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  1. Default Vegas, Zion, Grand Canyon, Hoover Dam, Sequoia - in 9 days?

    My husband says "let's go to the Grand Canyon" for our 20th anniversary. Well in doing all my research, I learn the location (and existence!) of Sequoia and now I just can't imagine being so close and not seeing the trees...

    We fly into Vegas April 10th, arriving at 11:40am. We are to return home April 18th, leaving at 10:55pm. These are the only plans I have set so far. Got airfare from Maryland for $300 a piece.

    I've tried to map loops to keep us going in one direction without backtracking and was hoping I could figure 8 these in...

    I've even thought about flying into someplace in California and starting there...

    My initial plans were touring completely just east of Vegas, but after discovering Sequoia...
    Most years we vacation in the Smokey Mountains of Tennessee, so this area seems more like us than the things east of Vegas, but I also know I need to see these places during my life!

    Can they be done in 9 days without my entire family (two kids, 11 & 12 and DH) hating me from all the time on the road?

    Thank you so much for your time! I look forward to the replies!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tucson, AZ

    Default Keep In Mind

    Welcome aboard the RoadTrip America Forums!

    Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks are certainly close to Las Vegas and would be a great addition to any RoadTrip through the area. However, even those parks are relatively 'southern', their elevation means that in April they will still be quite cold and covered in winter snow at elevations above the valley floors. Many roads through them will still be closed. On the plus side, the rivers will be bank full with the spring snow melt runoff. You can check on 'usual' spring conditions here, but note that the conditions you encounter on your trip could be considerably better or considerably worse. Zion, by contrast, will be fully open.

    As to routing, the simplest loop that includes all your stated objectives with a minimum of backtracking should be Las Vegas, Zion, Grand Canyon, Sequoia, Las Vegas. You would be hard-pressed to find better air fares or a more convenient starting/ending point than Las Vegas. The routes between points on your itinerary are relatively straight forward, but some things are worth noting. US-89 between Page AZ and the east entrance to the Grand Canyon is closed indefinitely. You will be detoured onto US-89T which is BIA-20 through the Navajo Nation upgraded and paved for the extra traffic. You can expect minor delays, but nothing that should significantly alter your travel plans.

    Also worth noting is that the drive from the Grand Canyon to Sequoia is more than can be safely driven in a day, so you should be planning on at least one overnight stop between them. Indeed, there are other things to see along the way and you have enough time that you should not feel unduly rushed. If you plan on taking the better part of two days for this transit, you can drive the longest remaining section of old Route 66 roadbed from Seligman through Peach Springs to Kingman. This stretch of road was the visual inspiration for the scenery depicted in the Disney movie, Cars. After an overnight stay in Kingman or Needles you can explore the Mojave National Preserve on the second day of your drive to Sequoia.

    Unfortunately, there are relatively few good quality through roads in this part of the country, so all of your drive back from Sequoia to Las Vegas, at least between Sequoia and Barstow, will cover the same ground as the drive in. There's simply no way around it. This is basically the only way around the southern end of the Sierra Nevada and the few roads across those mountains will still be snowbound at this time of year.

    One last note. If you haven't already made use of the program be sure to sign your kids up for the Junior Ranger Program at each national park you visit. It's a great way for them to learn a little more about the parks than they might by just driving/hiking through and they'll get some great free souvenirs.


  3. #3


    Here is a thread which was very helpful to me in planning a similar trip a couple of years ago:

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

    Default Death valley.

    One option you would have to avoid backtracking all the way to Barstow from Sequoia on route to Vegas would be to drive past Lake Isabella and head a little way north on 395 and cross the wonderful landscape of Death valley on 190 to Furnace Creek before continuing through Pahrump to Vegas on 160. This route would be best dealt with with an overnight stop, possibly Stovepipe Wells or Furnace Creek. Visiting Sequoia is doable and it would take about 3 days of solid driving to complete your whole trip, however you decide to split up your travel days up.

    Having said that you could easily use the time up [and more] keeping to your original plan of staying to the east and have more time out of the car. Valley of Fire, Zion and Bryce canyon NP's, Antelope canyon and Lake Powell near Page, Monument Valley and the Hoover Dam are some of the options in a loop and if you reached out further you could include Arches and Canyonlands NP's or the Sedona area. If you like outstanding natural beauty then I'm sure you will find these places to be a lot like you too !

