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  1. Default Las Vegas - Death Valley - Sequoia Park - San Francisco in two days... Advice pls!

    Hi everyone!

    I have to say that I've found very useful information on previous forums, but we still need some orientation...

    We are coming to Vegas on May (first two weeks) and then we continue to San Francisco. We have a tight schedule since we are traveling with a group and we have to be in San Francisco for a specific date. Nonetheless, we are really trying to fit in a brief visit to Death Valley and Sequoia National Park on our way to San San Francisco. We just have two days and one night to do so (and we are already pushing it!), so we are trying to make the most of it. We already know it is a long way and there's a lot to see in both parks, but we would be happy if we can make it to some highlights of Death Valley and some hours in Giants Forest and a visit to General Sherman Tree in Sequoia Park, and then SF... Hopefully we can make it through a nice scenic route and stay in a small typical town in between. We want to have a taste of the area, expecting to be able to go back in the future and include Yosemite plus others...

    So, I have so questions that hopefully someone can help me answer...

    1) Which would be the best shortest route through Death Valley? And by that I mean a route that allows us to see one or two of the not to miss spots, but still keep it as short as possible. We do know that in order to see the spots we will have to make detours, but again... we don't have the ideal time line, so trying to make the best of it.

    2) With that idea, what would be the best place to spend the night? We'd like to sleep as close as possible to Sequoia, in order to start early on the second day...

    3) Considering the choices of places to sleep, we would like a real time estimate, since we are getting very different information when it comes to that.

    Btw, we had to rule out the possibility of Yosemite, because we can't be sure of whether Tioga Pass will be open around May 9th or 10th... So, we figured that the next best option considering the group's interest was Sequoia...

    Thanks in advance!!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Joplin MO
    Posts
    9,270

    Default

    Welcome to RTA!

    1. Depart LV on NV-160 to Pahrump. Turn left on NV-372, which becomes CA-178 to Shoshone. Turn right on CA-127, go about 1 mile, turn left on CA-178. This will take you through Badwater. At CA-190, turn left and go out of the park, stay on 190 (there will be a left turn involved at CA-136) to US-395. Take that south to CA-14 to CA-178 and take that to Bakersfield. From Bakersfield, take CA-99 north to CA-198, take that through Visalia and 3 Rivers into Sequoia. Leave Sequoia on CA-180 to Fresno, then take CA-99 to Manteca, then take CA-120/I-5/I-205/I-580 to SF.

    2/3. Realistically, the farthest you can make it the first day is Bakersfield. This will be about 9 hours PLUS STOPS from LV. From Bakersfield to SF via Sequoia is going to be at least 8 hours PLUS STOPS. You are going to have to get on the road no later than the crack of dawn both days, and if you hit SF in the middle of the week, expect major rush hour delays unless you hole up in Modesto or Manteca/Tracy for dinner and wait till late in the evening to go the rest of the way in.

    If it's getting late you could spend the night in Lake Isabella, this will add about an hour to the next day. If you hit Bakersfield and are able to drive farther, Visalia is just over an hour north on the freeway.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 1998
    Location
    Las Vegas, Nevada
    Posts
    10,059

    Default I favor the locals route

    Actually, it is out of your way to go south to Shoshone -- All locals (Las Vegas) use the back road into Death Valley -- Here is a map and route that shows the route we use. You can scroll in on the map to see what roads to turn on. The more direct route (shown above) will save you about 40 minutes.... And also take you past one of the most iconic photo places in the park -- Zabriskie Point.

    Mark

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    South of England.
    Posts
    10,748

    Default You could leave it open to change.

    With your 'time crunch' I would follow the route suggested by Mark above and aim your sights on getting to Exeter or Three Rivers for the night. I would still consider leaving your options open and if the Tioga Pass were to open you could stopover in Bishop or Lee Vining and go into Yosemite.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Joplin MO
    Posts
    9,270

    Default

    Mark, is the locals route still the best for going to Badwater? Seems to me that it would be out of the way and involve backtracking.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 1998
    Location
    Las Vegas, Nevada
    Posts
    10,059

    Default Bypassing Badwater was the suggestion

    I am suggesting that the member not go through Badwater. That they use the Belle Vista Avenue to State Line Road to CA-190 right into Death Valley (Furnace Creek) and then beyond.

    Going to Shoshone and Badwater is out of the way.

    Mark

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Joplin MO
    Posts
    9,270

    Default

    I agree - if that's the premise. However:

    a route that allows us to see one or two of the not to miss spots
    Badwater is one of the prime spots. Either way, it's going to add time though - you say 40 minutes going either way to include Badwater?

  8. #8

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Mark Sedenquist View Post
    Actually, it is out of your way to go south to Shoshone -- All locals (Las Vegas) use the back road into Death Valley --
    That looks like a fun drive! I'll have to do it next time I'm down that way.

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