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  1. Default First-Time Roadtrip Planning from Vancouver-Yosemite-Antelope Canyon-Death Valley

    Hi everyone,

    Thank you in advance for your patience in answering my rookie questions (first time road trip planner here!). Planning is underway and I'm in the process of doing more research but would really appreciate your guidance along the way!

    My husband are doing a road trip with my mum and his dad (both seniors) and sister from Vancouver, BC down to California/Arizona/Nevada end of April for 10 days. Here are couple of spots we'd love to visit from Vancouver:

    Yosemite National Park
    Death Valley
    Antelope Canyon
    Sequoia National Park
    Kings Canyon National Park
    Morro Bay
    Carmel by the Sea
    San Francisco

    Google map tells me total trip would be around 6,027 km. A couple of questions:

    -Do you think this is doable within ten days, any spots we should scrap?
    -where would you suggest we sleep over along the way?
    -would you suggest taking the 101 down south or on the way back (northbound)? I'm not sure if I should do Yosemite first or last.

    Planning is going underway. Any advise you have is much appreciated!

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

    Default Scrap about half

    Welcome to the RTA Forum!

    I'm sorry, but you've made the classic mistake of severely overestimating how much you can do and underestimating how much time you need to do it!

    Just breaking it down to the very basics:

    You listed 8 places you want to visit, nearly all of them deserve at least a full day of your time.

    You also said that your trip is 6,000 km - that's more than 6 full days worth of driving, if all of your driving was on the freeway (and most of what you are looking at isn't on a freeway!)

    In other words, the only way you could do this trip is to drive all day every day, barely stopping long enough to take a picture at any of these places. I can't imagine any 5 people - much less 2 seniors - would enjoy that.

    The easiest things to skip are Death Valley and Antelope Canyon - Antelope Canyon is hundreds of miles out of your way, and Death Valley is also a long way out of the way because it's on the east side of the Sierras and the mountain passes will still be closed in late April. Actually, the road back into Kings Canyon may still be closed for winter at the time of your trip.

    You also need to be mindful that mudslides have blocked a section of the coast road south of Big Sur, so you can't follow the coast all the way from Carmel to Morro Bay, you'd have to go out to US-101 to complete this section, and thus, I think I'd cut Morro Bay out from your plans as well.

    I think the best you could do is drive down to San Francisco via US-101 (going south is a bit of an advantage along the coast), all the way to San Francisco (that's a good 3-4 day drive right there), have a day in San Francisco, spend a day in Carmel, drove over to Yosemite and spent a day and a half there, and then drive straight back to Vancouver (2 full days via I-5).

    That's 10 days of trip right there, that's already at a very quick pace. Honestly, I'd make sure even that pace is still comfortable for your family, and possibly consider cutting out even more.
    Last edited by Southwest Dave; 03-19-2018 at 03:22 PM. Reason: Corrected typo.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    South of England.


    I have to agree with Michael, you just don't have the time to achieve what you want to do and have time to stop at the list of places. I would also say spend a few days heading down the coast and enjoy some sights and the coastal Redwoods instead of Sequoia, followed by a couple of days around SF and Carmel before heading to Yosemite. You could possibly head to Sequoia first, but note Kings canyon may not be accessible at this stage. I think you would be better heading direct to Yosemite and then have an extra day or so in your schedule on the way home. Some places you could visit would be Lake Tahoe, Lassen Volcanic park and perhaps through Bend OR to Hood river and drive along the Columbia River Highway into Portland. Antelope canyon and Death valley will really have to keep for another trip.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Joplin MO


    Lassen won't be fully open in April.

  5. Default Thank you for your feedback! The trip was awesome!

    I just want to thank everyone for their input. We had a wonderful trip taking into account your suggestions:

    Day 1 - Vancouver, BC to Cannon Beach, Oregon (lodged at Yachats, OR)
    Day 2 - Yachats, OR to Redwood National Park (lodged at Fortuna, CA)
    Day 3 - Fortuna to Humboldt Redwoods State Park, then to San Francisco (lodged at San Fran)
    Day 4 - San Francisco down coast to 18 mile drive, Carmel by the Sea (lodged at San Fran)
    Day 5 - San Francisco to Yosemite National Park (lodged at Yosemite)
    Day 6 - Yosemite to Modesto, CA
    Day 7 - Modesto, CA to Eugene, OR
    Day 8 - Eugene, CA to Vancouver, BC

    We loved Cannon Beach and the redwood trees. I also loved Humboldt Redwoods State Park (more giant trees than Redwood National Park!).
    Of course, Yosemite was just breathtaking. Each day we spent average of five to eight hours on the road. The coastline was very beautiful, and we had wonderful warm weather the whole trip. We lodged at Airbnb most evenings, with the exception of Yosemite, second and seventh night.

    We didn't get to our lodge in Yachats until past midnight, as the border wait time was almost an hour and driving down the windy coastline at night took quite a bit more time.

    Thanks to RTA for your tips! Death Valley and Antelope Canyon will be another trip!

    Last edited by Southwest Dave; 06-11-2018 at 01:07 AM. Reason: Removed quote for easier reading.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    South of England.

    Default Thank you.

    Thanks for taking the time to come back and update us. Pleased you enjoyed your trip and we are here if you need any help with planning your next adventure !


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