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  1. Default Help needed with a West Coast trip Sep 10

    Hi all,

    I've been reading through your forums but I can't seem to find exactly what i'm looking for and am turning to you guys for help. Sorry if i go over old ground and all help is much appriciated.

    Me and my wife are planning to arrive in Los Angeles, spend a few days and then head to Grand Canyon, Sedona, Las Vegas, Death Valley, Yosemite and finally San Francisco in 6days!

    Here are my questions:
    Looking at the posts I notice that most people go from SF to LV, is there any particular reason for this as we will be doing it the other way?

    Is my Itinerary feasble (to be able to enjoy the various areas) :
    Day 1: LA to GC and spend night in Sedona
    Day 2: Morning Sedona, then to LV (via GC or not?)
    Day 3: Spend in LV
    Day 4: Morning in LV? then to yosemite via DV (is it worth spending night in DV?)
    Day 5: Yosemite (any suggestions on a good stopover?)
    Day 6: Yosemite to SF

    I could potentially add an extra day to the driving if it is a little tight as is, or drop stuff, they key area we want to be able to see/explore a little are the GC, LV, and yosemite.

    Again thanks for all assiatance and sorry if this is a rehash of previous posts.

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


    Welcome to the RTA Forum!

    I think you are very much underestimating the huge amount of distance between places in the Western US, and as such, you're really doing a bit much.

    The biggest problem is right off the bat - first LA to the Grand Canyon is a very full day on the road. You can certainly make the drive without too many problems, but you shouldn't expect to stop to see much on this day.

    The other issues is that you are lumping the Grand Canyon and Sedona together. Sedona is more than 100 miles from the Grand Canyon, and is a 2-2.5 hour drive each way. Not to mention, either location is about 5-6 hours of driving back to Las Vegas, so if you plan to go back to Vegas on Day 2, you really won't have had time to see either location.

    Similarly, it is a very long day, although possible, to drive from Vegas to Yosemite, however you certainly wouldn't have time to spend the morning in Vegas and make it in the same day, and even if you leave early in the morning, your time in Death Valley would be quite limited. You'd really be better off breaking up this drive by spending the night in one of the towns located along US-395.

  3. Default

    I thought it might be the case but coming from the UK, its difficult to understand the distances. I will rethink the plan and try to add an extra day for GC and sedona, and an overnight between LV and yosemite.

    Thanks for the advice

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin


    If you want to see both Sedona and the Grand Canyon, I would recommend adding 2 days. Trying to see both in one day means you're still going to be very rushed and limited in what you can see and do.

  5. Default Logistics


    Is it possible for you to fly into Phoenix, Arizona instead of Los Angeles?

    Day 1 (Time and distance calculated by MapQuest)
    The distance from Los Angeles to Sedona via Phoenix is about 481 miles and 7.5 hours of driving (If you can find a way to avoid rush-hour traffic jams in Los Angeles). It does not look like there would be much time to do any sight seeing in Sedona. Phoenix to Sedona is about a 2 hour drive and 116 miles.

    Day 2 (Sedona to Grand Canyon)
    Sedona to the south entrance to Grand Canyon National Park is about 114 miles and a 2.5 hour drive. Seems like plenty of time to have breakfast in Sedona and see the major sights at the Grand Canyon.

    Day 3 (Grand Canyon to Las Vegas)
    About 277 miles and 4.5 hours driving time. You can visit parts of old Route 66 and Hoover Dam along the way but I think you would want to spend as much time as possible in Las Vegas.

    Day 4 (Las Vegas to Death Valley)
    About 142 miles and 2.5 miles driving time. There are a lot of things to see but everything is spread out. Visit the Ranger station/visitor center in Furnace Creek and watch the orientation video. You might be able to find lodging at the Furnace Creek lodge but I think it would be wiser to travel out of Death Valley via the west entrance to Highway 395 and see if there is a place to stay in either Bishop or Mammoth Lakes, CA. This will give you a head start for Day 5. Traveling to Mammoth Lakes will add about 202 miles and 4 hours driving. Mammoth Lakes is a major ski resort during the winter and they have a lot of summer outdoor activities.

    Day 5 (Death Valley to Yosemite)
    About 300 miles and a 6 hour drive from Death Valley. You can drive north on Highway 395 to Lee Vining and cross over the Sierra Nevada Mountains at Tioga Pass and into Yosemite National Park. There is so much to see in the valley and if you have time there is a road to Glacier Point that takes you to an overlook spot of the entire valley.

    Day 6 (Yosemite to San Francisco)
    Yosemite is a natural wonder and a gem in the National Park System and San Francisco is a cosmopolitan city that ranks very high as a tourist destination. I enjoy both places. Should you linger at Yosemite (provided you are able to find lodging) or take off early to spend more time in San Francisco?

    That is a hard call to make. There are so many things to see and do in San Francisco that you have to plan wisely. Like Yosemite, the crowds of tourist might limit mobility and parking so keep that in mind.

    Have fun!!
    Last edited by Mark Sedenquist; 08-06-2010 at 06:34 PM. Reason: added some white space to enable easier reading...

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Joplin MO


    Rook, always add 20% to Mapquest times to reflect reality. You also have to account for security delays at the Hoover Dam.

    LA-PHX is 9 hours.
    PHX-Sedona might be 2 hours, but I'd add 15 minutes.
    Sedona-GC I can accept 2.5 but it will probably be closer to 3.
    GC-LV is 6 hours at the VERY least.
    LV-DV is 2.5 hours to the east entrance via Pahrump and Ash Meadows Road - and that way is 116 miles. 142 miles in 2.5 hours isn't very realistic.
    DV west entrance to Yosemite Tioga entrance is 200 miles, that's 4 to 5 hours.

    You have to account for fuel, food, and rest/potty stops, which software does not. You also have to allow for traffic and construction delays, and even red lights.

  7. Default

    Hi guys,

    This has been a great help, our actual trip time is 12 days, but we had cut 2 days off each end to spend the time in LA and SF. I'm tempted to make this one day each and add another 2days for the driving. We can always hit the cities again fairly easily but the driving is more complex, and therefore worth doing right, I guess.
    Lots to think about but thank you all for your posts, we will be celebrating mine and my wife's birthdays on this trip so trying to make it as perfect as possible.

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