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  1. #1

    Default From Yellowstone to San Fransisco


    I'm new here on this forum, so perhaps my question is a "standard" one, but still I hope some of you can get me some advice.

    I'm busy with planning our summer holiday. Part of the trip is the route from Yellowstone to San Fransisco. Because my wife and daughter don't like driving a lot, I got the advice to do this part of our trip in about 4 days, starting august 1.

    Day 1 we want to visit Craters Of The Moon and go to Meridian, about 600km. (370miles)
    Day 2 to Alturas, also about 600km.(370miles)
    Day 3 we want to go to Bluff and visit Lassen Volcanic Park, about 325Km. (200miles)
    Day 4 to San Fransisco, about 310km.(200miles)

    My question is, if someone has any tips, comments or maybe some alternative routes/destinations, things to do or to see?
    Any suggestion is welcome!

    Thank you already


  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    South of England.

    Default The bigger picture.

    Hello and wecome to RTA ! Does your trip end in SF ? It is a help if we have the outline of your whole trip rather than just a section to give good advice. For example, if Yosemite NP is not part of your trip plans then I would seriousy consider it while travelling between Yellowstone and SF. Have you allowed enough time for the Grand tetons as you depart from Yelowstone?

  3. #3


    No, our trip starts and end in Las Vegas. We'll stay there for 2 nights, and then we're off for our 'great adventure'. First via Zion to Bryce, where we'll be the next day. Then to the North Rim of The Grand Canyon. Then to Monument Valley and the next day to Arches, where we'll also be staying a whole day. Dinosaur is plannend on day 9, then to Flaming Gorge. The next day a whole day Grand Teton (day 11). After that a day at Yellowstone.
    The part from Yellowstone is mentioned above.
    After a whole day in San Fransisco, we'll travel on day 19 to Yosemite. Again a whole day there, then via Death Valley to Las Vegas. To 'cool down' we'll stay there for another day and then we're on our way back home.

    Most parts of this trip our carefully planned and worked out (things to see, things to do), the only part that I still have questions about is the part from Yellowstone to San Fransisco. I've heard that the coastline north of San Fransisco is also worth a visit, so maybe I'll have to adjust our plans and travel along the coastline south. So maybe through Redding to Eureka and then south. The problem is that we're planning on driving no longer than around 600km. I'm the only one who's allowed to drive, so no backup in that case.

    But hopefully there are some suggestions from readers.....?????

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    South of England.

    Default Yellowstone.

    To be honest I would take a much more direct approach to SF and spend at least 2.5 days in Yellowstone. The park is huge and the going is slow, it is like no other place on earth and with just one day you would have barely dipped your toes in the shallow end before it's time to leave. I would also recommend staying closer to Zion and continuing to Bryce the following day. Both are spectacular but you can see Bryce quicker as it's more about enjoying the views from the rim, whereas in Zion you get shuttles into the canyon and then you can stroll along the Virgin river.

  5. #5


    I would love to spend more time in all of the NP, but most parts of our trip are already booked.
    The only part which is still open is the four days between Yellowstone and San Fransisco.
    So that's why I asked about that part.

    Still it's nice to read your suggestions, maybe we can use them in a future trip.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Southern California


    If you have four days to go from Yellowstone to San Francisco, this is what I'd do: Use one of those to spend a 2nd day at Yellowstone. (You'll hardly scratch the surface of what's to see at YNP in only a day, it's HUGE.) Take another day to drive from YNP through Grand Teton, head west at Jackson towards I-15. Overnight somewhere in that area. Spend the 3rd of those days driving from that overnight down to somewhere along I-80, such as Elko or Winnemucca (depending on how far you get the night of Grand Teton). Then the 4th day can be the one that will get you into SF.

    This is what we did this summer:
    Day 1 - Beartooth Hwy Red Lodge into Yellowstone, see YNP's NE quadrant
    Day 2 - Yellowstone south portion of Grand Loop 8 road.
    Day 3 - Yellowstone north portion of Grand Loop 8 road.
    Day 4 - YNP to Grand Teton, overnight in Driggs, ID
    Day 5 - Driggs, ID to Elko NV via I-15, I-86(?) and US-93(?) to I-80, overnight Elko
    Day 6 - Elko to my cousin's in the Bay Area

    Granted, the last 2 days were both between 450 and 550 miles, but that's how we roll on a travel day.

    Just some thoughts on how to make it work for you.


  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    South of England.

    Default Alternative.

    The only part which is still open is the four days between Yellowstone and San Fransisco.
    That still gives you the option of staying another day in Yellowstone and staying nearby, but of course it is your choice. If you did so and visited Craters of the Moon you could opt to stay in Twin Falls which has the Snake river canyon running through it with waterside parks and Perrine Bridge. You may even have time to visit nearby Shoshone Falls, aka the Niagra of the west. [They will be drier at this time of year but stil a nice sight] Perhaps the following day you could head towards Lake Tahoe and spend a little time there before continuing to SF.

  8. Default

    Zion is a full day in my opinion. When i was there i walked the trail along the Virgin River, but i wanted to explore further, so a group of us continued into the Narrows, where the trail continues, IN the Virgin River!

  9. #9


    Okay.... I think I will try to stay one more day in Yellowstone. At least I will make the suggestion here at home ;-) That means at least 2 long driving days, so the final word is up to them.

    @DonnaR57: We've already planned to go to Grand Teton, the day before YNP. Yes, I know: it's all a bit too short, but this trip is already too expensive to make it even longer... ;-)

    @Southwest Dave: Thanks for the tips like the Shoshone Falls, I'll try to put it in our trip.

    @The Traveler: Yes I already know that many people find Zion nicer than Bryce. But this is how everything is planned..... maybe someday..... in the far, far future.... ;-)

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    South of England.


    I don't think they would regret spending more time in Yellowstone and driving in the west of the USA is much easier and more enjoyable than it is here in [most of] Europe. Big wide open spaces and plenty of chance to pull over and stretch the legs and take in the views to break the journey.

    Whatever you decide I am sure you will have a wonderful trip !

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