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  1. Default Road trip San Francisco to Las Vegas - Yosemite, Route 1, Grand Canyon

    Dear All,
    So excited about posting here as you all seem to be very experienced with great advice to give.

    I have read many posts about the route San Francisco - Las Vegas but nothing seems to include the Pacific Coastal Road which is a must. (Had to reach a deal with husband or no go!)

    Planning first road trip in USA for first two weeks in Oct. Pick up San Francisco, Drop Off Las Vegas. Cannot change this due to excellent offer on flights.

    Travelling in Very small RV (EuroTourer Van) intend to sleep in RV at campsites, or even boon dock if possible on the odd occasion.

    We would like to visit Yosemite, travel down coastal route 1, head inland to Grand Canyon and finish with one or two nights in Las Vegas.

    Am very confused about Yosemite part, as it is huge and there seems to be so many options to visit. Which would be best area for us to do a 1 or 2 night stop, visit the park and easily get back to Coastal route after?
    Would be great to see some giant sequoias also
    Midway through pregnancy so only light hiking, no full day treks.

    Any recommendations on an rv park route 1? or any other for this trip?

    Best way to get from Route 1 to Grand Canyon and where to break the journey overnight?

    At the Grand Canyon would you recommend one night in South and one night north? or just stay in same place for 2 nights?

    About to book the RV this week and all advice, ideas and comments will be so greatly appreciated.

    Kindest Regards

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Melbourne, Australia

    Default You can have it all.

    Hi, and Welcome to the Great American RoadTrip Forum.

    It is really quite easy to include all your wishes in a two week trip. Head down the coast from SF, to Cambria. Take 46 and 41 back inland to Yosemite. If at the time of your visit Tioga Pass is still open - weather dependent - you could cross over the Sierras on 120 to US-395, cross Death Valley (definitely worth a night) and on to LV. Note, the Grand Canyon is not a day visit from LV, you would need to spend a night (or two) at or near the GC. Then back to LV for your flight home.


  3. Default

    Lifemagician, so great to know that this route is doable in the two weeks.

    Yosemite seems so huge, any recommendation for a specific place or part of the park to base ourselves for a night or two before crossing Tioga pass?
    Same for Grand Canyon, would like to stay one or two nights but which part to base ourselves at?

    Going down Route 1 San Francisco to Cambria, will this be enough to take in this great route? Looking to see some beautiful coastline and a beach or two.

    Thanks for your comments!

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Melbourne, Australia

    Default Time to get booking.

    The most scenic part of CA-1 is between SF and Cambria. That is not to say the rest is not worth seeing, but for your purposes, you will see the best of what the coast has to offer.

    As far as Yosemite is concerned, see what space you can get. It might seem a large park, but it is also popular and accommodation, including camping sites sell out fast. Go to the national parks website and see if you can get accommodation within the park. If not, I would check back frequently, at least every day, but more often if you can, to see if there have been any cancellations.

    Same goes for the Grand Canyon.

    I would also consider a night in Death Valley. The night sky, so far away from artificial light, is something very special.

    When you enter the park you will be given maps and brochures which outline all the places to see.


  5. Default

    Hi Lifemagician,

    Death Valley was not on our list but we will be sure to add it to the itinerary.
    Had a quick look at Yosemite Park campsites and there seemed to be availability in several of them around the first week of Oct, I suppose because we will most likely be there mid-week. So I think we will have some choice.
    Any guidance as to a favourite on would be much appreciated.

    Also any nice point to stop over on the CA1 between San Francisco and Leandro?

    Thanks again for helpful input.


  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Southern California


    You asked about Grand Canyon North and South Rim. The South Rim is, by far, the more utilized rim. It's easier to get to (about a 5 hour drive from Las Vegas), has more services, and is open year-round. The North Rim, is another 5-6 hours from the South Rim, because you have to go around "the long way". There's no bridge over the Canyon (and most of us hope there never will be). There are fewer services, and (for your planning purposes), the services close on Oct. 15th this year. I have been to the South Rim on three or four different trips, but to the North Rim only once.


  7. Default

    Donna, thanks for your comment. Very useful to know. I guess we will stay around the South rim.
    Have a great day.

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

    Default Campgrounds and alternative.

    One of the 3 'Pines' campgrounds in Yosemite Valley is where I would head, they are central to most things and in a lovely wooded setting.

    Would be great to see some giant sequoias also
    There are Giant Sequoia's in Yosemite NP near the south entrance at Mariposa Grove. You really must drive up to Glacier point abd take the short walk to the viewpoint, it's jaw dropping good ! Plan on spending at least 2 nights in camp.

    Tioga Pass and down through Death valley is a great route as described by Lifemagician although you would go through LV to GC and then back to LV. Another option would be to head to Yosemite and then back to Monterey and then south down the PCH. From the Cambria area you could head to the GC South rim, where you should try and book the Trailer village [hook ups] or Mather campground [without hook ups] as both are close to the rim and village area. Now you would have the option of heading North into Southern Utah and the NP's of Bryce and Zion, or just Zion as Bryce is a bit of a detour. You could also check out Monument valley as you leave GC. Then from Zion head south on I15 to Vegas with a possible detour through the Valley of Fire.

    Both options will be great, it really comes down to how many days of your 14 you want to spend in each place.

  9. Default

    Hi Southwest Dave,

    This is some great info and just the details I was was also looking for.
    The Yosemite-Monterrey- Cambria option seems like it involves less backtracking and looks like a good choice, although would miss Tioga pass with that.

    We would like to spend a couple of nights in each major visiting point and have some rest days from driving.

    Will check out the campsites you mention and see if there are spaces available.

    Any other recommendations for night stopover points on this route would also be much appreciated (PCH, Cambria- GC South rim)

    Thanks again for everyone's time in helping out a first timer!


  10. #10
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin


    You really don't save any driving by doing Yosemite first, (the distance between the two options Dave laid out are nearly identical) so I would do the coast first, which will let you do Tioga Pass and Death Valley.

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