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Las Vegas to Visalia

Lund, Sweden
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Las Vegas to Visalia

On the way from Las Vegas to Yosemite we plan to spend one night in Visalia. When we look into recommendations for the travel from Las Vegas to Visalia, the general recommendation seems to be to drive on Highway 15 and then up to Bakersfield before coming to Visalia.

We are keen to see as much as possible (of course) and have looked into crossing Death Valley NP on the way to Visalia. Is this possible and can it be recommended or will it be too tight? We realise that it will be a long day and that there will not be much time for sightseeing (maybe just stopping at Dante's view), but if the route is much more scenic it may be worth the effort. Which option is the best?

Napa, CA
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1. Re: Las Vegas to Visalia

When is your trip? Most people familiar with this drive would recommend going to Yosemite by US 395 and Tioga Pass if the pass is open. If it's not open, the Bakersfield route is your best choice. Going through Death Valley for either route would be the most scenic choice. It's just a little warmer there in the summer.

Uden, The...
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2. Re: Las Vegas to Visalia

Yes, it's much more scenic but easily can take 10 hours with a few stops. Dante's View is 13 miles from 190 and you'll have to drive same way back. It will add time.

What time of year are you coming? If Tioga pass is open it's even far more scenic to take us395 to Lee Vining and head over Tioga Pass into Yosemite.

Encinitas...
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for Zion National Park, Joshua Tree National Park
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3. Re: Las Vegas to Visalia

What time of year is this?

If Tioga Pass is open, most people drive from Vegas to Yosemite via Death Valley , the up Hwy 395 and over Tioga Pass.

Long Barn...
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4. Re: Las Vegas to Visalia

I see from your other post that your trip is planned for mid May. I think that Tioga Pass should be open for your time of travel. Driving from Death Valley and spending the night in Lone Pine, Lee Vining or any other town along Hwy 395 would make more sense over Visalia. Keep a close watch for information about the opening of Tioga Pass (hwy 120).

Lund, Sweden
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5. Re: Las Vegas to Visalia

It is actually my parents that are going for the trip. They will go from Las Vegas to Visalia on May 10, this year. They have already booked the night in Visalia, in order to be on the safe side if Tioga is not open, and they are not so keen on changing their plans with respect to this matter.

Washington State
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6. Re: Las Vegas to Visalia

>> the general recommendation seems to be to drive on Highway 15 and then up to Bakersfield before coming to Visalia <<

The problem is that your parents didn't ask on TripAdvisor for any recommendations, and now they're stuck trying to modify a plan based on some unknown source's recommendation. I sure wish they had asked us earlier. I don't think anyone would recommend the I-15 route. Oh well.

If they don't mind a long day, enter DVNP via Bell Vista Road and detour to Dante's View, take the 20 Mule Canyon loop road, and stop at Zabriskie Point. After checking out the Visitor Center at Furnace Creek, folks with lots of time & stamina might drive down to Badwater then up to Artist Drive, back thru Furnace Creek and up to Stovepipe Wells for a quick view at the Sand Dunes. Out at Panamint with a view to the east and on to 395 -> 178 -> 99.

I'd guess that the scenery from Death Valley to Yosemite via Visalia will be something like 3 out of 10. The scenery via Tioga Pass will be something like 9 or 10 out of 10. Just my guesses.

I hope your parents secured lodging inside Yosemite for their busy spring-time visit.

Long Barn...
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7. Re: Las Vegas to Visalia

I imagine your parents are the type of people that want to have everything in order when they travel. I can certainly understand that coming from a different country. Visalia is a strange choice to stay for a drive to Yosemite (nothing against Visalia). May 10 is still early for an opening of Tioga Pass, but it is too bad they will miss this beautiful scenic drive. I hope they enjoy their visit to California.

Napa, CA
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8. Re: Las Vegas to Visalia

"The problem is that your parents didn't ask on TripAdvisor for any recommendations"

Toby did ask the Yosemite forum for advice back in March. At that time the issue of Tioga being open was discussed. I advised against making any reservations and wait until they knew what the road conditions would be at the time of their visit.

They wanted to be safe, so they booked their room. Maybe they can change it, maybe not. If they can, it's their choice if they want to change their plans.

I believe in this thread, Toby is merely asking if it's worth going through Death Valley or not. Is that right, Toby?

Washington State
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9. Re: Las Vegas to Visalia

My apologies for not checking the history.

Toby ~ will my drive-thru-visit suggestion for DVNP work for your parents?

San Francisco
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10. Re: Las Vegas to Visalia

For anyone coming such a long way, it would be a real shame to go around the south end through Bakersfield and be stuck in Visalia if Death Valley, the eastern Sierra Nevada, and Tioga Pass are available. If they can stop over only one night, it doesn't have to be as far south as Lone Pine; Mammoth Lakes is fine, or even Lee Vining if they are up to a half hour longer in the car. And there will be time for more than Dante's View in Death Valley; Devil's Golf Course, Badwater, and Artist's Drive are not far off the main road, and the Devil's Cornfield and Sand Dunes are on the way to Yosemite.

On the Visalia route they will miss: Lone Pine, Mt. Whitney, all of the Eastern Sierra, Mammoth Lakes, Devil's Postpile, Mono Lake, Tioga Pass and the Tuolumne Meadows high country of Yosemite. And a night in Visalia has to rank among the least exciting vacation experiences imaginable for someone coming across an ocean and a continent to see the beauties of California.

Please keep an eye on the Tioga Pass opening situation, and PLEASE try to persuade your parents to consider the suggestions of people who live here or have traveled here and know these areas intimately. In all honesty, I don't think people's reluctance to change plans that can feasibly be changed is a good tradeoff for missing some of the most magnificent natural scenery in the western United States.

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