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  1. Default Our First Road Trip in US : Vegas-LA-SF

    Hi everybody, I hope you will be able to give me some tips or advice for the trip that I try to plan with my girlfriend in 3 weeks.

    We are both French, studying engineering in Canada and so attracted by the West Coast of the US. With the amount of work we weren't able to spend as much time as we though on internet looking for informations so I hope to find some help here.

    We planned to do a road trip from Las Vegas to San Francisco where our flights land and take off. We already took our flight tickets and we have 9 days available ! Not so much !

    We don't know at all the West Coast, and we totally want to see the most beautiful places of the west coast (cities and natural parks). We already saw lot of the amazing canadians places but now, we want to see others places.


    First we were thinking about planning the following route :

    -J0: Arriving at night in Vegas
    -J1: Leaving for south of Grand Canyon (sleep somewhere close to Grand Canyon Village to see the sunrise at the Canyon)
    -J2: Coming back to Vegas going at the East and North of the Canyon (but I learned that the North of the Canyon will be closed at this time... I should maybe reconsider that...)
    -J3:Spend a day in Vegas
    -J4: Leaving Vegas for Los Angeles
    -J5: LA
    -J6: LA
    -J7: Leaving LA for San Francisco
    -J8: San Francisco
    -J9: San Francisco
    -J10: Take off in the morning



    After reading some topics, I saw that dropping LA or some days in LA could maybe be a good idea to save time to others incredible places such as Yosemite or Sequoia Park ?
    I really don't know where to spend my time to enjoy my trip with my girlfriend and coming back with lovely pictures.

    We already booked a car for 1 week and the nights in Vegas.

    We are open to all your advices and thank you so much for your help!

    Take care

    Leo

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

    Default adjustments

    Welcome to the RTA Forum!

    There are a couple changes that will save you some of your valuable time.

    First, even if the north rim was open, you just wouldn't have time to see it. While the two sides are only a couple miles apart, It's about a 5 hour drive between the two.

    But more importantly, you actually should rework your plan so you don't double back to Vegas. Instead, spend your first days there, then head to the Canyon, and then straight to LA from there. GC to LA is a full day on the road, but it saves you a few hours.

    Going back to SF, you've got a few options. You could head up the coast, you could go to Sequoia or Yosemite. But any of those things will take time. LA to SF can be done in a day, but you'd need at least 2 to do any one of those things.

    This is the most discussed trip on the forum, so take a little look around. These are a good place to start.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    South of England.
    Posts
    10,748

    Default Alternative. [?]

    We are both French, studying engineering in Canada and so attracted by the West Coast of the US.
    It's a wonderful area !

    We don't know at all the West Coast, and we totally want to see the most beautiful places of the west coast (cities and natural parks).
    Other than the Grand canyon your trip is spent in the Cities.

    I saw that dropping LA or some days in LA could maybe be a good idea to save time to others incredible places such as Yosemite or Sequoia Park ?
    That's exactly what I would do !

    Of course you have to decide what works for you and the links Michael provided will help, but a couple of things you should know. The mountain passes across the Sierra Nevada will still be closed when you travel due to winter snow accumulation. I mention this as a popular route from Vegas to SF via Yosemite crosses the mountains on Tioga pass [CA120]. The other thing is that Highway 1 [the spectacular coastal section around Big Sur] between LA and SF is closed due to a road way collapse and mudslides and could still remain closed when you travel. You can get around either problem by going South around the mountains to Yosemite or take the quicker [and less spectacular 101 or I 5 between LA and SF.

    I would consider night 0 and day 1 in Vegas, day 2 to Grand canyon South rim, 3 at Grand canyon leaving in the afternoon towards Sequoia NP [possible stops in Kingman, Laughlin or Barstow]. Day 4 to Sequoia, Day 5 Sequoia and to Yosemite, Day 6 and 7 in Yosemite and 8 and 9 in San Fran before flight back. [driving to SF on the afternoon of day 7 or early morning day 8, about 5 hours]

    If you 'juggled' your itinerary there are also wonderful places like Zion NP and Death valley NP to consider but it would become rushed trying to squueze it all in to the time you have.

  4. Default Adjustements

    Thank you so much for yours tips and your quick advices Michael and Dave ! I really appreciate your help ! Thank to the link a can get plenty of information and I'll try to find time between my exams to look a it further !

    Concerning my trip there are some modifications that I'll operate.

    Unfortunately, as I already get my Hotels tickets in Vegas I'll not be able to change the beginning of my trip, so that will be a :

    -J0: Arriving at night in Vegas
    -J1: Leaving for south of Grand Canyon (sleep at MatherGround Camp to see the sunrise at the Canyon)
    -J2: Trails at the Canyon and coming back to Vegas

    Nevertheless, I agree with you Michael and I will drop the North side of the Canyon (too much time consuming) and come back on the same way.

    Then,

    -J3:Spend a day in Vegas
    -J4: Leaving Vegas for Los Angeles

    Thank to you advices Dave, I'll not stay longer in LA, I just want to see Hollywood and a beach and leave so :

    -J5: Leaving LA at noon and going in the direction of San Francisco

    Then : J6, J7, J8, J9 are left.

    I really want to see San Francisco for at least 1 day, so I have 2 or 3 days to go in Yosemite and/or Sequoia.

    -J10: Take off in the morning

    So if it's not abusing, my questions are :
    What route should I follow to reach 1 or 2 camps in Yosemite/Sequoia and see the most attractive place down there with the time that I have ?

    Here are two routes that I'm hesitating, but I really don't know the place of real interest, the good camps, good points of views, good roads...
    Route 1


    Route 2



    Thank you so much guys for your help.

    Your website is really useful for traveler.
    Thx again.

    Leo

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
    13,063

    Default

    Your second option would not take you to Sequoia. You'd be going up the east side of the Sierra, and Sequoia can only be reached from the west.

    You also put this trip in the fall/winter section, and your 2nd option has you going over Tioga Pass, which is a great scenic drive, but it does close for the winter in late October or November.

    As far as Vegas - hotel reservations can be changed. You're not alone in building a trip around hotel reservations, but I just have never understood the idea of trip around something so meaningless.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    South of England.
    Posts
    10,748

    Default

    Route 2 is not really an option. As mentioned, you will miss Sequoia altogether and as you travel in 3 weeks time I am quite sure the mountain pass into Yosemite will be closed as mentioned previously [Tioga pass]. Map 1 takes you right through the heart of Sequoia on the 'Generals highway' and you will find campgrounds in the park, Lodgepole is close to the 'Giants forest' which is a highlight of any trip to Sequoia as it is home to the 'General Sherman' tree, the largest living thing on the planet !

    For Yosemite I would recommend one of the 'Pines' campgrounds in Yosemite valley that you will find here.
    I would check availability in both parks as they are extremely popular and you might have to look outside of the parks.

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