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  1. #1

    Default San Francisco to Vegas - Parks

    Hi guys. I'm Stateside next year and looking for some help please.
    I'm looking to leave San Francisco on Friday 11th April 2014 (as early as is necessary is not a problem) and need to be in Las Vegas on the evening of Sunday 13th April (circa 18:00-19:00).
    I would like so see as much of Yosemite and Death Valley within this time (well aware a lot of it would be from behind the wheel but needs must).
    I will look to stay one night in/near Yosemite and one night in/near Death Valley (if it helps I need to be near the cheapest lodgings possible as this is a 4 week trip and so money is tight).
    I was wondering if you guys could help with a) route planning and b) cheap lodgings.
    I'm well aware I won't see everything but the highlights would be great.
    Thanks in advance

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

    Default Sequoia NP ?

    Hello and welcome to RTA !

    Other than time being a little tight to really enjoy the parks for this part of your journey, the most direct route will not be an option. The Tioga Pass [CA120] which is the quickest link between Yosemite and Death Valley will still be closed due to winter snow accumulation. If you left SF early and spent as much of the day in Yosemite as possible you could then start to head south. Oakhurst is not too far away and will offer the best value lodgings near to the park.

    From Oakhurst you could drive through Sequoia NP and stop around Lake Isabella or Ridgecrest and then spend Sunday exploring DV on route to Vegas. Another option would be to spend more of Saturday in Yosemite [if so check out the 'Yosemite Bug' for good value rustic lodgings nearer to the park] and then make your way to Fresno or Lake Isabella for the night and then through Death Valley.

    To get an idea of lodging options and costs check out the RTA travel link to the right of the page.

  3. #3


    Thanks for this southwest Dave. I'm doing some research over the next couple of weeks and I'm sure this info will come in handy.

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

    Default You're welcome.

    If you need any more help or advice after you have researched, just ask here.


  5. #5


    Thanks. Probably will be in touch as looking at the historic opening times for some of the roads in Yosemite I'm not going to be able to go which is a real shame.
    I will be leaving at 7am from San Fran on Fri so need a route that will avoid these roads (Fresno perhaps) then drive through Sequoia instead and stay there?
    Spend half a day there on Sat, then stay somewhere else and drive through Death Valley on Sun on way to Vegas?
    Really want to drive on the famous desert road with the red mountains in the background when going through Death Valley. Don't know which highway this is?

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin


    Keep in mind, even in winter, the vast majority of Yosemite National Park is completely open, including the Yosemite Valley where most of the high profile attractions are located.

    The closed roads are Glacier Point (a scenic overlook), and Tioga Pass, which allows people to cross the Sierra Nevada Mountains through the park and travel directly onto Death Valley.

    Those roads would not impact your ability to get to the park from San Francisco, and you shouldn't cross Yosemite off your list in April because of those road closures. In fact, April can be a spectacular time to visit Yosemite, as the snowmelt should have waterfalls in peak viewing conditions.

  7. #7


    Thanks for this Michael.
    Any idea on what route to search for from SF to Yosemite? I'm looking at staying at Curry Village (like the idea of camping but with a few mod cons lol) plus budget is an issue.
    All google Maps options I put in warn me of seasonal road closures.

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

    Default Enjoy the valley.

    As mentioned previously, the seasonal closures in Yosemite are on the high ground. You should have no problems in Yosemite valley and it is wonderful ! If you enter Yosemite valley into Google maps or Curry village] you will see there are no road closure warnings.

    From SF take I80/580/205/5 and then exit onto CA120 to Manteca where it joins CA99 and then CA120 east and follow it all the way to Yosemite. From Manteca you have the option of taking CA99 south to CA140 into the park, there is little difference in time if you do stay at Curry village. If you get out of SF early you could be entering Yosemite by 11am. If you don't mind early starts then try and leave a little earlier so you are heading out before the morning rush begins.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    South of England.

    Default Death Valley

    Really want to drive on the famous desert road with the red mountains in the background when going through Death Valley. Don't know which highway this is ?
    You will see lots of great landscape like this as you cross Death valley on CA190 which is the main route through. You will drive through the Panamint Range and past the Sand dunes near Stovepipe Wells before arriving at Furnace Creek. Here you could have lunch and take a detour to Badwater Basin, which is at the lowest elevation found in the USA. On the way back up Badwater road to Furnace creek you could take the scenic one way road around Artists drive. As you continue on 190 you have views from Zabriske point near the road and the option of another small detour to Dantes view.

    When you get to Death valley junction [where 190 meets 127] you could take the 'Locals route' into Vegas. Turn right and immediate left onto State line /Ash Meadows/Bell Vista road to Pahrump and then 160 into Vegas.

  10. #10


    Thanks for both bits of info Dave.
    I'll add it to the pile of research!
    This is very conclusive. Thanks for making my trip so much easier.
    I just want to get there now 😃🇺🇸

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