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How far away are the giant trees?

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maryland
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How far away are the giant trees?

We're from the east coast and my kids (10 and 13) have never been to California. We're going to Disneyland, of course, but I don't want them to miss the incredible giant redwoods and/or sequoias that are native to the area. They've also never seen real mountains.

We're driving in from Las Vegas (long story) and flying out of LAX but hope to see some of the natural beauty (trees and mountains) on our trip. I know we'll see plenty of dessert! Can someone tell me how many hours of driving I'd have to add to the trip - or if there's an easy way (train? bus?) - if we want to see some giant trees? From my research, it seems like hours and hours and hours! Would love some advice from anyone who knows the area. All help is much appreciated!

Washington State
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for Yosemite National Park
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1. Re: How far away are the giant trees?

How many days do you have for this trip to experience the Giant Sequoias and/or Coastal Redwoods?

San Diego...
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2. Re: How far away are the giant trees?

The Giant Forest area of Sequoia National Park, which has giant sequoias, is approximately 250 miles from Anaheim, about 5 hours of driving plus time spent at stops along the way.

maryland
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3. Re: How far away are the giant trees?

I haven't planned out the whole trip yet - but I'm hoping to stay at least one night somewhere near something! Also, it's occurred to me that (since I don't have plane tickets yet) I can also fly OUT of a different airport. Thanks for your help!

250 miles is a long way to go - but not too long if I keep going to another airport. Ideas as to which airport would be closest? Thanks again!

Yucaipa, California
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4. Re: How far away are the giant trees?

Between Las Vegas and Anaheim you could visit the San Bernardino Mountains with Lake Arrowhead and Big Bear, but that will require some skill at mountain driving. What time of year?

If you add Palm Spings into your itinerary somewhere you can take an aerial tram up from the desert to a mountain forest.

For planning that takes you beyound Southern Calif. I suggest posting in the main Califormia Forum.

Edited: 05 September 2013, 02:32
San Diego...
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5. Re: How far away are the giant trees?

Slightly closer to Anaheim is the Trail of 100 Giants in the Giant Sequoia National Monument. It's 215 miles, about a 4-hour drive from Anaheim.

In the summer months, the city of Visalia operates a shuttle bus from Visalia up to the Giant Forest area. I think the round-trip fare is only $15. If you take that you don't have to drive the winding Highway 198 up the mountain.

Airports that are somewhat close to groves of giant sequoias include Fresno (formerly FAT, now FYI), Merced, (MCE) and Visalia (VIS). Great Lakes Airlines offers short flights from Los Angeles to either Visalia or Merced. The Fresno airport is served by Alaska/Horizon, Allegiant, American, Delta, Frontier, United and US Airways.

The Fresno Airport is about a 1-hour drive from the entrance to Kings Canyon National Park and the Grant Grove, which is a grove of giant sequoia trees that is near the park entrance. The drive on Highway 180 into Kings Canyon National Park is gentler and easier than the drive on Highway 198 into Sequoia National Park.

The Visalia airport is about a 90-minute drive up Highway 198 to the Giant Forest area of Sequoia National Park.

The Merced airport is about a 2-hour drive from the Mariposa Grove in Yosemite National Park.

A possible solution would be to drive from Anaheim to Sequoia National Park, stay over one or two nights in Sequoia/Kings Canyon National Parks, then exit the parks on Highway 180 and drive to the Fresno airport.

Mi Wuk Village...
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6. Re: How far away are the giant trees?

Sequoia/Kings Canyon National Parks would seem your best bets. Some of the other mountain areas have big trees ..at least to folks from back east.. but not on a scale of the sequoias. Redwoods you need to be further north. They are a temperate rain forest tree (don't worry..most Californians don't know what that means). As to the advice about smaller airports and commuter airlines..check the prices. Some can be quite high. As to mountain driving..not as dangerous as some would imply. Think of those back country roads at home...with rather large drop offs. These are driven daily by thousands of outsiders.. many in large motor homes. Google maps can give you routes and mileage. Although the mountain roads are done at lower speeds, much of your possible routes are over open country on straight highways. One option..probably the easiest for you would be I-15 out of Vegas then turn off to Bakersfield. Then it is a straight run up 99 to the turn off into the mountains..you have a couple of options. Yeh... some back tracking to get to Anaheim. For desserts I highly recommend the Cheesecake Factory restaurants. For deserts... there are actually several kinds. Nope...you won't see saguaros like in the John Wayne movies. Two thirds of the drive from Vegas to Bakersfield will be via desert. High desert is best known for Joshua Trees. Challenge your kids to research why they have that name. Also, challenge them to find out the difference between redwoods and sequoias. It's a great ride and can be very educational. On the way back to Anaheim there are two spots to consider stopping.. As you drive I-5 out of the Central Valley stop at Tejon Ranch. Good for an hour or so. Has an interesting history. A tad further on you pass through Santa Clarita..home to Six Flags Magic Mountain. One of the best collections of roller coasters and vomit inducing rides in the country. Well worth a day. Lots of cheap motels in the area. Easy run down into LA from there.

