We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

best drive from Crescent City CA to the Grand Canyon

White Cloud...
Level Contributor
15 posts
1 review
Save Topic
best drive from Crescent City CA to the Grand Canyon

This September we plan to do a huge loop, starting in Vegas, over to the Sequoia National Park, then Yosemite, then San Francisco, then up to Crescent City (to see the Redwoods) and back down to the Grand Canyon. I am wondering what is the best route from Crescent City CA to the south rim of the Grand Canyon, thought we would stay near Kanab UT?? one route tells us to go east through NV/UT and another says to go back the way that we intend to go up, through the west side of California.

Napa, CA
Destination Expert
for Napa
Level Contributor
7,414 posts
22 reviews
Save Reply
1. Re: best drive from Crescent City CA to the Grand Canyon

Welcome to TA.

It's a long drive from Crescent City to the South Rim of the Grand Canyon. Google maps show the quickest route as going back to the Bay Area on US 101, then I-5 to Bakersfield and then over to the Grand Canyon via various highways. This route does not go near Kanab, Utah.

If you want to go to Kanab, you would go an entirely different route. Use google maps and it will direct you up into Oregon, through NE California, and then through western and southern Nevada, 17 hours of driving.

It might be better if you saved Redwood National Park for another trip when you are exploring the California and Oregon coast.

White Cloud...
Level Contributor
15 posts
1 review
Save Reply
2. Re: best drive from Crescent City CA to the Grand Canyon

yes, I have checked google maps and am aware that it will be approx a 17 hour drive. Google maps wants to take me east thru NV and Ut and I can change the route to go back south thru coastal CA but was wondering if anyone could give me input on the 2 different courses. My husband says to travel along the coast (which is the way that we will go up) because it will be "way too" hilly going throug NV and UT. But he is just assuming. I would love to know from some people familiar with the area.

Napa, CA
Destination Expert
for Napa
Level Contributor
7,414 posts
22 reviews
Save Reply
3. Re: best drive from Crescent City CA to the Grand Canyon

If you are going to the Grand Canyon South Rim, google maps does not take you through Utah. Kanab is not near the South Rim. Why do you want to go to Kanab?

The least "hilly" route is back down 101, I-5 to Bakersfield, 58 to Barstow, and then either I-40 towards the Grand Canyon South Rim, or I-15 to Vegas, Mesquite, and then Kanab.

haines, alaska
Destination Expert
for Haines
Level Contributor
7,068 posts
33 reviews
Save Reply
4. Re: best drive from Crescent City CA to the Grand Canyon

I have hard time believing that going down highway 101 would be the "quickest" route......google has been known to make mistakes in estimating time that it needs to travel.......

It seems more direct to just take 101 south to Eureka/Arcata and then take highway 299 over to Redding to join up with I-5.......or for better scenery, you could connect with highway 44 east, once in Redding to drive over to highway 395 and take that highway all the way to Las Vegas......

I promise you, you will not want to spend anytime going through Bakersfield, if you don't have to......

Napa, CA
Destination Expert
for Napa
Level Contributor
7,414 posts
22 reviews
Save Reply
5. Re: best drive from Crescent City CA to the Grand Canyon

299 is not quicker and the OP requested the least "hilly" route. 299 crosses a lot of mountains.

However, if it was my trip, I would take the route you described, mombear. It is more scenic.

Los Angeles
Destination Expert
for Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Park
Level Contributor
10,966 posts
107 reviews
Save Reply
6. Re: best drive from Crescent City CA to the Grand Canyon

Kanab is a gateway town for the *North* rim of the Grand Canyon. To get to the South Rim from there would add hours to the trip.

How long do you have to do this? Because 17 hours in one day is a long drive. Going all the way to Crescent City "to see the redwoods" commits you to this longer drive, and the fastest way IMO is using the route Mombear just posted (the one where you go down the 395). Nevada and Utah are largely flat (they don't call it the Great Basin for nothing). However, the Sierra Nevada must be gotten over/around somehow (the route through Tehachapi has a huge hill on it, btw - although it's beautiful and a regular freeway, it's not a winding mountain road).

The real time estimate of the Bakersfield drive, right now, is 18 hours without stops. Use "Grand Canyon Village" as your ending point. For the 395 drive, the real time estimate is 19 and a half hours, again without stops.

Get reservations at the GC ASAP.

You'll need to stay someplace in between Crescent City and Grand Canyon, suggest Bishop or Mammoth. There's a lot to see out that way. It's still going to be a long drive both days. Some of it will be state highways and not freeways and will go slower.

If you are pressed for time, could you not consider making Willits or Ft Bragg your turnaround point? Looping through Mendocino is an extraordinary thing to do...

So Cal
Level Contributor
8,800 posts
74 reviews
Save Reply
7. Re: best drive from Crescent City CA to the Grand Canyon

Is there a reason you don't start with the Grand Canyon, then proceed to Sequoia from there? You'll still have a very long drive back to LV from CC, but that at least cuts out 4-5 hours.

I hope you have a lot of time for this vacation. You're hoping to cover an awful lot of ground, much of which isn't typically combined on the same trip.

Washington State
Destination Expert
for Yosemite National Park
Level Contributor
58,932 posts
113 reviews
Save Reply
8. Re: best drive from Crescent City CA to the Grand Canyon

>>This September we plan to do a huge loop, starting in Vegas, over to the Sequoia National Park, then Yosemite, then San Francisco, then up to Crescent City (to see the Redwoods) and back down to the Grand Canyon.<<

If each of these destinations is a "Must Go" for you, then how about this route?

Las Vegas - Death Valley - eastern Sierra - {in via Tioga Pass to} Yosemite Valley - {down the mountains, north up I-5, and over on Hwy 20 to Hwy 101} - Redwood NP - {Hwy 1 to} San Francisco - {Hwy 1 again to} Cambria - {across the state to} SEquoia KIngs Canyon NP (SEKI) - South Rim Grand Canyon NP http://goo.gl/maps/Y0up8

However, if you would be satisfied with fewer Coastal Redwoods, visiting Henry Cowell or Big Basin Redwoods near Santa Cruz / Monterey (south of San Francisco) would save you hundreds of miles of driving.

White Cloud...
Level Contributor
15 posts
1 review
Save Reply
9. Re: best drive from Crescent City CA to the Grand Canyon

WOW...great input and VERY much appreciated! We have 2 weeks to do all of this and we know that it is an ambitious trip. We do plan to take 2 days to get back down to the Grand Canyon area, stopping somewhere about half way for the night. We thought that Kanab UT would be a good place to stay, it sounds like a nice town and a good location for what we want to do. Our thought was to do that last so we could spend 3 full days there and "chill out" after our first really busy week.

Napa, CA
Destination Expert
for Napa
Level Contributor
7,414 posts
22 reviews
Save Reply
10. Re: best drive from Crescent City CA to the Grand Canyon

I'm still confused with what you want to do Shellie. You are going to be on a multi-state road trip and TA has a forum dedicated to those.

tripadvisor.com/ShowForum-g1-i12567-Road_Tri…

I suggest you go there and lay out your proposed itinerary for the fine folks there to read and make comments. Share with them as many details of your plans as possible.