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  1. Default Southwest in 17 days (SF > LV > LA) - Advice

    Hi,
    Next September I will be visiting Sequoia NP and heading to LV.
    I am trying to figure out the best route in between these two places. I hope you can help me.
    The thing is that I will be visiting Sequoia NP for one day and plan to leave around 6 pm to LV and stop on my way to sleep at a cheap and nice motel along the way. I am checking in in Las Vegas late so I have a whole day to do the rest of the trip and possibly stopping for some quick visits.

    1. Which route would you suggest: the quickest route through Bakersfield and Barstow or a more scenic route?

    2. I have been suggested to go through the Kern Canyon. Is this a good option? Where could I stop for the night? Since it will be labour day I would like to book the place in advance.

    3. Is it a good idea to cross Death Valley in a few hours or should I expect to spend a full day?

    4. After my trip to Arizona, Utah, etc. I will be going from LV to LA, so it would be interesting not to do the same road twice.

    Any help? Thanks very much!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    South of England.
    Posts
    10,747

    Default Thumbs up for DV.

    Hello and welcome to the RTA forums !

    I would look for somewhere to stay in the Lake Isabella area and that will give you time to go through Death valley on route to Vegas. A fascinating landscape that is too good to miss !
    Depending on how much stopping/ sight seeing you want to do, it could take anything from 7 hours to a full 10 hours or more, but you will have plenty of opportunity to get out the car and make it a fun day !

    Kern canyon [178] would be a good option to Isabella and no, you wouldn't have to go on the same route from LV to LA .

    Perhaps if you shared your full itinerary we could offer some other advice. For instance as you are heading into "AZ, Utah etc" do you really need to go back to Vegas ? For instance Vegas to Zion/Bryce and down to the Grand canyon, you could opt to go from there to LA.

  3. Default

    Hi and thank you very much for your help.

    This is my full itinerary. It's my first time in Southern USA and I love to see landscapes.

    1. SF (3 days)
    2. SF to Yosemite. Sleep inside Yosemite NP.
    3. Visit Yosemite and sleep in Sequoia National Park
    4. Visit Sequoia NP and sleep somewhere along the route to LV (???? This is the part I am asking about)
    5. En route to LV and sleep there.
    6. Las Vegas. Sleep there.
    7. Early departure to Zion. Sleep in or near Bryce Canyon.
    8. Visit Bryce Canyon and head to Arches NP (I still need to read about this part of the trip).
    9. Visit Arches and Canyonland NPs. Head to Monument Valley. (I would like to sleep in the park to enjoy the sunrise there)
    10. Visit Monument Valley /Lake Powell.
    11. Grand Canyon
    12. LA (1 and half days).

    I have 13 full days since I depart from SF until I arrive to LA. Do you think this is enough time?
    Another possibility would be to skip the detour to Arches/Canyonland and head directly from Bryce Canyon to Monument Valley and then to Grand Canyon. What do you think?

    Any advice will be much appreciated. We are on a tight budget and plan to stay in campgrounds (tent) in NP and motels in other cities.

    Thanks!

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
    13,063

    Default

    I think your outline looks pretty good, the routing certainly makes sense.

    I'd agree with Dave that Lake Isabella would make a good stopping point, and there are lots of camping opportunities there in the Sequoia National Forest (not to be confused with the National Park of the same name). There are both campgrounds, and some dispersed camping options available - although you do need a California Fire Permit if you are planning to start one outside a designated campsite. I'd check out the Forest Website, and you could also stop at the Ranger Office in Bakersfield if you need more information while on the road.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    South of England.
    Posts
    10,747

    Default The 'fine line'.

