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Drive from Death Valley - South Entrance by Kernville?

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Drive from Death Valley - South Entrance by Kernville?

We will be driving this summer from LV to SFO stopping along the way at Death Valley, Sequioa/Kings Canyon and Yosemite. After we leave Death Valley I'd like to drive up 395 to see Manzanar (Japanese internment center) .. .then head over to SEKI. All of the postings suggest that there are only two entrances to SEKI -- 180 East from Fresno and 190 East from Porterville. The southern-most of those two entrances (190) is 4.5 or 5 hours from Manzanar, which is a long drive. But when I look at google maps there seems to be an entrance at the very south part of SEKI at Kernville (Rt 99). So I am thinking we would enter SEKI at that point and work our way North. Wondering why no-one on this forum seems to be mentioning that, since it seems to be a more direct wat to SEKI from the South.

Where would you recommend we sleep, as we are coming from DV? Looking for a hotel or house rental (are there any rental house areas like at Yosemite West)?

Thanks!

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1. Re: Drive from Death Valley - South Entrance by Kernville?

What you are entering when you drive north of Kernville is Giant Sequoia National Monument, not the Park. The national monument was created by Bill Clinton in 2000 to protect some sequoia groves located in Sequoia National Forest.

…wikipedia.org/wiki/Giant_Sequoia_National_M…

It's a wonderful drive if you have the time and there are some unique spots you can visit but it's several hours of driving to reach Three Rivers from where you would head up 190 into the national park.

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2. Re: Drive from Death Valley - South Entrance by Kernville?

OK that makes sense, thanks. I guess we need to decide if we want to drive from Manzanar to Wuksachi lodge (6 hours) ... then head to Yosemite ... then to SFO. Or, from Manzanar head up to Mono Lake (2 hrs) then over to Yosemite ... but probably not get to SEKI (since SEKI is 3 hours South from Yosemite then we would need to backtrack most of that way to get to SFO).

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3. Re: Drive from Death Valley - South Entrance by Kernville?

The two vehicle entrances to Sequoia National Park are 180 (northern) and 198 (southern, from Visalia, not Porterville).

There is no road from Kernville directly into Sequoia National Park, there are roads into Sequoia National _Forest_ and perhaps Sequoia National _Monument_ from there, but these roads either dead-end high in the mountain or take you back down to the foothills and the Central Valley. If you took that route, you would only end up with a long drive through the mountains and then back down into the foothills/Central Valley and then have to climb back up to Sequoia NP, which would take far longer than taking Hwy 99 to Visalia, then 198 up to the park.

Since you're going to Manzanar, I would suggest skipping SEKI altogether and see the giant sequoias at the Mariposa Grove in Yosemite.

If you continue north on 395 from Manzanar you could visit Mono Lake and then drive over Tioga Pass to the high country of the Sierra at Dana and Tuolumne Meadows in Yosemite NP. Much more variety of scenery than going through Sequoia National Forest/National Monument.

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4. Re: Drive from Death Valley - South Entrance by Kernville?

Confirming what the previous posters have said. We have done the drive from Kerrville and its scenic but no way faster than via Bakerfield. Also agree with what Bayatuning said about skipping Seki but I suggest to stay another night between Death Valley and Yosemite like in Mammoth Lakes or Lee Vining and visit Bodie before driving into Yosemite via Tioga Pass.

tripadvisor.com/Travel-g28926-c182361/Califo…

Tet

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5. Re: Drive from Death Valley - South Entrance by Kernville?

Our original plan was to drive from DV north, visit Manzanar and then stay over at Mono Lake. Then see Brodie and drive across the Tioga pass into Yosemite. we are looking to rent a house in Yosemite West for 3 nights.

A friend said we really needed to see Seki, as there are lots of good kid-friendly hikes, plus some Caves, and its all less crowded than yosemite, so I was looking to see if we could swing up to Seki for say 2 nights before our 3 nights at Yosemite.

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6. Re: Drive from Death Valley - South Entrance by Kernville?

Sequoia is a special place and well worth visiting. I assume you are doing this trip in the summer when the caves will be open for tours. Sequoia will be a lot more pleasant than Death Valley.

Since you live in the US, I would suggest coming back another time in the right season to visit the hottest place on earth. Death Valley is mostly a drive thru in summer. No need to spend much time there unless you really like the heat.

And Manzanar is important historically but maybe not the most interesting place for young children to visit in the heat of summer.

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7. Re: Drive from Death Valley - South Entrance by Kernville?

OK ... we still want to visit Manzanar, but from there to Seki south entrance is 5.5 hours (plus we would be driving from DV to Manzanar that morning). If we decide to do that, but find the trip is too long in one day, any suggestions on where to stay between DV and Seki for that first night? Then we would do 2 nights in Seki before heading up to Yosemite for 3 more nights.

And in Seki, from the South, is it recommended to stay at Wuksachi Lodge or are there other options (hotel or house rental, not tent)?

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8. Re: Drive from Death Valley - South Entrance by Kernville?

From Death Valley NP (Furnace Creek) it a good 2+ hours drive to Manzanar without stops but in DV there still are several places worth a stop.

At Manzanar not much to see. There's an excellent visitor center with displays worth to visit for an hour but the grounds are mostly empty with tags that explains what there once was. The graveyard is worth a visit.

On the way south on 395 you'll find Fossil Falls (wear sturdy shoes) before the exit to ca178. That's a very scenic drive to Bakersfield. On the way you''ll pass Lake Isabella so maybe try to find a place there before the drive to Seki. You also can see how far you can get that day. We didnot stay at Lake Isabella but liked our stay in Three Rivers. In Lone Pine you'll find Alabama Hills where many movies were filmed. It also has a movie museum with the monster from the movie Tremors. There also is a great route up to Whitney Portal and on the way to that you'll find Face Rock

Tet

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9. Re: Drive from Death Valley - South Entrance by Kernville?

All you need is 1 full day to explore Seki, otherwise you will have to backtrack to Seki. We stayed in Old Town Clovis at the Comfort Inn & Suites. Very nice hotel and charming town. Make sure to make the hike up to Morro Rock, awesome view of the valley below and the entrance to the park via 198 and all the switchbacks that go with it. Kings Canyon nice but a long drive down to the canyon and back. If going to Yosemite from here, Old Town Clovis gets my vote for lodging.

Edited: 23 February 2013, 14:49
10. Re: Drive from Death Valley - South Entrance by Kernville?

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