Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 10 of 14
  1. Default Round trip LV to San Fran to LV , or LV to San Fran, 21-28 days.Where to start?!

    This weekend I'm booking a fly drive for our dream US road trip from the UK. I've so far been writing a list of routes and places we want to experience and the list is long! Our main interest is scenery and history. Not city people at all, but are doing Vegas out of curiosity with friends and San Fran for, mainly, Alcatraz.

    I guess my biggest question is, is this list too much for a 21-28 day trip?
    Can it be done flying into Vegas and out of San Fran (seems to me there'd be quite some driving up and down Ca! We'd want to nip into Arizona to do Route 66 in the NW corner, possibly Grand Canyon then head off up the east side of the redwoods and Yosemite, down the west side to experience the redwoods and over to the coast to stop of in San Fran for a few nights) or would it be better to arrange a loop from Vegas to Lake Tahoe to San Fran, back down via the redwoods, along Route 66 territory to the NW tip of Arizona and fly back out of Vegas. Pricewise for a flydrive, the quote I've had from Virgin, there's only a couple of hundred quid difference.

    So, see what you think, I'd be grateful for any and every tip:

    Starting in Vegas we're looking to, after 4 nights there with friends who only have the 4 nights in the US, head off on our own (2 adults) to experience/pass through (in whatever order seems to make the most sense depending on whether we do a round trip or into and out of different airports):
    Lake Mead/ Valley of Fire
    Route 66 in NW Arizona and Grand Canyon
    Death Valley, Red Rock Canyon maybe
    Bishop
    Mammoth Lakes
    120 to Yosemite
    Bodie
    Lake Tahoe
    Donner State Park (I have a huge interest in pioneer history)
    Sacramento
    Sutter's Fort
    San Fran for 3 or 4 nights
    Monterey route or Fresno route
    Sequoias
    Bakersfield
    Randsburg and/or Rhyolite
    Barstow, Baker, Mojave - Kelso onto Route 66 to Needles to Kingman then into Arizona or straight off back to Vegas.

    I have the massive Benchmark map of California but really haven't looked into mileage or the typical speeds on the roads through scenic areas and have no idea of good places to stop overnight as my planning is very much in the early stages and is, at present, just a wish list of places to visit, so any help gratefully accepted.

    The trip is likely to start mid September 2015, that way I hope not to have to think about the Tioga Pass closing due to adverse weather!

    For now the only urgency is to decide which airport to fly home from, then I have plenty of time to get into the nittygritty of what to see and routes. That decision is probably the hardest one to make!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Tucson, AZ
    Posts
    9,358

    Default The Big Questions

    Welcome aboard the RoadTrip America Forums!

    To answer your 'biggest question' first - No, that's not too ambitious a plan for three to four weeks. And mid-September forward is a good time to do it as most Americans will be back at work/school after their summer vacations. I would, however, plan to put the Tioga Pass crossing toward the beginning of that time frame because it can see significant snowfall even in early October. Remember, it starts snowing there weeks before they actually close it because they can't keep up anymore.

    The other major decision I would urge you to make is to do this as a loop trip, returning to the same city that you fly into. This should reduce costs for both the airline tickets and car hire, and helps to maximize the amount you get to see. On such loops as you would be doing, an anti-clockwise direction works best out of Las Vegas because it would both get you to Tioga Pass early and put the ocean on your side of the road as you traverse the Pacific Coast Highway (PCH, CA-1) from San Francisco down to Los Angeles. Other gateway cities you should consider are Phoenix, San Francisco, and Los Angeles.

    For more information on sites to see in that general area, check out these discussions.

    AZBuck

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    South of England.
    Posts
    10,749

    Default The loop would work.

    Hello and welcome to the RTA forums !

    You seem to have a good handle on the things you want to see and it's quite possible with the time you have. I think the loop trip will be favourite here and given your list, will not add many miles. September is a great time to travel in thses parts !

