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  1. Default Road trip Yosemite, Sequoia, Death Valley, Grand Canyon?

    Hello, and thanks fore a great website!
    Me and my husband will do a road trip in California and Arizona in the middle of October this fall. We are primarily interested in nature and visit some of the national parks (especially Yosemite and Grand Canyon). We have not planned many trips like this before so we are very grateful for any advise.
    Out preliminary plan is:

    Day 1: Arrive in San Francisco
    Day 2: San Francisco.
    Day 3: To Yosemite, we are thinking of staying in Mariposa (found a nice motel for a good price there) Will it be to far from the park entrance? Would you suggest to stay closer to the park although it is more expensive (many places are already full also...).
    Day 3-5: Yosemite.
    Day 6: To Kings Canyon/Sequoia, stay in Three Rivers.
    Day 7: Sequoia
    Day 8: Drive to Lone Pine (to be able to continue through Death Valley the nest day). To long drive? What road would you suggest taking? Passing Lake Isabella seems nice, but will that way take very much longer? Is there a better place to stay on the way? We though about staying in Panamint Springs (= 1h less to drive the next day) but the reviews from tripadvisor is both bad and good.
    Day 9: Drive through Death Valley to Las Vegas. Is that to long to drive in one day? Will we be able to stop at some places in death valley and take a few shorter walks (nice!) or will we have to just drive through it (less nice...)?
    Day 10: Drive from LV to Grand Canyon South Rim. So this is 3 days with quite a lot of driving (to have more time to explore the other NP's without stress), is it too much?
    Day 11-12: Grand Canyon
    Day 13: Drive to Pheonix
    Day 14: Fly home in the morning.

    Is this possible do you think? Too much in to little time?

    Thanks for any advise!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Melbourne, Australia

    Default Great trip.

    Hi, and Welcome to the Great American Roadtrip Forum.

    Have you considered staying within Yosemite. If it is all booked up, keep checking back as people's plans often change, and vacancies become available. It would be really worthwhile. Exiting Yosemite to Sequoia/Kings Canyon means you will miss out on driving one of the top attractions of Yosemite - Tioga Pass (the east entrance on hwy 120).

    Not having driven from Yosemite to Death Valley (Lone Pine), via Sequoia, I am not in any position to comment there. But Death Valley does have a couple of short walks, if the weather is not too hot when you are there. Though most of it can be seen by car. Staying in Death Valley overnight is worth considering just to see the night sky.

    Three days at the Grand Canyon will give you ample time to explore this great wonder. To stay within this park, get on to the booking a.s.a.p., and like Yosemite, if it is all booked up, check frequently for a possible vacancy. Be sure to catch a sunrise and/or sunset over the Canyon. An unforgettable experience.

    Sounds like a really great trip.


  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Joplin MO


    If Tioga Pass is still open, why not go to Sequoia first, then Yosemite, then Death Valley?

    If you do go to Yosemite first, then Sequoia, you will have to go to Bakersfield to get around the mountains. From Bakersfield, 178 through Lake Isabella doesn't take any longer than 58. Lone Pine would be out of the way, you could spend the night in Ridgecrest and take the Trona Road into DV.

    DV to LV is just over 2 hours via the "locals route" - 190 to 127, turn right then immediate left onto Stateline Road to Pahrump, then 160 into LV.
    Last edited by glc; 04-13-2015 at 07:06 AM.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    South of England.

    Default Well planned.

    You have done a good job with your planning and it's set at a reasonable pace to give you time to enjoy these beautiful areas. I agree that going to Sequoia first and then driving over Tioga Pass [CA120] is a good option. You could drive from SF to Three rivers and then drive through Sequoia next day and perhaps spend the night around Oakhurst before continuing to Yosemite. Mariposa is a good location for Yosemite although if your budget could manage it and there are available lodgings, you can't beat being inside the park. If you go to Sequoia first and then stay in Mariposa, I would spend your last night near Yosemite in Lee Vining and explore along Tioga [Tenaya lake, Tuolumne meadows etc] that afternoon, perhaps catch a sunset over Mono Lake.

    I think that why Panamint springs lodging varies in reviews so much is peoples expectations. Lodgings are scarce in DV and demand higher rates, yet they are in remote areas and somewhat more 'rustic'. I think that those with high expectations of 5star accomodation are left dissapointed while those who understand what they are getting are satisfied.

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