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  1. #1

    Default Yet another Las Vegas-San Francisco trip

    Hi all,

    I've been reading a lot of great tips and information about this route, and I thank everybody for that.
    I'm planning a trip from Las Vegas to San Francisco in March.

    March 7th: Flight Sao Paulo - Las Vegas
    March 8th: Las Vegas
    March 9th: Grand Canyon. Unfortunately I have only one day to have a glimpse of the Grand Canyon.
    I'm thinking of either going by car to the Hualapai skywalk or take the helicopter tour from Las Vegas.
    March 10th: Las Vegas
    March 11th: From Las Vegas to Death Valley. (Furnace Creek Ranch)
    March 12th: From Furnace Creek to Yosemite (Yosemite Lodge at the Falls)
    March 13th: Yosemite
    March 14th: From Yosemite to San Francisco
    March 15th: San Francisco
    March 16th: Flight San Francisco - Sao Paulo

    I've read some comments about the Skywalk versus the Grand Canyon National Park, but considering
    that I have only one day to do this, what would be the best in terms of experience?

    Second, as far as I understand the trip from Furnace Creek to Yosemite will take the whole day.
    I've seen in a previous thread that the best would be to go south passing Bakersfield and Fresno,
    since Tioga Pass will be closed at this time of the year. Now my real issue is if I will be able to
    get to Yosemite Lodge at a reasonable hour and what kind of road conditions I most likely have
    at this time of the year. Are snow chains really necessary?
    Are there other options, like leaving my car somewhere near and go to Yosemite Lodge with public
    transportation ?

    Thanks in advance,
    Carla.

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

    Default

    Welcome to the RTA Forum1

    The reality is that you will be shortchanging the Grand Canyon no matter what you do with just one day, and the decision of Helicopter vs. the skywalk is kind of a false choice. What I mean by that is that nearly all of the helicopter tours from Vegas only go to the "west rim/skywalk" area, so its basically the same thing. Neither of which will provide the same experience as going to the National Park, but with just 1 day, you really can't do the National Park, unless you find a tour package that offers a flight to the Grand Canyon airport.

    DV to Yosemite can be done in one day, and yes you will need chains. While you might not have to put them on, you will have to have them with you. There are places just outside the park that will have them available for rent or sale. I'm not aware of any shuttles into the park.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Melbourne, Australia
    Posts
    6,936

    Default The Grand Canyon NP is not impossible.

    When it comes to the Grand Canyon, I would have to agree with Michael. Flights to the west rim or tours to the skywalk are no substitute for visiting the NP. But with a little tweaking you could have the best part of a day at the Canyon, including a sunset and / or sunrise - both spectacular! It all depends on how important it is for you to spend that second day in LV.

    If on the morning of the 9th March you were to set out early for the GC, you could be there in early afternoon. It is roughly a five hour drive. You could then have the rest of the afternoon exploring some of the South Rim. If you are able to get accommodation in the Park, either a sunset or a sunrise (or both) would be a great experience. You could then on 10th March, do a little more exploring, and after lunch head back to LV.

    If it were me, and there was no compelling reason to keep me in LV on 10th, it is how I would spend my time. I feel sure that you would not regret it.

    Lifey

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    South of England.
    Posts
    10,747

    Default Possible 'tweaks'.

    I doubt you will be able to drive all the way to the Skywalk without breaching you car rental contract, the last I heard, is that a section of the road to the Skywalk is still unpaved. It's possible to park and ride on a bus, but can work out expensive, so if you decide to go, a tour might be better.

    With your plan as it is, I would consider staying further on from Furnace Creek, as it's under 3 hours from Vegas. You could stay in Panamint Springs, or perhaps Ridgecrest, giving you a day in the park with no back tracking and shorten your onward journey to Yosemite a little.

    An alternative would be to drive to GC south rim NP early after a couple of days in Vegas [10th] and spend the night there. Next day drive direct to Furnace Creek rather then stopping back in Vegas [11th]. Then onto Yosemite as planned. That would be a couple of long [ish] days driving and DV would be a quick 'drive thru,' but if you are OK with that, it's doable. You could stop around Oakhurst on the 12th and finish the short journey to Yosemite the next morning.

  5. #5

    Default

    Thanks a lot for the tips again. It was great to open my eyes about two things. First I thought it was feasible to go with my own car to the Skywalk. Second, I thought that
    the helicopter tour would not go to the west rim, but to the National Park. So thanks a lot for this info !

    Now, I'm really considering to shorten my time in Las Vegas and follow Lifey's advice to go to GC but on March 8th and back on the 9th. In this case, where would be the best
    place to stay ? And can you send me links on things to do and see while I'm there?

    Thanks a lot again,
    Carla.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    South of England.
    Posts
    10,747

    Default Go for it !!

    'Best' means different things to different people. For example you can't beat staying in the National park imo, but that comes at a price. The nearest town to the park is Tusayan, which will have more budget friendly options, and further south Williams may be cheaper still. If your budget can manage it, [and taking your limited time into consideration] I would recommend staying in the park.

    The best place to get an overview of the National park is from their very own Web site, here. You will be heading to the South rim and that's the area to check out.

    Once you get to the entry kiosk they will give you booklets and Rangers are alway's happy to talk about their favourite view, or walk, in the park. Once you are there it's all self evident and head for the many viewpoints and rim walks.

  7. #7

    Default

    Thanks a lot for all the info!

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Joplin MO
    Posts
    9,270

    Default

    Tusayan is decidedly not budget-friendly. The Cameron Trading Post is somewhat less expensive. To get reasonably-priced rooms (less than $100) you have to go to Williams or Flagstaff.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    South of England.
    Posts
    10,747

    Default All things even.

    Quote Originally Posted by glc View Post
    Tusayan is decidedly not budget-friendly. The Cameron Trading Post is somewhat less expensive. To get reasonably-priced rooms (less than $100) you have to go to Williams or Flagstaff.
    It is more budget friendly than staying in the park and that is what I referred to. Using the RTA reservations there are rooms available for $80 per night in Tusayan.

    As I mentioned earlier you can't beat staying in the park IMO, especially with your time limitations. I just looked and currently [the page may update] Maswick Lodge in the GC has a south facing Queen room for $92. The next cheapest available is at Yavapai Lodge at $120 and all others are 'North' of $160.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Melbourne, Australia
    Posts
    6,936

    Default A bargain.

    Quote Originally Posted by Southwest Dave View Post
    ... Maswick Lodge in the GC has a south facing Queen room for $92.
    It would have cost more for a flight over the west rim.

    Lifey

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