    Depending on how long your trip actually turns out to be, you could consider adding Zion NP in southern Utah to that list and possibly Monument valley and Lake Powell and other attractions near Page AZ. You could start by making your way to GC via Hoover dam and route 66 towns of Kingman, Seligman and Williams and then out to Monument Valley and through Page to Zion NP and then as you head south on I15 visit Valley of Fire SP. From then on you have various ways to complete your trip, or indeed you don't have to include Zion etc, but I do think the loop will work best if you are looking to book flights and then get down to the nitty gritty.

    I would also consider driving further south past Monterey on CA1 to Cambria and 'catch 'one of the worlds great coastal drives around Big Sur. You could actually go up to Tahoe and across to Sacramento, SF and the coast and then cut inland to Sequoia and Yosemite and back over Tioga and through Death valley to finish your trip. Note that Bodie has an unmade section of road and taking a rental on it would be violating the terms of the rental contract

  4. Default

    Quote Originally Posted by AZBuck View Post
    Welcome aboard the RoadTrip America Forums!

    To answer your 'biggest question' first - No, that's not too ambitious a plan for three to four weeks. And mid-September forward is a good time to do it as most Americans will be back at work/school after their summer vacations. I would, however, plan to put the Tioga Pass crossing toward the beginning of that time frame because it can see significant snowfall even in early October. Remember, it starts snowing there weeks before they actually close it because they can't keep up anymore.

    The other major decision I would urge you to make is to do this as a loop trip, returning to the same city that you fly into. This should reduce costs for both the airline tickets and car hire, and helps to maximize the amount you get to see. On such loops as you would be doing, an anti-clockwise direction works best out of Las Vegas because it would both get you to Tioga Pass early and put the ocean on your side of the road as you traverse the Pacific Coast Highway (PCH, CA-1) from San Francisco down to Los Angeles. Other gateway cities you should consider are Phoenix, San Francisco, and Los Angeles.

    For more information on sites to see in that general area, check out these discussions.

    AZBuck
    thanks AZBuck. Interestingly, there isn't alot of price difference between flying home from LV or SF. We don't plan on going down to the coast to LA as we did LA a few years ago. I would do as you suggest though, and get Yosemite done in the early part of the trip.
    I had a feeling my list of places to see might be a bit ambitious :)

  5. Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Southwest Dave View Post
    Hello and welcome to the RTA forums !

    You seem to have a good handle on the things you want to see and it's quite possible with the time you have. I think the loop trip will be favourite here and given your list, will not add many miles. September is a great time to travel in thses parts !

    Depending on how long your trip actually turns out to be, you could consider adding Zion NP in southern Utah to that list and possibly Monument valley and Lake Powell and other attractions near Page AZ. You could start by making your way to GC via Hoover dam and route 66 towns of Kingman, Seligman and Williams and then out to Monument Valley and through Page to Zion NP and then as you head south on I15 visit Valley of Fire SP. From then on you have various ways to complete your trip, or indeed you don't have to include Zion etc, but I do think the loop will work best if you are looking to book flights and then get down to the nitty gritty.

    I would also consider driving further south past Monterey on CA1 to Cambria and 'catch 'one of the worlds great coastal drives around Big Sur. You could actually go up to Tahoe and across to Sacramento, SF and the coast and then cut inland to Sequoia and Yosemite and back over Tioga and through Death valley to finish your trip. Note that Bodie has an unmade section of road and taking a rental on it would be violating the terms of the rental contract
    I would so love to add most of Utah! I think that will have to be done on a separate trip. We are leaving at home a 18 year old and 21 year old and whilst I'm sure they'd be ok I don't want to be gone any longer than 4 weeks. Could perhaps stretch to the most south western corner of Utah. Need more road maps :)

    I had heard about the road into Bodie and car rental agreements. Is there any other way of getting to see Bodie? I take it that it's a fair drive from the main road?

    I'll check the map again to see if we can get some Big Sur in there too.

    Am I correct in thinking that access to the Seqouias and Kings Canyon can only be done from the west?

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    South of England.
    Posts
    10,749

    Default Answers.

