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  1. Default First ever trip in an RV - Grand Canyon, Sequoia, Yosemite - Route guidance please


    I know this has been asked and I have read as many posts as I can but each trip is different.

    I am flying in to Las Vegas from London on July 19th. It's not the first time I have been to the Grand Canyon (it is for Sequoia and Yosemite) but it is the first time I have driven an RV! Having read many blogs and posts about it, I think it sounds perfectly achievable :) Although I will no doubt be nervous about driving a 28 foot vehicle for the first time, especially with my wife and 2 teenagers in tow.

    So the route I have drawn up so far is:

    19 July - Land in Vegas and find an overpriced hotel! That was the first learning point, I didn't realise you can't drive away in your RV the day you land!

    20 July - Drive to the Grand Canyon - Should be about 5 hours to the Trailer Village RV Park.

    23 July - Drive to Bakersfield - Hopefully about 8 hours. This is a wasted day, just a means of getting from the Canyon to Sequoia so I thought I'd get most of it done in one day, make an early start the next morning and have as much time in Sequoia. Need to find a good campground.

    24 July 2019 - Drive to Sequoia - I'm looking at Dorst or Lodgepole campground (whichever is the easiest to get to) so that should be about 3.5 hours

    26 July 2019 - Drive to Yosemite - I haven't picked a campground yet but I think the drive should be in the region of 3 Hours depending on where the campground is.

    29 July 2019 - Drive to San Francisco RV Depot and treat ourselves to a few days in the city and then a few by the coast further down somewhere to recover!

    What do you think? Is it do-able? Any better suggestions? I've ruled out Death Valley as I hear it's not the place to be in an RV in July, is that wrong?

    Thanks in advance.


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


    Welcome to the RTA Forum!

    I think you've done an excellent job of starting your plan, and already discovering some of the challenges that come with RV travel.

    The route you've come up with will certainly work, but I would rethink a couple things.

    You may or may not be allowed in Death Valley with your RV, you will have to check with the specific rental policies of your rental company. If you can go I would, even if it's just to drive through, and enjoy the beauty through the RV windows.

    The key thing, however, is that going that way would set you up to go over Tioga Pass and through the high country of Yosemite. That's a pretty amazing part of the park that I wouldn't want to miss. Even if it adds some miles, I would still go up US-395 to Lee Vining and cross Tioga Pass, see Yosemite, and go back down to Sequoia, rather than go through Bakersfield. There are also a couple of groves of Giant Sequoias within Yosemite where you could still see the big trees without visiting Sequoia National Park, if you feel you are getting crunched for time.

    Another option would be to go from the Grand Canyon perhaps up to Zion and then cross Nevada on US-6 to head to Yosemite. You might also consider visiting the North Rim with this option, and/or potentially also seeing Bryce Canyon and/or Great Basin NPs.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Joplin MO


    Welcome to RTA!

    It all looks doable. However, I need to note that you may be underestimating drive times. It's 500 miles from the GC to Bakersfield, I highly doubt that you would be able to do that in 8 hours. You aren't going to be able to drive an RV as fast as you can drive a car, and you have to allow for rest, food, and fuel stops.

    I don't think the RV rental company would even let you go to Death Valley in July. If you want to see Death Valley, you could rent a car in Las Vegas and do it as a day trip before you pick up the RV.

    Please note the following vehicle length restrictions in Sequoia:

    You need to book your campgrounds in the parks right when the booking window opens up next year. They go fast.

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


    It would be more like 10 hours to Bakersfield and your 3 girls might be hating on you a bit by the end of the day ! Don't think of any day as a wasted day, make each one interesting even if it is mainly about the driving. You could visit the route 66 towns of Williams, Seligman and Kingman on route and stop over around Barstow, perhaps at Calico Ghost town. Or you could leave the GC around lunchtime on the 22nd and overnight around Kingman and continue to Bakersfield the following day, or a little beyond. As said, you need to book the NP campgrounds as soon as the booking window opens, for Yosemite I would recommend one of the three 'Pines' campgrounds in the heart of the valley.

  5. Default

    Thanks for the replies guys, all really interesting.

    So I suppose my problem really breaks down as how to get to Yosemite from the South Rim, there are so many options and we don't know enough about any of them or the type of roads we will be driving through to get to them so all your opinions are really important.

