Results 1 to 6 of 6
  1. #1

    Default June 2013 - First road trip SF to Phoenix - Itinerary check and suggestions please!

    Hi we are coming from Scotland next June and have come up with the following itinerary for our 14 night stay. Tips and suggestions greatly appreciated and advice on things to see, good motels, great diners, that we should visit whilst in the area would be brilliant too!

    6 Thursday abz to San Fransisco
    7 Friday San Fransisco
    8 Saturday San Fransisco
    9 Sunday San Fransisco to Monterery
    10 Monday Monterery to Cambria
    11 Tuesday Cambria to Yosemite
    12 Wednesday Yosemite
    13 Thursday Yosemite
    14 Friday Exit Yosemite via Tioga pass to Mono Lake
    15 Saturday Mono Lake to Lone Pine
    16 Sunday Lone Pine via Death Valley to Las Vegas
    17 Monday Las Vegas to Grand Canyon
    18 Tuesday Grand Canyon
    19 Wednesday Grand Canyon to Pheonix
    20 Thursday fly home

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Southern California


    Welcome to RTA!

    This is a very well thought-out plan. The days seem to be comfortable, and you've left plenty of time for site-seeing. The only flaw I see, as it were, is that you are assuming that Tioga Pass will be open on June 14th, 2013. That can't be predicted, unfortunately. This year, it probably WILL be open on June 14th, because it's been a pretty dry winter in the Sierras. Next year, though, is a big guess. So you may have to route yourself around "the long way". (If it helps you feel any better, I've never gone to Yosemite and found the pass open, so I've not seen Tuolumne Meadows in the 4 trips I've made to Yosemite over the years. One trip was in JULY.)

    As for things to see -- I think you've hit the best that California has to offer, in that you have Yosemite, Death Valley, and Grand Canyon on your list.

    Motels and diners ... that's hard to say, a year in advance. I could make a suggestion and then the business changes owners or closes completely. My family's new strategy, when arriving at a motel (usually chosen from a coupon deal while on the road unless it's in a high-volume tourist area), is to ask at the desk for "what's a good place to eat around here." Almost always, they'll steer you to some place where the locals go.

    Suggestion about Yosemite and Grand Canyon: If you want to stay IN the national park, you're best to try to book NOW if they let you. (I'm not sure how far in advance you can get reservations.) Hotels and campgrounds reserve up pretty early in both of those parks. I would probably find a hotel in Las Vegas, too, unless you're happy wherever you land. That would be the Sunday after most schools in California get released, and may cause a lot of Californians to head for Vegas. So some places could fill up.

    I don't usually correct spelling, but if you're trying to Google something, spelling occasionally counts: San Francisco (2 c's), and Phoenix (o before e). Those are hard to spell, and they aren't even English anyway! :-)


  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 1998
    Las Vegas, Nevada

    Default No worries about June.... and Tioga

    One clarification, year-in, year-out you can pretty much assume that Tioga Pass will be open by the first week of June. Even if 2013 is a another heavy snowpack year, there will be alternative routes open.

    And your plan seems like a good one to me too.


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


    Mark, I have to disagree with you about assuming that Tioga will be open by the first week of June.

    Just last year, it didn't open until June 18th, and there have been several years recently where it didn't open until after mid-june. Opening dates in May are more common, and there might be some alternatives, but I don't think someone planning a trip for a future year can assume it will be open in early june.

    I will also say that this looks like a very well thought out plan, and even if Tioga Pass is closed, there's enough time to make the trip using other options.

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

    Default Maybe not.

    I too think you have a nice solid plan and you will be in for a great time ! If you booking lodgings in advance it would be worth leaving the night between Yosemite and Vegas open to change. Bishop is a popular stop if the Tioga is open and if not you would need to head south and possibly stop in the Lake Isabella area. Since 2005 there has been 3 occasions where you would not of been able to drive the pass on June 14th, the last time this happened was only last year. Not sure if Mark is confusing June and July here ?

    If you want to stay in the National parks I would definitely book in advance. If your budget can manage it, it's also highly recommended. I would also recommend booking an Alcatraz tour in advance through the official office here. It's one of those things you just have to do while in San Fran, other attractions include Coit Tower, Union Square, China Town, Fishermans Wharf [Pier 39] Ghirardelli Square and Lombard Street. There are a lot of seafood places to eat on Pier 39 and we found 'Bubba Gumps' fun with pretty good food. It's a wonderful compact City and easy enough to get around without a car. Parking is expensive, so you might want to consider picking up your rental on the day you are leaving.

    While in Yosemite you must take the drive and short walk up to Glacier Point and take in the views, amazing !! Mariposa Grove near to the south entrance is host to many giant Sequoia trees and the valley floor has many places of interest and the waterfalls could be flowing well !! If you get over Tioga pass [fingers crossed] there is a nice stop at Tenaya Lake and the Meadows to enjoy. As you leave the park you will see Mono Lake in the distance and before you reach 395 there is a gas station on the right. Past the garage and up the hill is a small parking lot with further views of the lake. Inside the gas station is 'Woah Nellie Deli', a diner we thought was nice, had a good atmosphere and served good food !

    Furnace Creek makes a nice stop in Death Valley where you can get refreshments and look around the museum etc. If you have time you might want to take a drive to Badwater basin, the lowest spot in the USA at 280 [+] below sea level.

    On the way to the GC you could stop at the Hoover Dam and/or take a short detour off I40 through Kingman and Seligman on original route 66. Some wierd and wonderful memorabilia stores and diners await !

    If you spend the day at the GC exploring the rim area around the village and viewpoints up to Hermits rest, [shuttle bus only] the following day you could head east on Desert View drive [64] and exit via the east entrance near Cameron, home to the Cameron Trading post and it's cool shops and lodgings are available as an option too.

  6. #6


    Thank you very much for the quick replies and it is great to know that my three weeks keyboard bashing has finally produced an decent itinerary! We really wanted to give ourselves a decent chance to visit each place properly so this is why we have gone for this approach rather than just driving everywhere!

    Thanks to for all the suggestions and I appreciate that it is difficult to know how places are going to be in a years time but it is great having all the good places to make a point of visiting noted!

    I really hope the Tioga pass is open as this seems to come up time and time again as spectacular scenery and thank you for the tip about the schools breaking for their holidays and I think we may push on past Las Vages and stay maybe nearer the Hoover Dam.

    Apologies for my bad spelling of the place names, laziness on my part I should have checked first!

    What a great forum. Thank you!

Similar Threads

  1. Family RV Road trip from Denver - itinerary suggestions?
    By vansanfam in forum Planning Summer RoadTrips
    Replies: 3
    Last Post: 03-30-2012, 06:40 PM
  2. Road trip to yellowstone June 2013
    By daddybuckstar in forum Planning Summer RoadTrips
    Replies: 3
    Last Post: 01-03-2012, 07:44 AM
  3. Suggestions for Road Trip in Southwest June 2012?
    By mgl5 in forum Planning Summer RoadTrips
    Replies: 3
    Last Post: 12-06-2011, 05:00 PM
  4. California Road trip itinerary suggestions.
    By benjh in forum Planning Summer RoadTrips
    Replies: 4
    Last Post: 06-13-2009, 11:13 PM
  5. Replies: 4
    Last Post: 02-19-2009, 03:32 PM


Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  • Find the Perfect Hotel
    Search RoadTrip Motels
    Enter city name