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  1. #1

    Default San Francisco to Las Vegas in December - some advice please?

    We are travelling to America this December. Planning to drive from San Francisco to Las Vegas via Big Sur and the from there not sure which way we should go? First time in the area so would appreciate some advice on this trip. Is there snow in this area?

    Just found lots of advice threads so will work my way through those.

    Just wondered if there is snow at that time of the year in Death Valley?

    Thanks
    Last edited by Colleen52; 04-06-2015 at 03:57 AM.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Melbourne, Australia
    Posts
    6,936

    Default Do you want to see snow or avoid snow?

    Hi Colleen, and Welcome to the Great American Roadtrip Forum.

    Nah, there is not likely to be any snow in Death Valley. I'm not sure if it ever snows there. What I do know is, it won't be death defying hot in December. I recall when I spent time there it was May and the temperature was over 100F by 10am. It is an amazing place and well worth spending a night - though you would need to book early. The night sky is spectacular.

    Now, if you do want to see snow, head to Yosemite. By December Tioga Pass will most likely be closed but you can still drive up to it and see the snow all around. That was what my first visit to Yosemite was like. Bring your thermals with you.

    It is likely to be quite a bit cooler than Perth going down the Pacific Coast Highway.

    How many days will you have for the drive? The PCH from SF to LA takes two days. The best part of the coast is north of Cambria. You could take it as far as Cambria, and then head inland. Depending how much time you have dictates what you could see on the way to LV. It would take an extra day just to visit Yosemite or Sequoia and at least another day for Death Valley.

    Do you have any maps to reference all this?

    Lifey

  3. #3

    Default

    Thank you for your reply. Looking at 3 days travel. Wasn't looking to see snow and had decided Yosemite was probably inaccessible so thought Death Valley instead. Havent got any maps yet.

    Cheers Colleen

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Joplin MO
    Posts
    9,271

    Default

    Yosemite is accessible year-round, but only from the west and you may be required to carry tire chains depending on current conditions.

    With only 3 days, you won't have time to do both the coast and Yosemite anyway - and Death Valley would have to be a relatively quick drivethrough.

  5. #5

    Default

    Thank you for your advice.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Melbourne, Australia
    Posts
    6,936

    Default Access to maps.

    Quote Originally Posted by Colleen52 View Post
    Haven't got any maps yet.
    Colleen you could get a road atlas from the shop on the green bar above. The Rand McNally is probably the most used. If you order it now you will have it in a couple of weeks.

    If you do not want to bring the atlas with you, be sure to bring your WA RAC membership with you. It will give you access to free maps and tourism information from the AAA anywhere in the US. You could pick up individual maps of CA, NV and AZ while in SF.

    You do not say how long you are going to be in LV, but one thing comes to mind. You will see a lot of brochures and advertisements for trips to the Grand Canyon. Be aware that most of those do NOT go to the national park. They nearly all only go to the west rim which is nothing like the spectacular views you would be used to seeing from the GC. Tours to the Skywalk also only go to the west rim, are horrendously expensive and on top of that cameras are forbidden.

    Just thought I'd throw that in, just in case.

    Lifey

  7. #7

    Default

    Thanks Lifey

    So what tour to Grand Canyon should we do? Was thinking of one that includes helicopter. Thinking of having three nights in LV.

    Is LA worth seeing was thinking of giving it a miss?


    Thanks for tip about bringing the RAC card.

    Cheers Colleen

  8. #8
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
    13,064

    Default

    When it comes to the Grand Canyon, you simply can't beat visiting the actual National Park. It's the place where you'll find all of the famous views, that just can't compare to anywhere else.

    Most helicopter tours based out of Vegas do not go to Grand Canyon National Park, they only go to the West Rim, which is on Tribal Lands where the Canyon is not as deep or spectacular. That is also where you'll find the skywalk. The only advantage to this site is that it is much closer to Vegas, which is why many tours focus on that location.

    The National Park is about 5 hours away from Vegas by car, so you really need an overnight stay to do it justice on a trip from Vegas - but that time is well worth it.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Joplin MO
    Posts
    9,271

    Default

    If you have to make a choice between LA and spending a night at the Grand Canyon, I'd vote for the GC in an instant. However, if cities are more your thing than nature, your choice may be the opposite.

  10. #10

    Default

    Would we better to go to GC before Vegas en route from San Francisco? Hope that's not a dumb question ? I really must get a map.

    What accommodation would you recommend at the Grand Canyon?

    Thank you for all this useful advice.

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