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  1. Default San Francisco to Las Vegas June 2016

    Hi, my girlfriend and i are picking our hire car up after 4 days in San Fransisco at the airport at 11am, Wednesday 6th June 2016 and dropping the car at Las Vegas 11am, Saturday 11th June 2016. We would like to see the Napa valley, Yosemite Park, Kings Canyon/Sequoia Park and Death Valley before we drop the car off. I would like any suggestions as to whether its possible to do all in the time frame and places to stay on route, any help would be appreciated as we are from England and want to make the most of our trip to the USA, thanks.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tucson, AZ

    Default Yes, But...

    Welcome aboard the RoadTrip America Forums!

    It's certainly possible to 'do' all those places while driving from San Francisco to Las Vegas, but you'll need to take account of a few factors before you decide if you really want to. After accounting for jet lag and the fact that you probably need to be in Las Vegas the evening of the 10th to make going there worthwhile, you only have four days for the drive. You will have to cover right around 1000 miles, much of it on two lanes roads at the height of tourist season. So, even at best, you will spend most of your time sitting in the car with only a few hours each day to get out and enjoy the natural beauty and quiet of all the places you'll be driving to.

    So the first thing you need to do is determine if that's what you want or if you can drop any of your planned stops. If I were making this trip, I'd probably not try to include the Napa Valley (It can get horribly congested and unless you can spare the time for a tour of one of the wineries, there's not much to see.) or King's Canyon (There's only one road in and it's not a through road, so you'd be covering the same ground twice.) for starters. While that doesn't save you much on miles it would save you some time that you could better spend in Yosemite, Sequoia and Death Valley. Another option is to skip both King's Canyon and Sequoia and leave Yosemite to the east over Tioga Pass and then head directly to Death Valley, concentrating on just those two national parks.

    Once you've made those decisions then we can help you with the other details such as where to lay your heads each night.


  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Southern California


    Here's a thought to add to AZBuck's suggestions: Pick up your rental car a day earlier, and make Napa Valley a DAY TRIP from San Francisco. It's easily done, we've done it a couple of times! Then, the next day, head for Yosemite, up and over Tioga Pass (assuming it has had a reasonable opening date for the year), and down the eastern side of the Sierras to Death Valley,and into Las Vegas by "the local's route".


  4. Default

    Thank you for your helpful replies. How would this sound : Pick the car up Wednesday 11.00 am San Fran Airport and drive towards Yosemite staying overnight just west of the park. Thursday morning up and over Tioga Pass spending a little time in Yosemite and then stopping somewhere down Highway 395. Friday down the east Sierra and into and through Death Valley and stopping somewhere between Death Valley Junction and Vegas to drop the car off at McClarren Airport at 11.00 am on Saturday before spending 4 days in Vegas. Any suggestions of where to stay along this route would be most welcome, thanks

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin


    Your plan might work, but a few things to keep in mind.

    The biggest is that in early June, Tioga Pass might not be open yet. Historically, it opens sometime between mid-May and mid-June, and it all depends upon snowpack. The past several years it's opened in early May, because of dreadfully low amounts of snow, however you only have to go back to 2011 for the last time it didn't open until June 18. There will be no way of knowing until next spring, so you'll have to keep your plans somewhat flexible and be prepared to cross the Sierras elsewhere.

    The other big things I would remember is that the Yosemite Valley is mostly to the west of the Sierras, and it does take a while to get into the valley from outside of the park. If you left SF at 11am, you'd probably get to a hotel outside of the park around 3, but you could be easily looking at another hour to get into the heart of park, and then another hour back out. I would really try to stay inside the park if your budget will allow it. Otherwise, you might look at shifting your rental car times so you are starting either earlier or later in the day. For example, perhaps waiting until mid-afternoon to pick up the car, drive to near Yosemite for the night, and then head into the park the next morning.

    Death Valley is only about 2 hours from Las Vegas, so as long as you don't have a very hard deadline, like for a plane to catch, it's a place you could look to spend the night, even if you keep your 11am return time.

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