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  1. Default West Coast Road Trip - Yosemite to Vegas

    Hi guys,

    I'm starting to organise a road trip with the wife for 3 weeks in August. I have done San Fran/Wine Country/Yosemite - all the way down to San Diego and across to Vegas.

    This time we are starting in San Diego (flight prices were much cheaper for that time of year) and this time will be travelling up the coast to Yosemite and finishing in Vegas. So I know the bit from San Diego very well to Vegas but this time want to travel from Yosemite down to Vegas - and as it's with the wife, she's beginning to get a little scared after the thousands of posts I've read on here so far of the route being very mountainous and not the eaisest!

    I know there are tons of posts on the matter, but I'm just trying to work out the best way of going from Yosemite to Vegas. We have enough time to do it in 2 days.....but I want to make sure there is lots to see! Looking at Google Maps - there are so many different routes I'm just not sure what is best. We want to get Death Valley in - but is there anything else? Where is a good place to stay en-route?

    When I did it from Palm Springs...we went to Lake Havasu and left really early to go to Grand Canyon and Hoover Dam before getting to Vegas in the evening. Is there a decent route where we could get to Grand Canyon/Hoover Dam on the way from Yosemite - I appreciate it is kind of East from Vegas and we'd be coming from the NW or so (it would be good to get these sights in as I'd like to drop the car off in Vegas as it won't be needed after then). Could we do Death Valley realistically on the first day and stay somewhere nice and then somehow get to Grand Canyon....?

    I realise I've asked some questions which have probably been asked tons of times before, but I'd really appreciate some advice as I want to make the wife feel as if it will be as easy as the rest of the roadtrip!!

    Many thanks!

    Greg

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    South of England.
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    10,748

    Default Popular and not so scary.

    Hello and welcome to the RTA forums !

    You can tell your wife to relax, Yosemite to Vegas via Death valley is a popular route travelled by millions, and although mountainous in parts, I doubt no more challenging than the PCH. We don't do 'best' route as there are many options, but by far the most popular route, and the one that will suit your itinerary of a 1 night stop is to travel over the Tioga pass [CA120] and down the 395 and into Death valley from Lone Pine via 136/190. Very scenic and diverse I am sure you will both love it. You will want to take your time over the Tioga pass to take in the sights and would suggest stopping around the Bishop area and then spending the next day driving through Death valley at a relaxed pace. To get from Yosemite to GC while spending time in DV is not really feasible while having any quality time to enjoy it, it's well worth trying to squeeze an extra night in for the GC, if that's an option.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Joplin MO
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    9,270

    Default

    Welcome!

    I would highly recommend you take Tioga Pass (CA-120) to US-395 to Death Valley! If you are driving a standard-sized vehicle the road is quite safe and very spectacular, but people drive RV's and trailers over it all the time. From Yosemite Village to the DV park entrance is about 6 hours with no stops or sightseeing delays. From the east exit of DV to LV is about 2.5 hours via Pahrump. Where to spend the night would depend on where you want to concentrate your "downtime" sightseeing. Note that it will be blistering hot in DV in August. The largest town between Yosemite and DV is Bishop. There are also a few motels in Lone Pine. Bishop to the DV entrance is about 2.5 hours.

    No, the Grand Canyon is totally unrealistic if you only have 2 days to get from Yosemite to LV. You would need to keep the car for 2 more days and spend a night around the GC.

  4. Default

    Brilliant - that's exactly the kind of advise I needed!! Thank you very much for that.

    OK, so if we can get an extra day in (which may well be possible as I have some spare days in the itinerary), if we do as you say (which looks great to be honest as I just wasn't sure where to stay between Yos and DV, but Bishop looks ok); we go through DV, I am assuming you mean from Bishop, through DV and end up in Beatty. Is there a good route for us to go from there and somehow go to GC and Hoover Dam and then on to Vegas?

    Many thanks for the reply.

    Greg

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    South of England.
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    10,748

    Default Kingman ?

    You can exit Death valley via Pahrump instead of heading up to Beatty and that will take you through Furnace creek and past Zabriske point etc. That will take you around the Southern edge of Vegas and across the Hoover dam. If you made it to Lone Pine on night 1 you could perhaps look at Kingman for the second night and then on to Grand canyon. You could make it from Bishop to Kingman as well, so it's just juggling around with your time. There is no way to avoid going near Vegas without adding valuable time to the trip, but heading South through Shoshone to I 15 and through Laughlin is an option. To see a change of scenery one way along I 40 you could take a section of route 66 through Seligman on the way back to Vegas.
    Last edited by Southwest Dave; 02-16-2011 at 11:18 AM.

  6. Default

    Thanks for all the replies guys - certainly given me some good options to think of.

    It would be a perfect journey (as in easy) if we didn't have to get GC/HD into the frame!! I think it is still easier doing it ourselves rather than a day trip from Vegas on some kind of organised trip but I will look into that!

    Cheers

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    South of England.
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    Default A heads up.

    In all honesty I would much prefer to do it myself than take an organised tour. Beware that most of the organised tours to the GC from Vegas do not go to the National park, but to the West rim on Indian lands that is more remote, and not the 'famous' Grand canyon NP that is seen the world over through photography. Any day tours going to the South rim would leave you short on quality time at the rim IMO.

  8. Default

    Yes, I agree. When we went from Lake Havasu, we went to the Skywalk, which was amazing, but as you say was on Indian land and felt very commercial! Having said that, I think the GC NP you mention, is quite a bit further out - so need to weigh up how much better that is than the West rim against the amount of time it would take to get there.

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

    You should be able to get from Kingman to the South rim in about 3.5 hours and although double the mileage to the West rim, there will most likely be under an hour difference in travel time, due to the conditions of the roads.

  10. Default

    OK been Google Mapping lots of this guys! A few questions/advice

    If we go from Lone Pine and head for Kingman via Pahrump, is this possible in a day, seeing as though we want to stop along Death Valley - it will be a early start (very early) but I think it is doable.

    Then up early the next day to do GC, Hoover Dam and on to Vegas. My question is where would be the best place to visit the GC. You mentioned that the NP is far better than the Indian owned area by the Skywalk...but to get from Kingman to the NP (I am looking at the entrance by the 180 which is about 170 miles) and then to Vegas is about 270 miles is just going to be too long (about 450 miles in a day). If we go to the Skywalk or similar, it is about 80 miles from Kingman, and then 127 miles to Vegas which seems much more realistic in a day of just over 200 miles. We'll be able to take more in and won't be a mad panic rush!!

    Obviously I can add a day to the travelling but I don't think (unless someone tells me otherwise) that the extra mileage/time to the NP will be worth it. Just writing this is helping me think!!! Cheers

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