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driving from vegas to yosemite

tel aviv
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driving from vegas to yosemite


we are a family of 5 coming in the summer

i will be in vegas and have to take my car back to san francisco. we want to visit yosemite

i can see on google maps that there are 2 possible routes

one via death valley park and the other (shorter via bakersfield and fresno

1 is it worth the extra time to go via death valley in the summer

2 what is there to do on the other route to break the drive

San Francisco
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for Death Valley Junction, Death Valley National Park
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1. Re: driving from vegas to yosemite

If you go to Death Valley, then up Hwy 395 through Lone Pine and Bishop to Mono Lake and Tioga Pass, you will see some of the most stupendous natural scenery in the Western U.S. From Las Vegas to Death Valley, through Yosemite and then to San Francisco, is about 600 mi/970 km, NOT counting sightseeing and side trips you might make.

If you go through Bakersfield and Fresno, you miss Death Valley, all of the eastern Sierra, and Mono Lake. The Bakersfield route has nowhere near the scenic diversity of Death Valley and the eastern Sierra. There is little to break it up, once you get out of the southern Sierra Nevada into the Tehachapi and Bakersfield area. and if you want to see the less traveled high country of Yosemite, it's more of a detour. It is also about 200 km longer than the other route, again not counting scenic detours.

Either way, you need to allow a couple of overnight stops to make the most of it. Try to spend a night in DV; if you can't fit it into your schedule, at least spend a whole day seeing as much as you can, then stop over somewhere on 395. Yosemite definitely needs a couple of days. From there to S.F. is only about 4 hours.

No question about it, my recommendation is to not miss Death Valley or the eastern Sierra, You won't be as challenged by the weather as someone from Britain or northern Europe. Since you might not get a chance to come back soon, see as much of California's unique natural splendor as possible.

OTOH, since you're a family of 5, I'm presuming you'll have kids with you. Are you planning to go to the Los Angeles area at all, where Disneyland, Universal Studios, and other theme parks and attractions are that appeal to kids? I know you posted somewhere else and I don't recall all the details of your itinerary. Maybe you were landing at LAX and doing that first. Anyway, you'll want to have some diversions for them in your overall plan.

Little Sutton...
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2. Re: driving from vegas to yosemite

Frisco is spot on,it would be real shame to mis out on DV,absolutely stunning scenery & deserves a couple of nights to do it justice,same for Yosemite,equally stunning but very different.

Washington State
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for Yosemite National Park
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3. Re: driving from vegas to yosemite

Definitely travel via Death Valley and the Tuolumne Meadows high country of Yosemite. Here is a travel time/distance chart from Yosemite Valley: nps.gov/yose/…mileages9-2007.pdf I love Google Maps for the ability to move the purple route around, but the driving times are so inaccurate! (They expect you to drive at 55 miles per hour on windy roads where the speed limit is 35 mph.)

Yosemite lodging books up 366 days in advance. It is unlikely that there is anything available now. However, there are often cancellations, so persistant folks usually find something. El Portal (1/2 hour from the Valley) is a good option. There are other options as well that aren't as close to the Valley but are in beautiful locations. Check with folks on the Yosemite forum for more info.

Berkeley, California
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4. Re: driving from vegas to yosemite

The route via the Eastern Sierras (Highway 395) is substantially nicer than the route through the Central Valley (State Route 99). Even if you do not get much time to visit Death Valley, driving through it is highly recommended.

Because of the distance between Las Vegas and Yosemite, you will need to spend an overnight somewhere. This makes the Eastern Sierras route even more ideal, as you will have portions of two days to see all there is along the route. Enjoy!

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5. Re: driving from vegas to yosemite

Hi, Sorry to jump on your thread but I have a similar question. We are travelling the other way from San Fran to Las Vegas. We have a 2 night stop in Yosemite (Cedar Lodge, El Portal) then onto Death Valley for a night (Furnace Creek) then onto Vegas.

My question(s) is this.....Which is the best route to take from El Portal to Furnace Creek? Will it be a push doing it in one day? How long will it take and is there plenty to see on the way?

Thanks in anticipation.

6. Re: driving from vegas to yosemite

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