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  1. Default 6 days to plan West Coast road trip - please help!

    I've been reading some great threads on this site, but I'm afraid I felt I had to post something more specific as it's such short notice and, being from the UK, I have less of the local knowledge (routes, attractions, weather.....although it's quite clear from comments on here that it's only possible to predict the unpredictability!!)

    Flights just booked from UK to LAX, arriving early afternoon on 30th Sept and departing late afternoon on 11th Oct. Due to last minute chance for vacation, that's as far as we've got!! 11 days to plan out, and all we know is we're going to rent a car and would like to visit San Francisco and Las Vegas, as well as some National Parks - Yosemite, Grand Canyon, Bryce, Zion, Death Valley......? I've also heard Monterey Bay and the coastal road around Big Sur are highly recommended?

    We're not too fussed on LA (unless somebody else suggests otherwise!), but other than that, we're open to suggestions!
    One major question is whether there's a recommended direction i.e. clockwise or anti-clockwise around the 'loop'?
    Also, there's a lot mentioned about the Tioga Pass, but I'm not sure if we'll still be ok for that? Will it still be open?

    We appreciate that we don't have enough time to do everything,and would appreciate any thoughts on 'must see' and 'must do' ideas.

    Thank you in advance for any responses

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    South of England.

    Default A wonderful trip.

    Hello and welcome to the RTA forums !

    With your wish list you could head from LA to the GC south rim and then to Bryce, Zion, Vegas, across Death valley and stop on route to Yosemite, [Lone Pine, Bishop, Lee Vining on 395] Yosemite, SF and south along the coast with an overnight around Cambria and back to LA. Heading this way will put the Ocean and Oceanside pull outs on your side of the road heading south.

    You should be OK crossing the Tioga Pass CA120] into Yosemite but it's best to check as you travel as it can close either temporarily after a storm and eventually permanently for the season anytime from mid October. If you were unlucky it would mean heading south via Bakersfield and up the west side of the mountains to Yosemite.

    It'll be quite a busy trip, but doable as you don't have any great desire to spend time in LA, but you should get a good nights rest there on arrival from an International flight.

  3. Default

    Thanks for such a quick response! I could tell it was a good forum, but such a response exceeded all expectations!!

    I'm happy with a busy trip, and we're keen to fit as much in as possible! I'm wary of trying to fit too much in and not seeing anything properly though.

    Great point about going south on the coastal road to that pull outs are on the right side - I don't mind the thought of driving in the US, but would like to avoid cutting across roads where possible! I think I might also have to (reluctantly) take your advice on the overnight in LA when we land - should probably factor the jetlag in.....

    Two further questions if possible:

    1) Could you (or anyone else) suggest whether time would be better spent in Yosemite area, or along the West Coast (i.e. Big Sur, Monterey Bay etc)? Will 2 days for each be sufficient?
    2) At this time of year, do you know whether we should book accommodation in advance, or whilst there?

    Thanks again for the reply!

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    South of England.

    Default A foundation.

    It's always a juggling act when it comes to time. Yes 2 days would give you an overview but you could spend a week at either and not see everything. You should be OK with finding lodgings as you go but when I'm on a time crunch I prefer to know where my bed is for the night and not have to concern myself with searching for the right place at the right price. I'm biased as Yosemite is one of my favourite places on earth and a couple of days there are two well spent, [Although you could say that of all your destinations]
    but you really don't have 2 days to spare anywhere with travel time.

    To give you an idea on how to squeeze it all in, I will give you a basic itinerary that you can juggle to your tastes. Bryce canyon for example is quite amazing but it's more about looking down into the canyon and can be seen quite quickly if needed.

    30th Sept. Flight, collect car and get a good nights rest.

    1st Oct] Long drive to Grand canyon. Stay either in Tusayan or Grand canyon village, although Williams will be more budget friendly.

    2nd ] Day spent in GC and either stay night or make your way out of the east entrance and stay at Cameron Trading Post which is pretty cool.

    3rd] To Bryce canyon, perhaps a sunset. [Rubys Inn? Nearest lodgings to canyon]

    4th] Bryce canyon rim drive. Go to the furthest viewpoint first and stop on the way back, all the viewpoints are on your side of the road. Head to Zion. [Springdale great little town near entrance]

    5th] Zion NP, leave for Vegas pm

    6th] Vegas, drive across Death valley and head north on 395. [Tioga Pass permitting] and stay in Bishop.

    7th] Continue to Yosemite. [Stay in park if possible.]

    8th] Yosemite am to SF pm, arrive eve.

    9th] SF

    10th] South down the coast to Cambria or beyind.

    11th] Return car fly home.

    If that's too busy then Bryce canyon is the destination that's a little out of the way and would be the obvious sacrifice.

    Hope that helps.

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