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  1. #1

    Default LA - Yosemite - Kings Canyon - Death Valley - Grand Canyon

    Greetings all, thanks for the great website. It is nice to see a site so germane to a common desire by most folks to explore by car.

    My family (3 kiddos and wife) and I are planning a spring break trip to CA (arriving 14 March and departing eight days later). Plans are to drop into Ontario, CA and get a hotel in Hollywood to give them the quick Sunset Blvd - to - Malibu tour. Then we had the following agenda:

    Day 2 - Drive and explore Yosemite (still lots of snow so no trip over the pass)
    Day 3 - Kings Canyon area
    Day 4 - Death Valley
    Day 5 - Hoover Dam
    Day 6 - Grand Canyon (south area since north is usually closed in winter)
    Day 7 - Back to Ontario, CA for a late flight home to Tulsa, OK.

    Please proffer advice and suggestions, especially with regards to the following:

    1. Is this plan doable
    2. Where would I stay between Yosemite and Kings
    3. Where would I stay between Kings and Death Valley
    4. ANY other advice ideas for having fun (I am the only one in the group that has see these areas before).

    Thanks again for a great and informative website. Have a great week!


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

    Default too much

    Welcome to the RTA forum!

    I think you might be underestimating some distances or overestimating your ability to do things in a day.

    You are going to give yourself less than half a day in Yosemite, since you'll need at least 5-6 hours to get from Hollywood to the Yosemite valley. Plus, if you stay in one of the towns outside the valley, you're looking at another hour to get back to your hotel.

    Days 3-4 is a little troublesome since you'll basically need a full day to drive from Kings Canyon/Sequoia to Death Valley. One of these visits will have to be cut quite short to make this work. Not to mention, you'll need some time to get from Yosemite to Kings Canyon. Bakersfield would be a logical stop over, but I think cutting out Kings Canyon altogether would make a lot more sense.

    Hoover dam doesn't require a full day, but if you were planning on making day 5 mostly a travel day as you go from DV to GC, then this step would make sense. Of course, you will be driving right by the Las Vegas strip here too.

    Finally, I would hope that day 7 would be starting at least some distance back towards California. Even from Williams, you'd be looking at a 400 mile trip to the airport. That means when you factor in driving, the possibility of traffic, and airport check-in, you'll need to leave at least 10 hours, if not more, before your departure time.

    Quite frankly, I think you and your kids will be so exhausted on this trip that there is almost no chance that any of you will enjoy it. You'll be spending so much time on the road and so little time at your destinations that I just can't see how this trip would be a good family trip without some serious trimming.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Ontario Canada

    Default I agree - too much

    I agree with Midwest Michael. Perhaps cut out Arizona/Nevada. There is much to see & do staying in California with Yosemite, Sequoia, LA area.Long travel days to get from point to point in your original plan. Are your children young & used to long day car rides? Consider revising your plans, and re-post. I'm sure you will get more helpful recommendations.

  4. #4

    Default Keep it coming....

    I was thinking that it might be a little long on the road. The kiddos are used to long trips (21 hours to Orlando, FL from Tulsa, OK that we do twice a one day), but I don't want to kill them out in CA either. We are intentionally missing Las Vegas as we have been there quite a few times...and we love the place.

    Here's the deal...last year was Disney year and this year the kids asked for a trip to as many national parks as we could see. Obviously CA comes to mind for that reason. Do you think that we should drive east and start at the GC and just work our back to catch whatever we can? Is Yosemite worth a visit at the end of winter? They love huge trees so I though that Kings Canyon would be good.

    Once again...keep the suggestions coming so I can make this as enjoyable and pain-free for the family as I can.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 1998
    Las Vegas, Nevada

    Default If that is the criteria....

    Quote Originally Posted by hhcribbs View Post
    ... the kids asked for a trip to as many national parks as we could see.
    If that is the criteria -- you really ought to consider Utah -- there are more national parks in that one state, than anywhere else!
    Is Yosemite worth a visit at the end of winter? They love huge trees so I though that Kings Canyon would be good.
    Maybe you were thinking of Sequoia National Monument? Kings Canyon doesn't have "large trees". Actually there are Giant Sequoias in Yosemite. Look at this page and scroll down for the shot of the cabin in the trees!


  6. #6

    Default Yep...I was wrong...

    Yes, in my Google Earth planning I saw Kings Canyon right next to Sequoia and transposed. That is the area we were thinking of. I would do Utah, but my frequent flyer miles is with Express Jet and that puts me into Ontario, CA this year.

    Based on the suggestions we are considering dropping off one end of the trip...just giving the family a powerpoint presentation and letting them decide which end to drop. They have proposed heading to GC/Hoover first and just working our way back slowly and catching what we can.

    You guys rock!

  7. Default

    We did the California parts of this planned trip last spring: the Death Valley, Yosimite, Kings Canyon, Sequoia parts, and San Fransico too, but we did it from May 15 to May 25. I think you are really pushing the weather to try the high country in March. You may drive a long way and find all the best parts are either closed or treacherous to travel too.

    We got lucky because of light snowfall during the winter all of the mountain passes and roads opened early (May 7).

    It would, however, be a great time of year to visit Death Valley, which is a lot more interesting, and beautiful, than I expected.

    You could fly into Vegas, rent a car, drive over Boulder dam, to the Grandcanyon, Then drive into southern Utah, and make a loop back to Vegas
    and fly home. There's National parks, and wonderful sites enough in that area alone to eat up 8 days.

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