Results 1 to 3 of 3
  1. Default Winter Roadtrip! Seattle, WA to the Desert (CA) and back in 12 days

    My friend and I are renting a car and leaving Monday for a 12-day roadtrip. We are definitely on a budget and are ready to do some winter car camping and Couchsurfing along the way. Our main goal is to reach the desert without needing tire chains and get the most bang (re: scenery) for our buck. Wishful thinking is making it to AZ, though I don't think it'd be possible/enjoyable. We would like to avoid cities except for San Francisco and Portland and check out Sequoia/Kings Canyon, Death Valley, and/or the Mojave; weather is looking pretty clear so far, but does anyone who has visited these parks in the winter have any advice for this time of year? Any preference for one park over the other (ie: Death Valley over Mojave)? Lastly, we would consider camping in National Forests for convenience/budgeting.

    Route thus far:
    1: Seattle, WA to Eugene, OR (US-101)
    2: Eugene, OR to Redwoods National Park (US-101), stay at campground or in Arcata/Eureka
    3: Redwood National Park hiking
    4: Arcata/Eureka to Sequoia (I-5 and CA-99)
    5-6: Sequoia & Kings Canyon camping
    7: Kings Canyon to Death Valley/Mojave
    8-9: Death Valley/Mojave camping
    10: Back to SF
    11: SF to PDX (I-5)
    12: PDX back to Seattle (I-5)

    Another idea is to haul as far south as we can (ie: Day 1 SEA-SF (I-5), 2 SF-Mojave) and gradually make our way north (US-101 SF-PDX-SEA). I've been on 101 from SF to Arcata and realize it may be way too much of a windy drive to go from SF to PDX in one day, so we may swing over to I-5 if necessary.

    We haven't really planned out a route within the National Parks/Preserves and are probably going to play it by ear based on how conditions change. Again, advice on winter destinations would be helpful, though the number of roads/campgrounds actually open also limits where we can go.

    Thanks in advance for your help.

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


    Welcome to the RTA Forum!

    Winter is going to have a pretty significant impact on your plans, especially because you plan to camp. Do you have winter camping gear? You will certainly need it.

    Sequoia is in the mountains, you should expect temperatures to be dropping well below freezing at night. Without rather extreme gear, I wouldn't give much consideration to camping in the mountains this time of year. However, the deserts too are a case where you will at the minimum need good 3 season camping gear. It still gets quite cold overnight, for example, in death valley, the average overnight temperatures this time of year are in the 30s. Let me tell you first hand from camping in these areas in the fall, nothing ruins a camping trip faster than spending all night freezing.

  3. Default

    Hi Michael,

    Your caveat is well heeded. I used to live in New England and have suffered from being too cold at night during winter trips. I aim to avoid repeating that same mistake. We will be bringing extra sleeping bags/blankets and doubling up on sleeping pads for sure. Luckily we're just car camping, so we don't have to worry about carrying all this stuff with us.

    That said, if you have any specific recommendations for places to see in Death Valley, Mojave, or Sequoia/Kings for this time of year, specific routes to take, please let us know. We may nix Sequoia/Kings depending on conditions. Thanks!
    Last edited by alclarkems; 01-14-2012 at 12:13 PM.

Similar Threads

  1. LA to Grand Canyon to Scottsdale to Palm Desert in 8 days?
    By GoingNowhere in forum Planning Summer RoadTrips
    Replies: 2
    Last Post: 07-07-2011, 12:23 AM
  2. Roadtrip: Houston to the West Coast and Back in 25 days
    By Susie Q Ruzi in forum Planning Summer RoadTrips
    Replies: 8
    Last Post: 06-27-2011, 07:37 AM
  3. Roadtrip from SF to Denver and back: Is 15 days enough?
    By jeeptasha in forum Fall & Winter RoadTrips
    Replies: 2
    Last Post: 09-19-2008, 06:00 AM
  4. Seattle to Flagstaff and back, 7 days
    By turtblu in forum Spring RoadTrips
    Replies: 10
    Last Post: 04-04-2008, 12:37 PM
  5. Roadtrip from Dallas to Seattle in Winter
    By kachal in forum Fall & Winter RoadTrips
    Replies: 2
    Last Post: 11-20-2005, 09:42 AM

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts