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  1. #1

    Default in thefall-california sites ,las vegas, and grand canyon

    beginning to mid Sept. we are travelling by private car(truck actually) from southwestern bc to california.
    want to do the big sur area, giant trees-crystal cave in three rivers area,death valley, las vegas 3-4 days, grand canyon,back up to bc from grand canyon. we are about 5 hrs north of Spokane WA. was thinking just take the fastest route there, maybe through Reno??? do the Big sur along highway 1, cut over to three rivers-is that possible, then over to death valley-through the less travelled route that i have seen mentioned on this site, on to vegas, vegas to south rim around to north rim and then back home to bc. does this make sense and is it doable, we both drive. my original thought was to do oregan-california coast.san francisco, la, vegas and then the rest but i see that is not probably possible and california seems to have way more interesting things to see. we may tent or stay in motel,clean but not fancy is good.would rather see the nature sites than the city sites.14 days for it all

  2. #2


    Doesn't anybody have any suggestions for my travel plans?

  3. #3


    Is the Crystal cave worth seeing-we have never seen this type of cave- or any cave.The trees are where you can drive through a fallen one, in the same area as cave.are these the redwoods? also there is a petrifies forest north of San Frans. is it worth seeing? The big sur area is a must i think, would we need to make camping reservations for fall along there? my biggest concern is how to get from coast to three rivers?was thinking could we do coast till San luis Obispo, then drive over to Bakersfield area, through death valley by way of 395 at Olancha,through Pahrump to Vegas

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tucson, AZ

    Default The One that Got Away

    Welcome aboard the RoadTrip America Forums!

    Sorry, we make every effort to respond to all questions in a timely manner. Very rarely, a post will simply slip through the cracks when no one has an immediate answer and forgets to get back to it. Anyway....

    You're looking at a jam packed, but certainly doable two week RoadTrip, and mid-September into early October is a perfect time to be visiting many of the places you're contemplating. The general routing you lay out is perfectly fine, so just a few comments. On the way south you might want to swing west to the coast in northern California for the Giant Redwoods in both the National and State Parks around Klamath and Orick and maybe even spend some time on the Pacific Coast Highway (PCH, CA-1) north of San Francisco. South of Big Sur there are few roads over the mountains into the Central Valley. If you turn east from around Monterey/Carmel, then county road G-16 through Carmel Valley to Greenfield is a great scenic, twisting road. Otherwise you'll have to keep going south to Cambria before CA-46 will take you inland to Paso Robles. I would definitely include a hike through Crystal Cave if you're of a mind. Note that you have to purchase tickets for the tours at either the Foothills or Lodgepole visitor centers. After visiting Sequoia, you'll have to circle around the Sierra Nevada to the south by way of Bakersfield and Ridgecrest and enter Death Valley on CA-178. Head out of the Valley on CA-190 to Death Valley Junction and there take Ash Meadows Road and Bell Vista Road to Parhump, NV and NV-160 into Las Vegas.

    I would think that the North Rim of the Canyon would work best for you. It's less out of your way than the South Rim and will certainly have fewer people. This would be a great time to have lunch at the Lodge overlooking the Canyon, and there are nearby rustic cabins which should be available. From here, the way back to BC is full of interesting venues including Zion and Bryce Canyon National Parks, the Great Salt Lake, the Snake River Valley including the Thousand Springs area, and the Cascades.


  5. #5


    Thank you so much! This site is great! Bit of a change in dates but here is plan-sure it will change more
    Leave BC Sept. 4(know this is long weekend-but will just deal with traffic)
    Not sure about BC to California yet-maybe Crater park-Bend area of Oregon(1-2 days at most to get there)we hope lol
    Am thinking about your suggestion of Giant Redwoods( is this worth seeing? and the petrified forest? my husband was a logger and is really wanting to see the trees) maybe along coast highway north of San Fran.
    if we go this way- how do we do Three Rivers from San Fran. and then back over to Monterey-caremel to do coast highway south of SF.
    We were going to do Reno-Carson City
    South to Lone Pine-Can we cross over to Three Rivers from Lone Pine- looks like we can't

    I am confused on this part- should we go to Three rivers after Carmel-Cambria or from north before we do Carmel_Cambria?We really want to see the cave and trees there!
    Would it be south to Fresno then over to three rivers.
    Three hills to Monterey-Carmel
    Carmel to Cambria
    Cambria-Paso Robles-Death valley-vegas( 3 days)- GC.
    Does it not make sense to see both south and north rims. if the north rim is more or less the same we will just go there but was thinking of going to Flagstaff-south rim, can we drive around to north rim is there sites-pull ins, etc?
    Or is it better to do as you suggested and just go to north rim. we really want to do the helicopter trip- if at north rim where do we do this? do we need advance reservations?
    do we need to book campgrounds for this whole trip at the time of year we are travelling or will it not be as busy once school is in. is this park pass $80 worth it for us to buy- sounds like it is
    we would rather spend more time seeing these places and then quick drive home- unless there is some must sees
    need to be home by Sept l19
    i will do number of days at each place ( rough idea) as i figure out routes
    we would rather not do reservations- and just enjoy a place if we like it- other than vegas probably 3 days around Sept 13 for our 30 anniversary. we are late 40-early 50, like to drive and camp and have never done this before so your help is appreciated.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Joplin MO


    Take the coast highway south out of SF to Cambria and take CA-46 to CA-41 to Lemoore. From there, take CA-198 through Visalia to Three Rivers. From there, you have to cross the Sierras to get to Death Valley. You can either go north to Yosemite and cross on CA-120 (Tioga Pass), or go south to Bakersfield and use either CA-178 or CA-58.

  7. #7


    thank you for that info.... that part is settled then. I think we will take the 395? thru death valley-Pahrump-vegas.sounds like a more interesting one than Bakersfield to Bartow highway 15..... make sense even if it is a bit longer....... more sites to see?

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Joplin MO


    Yes, the most scenic would be through Yosemite to 395, next most scenic would be 178 to 14 to 395.

  9. #9


    Still working out details and checking site.... has anybody seen the Crystal Caves near three rivers?? sounds like you need to book, am wondering if it is worth seeing... we will be checking out the Sherman trees... so will be in the area. also do you need to book tenting sites at campgrounds for early-mid Sept travelling?

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    South of England.

    Default Worth it ?

    If you want to camp inside the National parks and you know when you are going to be in a certain place, I would book to be safe. If you are happy to "wing it" and have the possibility of camping outside the park you will find somewhere. I have not been to the Crystal caves, they look pretty cool but only you can decide if they are worth it to you by balancing your time and main interests.

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