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  1. Default End of January Las Vegas to LA Roadtrip

    We are a couple from Italy visiting USA for the first time at the end of January.
    We have 11 days to do a Roadtrip from Las Vegas to LA and we were wondering whether the 2 following itinerary were too ambitious:

    1) LV arrival , first night around
    2) grand canyon trip + night show is LV
    3) get a car and drive to death valley + visit + night
    4) drive to Sequoia, visit and sleep there
    5) drive to SF
    6) SF morning + coast in the afternoon
    7) coast
    8) coast
    9) LA
    10) LA
    11) departure

    Would it be too much for the distances?

    The alternative is not to go to death valley and Sequoia but take a flight on the 3rd day afternoon to SF to have more days on the SF-coast-LA part , but if there is any smart alternative we would like to visit Sequoia anyway.

    Thank you so much for your help!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Central Missouri


    Welcome to RTA!

    This is one of the more popular trips that is discussed here on RTA, and it is definitely a wonderful trip. Most of your plans are "about right", with two exceptions.

    First, it is a 4-5 hour drive from Las Vegas to the South Rim of the Grand Canyon, which happens to be the only rim open in January. So you would have to make that drive one morning, stay overnight there, and drive back the next day. No time to catch a show in LV that same night. If you are planning to take the helicopter tour out of Las Vegas to the GC, or even one of the numerous bus trips, you should realize that almost every one of those tours goes to the West Rim, which is not a part of the national park and definitely, not as beautiful. Yes, it's lots closer, but its owned by the Native Americans and the prices are out-of-this-world. Forget going out on the Skywalk, it will cost you big money and they won't let you take cameras or even the camera on your phone.

    Sequoia is the place of the big trees, which is definitely worth seeing, but in the winter, only a small portion of the place is accessible by car. So it makes me wonder if you might be confusing Sequoia with Yosemite, the more popular of the two parks.


  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tucson, AZ

    Default Mindsets

    Whenever I see an itinerary such as you've laid out, I always want to issue a word of caution. You don't "have 11 days to do a Roadtrip from Las Vegas to LA". You have nine days, and nine days only, for the RoadTrip. The difference is critical to your mindset going into planning. One sounds like almost two weeks and all the time in the world to see parts of just two or three states. The other sounds like (more realistically) just over one week to cover roughly 1700 miles (2700 km) and highlights the limits you're under. As just one example of how those limits lead to less than ideal choices, as Donna pointed out trying to see the Grand Canyon as a day trip from Las Vegas means that you'd be taking an expensive tour to a less spectacular portion of the Canyon.

    So what would I suggest you consider for a different itinerary? If you rent your car on your first full day in Las Vegas and drive to Grand Canyon National Park, you can see the Canyon at its best and have some time to really enjoy it. Then spend the night in Flagstaff. If you have any 'spare' time that day, there are a couple of other natural sites on the way from the Canyon to Flag, Wupatki and Sunset Crater National Monuments, or Lowell Observatory (where Pluto was discovered) or the Museum of Northern Arizona (geology and Native American culture).

    The next day, set out on a two day RoadTrip to San Francisco. On the first day you can either take AZ-66 (the former Route 66 of song and story) from Seligman AZ through Peach Springs to Kingman (This is the section of road that provided the visual inspiration for the animated movie "Cars".) OR you can visit Mojave National Preserve in lieu of Death Valley. Spend the night in Barstow and set out the second day for your drive through Sequoia National Park on your way to San Francisco.

    You'll now have five days for San Francisco, the Pacific Coast Highway, and Los Angeles. You'll need a good two days to really enjoy the coast road at a leisurely pace that will allow you to stop at some of the many state parks and seal rookeries along it. Of your three other days, I'd probably spend two in San Francisco, visiting Point Reyes National Seashore north of town (across the Golden Gate Bridge) as well as the waterfront. On your last day, you'll have to pick which site(s) you really want to see in Los Angeles. Just don't try to do too much and remember that L.A. is very spread out, driving anywhere takes at least twice as long as you might think, and you really don't want to be on the roads at all between 7:00 and 9:00 in the morning or between 4:00 and 7:00 in the evening.

    The above is just a bit less ambitious than your original plan, but I think it will make for a more relaxed and enjoyable trip. The final decision, of course, is up to you.

    Last edited by AZBuck; 12-11-2016 at 10:25 AM.

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


    Keep in mind that you may be required to carry snow chains into Sequoia NP and know how to use them. This might also be a problem with your car rental company so check the terms and conditions.

  5. Default

    Thanks to you all for your great inputs!

    @Donna: We are definitely going to do the South Rim of the Grand Canyon, as we were thinking about doing one of the expensive but not worth helicopter tour. Good catch, thanks!

    The plan was to visit Sequoia as we read the ways to Yosemite could be blocked because of the snow - and in any case it is a stop we wanted to do. Do you think it would still be feasable to have a stop there?

    @AZBuck: your itinerary sounds like a plan!
    If we visit Mojave it's ok to skip Death Valley?
    Would you already book the hotels before or it's easy to find accomodation just passing by?

    @Dave: nice, we didn't consider that

    Thank you so much for your replies!

    Ale & Tia

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin


    Yosemite is open year round, and can be a very nice place to explore in Winter. Tioga Pass, which is the road through Yosemite across the Sierras (aka the direct route to Death Valley), does close for winter, but all of the routes from the west are open.

    Note, however, just like Sequoia, the same chain requirements will also be in place. There are several places in the towns just outside Yosemite that will rent or sell them.

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