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  1. Default LV-Death Valley to SEKI to Yosemite and Back!

    Hi all,
    Looking for some feedback on this itinerary. 2 adults and a 7 and 12 yr old. Here is our route:

    May 29 - fly into LV, leave airport at 11 am, drive through DV see some highlights, spend night at Lone Pine - check out the WW2 internment camp, other sights in area.

    May 30- drive south to Sequoia, stay at Wuksachi lodge in park.

    May 31 - Wuksachi lodge

    June 1 - drive to kings canyon stay at Grant Grove in park.

    June 2- grant grove.

    June 3 - drive to Yosemite, stay in Yosemite Valley Lodge

    June 4-5 Yosemite Valley Lodge- hike, see sights etc.

    June 6 - drive through Tioga Pass, see Brodie, Mono lake. etc. stay in Bishop.

    June 7 - drive to LV, need to arrive by 2pm to drop rental car.

    Any advice on the route or things to see? Am I planning enough or too much time between various stops? I have flexibility with lodging at this point. I have heard there is construction on the entrance to Sequoia that could delay things for us.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
    13,648

    Default

    Welcome to the RTA Forum!

    Where are you flying in from? That first day is pretty busy, especially if you are flying in from a long distance away. As it is, to be on the road by 11, you'd need to plan for your flight to get in around 9am factoring in time to get bags, take the shuttle out to the car rental center, and then get your car. Either you will have had to get up quite early that day and/or you will already have been traveling for quite a long time by the time you get on the road - which may mean everyone is more tired and cranky exploring Death Valley than enjoying much anything.

    I'd also say that it probably doesn't make much sense to visit Death Valley twice on this relatively short timeline. I would save DV for the end, and instead start out just by driving straight to Sequoia via I-15/CA-58/CA-99. Saving DV for the end also makes the end of your trip easier. I would not want to be as far away as Bishop if I had to be in Vegas by 2 for a flight. It could be done, but factoring the 5 hour drive and some cushion in case the unexpected comes up, I'd say you'd need to be on the road around 6am - and that's not how I'd want to finish my trip.

    I also note that you haven't planned any time in Vegas at all. That's not a problem necessarily, but if your kids haven't been there before - or don't remember being there - it seems a bit of a shame to visit without being there to see the spectical that is the lights of the strip at night.

  3. Default

    Thank you and thanks for the info. Our flight leaves at 8 CST and we get into LV at 9:25. I was nervous about going all the way to Sequoia on the first day. How long is that drive? I read somewhere that the park entrance construction means the road is closed from 8pm to 6 am everyday.

    We need to be in Vegas by 2 to return the car on time. We are booked to spend the last night at MGM grand to swim etc before flying out the next am at 10.

    Where would you suggest to stay rather than Bishop? Is Lone Pine a better choice for that night?

    We were trying to avoid Yosemite on the weekend by arriving there on a Sunday. We could possibly do the trip in reverse if Tioga pass is open that early but I didnít want to chance that. I have lodging booked for either scenario and will soon be canceling what we donít need - was also trying to avoid Yosemite during memorial week to maximize our time but maybe it wonít be that much of a difference?

    This is a big trip for us and it is unlikely we will ever be back so I really want to do it well. I have been reading lots on this website - it is a great resource!

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    South of England.
    Posts
    11,532

    Default

    I think Michael was thinking just to settle in on day 1 and then head for Sequoia the following day. Death valley would be a diversion on route to Sequoia and on a natural path back to Vegas. You could opt to go part way to Sequoia and stop over somewhere in between, Barstow perhaps. Going to Bodie could violate your rental agreement as the last few miles are on unpaved road so if you skipped that you could head to Lone Pine and drive across Death valley early the following morning which will have the advantage of missing the hottest part of the day.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
    13,648

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    If your only reason to get back to Vegas by 2 is to return the rental car, then staying in Bishop isn't so bad - if you're late you're only looking at a slight extra charge, not missing a flight.

    Of course, most rental cars are charged on a 24 hour basis - where if you were picking the car up at 11 am, usually you have to bring it back by 11am to avoid another hour/day of charge - so saying you have to have it back by 2 is a little unusual.

    I wasn't suggesting that you drive all the way to Sequoia the day you arrive in Vegas - that would be way too much. If anything, I was saying trying to see DV the day you arrive might be a bit much, so as Dave mentioned, perhaps you look at driving halfway to Sequoia - shooting for somewhere like Barstow, Mojave, or Bakersfield. That would allow you to see a good chunk of Sequoia on your second day - which would be difficult if you spent the previous night in Lone Pine. You may be right about Sequoia construction, but you really wouldn't want to be getting into the park (and driving up into the mountains) after 8pm anyway.

  6. Default

    Thanks for the assistance, we have spent little time in CA and this is very helpful.

    I hadn't thought about the rental car issue, thanks for the tip. We are rethinking the first night in light of the advice. If we left Yosemite valley in the morning on the home stretch to Vegas via Death Valley, is there enough time to see the sights like mono lake and manazar camp on the way to Lone Pine for an overnight? The map mileage can be deceptive since I'm unsure of what kind of time can be made on these roads.

    Our car rental return is at the hotel and closes by 3:30 each day so I was already trying to build in a little cushion for unexpected delays to avoid an extra charge. I know there is a key drop box but prefer to get the car looked at when returning to avoid getting dinged for damage without seeing it myself.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    South of England.
    Posts
    11,532

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    Tioga Pass is part of the Yosemite experience so you could easily spend all morning stopping at various viewpoints etc. From Lee Vining it's about 2.5 hours to Lone Pine so you would still have more time for some sight seeing along the way. Although it would be a full day on the road it will broken up with lots of great stops, so yes it's doable in my opinion. If you wanted to shuffle things a little you could for example, drive towards Yosemite on the afternoon of June 2nd and stay nearer to Yosemite such as Oakhurst, Wawona, Mariposa. Then on June 5th head across Tioga in the afternoon and stay in Lee Vining and have a more casual day heading towards Death valley, perhaps even lodging in DV at Stovepipe Wells. These are just examples of 'tweaks' that could be made but to be honest you are in pretty good shape as you are.

    When you get close to US395 from Tioga Pass you will see the Gas Mart on the right hand side, if you turn off and drive past the gas station up the hill there is a parking area with nice views of Mono Lake in the background. If it's lunchtime or dinner time there is a nice little diner inside called 'Woah Nellie Deli' which serves some great food !

  8. Default

    I appreciate all the great help. Iíll post when we get back and let you know how it went!

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    South of England.
    Posts
    11,532

    Default Please do !

    We would love to know how your trip went and for you to share the highlights with us, it helps keep us sane when we are between trips ourselves ! You can do a brief update on this thread or use out Roadtrip field reports forum for a more detailed report.

    Be sure to drive up to Glacier point while in Yosemite and take the short walk to the viewpoint. You won't believe your eyes !!

    Have a great trip !

    Dave.

    ps. We love photo's !!

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