    Another possibility would be to skip the detour to Arches/Canyonland and head directly from Bryce Canyon to Monument Valley and then to Grand Canyon. What do you think?
    There is a fine line between trying to see to much and end up seeing too little of the places you are visiting. Your trip is doable, but you are right on that line. To get from Bryce to Monument valley in 2 days while trying to 'see' Arches and Canyonlands is a tall order, and I would be personally tempted to skip Arches and Canyonlands, [as wonderful as they are] slow down a little and enjoy some more quality time at Zion and Grand canyon. From Bryce you could still head along Scenic 12 to Torrey and past Capitol Reef to Hanksville on 24 and then down 95 to 261 and the 'Moki Dugway', past Goosenecks state park to Mexican Hat and into MV on 163.

    Although out of 'peak' season, I would still book NP Campgrounds in advance if you can 'nail down' your dates, as they do book out. You can find all the info on each park at nps.gov.
    NP Campgrounds I would recommend are; Yosemite > any of the 3 'Pines' campgrounds in the valley, Zion > Watchman Campground', Grand canyon> Mather campground. If you go, the 'Devils garden campground' in Arches NP. Both, Bryce and Sequoia have a choice of campground but I have not stayed in either, 'Ruby's Inn' is another option by the entrance to Bryce canyon.

  6. Default Amazed

    Wow, I am amazed by this forum. I didn't know it until today and you guys provide really valuable information. I really appreciate it. I have two more questions:

    -What is the most scenic part of the road from Sequoia NP to Vegas, going through Lake Isabella? Since I will be travelling it pretty late in the day I guess, probably dark, I might miss the landscape, so I need to plan this ahead.

    -What about Death Valley? Would you go through it (Furnace Creek) or I'd better go through Barstow?

    Thanks!
    Last edited by oconee; 03-02-2011 at 08:35 AM.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    South of England.
    Posts
    10,747

    Default Death valley ?

    What about Monument Valley? Would you go through it (Furnace Creek) or I'd better go through Barstow?
    Death valley ? From the Isabella area you can continue on 178 and either continue through Rdigecrest and up the Trona Wildrose Road [past Ballarat ghost town] to 190 just East of Panamint Springs or stay on 14/395 to Olancha to 190 across DV. Continue on past Furnace creek on 190 to Death valley junction and go across to State line/Ash meadows Rd to Bell Vista Ave into Pahrump and then 160 to Vegas. Make brief stops at the sand dunes, Furnace creek and Zabriske point on route.

    The route from Sequoia is 'pleasant', but I would just 'go with the flow', the scenery you have just seen, and about to see at this point, will blow you away ! There is a slow going mountain route that takes you through Camp Nelson and Johnsondale in the National forest area Michael referred to, to the Kern river highway and into the quaint little town of Kernville. If you left earlier it would be an option, but it's slow going, twisty and wouldn't be much fun after dark.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Joplin MO
    Posts
    9,270

    Default

    Where to spend the night between Sequoia and LV all depends exactly where in Sequoia you are going to be at 6pm. If you are going to be coming off the Generals Highway through Three Rivers, you may want to stop in Visalia or Porterville.

    Sunset in that area on Labor Day is about 7:20pm.

  9. Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Southwest Dave View Post
    The route from Sequoia is 'pleasant', but I would just 'go with the flow', the scenery you have just seen, and about to see at this point, will blow you away !
    Thanks Dave for your contribution. By 'go with the flow' what do you mean? You suggest avoiding Sequoia National Forest? Which road would you suggest leaving from Three Rivers in Sequoia NP?

    I have a good map with me but being myself an European (from Barcelona, to be specific) I don't know what to expect from little white roads (for example the one linking Camp Nelson and Johnsondale).

  10. Default

    Quote Originally Posted by glc View Post
    If you are going to be coming off the Generals Highway through Three Rivers, you may want to stop in Visalia or Porterville. Sunset in that area on Labor Day is about 7:20pm.
    Thanks for the sunset info! Rally helpful. Yes, Porterville could be an option. I see that there is a Motel 6 there so that could work for us.
    Are the driving times on Google Maps accurate? From Porterville to LV through Death Valley it says 8 h 11 minutes. Is that true?

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