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  1. Default Standard SF-LA-LV Roadtrip

    Hi there! New to this forum and not that great at writing long posts in english. So i'll keep it short and maybe some helpful soul will answer.

    Me and my soon to be wife are planning this trip as our honeymoon, it's going to be great fun! But i have a some thoughts maybe you guys could help with. Maybe this has been brought up earlier, please bear with =) We are planning to be away about 18 days and hopefully have enough time to do everything we want.

    We will start in SF: Goals here, eat burgers, Golden gate and Alcatraz, and have a great time. The rest is pure bonus. Maybe a X days stay including arrival day? Something else a cannot miss? Someone that has any recommended place to stay at? Cheap and clean =)

    After that take out rental down highway 1. I'm planning a one night stay somewhere, suggestions?

    LA: Goals here, eat burgers, universal studios, maybe the beach. Haven't really planned this one yet. X days stay maybe? recommended place or area to stay in?

    After that continue to LV, goals here, eat burgers, be amazed over the crazyness, i've heard there are great outlets here so maybe some shopping and of course the Grand canyon. X days atay one night over at the GC? Same here place to stay?

    After this continue to Death valley and Seqoua national park 1/2 nights on the road. Now, should we go back to LV or end our trip in SF instead? Can't really decide this one, any suggestions? I have so many questions that need answering but i'll start here. I'm really sorry if this has been brought up earlier (i would think it has been). Have a great day

    /Jeppe, Sweden

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


    Welcome to the RTA Forum!

    A couple things you'll want to make note about the geography.

    I'd consider spending 3 days/2 nights along the coast, which would let you stay around Monterey one night and perhaps Pismo Beach the second. Its not a must, but it would give you more time to explore. If you stick with one night, then the Cambria area is around halfway.

    The Grand Canyon really is a long way from Vegas and should really be considered its own destination. Its a good 5 hours each way from Vegas, but you can save some time by driving directly there from LA. That is a full day drive, so you'd probably want to spend 2 nights there, before then heading back to Vegas.

    Death Valley and Sequoia National Park are quite close on a map, but there is a mountain range in between and no direct road to cross them, which means its a full day drive to get between the two. However, you might find that it makes more sense to visit Yosemite, instead of Sequoia, since you can go over Tioga Pass, and there is still a grove of Sequoia trees there which you can see. In either case, it would be shorter to finish your trip back in San Francisco.

  3. Default


    I haven't seen any post about visiting sequioa, everybody has gone with Yosemite. I don't have anything against either so i'll take that in consideration =) How many days would you need to go from LV-Death Valley-Yosemite-SF. Yosemite i would say is a full days visit, but how about Death Valley? Go from LV to Death Valley stay there one night, on to Yosemite have one night there, see the park and go on to SF the same day? Is that possible?

    Also good tip about GC, well take that before going to Vegas.

  4. Default Yosemite-DV-LV


    One of the most written about trips. But that makes it hard to find the right info... So I've booked 2 nights in Oakhurst to have as our base when visiting Yosemite (was out in the last minute, not so much to choose from). Is this a good place to start from? Is it fairly close to anything in the park? I was hoping to atleast visiting the waterfall and maybe glacier point(atleast, if it's doable). Can you do most of the park in the car, not that i want to, just want to know? I guess the distances are fairly long? As i said whe have two nights there coming in from SF. Should i try to change one night to Mammoth lake? Or will i be able to see the park starting from Oakhurst, then going back there before vi take on the tioga pass? We will have a few hours in the park the first day also, when we arrive from SF. SO we will have 1,5 day in the park in total.

    After that i we are planning to go over the tioga pass down to Bishop. Have a night there and than see some portions of Death Valley and continue on to LV.

    Is this doable drives? I've looked at the distances, Googlemaps tells me it's an 8h drive from Bishop to LV passing Death Valley national Park. That sounds a bit long for me...

    Have a good day!


