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  1. #1

    Default Southern California loop trip in July 2012

    Several years ago, we traveled the Pacific coast from Olympic National Park to San Francisco, and loved every mile! We have decided to complete our tour of the coast this July. We have 14 days, plan to fly into and out of San Diego, and would like to include Joshua Tree, Mojave, Las Vegas, Death Valley, Sequoia/Kings Canyon, and possible Yosemite before making the coast drive back to San Diego. We have 14 days. We are older adults with some minor ailments that prevent us from long hikes, so we plan to use the car to see as much as we can. Are we being too ambitious? Or does it sound reasonable to cover this distance in 2 weeks? Any route suggestions or interesting places along the way are appreciated! Many thanks!

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


    14 days is not a lot of time for this trip, but it certainly is doable if you don't mind being on the move a lot.

    Since there is no direct route across the Sierras into Sequoia National Park, Probably your biggest decision will be how you will cover Death Valley, Sequoia, and Yosemite. You've basically got two choices, one hit them in that order, crossing the Sierras near Lake Isabella and/or Bakersfield and heading up into Sequoia and Yosemite. The downside is that you wouldn't get to go over Tioga Pass which is a very big and interesting part of Yosemite. The alternative is to go from DV, across Tioga into Yosemite, and then head back to Sequoia. The downside here is that it does involve some backtracking.

    I would also suggest that you might look at flying into Vegas, SF, or one of the LA area airports, in addition to San Diego. Since you are doing a loop it really shouldn't matter where you start/finish, and opening up your options could end up saving you quite a bit of cash.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tucson, AZ

    Default The Beauty of our National Parks

    Welcome aboard the RoadTrip America Forums!

    Despite the rugged grandeur displayed by the awe inspiring photographs of our national parks, each and every one of them has activities for every one from the most athletically fit triathelete to the wheelchair bound. My own wife and I are no longer spring chickens but we do very much enjoy spending time (in small chunks) hiking through these treasures. The key is to ask. Make your first stop always at the park's visitors center or a ranger station and check with a ranger as to what's available and appropriate for whatever level of activity you want to engage in. I guarantee they will have something right up your alley. One of the great untapped resources is the ranger led talks and presentations. These often involve nothing more strenuous than sitting in a breath-taking setting and learning about the history, geology. or wildlife of the park.

    And 14 days is plenty of time to make the loop that you have laid out. For some more ideas (you do have some wiggle room) check out these links.


  4. #4


    Thanks, Midwest Michael and AZBuck, for your thoughts. We've done a bit more investigating, and have revised and condensed our route. Can you help with 2 questions? First, what do you think of Sherman Pass Road in Sequoia compared to 178? And if we can include Lake Tahoe via 395, how is SR 88 (Carson Pass) vs. SR 4 (Ebbetts Pass) for the return trip?

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin


    One thing you really need to keep in mind is that there are 3 distinct Sequoia parks. There is the national park, the national monument, and the national forest.

    The biggest and most famous trees are located within the National Park. The National Monument has a few smaller groves of Sequoias, and the National Forest is basically all of the surrounding public land in the west side of the southern sierras, going practically all the way to Bakersfield, however there are no sequoia trees within it.

    The reason I bring this up is because Sherman Pass will take you to the National Forest, and eventually to where you can head up into the National Monument. However, it is very much a remote mountain road that is slow going. If speed is a factor at all, you'll want to take CA-178. If want to head to the National Park, you're basically going to have to go all the way out to the Central Valley. The fastest way would be to go through Bakersfield, although you can use other mountain roads if you've got some extra time.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Joplin MO


    Both Carson and Ebbetts Passes are very scenic. Carson is a main highway that's maintained year-round and is a relatively easy drive. Ebbetts is very remote, lightly traveled, and very narrow.

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