    The main reason for going the southern route was to visit Sequoia but looking at the link from glc it looks like that's a bad idea. I thought I'd read most things about vehicle restrictions but I think i thought it was only during the roadworks, which should be complete by the time we go, but on a second read, that's not the case.

    Looking at the northern route suggested by Michael, we have stumbled upon Antelope Canyon. Funnily enough we went to Page 15 years ago (pre kids) and did the flat water raft around horseshoe bend but didn't know about antelope canyon. So much easier with the internet!

    So whilst we could go straight from the South Rim to Page and then take the southern route and take in some of the areas Dave has mentioned, I think we are considering a change.

    So how about this instead:

    20 July - Drive to the Grand Canyon but only have 2 nights, one full day. Given we can't get down into the canyon very far, I think I fancy the bikes and cycling around the rim and then getting the 'in the canyon' experience in page.

    22 July - Drive to Page - Should only be 2.5 - 3 hours. Get there by lunch time and do something in the afternoon.

    23 July - Still in Page, up (reasonably) early and do a tour or something in the morning and try to be away by around 3:00 for the drive to Zion which should take no more than 2.5 hours.

    24 July - in Zion

    25 July - Drive to Tonopah, about 6-7 hours for an overnight stop

    26 July - Away early for the drive to Yosemite, about 3.5 - 4 hours. Arrive with enough time to get set up and do something in the afternoon.

    29 July to San Francisco as previously planned.

    This means that we spend no more than 2 nights in any one place other than Yosemite. If you only had one place where you could spend an extra day/night would you pick Yosemite or one of the other places?

  6. Default

    If the weather allows, book your extra day in Zion! Get reservations ASAP. Then spend the better part of the day hiking the extremely popular NARROWS walk up the Virgin River. You walk IN the water, up the narrowing canyon as the steep walls tower a couple thousand feet above you. It will likely be the highlight of your entire vacation! I've been to Yosemite, the Grand Canyon etc, yet personally find the Narrows to be the most beautiful place on earth. It is a truly surreal and personally immersive experience. But watch the weather and only do this hike if the water level is low and there is no danger of flash floods! You can walk a couple minutes or the entire day.

    Here is a video with some of the sights. Unfortunately, this walk is so drop dead gorgeous that the video just cannot do it justice.
    Last edited by Mark Sedenquist; 10-17-2018 at 07:44 AM. Reason: enabled the video link

  7. Default

    Regarding your first RV experience, be sure to pick up a box of disposable nitrile gloves! Usually come in a box of 100. They will make the very unpleasant experience of "dumping the tanks" much less disgusting. Have you seen the movie RV?

    Also, if not supplied with the RV, buy a screwdriver. I'm always amazed at how many times things such as cabinet doors get loose or even fall off! A couple toothpicks also come in handy to shove in the holes before screwing in the screws because those holes are often stripped!

    And never, EVER, back up the RV without someone outside guiding you, even if you have a backup camera!

    Don't know if you're using Cruise America, but even if you don't, they have some videos and other resources that you might find valuable to view ahead of time.
    Last edited by Mark Sedenquist; 10-17-2018 at 07:44 AM. Reason: enabled the link

  8. Default

    Hi Travellingman,

    Ok, I'll have to admit that the narrows looks amazing! Bet the water's cold :)

    Good tips on what to take, they'll definitely be on the list!

    I haven't seen RV but I've now seen the trailer and some clips (including the poop scene!) and I hope we have more success that they did! Can't say I'm looking forward to dumping the tanks!

  9. Default

    In July, it's like standing in an oven so the cold water is welcome! Read up all you can on water level and flash flood forecasts. These will also be posted right at the river. Wear shoes; don't attempt to walk any distance in bare feet. Read up on it.

    Also note that it could take HOURS to get your RV, including orientation and the the all-important documentation of ANY damage you find. Get it all in writing!!! I have always been meticulous about this and never had a problem, but I made sure they documented everything!

    Oh, pick up cheap pliers too. Those outside cargo door locks have a habit of loosening and even falling off! Happened on every RV I've rented.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jan 1998
    Las Vegas, Nevada

    Default RV Rental Advice

    This article written by Mark Helmlinger in 2005 is still valuable and includes a checklist to take with you when you pick up a rental RV.

    (That's weird, the checklist is not longer visible on this site. Looking for it now)

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