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  1. Default Las Vegas to San Fransico Via Yoasimite. 8 Days

    HI, Im From Australia, and this will be our first trip to the USA.
    There will just be the 2 of us(my husband and myself, but i have some back problems, so any hiking is out of the agender for me).
    We will be over there for 5 weeks in total, and starting our trip from Las vegas. We will be leaving there on the Friday the 23rd of August and have to be in San Fransico Friday 30th. This part of the trip is not booked, but we have hired a good 4x4 car.
    I know we want to do the Tionga Pass to Yasomite, but im not sure which highway we should take from Las Vegas. ie.395 or 95 and were to stop on the way. we would have already done the Grand canyon, so we dont need to go backwards.
    Thanks, any input would be great as im getting very confused, as the rest of our trip is planed.

    Thanks Barbie

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

    Default Options

    Welcome to the RTA Forum!

    A few things to start:

    What does the rest of your trip look like? Even if you've got it planned out, and don't think you need help, knowing the big picture of your plans can help us know what other things you're interested in. It also reveal something that could be better worked into this part of your trip.

    The most common, and most scenic route would be to first head to Death Valley, then work your way up US-395, and then head across Tioga Pass into Yosemite. You could use your entire time just doing that, but with 8 days, you would also have the option of adding in some other places, depending how fast of a pace you like to travel. You could go up to Lake Tahoe, before heading back down to Yosemite, or after Yosemite, you could head onto Sequoia or over to the coast/Big Sur, before going up to San Francisco. You could also check out Napa/Wine Country before San Francisco. Again, a lot of this depends on your interests, and what else you'll be doing on your trip.

    Also keep in mind, there is no point here where you will need 4 wheel drive, and in fact, driving any place where it would be required will likely violate your rental contract. More importantly, a regular sedan usually costs much much less. Also, San Francisco is not a place where a car is really needed, but depending upon how long you'll be there and where else you're going, it may be worth it to keep the same car for your entire trip to take advantages of long term rental rates.

  3. Default

    When we get into San Fran. We have 7 days booked, and we drop off the hire car when we arrive. After that, we fly to Seattle, and spend 3 nights there, then leave there and catch a there ferries and have 4 days to explore going up to Vitoria Island and up to Vancouver and back down to Seattle b4 we fly back to San Fransico. From there we pick up another hire car and we have 10 days b4 we have to fly home from L.A. So want to make our way down to San Deiago then our last 3 night we are staying at a hotel at Saint Monica, So we can do things from there rather than L.A

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


    I've got to tell you, that seems like a pretty crazy amount of flying, and really its not needed. There's so much to see between SF and Seattle, why not include that in your roadtrip?

    You could drive from Vegas to Yosemite, and then start heading north, going to places like Lassen National Park, Crater Lake, Mt. St. Helens, etc on your way to Seattle, explore that area, and then drive down the coast, through the redwoods, etc to San Francisco, and eventually LA.

    You'd see much more, it would likely save you a ton of money, and you could still do it all at a relatively relaxed pace, and without the hassle of picking up and dropping off rental cars, and spending multiple days stuck in airports.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Melbourne, Australia

    Default Would have to agree.

    May I ask why you have set out the trip this way? Do you have appointments and / or commitments at any of these places. If not, then I heartily endorse Michael's comments. Furthermore, if you have back problems the last thing you will be wanting to do is fly places. The initial flight, 14 hours or more, will be trying enough. Add to that the time standing waiting in queues, at each and every airport you will be visiting. For back problems these are not recommended activities.

    On the other hand, when you are in a vehicle, you can stop, go for a short walk, stretch your legs and exercise your back. Though I am not sure a 4x4 will be the most comfortable for your back. I'd look at a good comfortable sedan. If I were you I would (if you can) seriously reconsider the trip you have planned.

    As already mentioned, a long term rental on a vehicle is likely to be much more budget friendly than multiple flights, and you will really get to see something of the western United States. It is only while in SF that parking will be expensive.

    As a little aside in your planning, make sure you bring along your automobile membership of RACV or NRMA or whatever your State's equivalent is. It will entitle you to free maps and tourist information at the AAA, all over North America. You will of course want maps. Don't be tempted to rely on electronics alone. (Only today I was sent to the wrong address via a road which no longer exists. It was the town map I was given at the visitor centre which led me to my desired destination.)


