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  1. Default San Francisco to Vegas in the Fall

    Hello!
    I´m a brazilian planning my first road trip in the USA for last week of september/first week of october. My husband and I are both in ours early 30s. I´ve read a bunch of threads so far, and have a couple questions:

    *how far in advance should I book lodging inside the parks?
    *Is this ittinerary ok? Does it make sense? Any suggestions?

    day 1: arrive in SF after long flight
    days 2 to 5: SF with my parents, who lived there for a while and want to show us around the city and Stanford, where they went to school
    day 6: drive from SF to Sequoia NP
    day 7: Explore Sequoia
    day 8: drive from Sequoia NP to Yosemite NP
    day 9: explore Yosemite
    day 10: drive from Yosemite to Death Valley
    day 11: explore Death Valley
    day 12: drive from DV to Grand Canyon (South Rim)
    day 13: explore the South Rim
    day 14: drive from GC to Vegas
    day 15: Explore Vegas
    day 16: Fly Vegas-Orlando and meet my sister in law, nephew, etc... 6 whole days in Orlando.

    What we thought was basically drive one day/explore one day, since my husband is doing all the driving...

    The part that concerns me the most is SF-Sequoia-Yosemite. I really don´t know if that is the best route to go... would I be able to go through Tioga Pass?

    Thank you in advance!

    Lucia

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Southern California
    Posts
    4,546

    Default

    As far as booking the lodges, as soon as you've got your trip solidified, I would book. While Sept-Oct time frame in NP is "shoulder season", with few families there, it's a good idea to have reservations.

    Your concern regarding Tioga Pass is very real. Tioga Pass just opened about 9 or 10 days ago, and it's known for only staying open for 2 or 3 months before closing again. Your itinerary looks like you might have put Sequoia first and then Yosemite so that you could go over Tioga Pass to the east side of the Sierras and get to Death Valley. That really does make sense. However, whether it will really work, is another thing. Nobody can predict when the Road will close.


    Donna

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    South of England.
    Posts
    10,749

    Default Nice work.

    Hello and welcome to the RTA forums !

    I think you have done a good job with your planning and its at a nice relaxed pace. Although anything is possible, I doubt very much you will have any problem crossing Tioga pass at the end of September and would be confident that you can stick to that route. I too would advise that you try and book NP lodgings as soon as possible. On day 10 you could look for lodgings in the Bishop area and take your time along the Tioga pass to sight see and to take pictures. You could also stop at Mono lake for a while and perhaps drive the June lake loop road.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
    13,064

    Default

    Tioga Pass will almost certainly be open during your time of travel, and if you did see a closure, it would be a temporary one while they clear the road due to an early season storm.

    Historically speaking, Tioga Pass hasn't closed for the season in September since the 1940's, and in the past 60 years, the earliest closing date was October 17 (2004).

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Joplin MO
    Posts
    9,271

    Default

    I experienced a temporary closure last year on October 4 - it was only closed for one day. It happens. If it does happen, you can go north or south to get across the Sierras and to Death Valley. On that day, CA-108 (Sonora Pass) and CA-4 (Ebbetts Pass) were also closed, but I took CA-88 (Carson Pass) to get across. If you don't have Internet access, Caltrans has a toll-free number (1-800.427.7623) you can call to get road status, it's an automated system where you press the highway number on the keypad and listen. I used a pay phone at the Crane Flat gas station to check the status because I didn't have cellular coverage.

    If you do have Internet access, this is the full screen site and this is the mobile site.

  6. Default

    Hello and thank you all very much for the quick response.
    Now one more question:
    Do you think we will make the most of it if we skip Sequoia and spend more time exploring (hiking) Yosemite, or should I really go to both parks?

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    South of England.
    Posts
    10,749

    Default A compromise.

    That's really a question that only you can answer. You have the time and both parks are quite spectacular. If you decide Yes, I would head South as far as Visalia and then enter Sequoia NP via Three rivers to the 'Generals highway' [198] that drives right through the heart of the park and out via 180 to Fresno. If you decide 'no', and want more time Yosemite you can visit Mariposa grove of giant Sequoia tree's near the South entrance to the park. Whatever you decide, make sure you leave time to make your way up to Glacier point in Yosemite, the views are spectacular !

    A compromise would be to go to Sequoia and spend a night in the park and continue driving through next day [day7] and onto Yosemite, or close by like Oakhurst for example.

  8. Default

    Yes, I was thinking of this possibility. This way I would spend only one night in Sequoia, "driving through", and then I could spend one night in the Bishop area, like you suggested before.

    It would go something like:

    day 6: drive from SF to Sequoia NP
    day 7: drive from Sequoia NP to Yosemite NP
    day 8: explore Yosemite
    day 9: explore Yosemite, heading to Bishop. Overnight in Bishop.
    day 10: drive from Bishop to Death Valley
    day 11: explore Death Valley
    day 12: drive from DV to Grand Canyon (South Rim)
    day 13: explore the South Rim
    day 14: drive from GC to Vegas

    What do you think?

    I've read that the South entrance to Yosemite is pretty amazing too...
    If I pass through Sequoia, can I skip the Mariposa Grove in favor of other hike, or is it amazing anyway?
    And what about GC? Will I be able to do any hiking in the canyon, or just car sightseeing?

  9. Default Maps

    Another question I have, is do you recommend a specific road map for this trip? I found a lot of guides on the parks and hikes, but am a little lost when it comes to the roads to get from one place to the next.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    South of England.
    Posts
    10,749

    Default Fine tune it to your taste.

    day 6: drive from SF to Sequoia NP
    day 7: drive from Sequoia NP to Yosemite NP
    day 8: explore Yosemite
    day 9: explore Yosemite, heading to Bishop. Overnight in Bishop.
    day 10: drive from Bishop to Death Valley
    day 11: explore Death Valley
    day 12: drive from DV to Grand Canyon (South Rim)
    day 13: explore the South Rim
    day 14: drive from GC to Vegas
    It will work, but originally I was thinking that you could stop at Bishop and then explore DV next day and stay the night in DV before heading off to GC. That would have given you more time between Yosemite and DV. If you 'gained' that time from Sequoia it will be a case of where do you want to spend it ? If you wanted to hike more in Yosemite you could use day 10 to drive from Yosemite to Lone Pine and explore DV from there on day 11 and to GC day 12, giving you 2 full days in Yosemite. It's just a bit of 'fine tuning' that will best suit you.

    If I pass through Sequoia, can I skip the Mariposa Grove in favor of other hike, or is it amazing anyway?
    It's all pretty amazing and there is so much to choose from ! Yosemite NP site.

    And what about GC? Will I be able to do any hiking in the canyon, or just car sightseeing?
    The rim walks are nice and easy with great views. Definitely get out of the car and soak it all up ! You can walk different sections and hop on and off the free shuttle buses along the way. There are trails down into the canyon where you could go 'so far' as time permits but these trails go right into the canyon and can require an overnight stop. At nps.gov you can find all the info on all the parks like here at the Grand canyon.

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