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  1. Default Reno to Las Vegas in September


    First of all well done and thanks for such a great site, lots of very useful info from reading the pages and the forum!

    My wife and I are planning to drive from Reno to Las Vegas as part of a holiday in September. We'll be visiting the east coast first, and getting an internal flight arriving into Reno probably on Fri 23rd Sep. We have a flight booked out of Las Vegas on Tue 4th October. My plan is something like this:

    Day 1 (Sep 23) - Fly into Reno, get a hire car from airport, drive to (South?) Lake Tahoe
    Day 2 (Sep 24) - Explore Lake Tahoe
    Day 3 (Sep 25) - Drive to Yosemite Village (I've heard this fills up quickly, but seems to be some accommodation still available at Half Dome Village)
    Day 4 (Sep 26) - Explore Yosemite
    Day 5 (Sep 27) - Drive to Sequoia NP, probably stay in Three Rivers
    Day 6 (Sep 28) - Explore Sequoia and/or Kings Canyon
    Day 7 (Sep 29) - Drive to Kernville
    Day 8 (Sep 30) - Drive to Las Vegas, via Death Valley if car hire company allows it. Drop off the car in Vegas
    Day 9 (Oct 1) - Day in Vegas
    Day 10 (Oct 2) - Trip to Grand Canyon (either get another car, or book with a company), overnight there
    Day 11 (Oct 3) - Back to Vegas, spend night
    Day 12 (Oct 4) - Flight from Vegas home

    I'd be very happy for any general feedback anyone would be willing to offer, but also have a few sepcific questions:

    1) Any recommendations for a car hire company that doesn't charge one-way fees, and will allow us to drive through Death Valley? Do rental companies only prohibit driving through DV in summer, will we be OK in late Sep / early Oct? I've found a comparison website ( which claims if I book via them with Dollar or Thrify won't change a one-way fee, however when I go direct to their websites they seem to include a one-way fee, so I'm a bit apprehensive about booking with an intermediary to find a nasty surprise when we get there.

    2) I got the idea to over night in Kernville from another similar trip thread ( which recommends McNallys Fairview Lodge -but I'm tempted to try and drive a bit further that day, perhaps as far as the 395. Kernville sounds nice though. Any thoughts?

    3) I think that a week driving is enough, hence I'm tempted to ditch the car on arrival in Vegas as above, then use an organised trip to visit the Grand Canyon. I've read that one day trips don't do it justice so I'm thinking a two day organised trip, the ones I've looked at seem to allow most of the second day as free time. Would we be better to get a car, perhaps seperate from first rental (e.g. two days from Vegas) and do it ourselves?

    4) Any recommendations for places to stay around Lake Tahoe and/or Three Rivers? We've had a lot of people tell us we'd like Lake Tahoe. Three Rivers I've guessed would be a good base for Sequoia / Kings Canyon, and I get the impression that staying in the NPs tends to be more expensive, so if we stay in Yosemite maybe we compromise and stay just outside for Sequioa to help the budget.

    We're both pretty active and keen to do hiking/cycling/canoeing or whatever so ideally want to be close to that. Budget wise we'd probably be looking for mid-range, if its clean, ideally has en-suite and there are places to eat nearby that'll do! My wife's not big on camping...

    5) If as above we gave ourselves a full day to explore Kings Canyon and/or Sequoia, would you suggest we focus on one, or try and see a bit of both? We may be able to see a bit of them on the days we're driving from Yosemite or to Kernville I guess.

    Thanks in advance,

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

    Default Some thoughts.

    Hello and welcome to the RTA forums !

    You have a nice trip planned.

    1] It's usually only RV's that are prohibited from driving through Death valley and in a car you should be fine if you remain on paved roads. Always check your t & c's though. I have used and have been very happy with the service and prices. Check the small print as always.

    2] Kernville is a lovely little town and although you could travel further, by the time you have spent the day in Sequoia you might find it far enough. There are boating activities on the Kern river but not sure how you will fit it in. I would check out Kings canyon on the day of arrival as it's a slow drive back from Three rivers. You can then enjoy Sequoia the following morning.

    3] I think keeping your car for the duration will be best all round. You can't visit the GC National park [south rim] on a day trip and you have to check that if you do take a tour, it does indeed go to the National park as many go to the west rim on Indian lands which is nowhere near as spectacular as the 'real thing'. I would actually consider driving from Kernville to the Grand canyon for a night and then head back to Vegas and do a day trip to Death valley.

    4] I am not sure of lodging costs but you could check out Camp Richardson near South Lake Tahoe. Right on the beach and just a short drive to Emerald Bay. Three rivers has limited options but is a good base for driving back into Sequoia. As I mentioned you could head to Kings canyon first and then through the park to Three rivers. If you are not leaving Yosemite early though, you could consider finding someplace between Fresno and Grant Grove and explore the whole park the following day.

    5] Covered above really. It will depend on when you leave Yosemite but certainly try and visit Kings canyon on arrival day if you stay in Three rivers.

  3. Default

    Great - thanks Dave! I've adjusted plan to drive to Grand Canyon from Kernville - worked out well as it seems that there is a significant increase in hotel room costs at the weekend in Vegas and this way we'll avoid that.


  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Southern California


    There's a reason for that increase in hotel room costs on weekends in Vegas. It's close enough to be reached from Los Angeles and San Diego. So folks go to LV for the weekend, leaving on Friday afternoon, and then heading home Sunday afternoon. It fills up the hotels (supply and demand) and clogs the freeway (15).

    That one-way fee is usually charged because a car has to eventually go back home (for licensing/registration, fees, eventual sale) and that's how the companies recover their costs for that. We have folks who have told us that they got the fee waived by, but it may depend on which rental car company.

    Lodging costs are higher inside almost every national park, than they are just outside the park. That concession fee, I guess. General rule-of-thumb is, the further you get from the park boundary, the less you'll pay for overnight lodging. But then you'll spend more on fuel. Sometimes you have to compromise.


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