    I would so love to add most of Utah! I think that will have to be done on a separate trip. We are leaving at home a 18 year old and 21 year old and whilst I'm sure they'd be ok I don't want to be gone any longer than 4 weeks.
    Much depends on what pace you want to travel at, but 4 weeks would be more than enough time to consider including some other attractions as mentioned and also some not mentioned, Bryce canyon for example. ;-)

    2] It's just that most rental agreements prohibit you travelling along unmade road although I'm sure many do. Perhaps a case of Ignorance is bliss, but the risk being that if the car was damaged and/or needed a tow it would most likely be at your own expense. I have not heard of any bus tours out to Bodie from Lee Vining area but a search would provide the answer.

    3] Monterey to Cambria can be comfortably travelled in a day and would be worth it imo.

    4] Yes you are correct, the Sierra Nevada stands in the way of Lone Pine and the Sequoia's and although there are mountain passes that avoid going as far south as Bakersfield it would be more time consuming.

  7. Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Southwest Dave View Post
    Much depends on what pace you want to travel at, but 4 weeks would be more than enough time to consider including some other attractions as mentioned and also some not mentioned, Bryce canyon for example. ;-)

    2] It's just that most rental agreements prohibit you travelling along unmade road although I'm sure many do. Perhaps a case of Ignorance is bliss, but the risk being that if the car was damaged and/or needed a tow it would most likely be at your own expense. I have not heard of any bus tours out to Bodie from Lee Vining area but a search would provide the answer.

    3] Monterey to Cambria can be comfortably travelled in a day and would be worth it imo.

    4] Yes you are correct, the Sierra Nevada stands in the way of Lone Pine and the Sequoia's and although there are mountain passes that avoid going as far south as Bakersfield it would be more time consuming.
    thanks Dave. Yes, Bryce would be a must if poss! (I was lucky enough to do alot of NPs in 1981 with my parents, hooked from an early age!)

  8. Default Return roadtrip vegas to San Fran Road trip Draft Number 1! Advice on timings please.

    Well, since booking our return flights to Vegas I've spent many an evening researching a route and places to visit. The timing is the hardest part - knowing which town to book overnight accomodation at.

    So, if anyone would care to take a look and critique draft number 1 please feel free. I'm aware this is a big task, throwing my draft in its entirety to one thread. Would be happy to hear about anything we might have missed out or if any timings don't sound achievable. As always with our trips to the US we plan to have a whirlwind trip and fly home tired :)

    Mainly we are after seeing scenic and historic areas of interest. We aren't very active, we like to walk but not for hours and hours, no skiing or water rafting adventures! We don't want to spend more than 4 hours a day driving, aren't big on wine or fine dining and as long as we have a clean and comfortable room at night and feel safe we'll be happy.

    Trip starts with 4 nights in Vegas, accomodation already booked.

    Saturday 19th Sept 2015 Drive to Rhyolite (not sure which way yet, Highway 95 or the 160-> 190) then hoping to do as much of DV as we can, staying overnight at Furnace Creek Ranch.

    Sunday 20th Sept. Any remaining sightseeing at DV then on to Lone Pine for Alabama Hills and the film museum. Will either add Manzanar on this day or the next day, not sure how much time we need in Lone Pine. So can either stay overnight in Lone Pine or push on to Independence or Bishop/

    Monday 21st Sept. Manzanar and then Bishop overnight. Explore any of these: Laws Railroad Museum & Historic Site, Volcanic Tableland, Paiute Shoshone Indian Cultural Centre, Keough Hot Springs, Hot Creek Geological Site

    Tues 22nd Sept. Make our way to Lee Vining for an overnight stop. Possibly exploring Mammoth Lakes/June Loop, see Tufa at southern end of Mono Lake.

    Weds 23rd Sept Push on to Bodie Ghost Town (am aware of road risk to hire car as advised on this forum). Overnight at Bridgeport.

    Thurs 24th Sept. Undecided here. Either drive up to Carson City and stay there, look for historical sites, or drive to South Lake Tahoe. Or both. So let's assume staying at South lake Tahoe.

    Fri 25th Sept. Scenic drive up to Tahoe City (worth a stop overnight?)

    Saturday 26th Sept. Truckee, Donner Summit (anything much here?) I am a fan of pioneer travel so stopping at the Donner State Memorial Park. Push on towards Nevada City (not yet researched but might be worth a stop) or Sacramento. One or two nights in Sacramento.

