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  1. Default Los Angeles to Las Vegas to Grand Canyon to Los Angeles (Itinerary feedback)

    Hi all,

    We are from East Coast of US and will be driving around some friends from UK & Canada in a rental Minivan (7 of us total). We all want to see Death Valley, Grand Canyon, Las Vegas, and spend at least 1 day at LA beaches.

    We have a total of 10 days during the first two weeks of August and we have to stay in Las Vegas for 4 days for a conference.

    Here is our planned itinerary:
    Day 1: Everyone arrives in LA and stays overnight
    Day 2: Pick up the rental Minivan and drive to Las Vegas via Barstow (Calico Ghost Town) and Baker (Mojave National Park). We are not sure about driving all the way through Death Valley national park (due to heat, importance of getting to Vegas in time for conference)
    Day 3 - 6: Conference in Vegas. Stay in Vegas.
    Day 7: Leave for Grand Canyon and get there before sunset. Overnight at nearby hotel.
    Day 8: See more of Grand Canyon during the day/sunrise and leave for LA in the afternoon. Overnight in LA.
    Day 9: Relax in LA or Orange County beaches
    Day 10: All of us fly out of LA

    Questions:
    1. Can we add in Zion national park as a side trip on way to Grand Canyon? Thinking of spending only a few hours there.
    2. We are also looking for some cool sights on the way from Grand Canyon back to Los Angeles - any suggestions? We may not be able to spend more than a few hours in the sights given our itinerary.
    3. Please give some feedback on driving time and going to Las Vegas via Death valley National Park.

    Thanks!

    Frank

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Southern California
    Posts
    4,546

    Default

    Welcome aboard RTA!

    1) Probably not, given your time frame.

    2) Joshua Tree National Monument is right along the way. Bear in mind that GCNP to LA is about a 6 hour trip, though, so you aren't going to have a lot of time in JTNM.

    3) I'll let someone else chime in on that one, as I've never done Death Valley.


    Donna

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
    13,063

    Default

    Welcome to the RTA forum!

    Zion really would not be a viable detour, unless you added significantly more time. There's a few problems with it, one being that it is on the way to the north rim, but a long way out of the way to go to the south rim, and the south rim would make much more sense considering your plan to head back to LA. The other issue is that even right now, you don't have a ton of time available at the Grand Canyon. You really need to plan for Day 7 to be the day where you spend most of your time there. It is a full day drive from the south rim to Los Angeles (9-10 hours), so staying there until the afternoon on Day 8 would be a bit of a problem.

    Your current itinerary doesn't really leave any time for extra stops on the way back to Los Angeles, which as mentioned above is a pretty full day drive all by itself. Some of the obvious places you might add for a quick stop you'd included on your drive to Vegas.

    Going to Vegas via Death Valley is about 400 miles, so you're looking at 7-8 hours, plus siteseeing. Its certainly possible, as long as you don't need to be in Vegas early.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2003
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    Green County, Wisconsin
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    Quote Originally Posted by DonnaR57 View Post
    2) Joshua Tree National Monument is right along the way. Bear in mind that GCNP to LA is about a 6 hour trip, though, so you aren't going to have a lot of time in JTNM.
    Donna, I think you may have made a mistake here.

    Its 500 miles from the Grand Canyon to LA, which makes it a pretty good 9 hour trip via I-40/I-15. Adding Joshua Tree doesn't add a ton of miles, but it's a detour does add in a lot of 2 lane driving which would add in a couple more hours of driving on top of that, again plus time to go through the park.

  5. Default

    Thanks for the replies!

    We don't have to be in Las Vegas early. However we definitely have to be there by Day 3 (start of conference). We were worried about the heat, risk of engine overheating (the posts I am reading warn about this), the steep curves etc - causing us to be stuck there and miss the conference.

    Thanks!

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
    13,063

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    I'm not sure what you're reading, but its very counter to most everything you will find on this site.

    Death Valley certainly is hot, but you have to drive through the desert regardless, and its not going to be that much hotter there than in in the Mojave National Preserve, or even in Vegas itself.

    Perhaps more importantly, the temperatures in DV are not going to be an issue for any car in good condition, which you should have in any rental car. Thousands of people drive through Death Valley all summer long.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    South of England.
    Posts
    10,748

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    Day 2: Pick up the rental Minivan and drive to Las Vegas via Barstow (Calico Ghost Town) and Baker (Mojave National Park). We are not sure about driving all the way through Death Valley national park (due to heat, importance of getting to Vegas in time for conference)
    Just for clarity. Death Valley is certainly a viable option, but you won't have time to visit Calico and the Mojave and include DV in your plans. I would say it is a case of DV or Calico and Mojave, but not all three. It would be too much for anyone, but 7 people in a mini van, oh no ! To see DV I would make my way to US395 and drive across 190 to Death Valley junction and then take Ash Meadows Rd/Bell Vista Ave to Pahrump and 160 to Vegas. Some stops would be at the Mesquite sand dunes, [nr Stovepipe Wells] Furnace creek [museum/refreshments/food] and Zabriske Point. If you were making good time you could take a detour to Badwater Basin which is the lowest point in the USA. Make sure you carry plenty of water, some snacks and cover up from the sun [cream/hats] for even short spells out of the vehicle.

    As Michael mentioned, it's pretty much a full days drive from GC to LA so you will want to leave Vegas as early as possible and spend the afternoon looking around GC and the evening witnessing a sunset and look for suitable lodgings in Tusayan or Williams.

  8. Default

    Doh! Apologies!

    A few of us were researching and exchanging info about Death Valley. I read my notes that Titus Canyon required high-clearance vehicles and extrapolated that to the whole of Death Valley.

    For now we plan to take the route recommended by Southwest Dave to go via Death Valley to Las Vegas (skipping Calico & Mojave). Will also be using http://living-las-vegas.com/2010/03/...road-to-vegas/ which recommends the same route.

    Thanks for all your recommendations. We are still debating booking hotel rooms in Grand Canyon & Los Angeles in advance.

    Frank

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
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    South of England.
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    Personally I would be looking to book up lodgings for the Grand canyon asap, especially as you are travelling in peak season and you are quite a large group to cater for.

    Glad you found the Living Las Vegas site as it is actually RTA's 'sister' site.

  10. Default

    Hi all,

    After more discussions, we would like to have Las Vegas as our last stop. We have 3 days after our conference to visit Grand Canyon. Is there any other recommended places to see? Sedona seems far away and not sure if worth the effort.

    Our itinerary for the last leg is like this:
    Aug 2nd - Leave for Grand Canyon after conference breakfast
    Aug 5th - Fly out of Las Vegas

    We are wondering what else to do besides hike Grand Canyon on Aug 3rd.

    Thanks!

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