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  1. #1

    Default Vegas to SFO roadtrip : National park focused

    Hi all,

    My first post here :) I am planning a road trip from vegas to SFO in early june covering death valley, sequoia, kings canyon and yosemite on the way over the course of 8 to 9 days. I am hoping that Tioga pass will be open by then but I am confused as to what route I would take since taking Tioga pass would mean not visiting Kings canyon and Sequoia NP. I am hoping to cover Mono lake and Mamooth lakes as well. I am a landscape photographer and that will be my primary focus. I was also thinking about spending a day or two in SFO.

    I would love to get some help and insights from experienced experts on:

    (1) the day split ups for the trip
    (2) Most efficient route to take to cover these beautiful places.
    (3) Any recommended accommodations (I will look into the lodges inside the park as well)

    Thanks in advance.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Joplin MO


    Welcome to RTA!

    If you take Tioga Pass into Yosemite, then you can head south into Kings Canyon/Sequoia. From there, there would be several ways to get to SFO, depending on how much time you have left. You would be leaving Sequoia through Three Rivers to Visalia. Fastest way would be 198 to I-5. If you have more time, you could take 41 and 46 to the coast at Cambria and take the PCH.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    South of England.

    Default A great trip !

    Hi, that's a nice trip you have planned with plenty of photo opportunities !

    From Vegas you would head to Pahrump on 160 and then take Bell Vista Ave just north of town that takes you to CA127 where you take a right and immediate left onto CA190 to Furnace Creek. There are lodgings here and at Stovepipe Wells and Panamint Springs if you want to spend a full day here. A short detour south of Furnace Creek takes you to Badwater Basin, the lowest point in the USA. On the way back up take a detour onto the one way 'Artists Drive'. The next day you can head north on 395 towards Mammoth Lakes and Mono Lake where you could spend another night. Then it's the Tioga Pass into Yosemite, allow plenty of time to stop along the way as the views and walks are amazing. I would then spend a couple more nights in Yosemite to explore the Valley, Glacier point and Mariposa Grove. In the park is great if your budget can manage it, if not there are towns such as Groveland, El Portal and Mariposa that have limited lodging. Oakhurst is a little further south and offers the best value and would certainly be an option on your last day in Yosemite as you head south towards Kings Canyon. After a night or 2 here I would suggest the same as above, head to the coast around Cambria and drive CA1 up the coast to Monterey and then onto San Fran which is a lovely City to spend a day or 2 and isn't complete without a trip to Alcatraz.

  4. #4

    Default Thanks for the suggestions

    Hi folks,

    Thanks a lot for the great suggestions. I will take your suggestiong and go through Cambria through big sur to SFO.

    As I looked more into it, I see more options like joshua tree NP & Lassen volcanic NP. I am wondering if there is a way to plan a trip to include at least one of these two NPs.

    I havent booked my flights yet. So, I can even fly into San diego and drive to JTNP and onto death valley. Not sure if this is a sound plan. Do you folks have any thoughts on including Lassen Volcanic or JTNP into the itinerary?

    From the photography viewpoint, all these parks look great while doing my research. Hence the confusion :)

    Any help or thoughts is highly appreciated.


  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin


    I wouldn't recommend Lassen for this trip for a couple reasons.

    The first, is that it really is too early in the season to go. Most of the trails to the main attractions in the park are still closed in early June. I was there last year at the end of June, and I wasn't able to see many of the areas that looked quite interesting.

    The other is that it is just a very long way away from anywhere else you are planning to visit. It's about 5 hours north of San Francisco. I would save that for a trip where you really focus on Northern California, and perhaps Oregon.

    Joshua Tree could work, It's certainly a nice park. However, I would give a word of caution even there about trying to spread yourself too thin. Factoring in the time you want to spend in San Francisco, you've already got a pretty full plate checking out Death Valley, Yosemite, Sequoia, and the Central Coast over the course of a week. I'd sketch out a rough, day by day, itinerary to see what you'd have to do to add JT into your plan, and make sure you're still going to have time to take the pictures you want!

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Melbourne, Australia

    Default So many places in such a short time.

    Your planned trip will take you through some of the most amazing places on the planet. Places which change by the hour, if not the minute, with the light of the sun, a cloud overhead, at sunset and at dawn. I fear you will not be doing these places, nor your profession justice if you plan to photograph them all in a mere 8 - 9 days.

    I do recall years ago, speaking with a world famous landscape photographer. What impressed me most about him, and what I have never forgotten, is what he told us. Having selected the perfect shot, he would sometimes sit there for hours getting the shots in exactly the right light, as well as in the different lights throughout the day - and sometimes night. You could easily spend 8 - 9 days in Death Valley and Yosemite alone, and come home with a most spectacular folio of photos.


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