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  1. Default Las Vegas to San Francisco

    Hey everyone,

    We are planning a trip from Las Vegas to San Francisco at the end of September and are looking for advice on routes and accommodation. The places we really want to see are:

    The Grand Canyon
    Death Valley NP
    Sequoia and Kings Canyon NP
    Yosemite NP
    Lake Tahoe

    Is this possible in six days? Is there anywhere we should particularly try to see? Any help you could give us would be much appreciated!!!


  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    South of England.

    Default A bit busy.

    Hello and welcome to the RTA forums !

    If the six days is for the 'between LV and SF' part of your trip, it's not to bad, but I woulkd still cut back. If you are looking to include time in the two City's as well in those 6 days, it's asking too much.

    Even with 6 days for your trip it could end up a little rushed trying to include all that you have listed. The Grand canyon is a half day drive in the opposite direction, but would be top of many 'to do' lists. That would be a couple of day's gone getting back into Death Valley with a little time spent at the GC. You could then easily spend 4 days travelling/sight seeing from DV to San Fran with a couple of days to explore in and around the wonderful park of Yosemite. That I think, would be more relaxed than trying to go up to Tahoe and down to Sequoia as well, plus Yosemite has a grove of giant Sequoia trees and although not quite as big as the biggest in the Sequoia NP, will certanly give you a taste of these GIANTS.

    You could possibly include either Tahoe or Sequoia, [although I wouldn't given your time constraints] but I do not think both would be an option while including the Grand canyon in your plans. It would just be a bit to busy to really enjoy what there is on offer imo.

  3. Default

    Hi Southwest Dave,

    Thanks very much for your reply. Yeah, the six days are just for the journey inbetween the cities. How long does it take to get from LV to the GC (where the skywalk is) as we have heard conflicting reports, depending on which rim you go to.

    That's sounds like a good idea about cutting out Sequoia and spending more time in Yosemite. Would it possible to do Tahoe as a day trip do you think? We definitely don't want to be rushed and stressed on the trip, but we also want to break up the driving at convenient locations. Do you know what the best accommodation would be in the Nationals Parks?

    Thanks very much for your advice!

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


    The skywalk isn't actually at the Grand Canyon - at least not the National Park. It's on the "west rim" on indian reservation lands. Its still at least 3-4 hours away from Las Vegas, but much of the journey is on a very rough road, and if this trip will be in a rental car, you'll really need to take a shuttle bus for a significant stretch of the road. The west rim itself is only at about 4000 feet of elevation, as opposed to the South Rim with is about 7000 feet, and the cost is much higher. Its about $80 per person to visit the skywalk, the National Park is $25 for everyone in your car. You also are not allowed to take pictures on the skywalk.

    Put simply, if it were me, I'd skip the skywalk and go to the South Rim, where you'll really get to experience the true size and scope of the Canyon. Its about a 5 hour drive from Vegas.

    "Daytrip" typically implys that you are going there and back from a base elsewhere, so are you asking if you can do a daytrip from Yosemite? If that is the case, the answer is no. Don't forget between Vegas/Death Valley/Tahoe and Yosemite/Sequoia is the Sierra Nevada Mountains. What you could potentially do is drive from DV up to Tahoe, and double back down towards Yosemite, however with 6 days, I suspect that would be quite rushed.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    South of England.

    Default Agreed.

    I agree with Michael, even with costs put aside. If you want to see the splender of the 'true' Grand canyon, that has been made famous the world over through Photography, you really need to go to the National Park. On a personal level, I would rather skip the Grand canyon altogether and go to Sequoia NP, if it meant having to 'settle' for the 'Skywalk' at the west rim. The National park south rim is where I would definitely look at going to.

    As for Tahoe, no it wouldn't be a day trip from Yosemite. You could go from DV to Yosemite via the Tioga pass [CA120] and then to Tahoe and continue through Sacramento towards SF. I would still say, as Michael did, that this would be getting a little rushed, although doable.

    National park lodging can be found through the NPS site like here at Yosemite. You can also search for lodgings in surrounding towns that suit your final travel plans.

    Life without the GC.

    Another option you could consider, if you decided not to visit the GC, would be to head across Death valley to the Lake Isabella/Porterville area. You could then head North on the western side of the Sierra's into Sequoia NP via Three rivers, stopping around Fresno or Oakhurst for the night. Next into Yosemite to explore, spend a night and next morning before heading east across the Sierra's on the Tioga pass [CA120] to Lee Vining, allowing time for sight seeing on Tioga. Next day to Tahoe for a night before heading to San Fran, possibly via San Rafael and the Golden Gate Bridge.
    Last edited by Southwest Dave; 02-12-2012 at 04:26 PM. Reason: Added alternative.

  6. Default Great advice

    Hi guys,

    Thanks so much for the invaluable advice - you've certainly given us a lot to think about! We're trying to book accommodation in San Francisco at the moment (as it seems to be a busy conference season there) and we're trying to work out driving hours. At the moment the plan seems to be to drive from Vegas to the South Rim of GC and spend one night there, set off next day to DV and spend 1 or 2 nights there and then onto Yosemite and spend 2/3 nights there.

    Do you know how long roughly the drive will be between each place? Any suggestions would be much apprecaited!

    Thanks so much!

  7. Default

    Sorry, just another quick question! Is there a trail down the canyon at the south rim or is it somewhere else? We're debating whether to spend 1 or 2 nights at GC. How long would you recommend? We're thinking we'll arrive about mid afternoon from Vegas but then we need to do the drive to DV in a day. We think we'll definitely need 2 nights in DV to recover from the drive and spend time there before setting out again - but we don't want to cut Yosemite short if we don't have to.

    Any thoughts? Thanks in advance.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin


    There are actually two trails down into the Canyon from the South Rim. There's the Bright Angel trail which starts right in the village, and the South Kaibab Trail. Of course, you shouldn't ever try to walk all the way to the bottom and back in one day, but both trails have several waypoints that can make for nice hikes.

    You'd want at least a day, but possibly two at the Canyon, depending upon what time you are thinking of arriving and leaving.

    Also don't forget, you don't always have to spend the night in the parks, you can split up your drives by spending a night on the road. For example, you could stay someplace in between GC and DV, like Kingman, Laughlin, or even back in Vegas, and instead of two nights in DV, you could look to stay somewhere halfway between DV and Yosemite, like Bishop or Mammoth Lakes.

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