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  1. Default San Francisco - Yosemite - Las Vegas

    Hi, hopefully someone can help us with the above. this is our intended journey, however I believe it could be required to break up the final leg to Vegas with a stop over at somewhere like Death Valley?

    I just wondered how reasonable this is in the middle of July, I am thinking in terms of heat and availability of accommodation etc.

    If anyone could give us some pointers we would be very grateful.

    Also if anyone has any recommended stop off points for the trip from the Grand Canyon down towards San Diego that would also be much appreciated.

    Thanks in advance.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin

    Default Plenty of Thoughts

    Welcome to the RTA Forum!

    Death Valley is a popular stop on the way from Yosemite to Las Vegas, although it is not required. It will certainly be scortching hot, with temps in the 110-120 range easily possible, but that also makes it pretty easy to find rooms within the park.

    This Thread has links to some of our favorite threads on this very popular topic.

  3. Default Hot stops..

    I'll also echo Midwest Michels's comments..

    Be prepared for warm to very hot weather. From SF to Yosemite you'll be traveling through the Central Valley of California. The Central Valley can get quite warm -- temperatures of 100 F aren't uncommon in the summer. (It was 99 F when I drove through Sacramento area last week in the Central Valley) Yosemite will be quite cooler, with daytime temps in the 70's. From Yosemite to Las Vegas you will be traveling through the Mojave Desert, with temperatures probably over 100 F, and perhaps as high as the 120's if you travel through Death Valley on the way.

    Depending upon how long you take to do this trip, it can be done in as little as a single day's drive from Yosemite through Death Valley to Las vegas, or 2 days. The typical recommendation is to spend the night at, or near, Yosemite since the park's natural wonders are such that the recommendation is to spend at least a full day there.

    If you go from SF through Yosemite, you will need a place to stop on the Las Vegas. There are 2 options here in the summer. The first ist to take a northern route from Yosemite over the Tioga Pass route just north of Yosemite over the Sierras, and then south through Death Valley. The Tioga Pass is a high mountain road with very nice scenery -- so you don't want to take it during the night (and it would be not as fun to drive over the Sierras on a mountain raod anyway....). Depending upon how pushed on scheduled you are, a good place to spend the night would be along Highway 395 on the eastern side of the Sierra Mountains, from Lee Vining to Bishop or Lone Pine. Bishop is probably the largest city, but Mammoth Lakes (a bit off the road) is a large skiing area and may have the most accomodations in the area. From there it's an easy day's drive through Death Valley to Las Vegas.

    Your alternative route is to go south through the Central Valley to Bakersfield, then east on 58 or similar to Death Valley. Bakersfield is the largest town along this route, and it would be an easy day's drive from Bakersfield to Las Vegas through Death valley

    Availablility of lodging in these areas will be dependent upon location and what else is going on. For somewhere like inside the park at Death Valley it will be moost difficult to find accommodations (since there are only a very limited number of rooms actually inside the park), but unless there's a convention or the like you should be able to find accommdations in other areas. If its a summer weekend, it might be advisable to get advanced reseverations some weeks in advance -- but in the larger towns like Bakersfield, you shouldn't have any problems to find someplace to stay, even on the spur of the moment during the week.

    If you're also traveling from the Grand Canyon to San Diego, you have a couple of options on where to spend the night. It's possible to do the drive in a long day's drive, but in 2 days you have several alternative routes you can take. The basic alternative routes would be to a) come south and a bit east of the Grand Canyon down to spend the night in the Phoenix or Tuscon Airzona areas. From here to San Diego will be about a 2/3rds days drive, but gives you the option of seeing a bit more of Arizona, possibly including places like Scottsdale (near Phoenix), Montezuma's Castle, Sedona, Saggauro National Park (near Tucson), the Yuma Sand Dunes, etc. You have the option of turning west at Phoenix via I-10 through Palm Springs to I-15 and then south to San Diego, or a more southerly route via I-8 which is closer to the US/ Mexico border.

    The b) option is to return west on I-40 from Williams through Needles and then south from Barstow to skirt the very eastern edge of the larger LA area on I-15. Places to stay overnight along this route could vary from Barstow to Riverside. One interesting place to stay might be the Mission Inn in Riverside, which is one of my favorite hotels. It's an old historic hotel built about the turn of the 20th century (1900) and is an amazing amalgam of antiques and art. The original owners traveled the world colllecting art work -- so there are huge California Landscape paintings in the hallways, a 20' reclining buddaha behind one of the bars, a Rennaisance Spanish Chapel, Napoleonic Cannon in the gardens, and the like. It's also got a 3 Star restuarant, and several other eateries in the hotel. Interesting place -- very California, and somewhat historic.

  4. Default

    Great advice guys, much appreciated, thanks for taking your time to type that out :-)

  5. #5


    Quote Originally Posted by John Heaney View Post
    however I believe it could be required to break up the final leg to Vegas with a stop over at somewhere like Death Valley?
    It may be the way I am reading your post, but you don't seem particularly enamored with the idea of Death Valley? Some people disagree with me but, personally, I found Death Valley to be the most fascinating and exciting place on the whole of my trip throughout SW USA last year. I would highly recommend leaving Yosemite late afternoon, using Tioga Pass, finding accomodation somewhere such as Bishop, then make an early start and spend the next following day exploring Death Valley. Finally, visit Dantes View and then leave Death Valley towards Las Vegas.

    Plan to arrive in Vegas at night and you will be hit with the full excitement of the place.

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