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Las Vegas through Death Valley to Bakersfield 1 day??

midwest
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Las Vegas through Death Valley to Bakersfield 1 day??

We'll be leaving LV on a Thursday and want to drive through Death Valley stopping overnight in Bakersfield enroute to Santa Barbara. Is a 1-day drive through enough for us to see the park since we cannot take long trails and we both know about the heat during the day?

Or should we plan to stay overnight (if we can find a place) inside the park then make the drive to Santa Barbara the next day?

Thanks

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california
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1. Re: Las Vegas through Death Valley to Bakersfield 1 day??

Yes you'll get a good overview of the park in one day, recommend Artist's Drive and the overlook at Zabriskie Point (no walking) as well as one of the low points such as Devil's Golf Course. If it isn't too hot ask at the ranger station if the pupfish at Salt Creek are still in action.

Plan your entrances and exits accordingly.

Maybe on the way out go via 178 and Trona Rd. There is lots of lodging in Ridgecrest if you decide to spend a little more time in the park and not get as far as Bakersfield. You shouldn't have any trouble finding a room there.

Uden, The...
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2. Re: Las Vegas through Death Valley to Bakersfield 1 day??

We spent weeks in Death Valley NP and didn't see it all yet, but you can visit some of the most famous sites on a daytrip. If you can, stay one night in DV (Furnace Creek Ranch or Spovepipe Wells village) and drive SB next day. Instead Bakersfield you could stay in beautiful Lone Pine at the foot of Mount Whitney or in Ridgecrest as the previous poster has mantioned and see some of the western side of DVNP.

Another option is to stay at Panamint Springs resort north of Ridgecrest and east of Lone Pine but still inside DVNP.

Tet

San Francisco
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3. Re: Las Vegas through Death Valley to Bakersfield 1 day??

This seems pretty ambitious to me, if you want to truly appreciate Death Valley. From Las Vegas to Bakersfield can be close to 400 miles depending on where you start and end--not counting any sightseeing.

Is your timetable firm, or can you stay one night in DV?

If you cannot, I like the idea of stopping over at Ridgecrest, or maybe Mojave, so you can spend longer in DV and not feel rushed. It would still be a lot of driving when you include DV, but it would be more relaxing. Direct LV mileage to Ridgecrest is around 250 or so; to Mojave, around 300.

Finally, is Bakersfield one of your destinations? If not, it is off the most direct route from DV (and Ridgecrest or Mojave) to Santa Barbara. Why go to Bakersfield if you don't have to? It would be more direct to continue south from Mojave to Palmdale and take SR 14 and 126 (good state highways) along the northern edge of the Los Angeles metro area toward the coast. This cuts 60-65 miles off from the Bakersfield route.

midwest
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4. Re: Las Vegas through Death Valley to Bakersfield 1 day??

Thanks everyone for your replies. I'll go over the map today and if I have more questions I'll be back. We don't need to stay in Bakersfield but the drive on 178 looked like a nice one. We thought about cutting over to SB via 150 @ Santa Paula but have been told Ventura is a must see since my wife has never been to the west coast.

Thanks again.

San Francisco
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5. Re: Las Vegas through Death Valley to Bakersfield 1 day??

Yes, the ride along 178 to Bakersfield is pretty. It is a curvy mountainous road that goes over Walker Pass (elevation about 5,000') and through some nice rural areas and small hamlets like Onyx and Weldon, to the Lake Isabella area. The lake is manmade, created by the Army Corps of Engineers for flood control on the Kern River. This is a big boating and water recreation destination, with several resort communities. Due to the drought of several years, the lake level is far below what it should be.

The narrow, winding western segment of 178 hugs the Kern River. It's beautiful, especially in late spring or early summer when the river is flowing. It will take longer than the more direct Hwy 58 via Tehachapi. If you wanted to do this the same day you leave Las Vegas, you'll be pretty fatigued by the end of the day.

Since this is your trip, you'll have to decide about the time factors. But either way, you'll see some beautiful California scenery.

midwest
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6. Re: Las Vegas through Death Valley to Bakersfield 1 day??

Well, with 2 cups of coffee and my map I think I have figured out everyone's suggestions. You all are right, why stay in Bakersfield? Stovepipe Wells is sold out and Furnace Creek does have rooms available but Queen size only which can make for a restless night between the two of us. I checked Panamint Springs resort and they have vacancies. Does anyone know anything about this place?

Thanks

california
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7. Re: Las Vegas through Death Valley to Bakersfield 1 day??

I've driven by but never stopped. It doesn't look very appealing from the road.

It has a lot of 1-circle (lowest rating) on Trip Advisor.

If you were spending a few nights and wanted to be a bit closer to the park entrance, it might make sense to stay there, but since you are just spending one day in Death Valley and are heading on out, I don't think there is a reason to stay there.

Uden, The...
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8. Re: Las Vegas through Death Valley to Bakersfield 1 day??

I also never stayed there but have seen it several times. I don't think it's an ordeal to stay there for one night. It's Death Valley NP that counts and stargazing will be the same. So I would make that reservation.

San Francisco
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9. Re: Las Vegas through Death Valley to Bakersfield 1 day??

I have stayed at Panamint Springs several times. True, it is the most spartan of the in-park resorts, but it's no dump. The reason it looks like it does it because it is meant to be rustic and low-key. The buildings look like something from an Old West movie, but the rooms are decent.

The restaurant is one of the big draws. The food is terrific. The last salad I had there was piled high on a dinner plate with greens & veggies as fresh as if I'd get in S.F. or L.A., plus scads of other Chef's Salad fixings attractively prepared and served. The burgers are to kill for. You can sit in the dining room (nice decor, fireplace, lace curtains) or on the covered patio gazing at the Panamint Dunes and the west side of the Cottonwood range.

I'm told there is a huge beer selection, but take that as hearsay from me since I don't drink. There is a small "store" (really just a counter with a few basic items) and a gas station that consistently has some of the highest prices in California--so if you need gas while in the area, get it at Beatty or Stove Pipe Wells. There is no swimming pool.

Salt Lake City, Utah
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10. Re: Las Vegas through Death Valley to Bakersfield 1 day??

Didn't Furnace Creek Ranch have any double queen rooms? We just stayed there a few weeks ago on our way to Mojave.

If you decice to overnight in Mojave, I suggest the Mariah on old 58. It's away from the railtoad tracks and has a continental breakfast area included. There's a bar and restaurant. The pool was open until 11pm. Cafe 58 (corner of old 58 and CA14) served a great breakfast if hotel fare not your thing.

Whatever you decide, leave LV as early as possible. My favorite route is NV160 (exit 33 off of I 15) into Pahrump, Bell Vista/Stateline (a few miles past 'downtown' Pahrump) to Death Valley Junction, turn right and then a quick left onto the road that will take you right into the park.

The drive to Mojave will be longer, but leave you closer to your final destination. Plus, from there you can take 58 west or continue south to Palmdale and across that way.

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