    Moderator Note: Please keep all questions about this trip in the same thread.
    Last edited by Midwest Michael; 06-07-2012 at 05:05 AM. Reason: Merged

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Southern California


    Answering some of your questions:

    Staying in Oakhurst: As you've discovered, getting accommodations at the last minute at one of the most popular national parks in the USA is very difficult. If you secured some in Oakhurst, you'll be fine. Yes, you'll have to go in each day you are there, but at least you are nearby! It's a lovely drive to the park.

    What you can see: Waterfalls may be a little thin this year, because there wasn't a big heavy snowfall in the Sierras this year. So Yosemite Falls and Bridalveil Falls may be thin, or even not running at all, depending on the time of year you get there. When someone here last checked, the roads to Glacier Point and over Tioga Pass were both OPEN early this year.

    Our rule of thumb on Google Maps and Mapquest (or any electronic mapping program): take the drive time and add 20%. So an 8 hour drive becomes 10 hours. (Computer maps don't have to get gasoline, eat, go to the bathroom, stop for traffic, or stop to see gorgeous scenery.)


  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    South of England.

    Default Looks good.

    Is this doable drives? I've looked at the distances, Googlemaps tells me it's an 8h drive from Bishop to LV passing Death Valley national Park.
    I think the 8 hours must have been from Yosemite Valley and not starting out from Bishop. [Even though it would be longer in the real world] From Bishop across DV on 190 to Vegas is close to a 6 hour drive but by the time you add on sight seeing you can expect at least an 8 hour day. but with lots of stops and photo opportunities.

    Oakhurst is OK and good value, but it will take you about 1.5 hours to get to Yosemite Valley and just over 30mins to the south entrance station and Mariposa Grove. You could spend your first half day heading up to Glacier point and Mariposa Grove and then tour the valley on your full day. That will allow you time for a comfortable drive and to explore some spots along Tioga Pass on route to Bishop. You might even have time to stop at Mono lake. There is a viewpoint of Mono lake if you wanted a quick stop. As you approach 395 there is a gas station on the right hand side. If you drive up the hill past the station there is a parking area with Lake views. In the gas station is 'Woah Nellie Deli' a nice place to get some food if you are peckish [hungry !]

  7. Default

    Thanks for the answers, and sorry for the new thread, won't happen again.

    So ok it's a long drive from Bishop down to LV. Is there somewhere else we could go that's a bit further. Closer to the DV? Calculated time from oakhurst over the pass down to Bishop is about 4 hours, with some stops we are up to maybe 6h of traveling witch is a long day that too. But maybe you could squeeze another hour in the car? But it seems to me that Bishop is the closest you will get to DV or is there any motel along the way i can't see on the map?


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


    Bishop to Vegas is really not that long of a drive. Its only 300 miles, the part that will add time is stopping to enjoy the views of Death Valley.

    Having said that, if you want to get a bit farther, there are several hotel options in Lone Pine that could work for you. Its about an hour south of Bishop. In between the two is also Independence, CA, which has a few hotels.

  9. Default

    Hello again =)

    I've been looking into out trip some more, Lone Pine will be a good place to stay i think. Next is how we will actually experience DV. My plan is to take the 190 trough the park and end up in Death valley junction, and continue to Las Vegas. I hope this is doable in one day, and that we will see something.

    Next part after a few days in LV is the Grand canyon. I'm planning to drive from LV to Flagstaff. Then the next morning enter the Grand canyon from the east and taking the desert view drive and ending up in Kingsman, spending the night before we head out to LA. Is this doable?

    I know we have little time at these wonderful places, but i rather see something, than skipping it all together.

    Thanks for the help =)


  10. #10
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin


    I would recommend you spend the night after the Grand Canyon in Williams. That will let you see this huge park without being overly rushed, and of course, get in views of a sunset without having hours of driving ahead of you. From Williams, you can still get to LA in a long day on the road.

    Going back to Kingman is possible, in fact I've done something very similar (Williams to GC to Laughlin in a day), but doing so will make you either shortchange your time at GC to a degree, or set you up for a very long day where you get into your hotel very late. Considering your plans to be on the road again the following day, a late arrival could make the following days drive a little unpleasant.


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