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LA Airport to Sequoia National Park

Maple Grove...
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LA Airport to Sequoia National Park

We will be arriving to the Los Angeles international airport around 6pm on a Saturday evening and we are hoping to drive to the entrance of SNP that night. Google says it's about a 3 1/2 hr drive. Is that accurate??

Grover Beach...
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1. Re: LA Airport to Sequoia National Park

Probably longer. You have to get through LA traffic first.

Are you flying in from another time zone? Our time could be MUCH later to you depending on where you're flying in from. By the time you collect your luggage, rental car.... it could be 7:30 pm or later before you're ready to hit the road. That's a LONG drive in the dark on unfamiliar roads.

Santa Clarita...
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2. Re: LA Airport to Sequoia National Park

The drive from LAX to Valencia located on the I-5 is about an hour. From there, it is 3 plus hours of driving to Three Rivers, the southern entrance of Sequoia. The drive on I-5 from Valencia over to the Grapevine requires your being alert as the road goes over the mountains, curves, downhill, and truck traffic. It's a good road, but not a good idea if you have already had a full day of traveling. There are several hotels on I-5 at the Magic Mountain Pkwy off ramp (Valencia).

Edited: 22 February 2014, 03:33
Los Angeles
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3. Re: LA Airport to Sequoia National Park

Google seems to assume that you will be capable of driving 60 mph for the entire trip (including the parking lot and Sepulveda Blvd, including the stretch near Three Rivers).

We go frequently, and from Valencia, it takes us about 4 hours to the park entrance (sometimes longer). Can't recall ever doing it in 3 hours (and that's over several decades). Traffic does slow down over the Grapevine (near Gorman) but it slows down in Bakersfield too. We take the back way through Porterville, because we know how to do it (it's not that hard with a paper map; it saves about 20 minutes).

Are you camping? Because there's no place to stay at the "entrance of Sequoia National Park" except a campground. You should have reservations. Otherwise, you'll stay in Three Rivers, where there are several motels.

It seems to me regardless of your arrival time (it could be as early as 11 pm, if you get your car by 7:30 and it really only takes 3.5 hours - which would be averaging 65 mph the whole way - so driving 70-75 in some stretches - and play it by ear as to whether you can handle the Grapevine and its peculiar conditions at 65-70 mph or not), where are you going to stay? Because, again, the "Park Entrance" is in the middle of nowhere, north of Three Rivers, beyond Kaweah Lake and near Hospital Rock (where there is a campground, always full on weekends, usually by early on Friday).

I've never made it from Valencia to LAX in an hour, but I suppose it can be done. The stretch between the 118 and 126 is slower than the speed limit (both directions, usually). But, I'd say it's just a bit more than an hour - another 15 minutes.

So, I'd say, personally, that it is roughly 5 hours. Perhaps I'm including the time to stop for gas (there is no gas sold in the parks, so one must stop in Three Rivers, and the pumps are slow and there's often a bit of a crowd at the two functioning gas stations).

Saturday evening should be okay, traffic-wise. You arrive at 6:30 and someone optimistically said you might have your rental car by 7:30, but I think it typically takes more than an hour from landing to actually putting your foot on the gas pedal. They aren't going to give you your car in 5 minutes; not even in 20 minutes - and you have to take a shuttle to the rental car place; you also have to deplane. If you have no luggage to check through, I would guess you'd be at the rental place by 7:30 and, depending on the line (and there, a Saturday night can be a bit busy at LAX), you will get your car more by 8:00 pm. That should mean average traffic levels - but I'd think you'd arrive in Three Rivers at midnight (hopefully those gas stations are still open - you might want to try and find out, we've never been there at night) or you have filled up in Visalia (probably the better plan).

I wouldn't tackle the road from Three Rivers up into the park at midnight.

4. Re: LA Airport to Sequoia National Park

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