    When you look at Sequoia it's hard to ignore Yosemite NP, my personal favourite, and 'west' of Vegas could be a whole other trip for another day, at a time of year when all areas are accessible.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Southern California


    Welcome to RTA! Looking at my journals and slide collections over the past few days, I realize that my husband and I have been to Yosemite twice during the month of April. One trip included Sequoia NP. BOTH trips encountered snow, but in different ways. Our first trip, just as a couple (no kids yet), snow was mostly still UP. We hiked up into the snow -- muddy trails the whole way -- but the falls in Yosemite were gorgeous as a result. On our second trip, this time with two young children, we were forced OUT of Yosemite because of a blizzard. We packed out in a half hour and then almost slid down the highway from Wawona Campground to Oakhurst. We overnighted there in a motel, where we found out that the blizzard had not extended down to Sequoia. So the next day, we drove through Sequoia. Sequoia's roads were clear, but there was still plenty of snow surrounding the Big Trees, including the General Sherman. We overnighted again at a motel and drove home to San Diego the next day.

    So my thoughts are that April is "iffy" at best when it comes to Snow, Yosemite and Sequoia.


  6. Default

    Thank you all SO very much for taking your time to answer my question! I truly do appreciate it!

    You've given me many points to consider that I was not aware of! After some thought, I am going to forgo adding Sequoia to our trip during the month of April.

    I was not aware of the winter conditions that could exist.

    As I researched everything, I felt as if it was now or never, but now realize, I can always go back! With finding airfare at $300 round trip per person - that's probably what we're spending in gas to drive to Tennessee each year! So maybe our new yearly vacation will be exploring the west coast! So, I will be back! I will plan another time to come out and do a loop to the west of Vegas!

    So now I will go back and re-elaborate out initial trip, all areas east of Vegas! Of all my "knows" I do know I want to spend at least two nights at Zion, other than that, I'm up in the air - any suggestions here ;o)

    I believe we'll head straight out once we land in Vegas and go to Zion, stay there two nights and then start the loop. What other areas should I plan nights at? I've read to keep moving forward - to not pick a place as post and try to visit everywhere because you'll waste too much time backtracking. Then heading to Vegas the night before we head home, so that day we'll at least be in the town of the airport and not worried about that.

    Thanks again!

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Melbourne, Australia

    Default Again and again.....

    Quote Originally Posted by MrsGilroy View Post
    As I researched everything, I felt as if it was now or never, but now realize, I can always go back!
    Once you get the feel for the west, I agree, you will no doubt return.... again.... and again. Sounds like a sensible decision you made. One thing though, when you return in warmer weather you may find Death Valley too hot to really enjoy. I would urge you to consider including this spectacular National Park in your April trip. Even in May I found it unbearably hot - 110F at 10am. I took a photo of the temp and time. Didn't think I would be believed.


  8. #8
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Joplin MO


    Death Valley would make a very good day trip out of Las Vegas, it's only about 2 hours each way. You could do that on your last day before you fly out.

    I would look at making a loop including Zion, Bryce Canyon, and the Grand Canyon. If you have enough time, you could consider adding Capitol Reef, Arches/Canyonlands, and Monument Valley.

  9. #9

    Default Lots To Do In Utah

    In addition to Utah's National Parks, some other great stops are Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park, Dead Horse Point State Park, Goosenecks State Park and Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park.

  10. Default help again - Zion, Grand Canyon, Vegas

    I asked you all previously about including Seqouia in April and the conclusion was to wait on that.

    So now I know, i think i know, i want Zion, grand canyon and vegas (death valley). I think ive picked Cliffrose lodge in zion. But where at GC and where in Vegas? And for how many nights at each? I have 8 nights. Or should i be considering someplace totally different?

    3 at zion, 2 at GC, 3 at Vegas?

    This is so exhausting! Makes me not like this trip! I even bought a book about the southwest, guess what, its all rock...

    We have two kids 11 & 12 that love to explore and swim. Do we need a 4x4 vehicle?

    Help me, so i can book this thing and forget about it until i board my plane april 10th!

    Oh and to see some wildlife would be awesome!


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