    Sunday 28th Sept. Get to San Fran. 3 nights here, main interest is Alcatraz and then general sightseeing.

    Weds 1st Oct. Head to Gold Country. This is where my planning gets more vague, haven't had the time to look in too much detail about places to visit, at this stage I just wanted to make sure we'd make it back to Vegas in time for our flight home! Possibly staying at Sutter Creek.

    Thurs 2nd Oct. Would like to see what Columbia, Sonora and Jamestown have to offer and stay close to Yosemite.

    Fri 3rd Oct. Yosemite. Not sure where to stay at the end fo the day - Mariposa? Oakhurst? Fresno?

    Sat 4th Oct. Sequoias. 2 days here? Seems to me there are two parts to the Sequoias - the area around General Sherman and then around Trail of 100 Giants. End up around Lake Isabella.

    Sun 5th Oct. Two choices - Bakersfield or 178 to Ridgecrest. I'd like to see Pinnacles and Randsburg and then head for Barstow.

    Tues 7th Oct?? Explore Barstow's Rte 66 museum. Possibly Calico. We have done both before, loved it, but could omit if not enough time.

    Same day or Weds 8th Oct Drive I40 to Needles. Rte 66 to Kingman. Then on to Boulder City for overnight stop.

    Weds 8th or Thurs 9th Hoover Dam and back to Vegas for overnight stop before flying home on the evening of the 10th
    I'm not convinced such tight timing is advisable. We should be allowing for the unexpected! Maybe getting back to Vegas by the 7th would be a better idea? We could spend any time after that exploring Lake Powell perhaps and be safe in the knowledge that we are unlikely to miss our flight home! If we did this I'm not sure where we could make up time along the road trip.

    Over to you, experienced road trippers! I'm ready for whatever advice you can offer!

    Mod note. Please keep all questions regarding this trip in the one thread. Thank you
    Last edited by Southwest Dave; 11-02-2014 at 05:48 PM. Reason: Merged threads

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    South of England.
    Posts
    10,749

    Default

    You certainly are not too rushed with the time you have available and you have obviously done your homework and found things of interest to you. I would recommend you spend a couple of full days around Yosemite as it is a big park with lots to see and do and is quite magnificent ! Sequoia and Kings canyon are joined National parks but the area with the 'Trail of 100 giants' in is actually the Sequoia National forest and not part of the National park. It's a lovely, yet remote and mountainous area that's slow going on the twisty roads. If you go this route then Kernville/Lake Isabella area is a good choice to overnight. On leaving Yosemite you could stop in Oakhurst and if you are not planning on staying in Sequoia NP, Three rivers has lodgings just out of the south entrance.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Southern California
    Posts
    4,546

    Default

    Also in the Bishop area (about an hour southeast) is the Ancient Bristlecone Pines Forest in the Inyo National Forest. These are definitely the oldest trees, and located at up at 10,000 ft elevation. Wear a sweatshirt, you'll need it!

    Donna

Similar Threads

  1. Advice for first road trip. San Fran-LA-Grand Canyon-Vegas-Yosemite-San Fran
    By noisyninja in forum Planning Summer RoadTrips
    Replies: 6
    Last Post: 01-14-2014, 03:17 PM
  2. San Fran to LA to Vegas and return to San Fran in 4 days
    By JoeDuffy in forum RoadTrip Field Reports
    Replies: 2
    Last Post: 12-27-2013, 12:32 AM
  3. San Fran to Yellowstone (Round Trip) -Yellowstone to Pacific Coast?
    By kiwi_j in forum Planning Summer RoadTrips
    Replies: 10
    Last Post: 08-17-2011, 09:55 AM
  4. San Fran (to LA?) to Vegas to San fran in 8ish days..
    By Nitin in forum Going to Las Vegas!
    Replies: 4
    Last Post: 10-02-2007, 08:00 AM
  5. Road trip in Nov San Fran to LA to LV to Yosmite to San fran
    By aNNMARIE in forum Fall & Winter RoadTrips
    Replies: 8
    Last Post: 05-04-2007, 09:31 AM

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •  
  • Find the Perfect Hotel
    Search RoadTrip Motels
    Enter city name

    Loading...



  • MORE STORIES