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  1. Default Vega, San Francisco, Los Angeles

    Hi. I'm planning my first road trip in the states this summer and although there is plenty of information out there, including threads on this site, I'm finding it all a little overwhelming and difficult to get started. So any suggestions and information would really be appreciated.

    I was thinking of flying into Las Vegas then driving to San Francisco via Sequoia and Yosemite National Parks spending a day or two in each place. I'd then drive down the coast road to Los Angeles.

    I suppose the first question is: Is this a sensible route to try and do in two weeks?

    I then need to find out what the best routes between places are and where is the best place to look up driving times? I'd also like to hear what people's must see places/things in the area are.

    Thanks for any suggestions


  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Washington state coast/Olympic Peninsula

    Default This is a very popular trip

    Welcome to the Roadtrip America forums!

    Yes, it is very doable in two weeks.

    This post contains links to some of the most informative discussions about these areas, the routes in-between them, and timeframes. Have you read through these yet? If not, this is a great place to start getting some great ideas.

    So, get started there then come on back and list your rough draft and let us help you tweak it, if needed, to plan the best trip possible for yourself. Happy planning.

  3. Default

    Thanks for the links. I'm starting to form a rough itinerary in my head and just need to start adding some detail now.

    We land in Vegas on the afternoon on day one and plan to set off on our road trip on the morning of day four, arriving in San Francisco in the evening of day 9. This gives us 6 days and we would like to take in Death Valley, Sequoia and Yosemite National Parks.

    So we would drive from Vegas to Death Valley (US-95, CA-373, CA-127, CA-190 to Furnace Creek?).

    Am I right in thinking that there are no roads that cross the Sierra Nevada between CA 178 and the Tioga Pass?

    In that case we would go down CA-190 and CA-178 to Bakersfield and up CA-99, taking CA-198 in to Sequoia National Park.

    Then what is the best route on to Yosemite? For this leg I would probably describe best as quickest unless there is a spectacular alternative. Then from Yosemite across to San Francisco for which there seems to be plenty of different routes.

    So if that’s the route then how do we want to split the time and where would we want our overnight stays? We have five nights. If we wanted to camp in Sequoia or Yosemite are there sites that provide tents?

    Any suggestions on routes and accommodation would be great. We’re going in late July, which might affect where we can stay.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tucson, AZ

    Default Starting to Fill in Some Details

    Certainly, the route you've laid out from Las Vegas to Furnace Creek is as direct as you'll find, and you are correct in noting that there are no highways across the Sierra Nevada between CA-120 and CA-178. You do seem to be best served, then, by going south around the mountains and then north up the west front to see Sequoia and Yosemite. So, with that in mind you might want to consider entering Death Valley a little farther north than what you currently have planned. If you continue up US-95 past Beatty to NV-267, you will get a chance to visit one of the more unique historical spots in the park, Scotty's Castle, and then head south through the length of the park. There are a few short nature trails along this road that are well worth the time to walk and can be done even in the summer (being sure to take sufficient water with you!). Between Sequoia and Yosemite, there really aren't a lot of choices. CA-180 east to Fresno, then CA-41 north into Yosemite is the most direct and scenic route.

    Besides those two sections there are, as you noted, lots of options. And one thing many of the 'regulars' around here have learned is that there is no single best road anywhere. Since everything will be new to you on this trip and you're going to be driving through some of the most scenic areas of the American southwest, you really can't go wrong. As far as how long and where to stay along your drive, since you're going to be traveling at the height of tourist season I would recommend that you make reservations and avoid wasting actual vacation time trying to find lodging at the end of each day. In general, plan on spending a day or two in each of the three major parks you plan to visit between Las Vegas and San Francisco. Try to get accommodations in the parks if at all possible, but it is already (probably) too late for that. While campsites are more likely to be available, I don't know of any that come with tents or rent them. You can while you're in Las Vegas, probably pick up some simple camping gear for $150-200 or so. Your second choice would be someplace near the entrances that allows you easy access to the parks or midway along the road between two parks on evenings/mornings that you're transiting between them.


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

    Default A slightly more direct route....

    Quote Originally Posted by Pedro C View Post
    So we would drive from Vegas to Death Valley (US-95, CA-373, CA-127, CA-190 to Furnace Creek?).
    This route would get you there, but it is not the most direct route from Las Vegas to Furnace Creek. The locals route is via NV-160 and you can see the route we use on this map here about day trips from Las Vegas.
    Am I right in thinking that there are no roads that cross the Sierra Nevada between CA 178 and the Tioga Pass?
    Um, I am not sure why you would end up on CA-178, if your destination is Tioga Pass via Death Valley? After you leave Death Valley, you would proceed west on CA-190 to US-395 and follow the very gorgeous US-395 to CA-120 over Tioga Pass into Yosemite National Park. (you would miss Sequoia NP this way).


  6. Default

    Thanks Mark. Tioga Pass wasn't necessarily the destination. I was just cheking there were no other ways across the Sierra Nevada.

    I've been looking for campsite reservations in Yosmeite (on and as far as I can tell I'm alraedy too late. Any secrets for reserving a site?

    There are hotel rooms available in Oakhurst. What would the drive in be like on a summer morning? I'm worried that I could spend half the days driving in and out of the park stuck in traffic jams.

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