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  1. Default Last Minute: San Fran - Yosemite - PCH (Santa Cruz-Santa Barbara) - Las Vegas - Zion

    Hi Folks,

    As usual I have left it to the last minute, but would like to take my folks on a Road Trip to California (both Seniors 65+). I would appreciate any advice on the following itinerary, plus any alternative routes (e.g. return back to SF):

    3/24 Day 0 Arrive San Fran
    3/25 Day 1 San Fran
    3/26 Day 2 San Fran
    3/27 Day 3 San Fran - Yosemite - Leave SF via Muir Woods to Yosemite accommodation e.g. Mariposa/Sonora (or similar ideas appreciated) inorder to visit Yosemite the next day. Route Ideas?
    3/28 Day 4 Yosemite - Spend day here with Lower floor bus tour. Concerns over snow chain requirements (have a rental, buy or hire chains? Or consider taking public transport into the park instead, due to rental restrictions on chains?)
    3/29 Day 5 Yosemite - Monterey - Route Ideas?
    3/30 Day 6 Monterey - San Luis Obispo
    3/31 Day 7 San Luis Obispo - Santa Barbara
    4/01 Day 8 Santa Barbara
    4/02 Day 9 Santa Barbara to Las Vegas. Route ideas / traffic / times to avoid?
    4/03 Day 10 Las Vegas
    4/04 Day 11 Las Vegas - Zion - Possibly stay in Spring Dale. Route ideas?
    4/05 Day 12 Zion - Possibly include another national park?
    4/06 Day 13 Zion - Las Vegas - Drive back to LV in the morning for an evening flight back.

    Main concern is around Yosemite particularly with the Snow Chain requirements and where to stay, which highway, plus alternate public transport into the park, plus trying to avoid National parks where alot of walking is required due to taking the folks.

    Many Thanks in advance :)
    Last edited by LastMinuteTrip; 03-22-2015 at 07:56 AM. Reason: Alt Routes

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Joplin MO


    Welcome to RTA!

    I'll take this in order.

    The Golden Gate Bridge is all-electronic tolling, but tolls are only collected southbound. This means for maximum convenience, you should not go back through the city after visiting Muir Woods. There are a few routes from there to Yosemite, some of which involve the toll bridges, but those will accept cash. From there to Yosemite the drive can be made in 4 hours, so I'd avoid the tolls and the Oakland area by taking 101 north to 37 to I-80. Take I-80 east to 12 and take that across to 99. Best way across to either Sonora or Mariposa is 120. Another option is stay on 12 to 49 and take that in to Sonora.

    I doubt that chains will be required next weekend in Yosemite. There is no snow in the 7 day forecast and it's been a very light winter for snow anyway. However, Glacier Point and the Tioga Pass Road are still closed. You should be able to drive right into the valley on either 120 or 140.

    Yosemite to Monterey is about 4 hours, I'd take 41 south out of the park to 145 to 99, go north to 152 and take that to 101 to 156. Another option is 140 to Merced, then 59 to 152.

    Santa Barbara to Las Vegas is a bit tricky if you want to avoid traffic, and is going to take at least 6 hours. I'd probably leave after morning rush hour, 9am should be okay. Take 101 south to 126 and take that to I-5. Go south about 2 miles and take Magic Mountain Parkway east. Go about 2 miles and turn left on Valencia Blvd. This will become Soledad Canyon Rd, take it to 14. Take that to the Vincent exit and take Sierra Hwy into Palmdale. This becomes the Pearblossom Hwy and bear right where 138 comes in, follow 138 east. Where 138 again bears right, stay straight on 18 to I-15, take that to Las Vegas.

    Las Vegas to Zion is about 3 hours via I-15 and UT-9. If you want to make a day of it, you could take 147 to 167 to the Valley of Fire. 169 will take you to I-15. Springdale is an excellent place to stay for Zion.

    I doubt you would have time to see another park after Zion, but Bryce Canyon is about 2 hours north and can be seen fairly quickly in about 4 hours. It's 4 to 5 hours from Bryce back to Las Vegas.

  3. Default

    Thank you so much for your advice, I would not even have considered some of the routes mentioned, plus the reassurance around Yosemite is much appreciated.

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