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  1. Default Grand Canyon to Golden Gate, including Hoover Dam, Redwood N.P., and Yosemite N.P.

    I want to fly into the Grand Canyon area, and rent a nice, comfortable car or suv, but I am a little unsure what exactly I will encounter along the way as this will be my first time west of the Mississippi. My wife and I want to see Grand Canyon, Hoover Dam, Yosemite National Park, Redwood National Park, Golden Gate Bridge, and anything else we might be leaving out, including a little of Rt 66, that is concievable within a 4-5 day trip. We are avid Hikers and been through the Apps (Cumberland Gap, Red River Gorge, etc.) so we naturally would love to experience some of the sites not accessible by paved roads. Would it be easier to depart from San Francisco, or loop back instead of zig-zagging across? We are planning this to be a mid-to-late November trip. Any advice on routes, sites, lodging, or other must-sees would be greatly appreciated.

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

    Default a few options

    Welcome to the RTA Forum!

    What you are proposing, for the most part, is quite obtainable. The only thing that would be tough to include on your list is Redwood National Park, as it is basically a full day drive north of San Francisco, and a long way removed from everything else on your list. There are however, some nice redwoods in the SF area, like in the Muir Woods.

    With 4-5 days, I also see this as having to be a one way trip, because you simply wouldn't have time to loop back and actually see/enjoy anything. Even with the amount of time you have, frankly, you're probably trying to do a bit too much. Just doing Grand Canyon, Yosemite, and factoring the drive times, you've basically already filled up 4 days, and if you've got to factor in flying time on top of that, you're pretty crunched.

    The one other big question mark for your trip will be Tioga Pass, and you may not have the answer until you are leaving. The pass, across the Sierras through Yosemite, typically closes for the winter in mid-october through the end of November. It completely depends upon when the pass sees its first major storm.

    One option for you would look something like this:
    Fly into Vegas and then drive to Williams AZ via Hoover Dam.
    Spend day 2 exploring the Grand Canyon
    Day 3 spend all day driving to Yosemite via Bakersfield
    Day 4 actually exploring Yosemite
    Day 5 drive to SF, and drive home.

    Ideally, Tioga Pass would be open and you could drive through Death Valley and across the pass instead of going via Bakersfield, however, you're already tight for time, so that is one area where you'll have to think about what you want to do. It would be a lot better if you could give yourself a full week for this trip. If you had even more time, you could make it a full loop and head back to Vegas via the coast highway.

  3. Default

    Thanks for the advice. We have actually considered flying out the morning of the 21st and catching a return flight on the 27th or 28th. Would this allow for the time we need? When you say they close Tioga Pass, how much notice is there typically and how much time does it add if we cannot pass? Another option we are exploring is flying to SF and making our way east to fly back from Flagstaff.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin


    The notice they give is as much notice as a weather report. Its completely dependent on nature, so they are at its mercy. But they also don't keep it a secret, there are plenty of places to get an update on the current conditions.

    Tioga Pass in your case wouldn't really be a time saver, as much as a very scenic drive that you'd likely enjoy. It also then puts Death Valley right in the middle of your route, which is also very much worth exploring. From the Grand Canyon, it would actually be a bit faster to go around via Bakersfield, although it would miss DV. On the other hand, going via Bakersfield would make it easier to detour to Sequoia National Park.

    Having 7 or 8 days will help quite a bit, but you can play with the suggestions I made above and see if you can come up with something to your liking.

  5. Default

    Thank you very much for your help, one more thing...What will A decent room run in these areas as additional time here will mean a little extra cost?

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin


    It depends upon the class of hotel and the location. If you stay somewhere like Williams AZ, an hour from the Grand Canyon, you can usually get a decent room for $50 a night. If you want to stay right at the Grand Canyon, or in the village just outside, you'll be paying more than $100 for just about everything.

    That's pretty standard with all the areas you are talking about - if you are willing to stay outside, you should be able to find something for under $100 a night, but if you want to be inside a national park or in the heart of San Francisco, it will probably be over that number.

    Also keep in mind that you'll be traveling over Thanksgiving, which could mean higher prices.

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