nevada to US-295 north, using CA-190 into Death Valley from the west. CA-178 is the scenic choice, CA-14 would be a bit faster. Bakersfield is roughly halfway in your journey, meaning that you'd have roughly equal amounts of time to devote to sight seeing in Sequoia on Day 1 and Death Valley on Day 2. I also has the widest range of lodging choices and thus offers the logical spot to overnight.


  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    South of England.

    Default The difference a day makes.

    If [as it sounds] you have only a 1 night stop, Yosemite would be out of the equation as you wouldn't have time to visit all three parks. You will be pushed for time as it is, if you spend anytime in the parks enjoying what they have to offer that is. If you could work another night into your itinerary for this part of your trip, you would have a far more rewarding time in my opinion.

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