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

    Default Grand canyon National park ?

    Have you considered any of southern Utahs National parks, such as Zion and Bryce canyon ? Although they are not on the way to Yosemite and SF, you would have time to include them.

    we would have already done the Grand canyon, so we dont need to go backwards.
    Is this a tour from Vegas ? Do you know exactly where you are headed, only most tours from Vegas go to the West rim on Indian lands and not to the National park, which is the wonder of the world people are used to seeing through film and images and a far different experience to the 'usual' tour. The occasional tour that does go to the National park means travelling for hours in a coach for a little time to see the canyon, you can't beat a night there and witnessing a sunset while having time to take in the views and unless that is what you are going to do [or have done before] I would highly recommend including it in your plans.

    You could in fact travel from Vegas to the south rim of the NP and then up to Bryce canyon, Zion NP and across to Yosemite.

  7. Default

    Thanks guys for all your input. The car is a cheeriket, which is ment to be similar to our Toyota, which I can lye the seat down in the front. I have a doctors letters to help me at the airport as I have a medical condition with my back.
    I do like the sound of driving to the south rim of the National park, and then up to Bryce Canyon, Zion,and then to yasmite .
    So which highway is that on? And then would we have time to go through death valley, then onto highway 395 crossing over tioga pass tp yasmite? And which would be the best place to make our night stops at. Tis would be greatly appreciated . Thank you

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    South of England.

    Default One possibility.

    To include Death valley you would pretty much do the 'Grand Circle tour' from Vegas to Vegas and then Death valley, Yosemite to SF.

    With 8 days it could look something like this. [Either way around from Vegas]

    23rd] LV to GC south rim
    24th] Grand canyon
    25th] to Bryce canyon
    26th] Bryce and to Zion NP [Springdale ?]
    27th] Zion to Vegas [or Death valley but it'll be hot !]
    28th] to 395 and up to Bishop/Mammoth Lakes.
    29th] Tioga Pass/Yosemite.
    30th] Yosemite to SF.

    That's perfectly doable for people who like to keep on the move but could prove a faster pace than you would like, especially when considering your back problem. Bryce is a wonderful place and doesn't take too much time to get a good overview of the rock formations, plus you see the best of it with short, easy walks [sometimes just a few steps] from the car, but you could save time not going there as it's not on the natural path. As walking is not your strong point, if you are comfortable in a car you will see lots of great scenery from it and have plenty of opportunity to take in the views without too much walking.

  9. Default

    Thank you
    That sounds fantastic! I like the look of. I wouldn't of thought of going that way, but we're going to now.

    Thanks again for your help


  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    South of England.

    Default Pointers.

    You're welcome.

    It's a busy time of year and you might want to check out lodging availability in advance, ie asap. If the National parks are booked out, or your budget won't stretch to what's available, here are some place to check out. The nearest town to GC is Tusayan and would be the most convenient outside the park. Williams and Flagstaff offer cheaper alternatives but would mean more back tracking after visiting the first day. If you stay a second night you could check out the Cameron Trading post just out of the east entrance and on route to Bryce/Zion. When you arrive at the south rim you should have time to hop on the shuttle bus and visit the viewpoints up to Hermits Rest and perhaps enjoy a sunset near the village area. On day 2 you can visit more of the rim trail near the village and then exit along Desertview drive to the east kiosk, making the most of the viewpoints along the way. If you left the village area around lunchtime you could travel further towards Bryce, there are lodging options around Marble canyon, Jacob Lake and Kanab. Page AZ is also an option but there is a detour in place at the moment due to a landslide on part of the roadway.

    There are a few lodging options near the entrance to Bryce canyon including the popular 'Rubys Inn'. Springdale is close to Zion NP and a wonderful town, plus you have the advantage of hopping on the free shuttle bus into the canyon area from town.

    Furnace Creek offers lodging in Death Valley as does Stovepipe Wells, if you did not want to stop in Vegas. From Bishop or Mammoth Lakes you will want to stay to the west side of Yosemite, if not in the park. Groveland has some nice lodging choices and you will find some in El Portal and Mariposa. Oakhurst is 'budget friendly' but about an hour away. For 'rustic' lodgings you can Google 'Yosemite Bug' which gets good reviews and is reasonably priced. While in Yosemite make time for the drive up to Glacier point, just a short walk from the parking lot is a breathtaking view that words can not do justice to.

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