You have picked an excellent route. Don't freak on the distances. I used to commute on a weekly basis through most of the Central Valley down to Hollywood. It's also a great night drive. Remember Flying J Truck Stops. Best coffee, energy drinks and snacks. Driving at night from Vegas or through the Central Valley. Dial in Coast to Coast AM so your kids can listen to the latest UFO reports and Elvis sightings. 4am switch to the crop reports. Have the kids listen to how many crops the Central Valley exports to the world.

Pasadena, California
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7. Re: How far away are the giant trees?

Here's another idea: see the Sequoia grove at Yosemite NP. I want to preface this by saying I have not done this myself. So there may be problems I don't anticipate.

You are flying into Las Vegas, and heading to Anaheim, right? What about driving from Las Vegas to Yosemite? Visit Yosemite Valley and then, on the way out of the park, just inside the southern entrance, visit the grove of Giant Sequoias at Mariposa Grove. Then continue to Anaheim.

According to Google Maps, the fastest (NOT the most scenic) route to Yosemite from Vegas would be @ 5.5 hour drive to the Valley floor. It's another 2.5 hour drive to Mariposa Grove, and from there, about a 5 hour drive to Anaheim. So, if you spent 2 nights, you could:

1. Drive Las Vegas to Yosemite (probably sleeping near Lee Vining, before the entrance to Yosemite, unless you could get a reservation in Yosemite Valley).

2. Spend an entire day seeing the highlights of Yosemite; then head south and visit the Mariposa Grove in the late afternoon. Sleep Oakhurst, perhaps.

3. Drive to Anaheim.

BTW, none of this will work during the substantial part of the year that the Tioga Road is closed-- first snowfall until...late May? And getting a hotel reservation inside the park is hard and requires advance planning.

According to Google Maps, the total drive time is only slightly longer than the drive time from Vegas-Sequoia-Anaheim.

Edited: 05 September 2013, 04:09
Los Angeles
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for Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Park
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8. Re: How far away are the giant trees?

Big Bear/Lake Arrowhead do not have Giant Sequoias or other redwoods that I'm aware of.

Sequoia NP or the Sequoia National Monument/Forest are closest. It's possible to drive there from Las Vegas (via the 58 and then 99, about 5-6 hours but you'd need to stay over in the park).

Those are the closest big trees. The coastal redwoods start in earnest just below Big Sur (about 8-9 hours north of Anaheim if you're really lucky with traffic). Otherwise, you could fly to San Francisco and take a tour to Muir Woods...which are not really in mountains.

For mountains and trees, you want Sequoia National Park.

Edited: 05 September 2013, 04:12
Oregon Coast
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for Crescent City, Oregon Coast, Oregon, Redwood National Park
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9. Re: How far away are the giant trees?

Key question - *when* are you planning to visit?

Next question - I know you haven't planned the whole trip yet, but, please, including your travel days, how many days do you have?

It's far easier to help you if we have the basic information :-)

california
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10. Re: How far away are the giant trees?

For the BIG BIG redwoods, you would need to be in Northern California. This is where I write from: Humboldt County. I can tell you, it's a 14

Hour drive for me to Orange County. Long!

And we have a VERY small airport, the Arcata airport (AVC), for me round trip to SNA will be around $450. It's very expensive to fly out of here. The closest big easy airports to fly into would be Oakland (OAK), San Jose or San Francisco (SFO). Then drive 4-5 hours up.

Google Fern Canyon or Redwoods National Park, both amazing.

Oh, no direct from or to here (AVC) either, you have to go through SFO via United Express.