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Santa Barbara - Death Valley: need a stopover?

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Cambridge, United...
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Santa Barbara - Death Valley: need a stopover?

Hi everyone, probably no-one remembers me from earlier this year but I'm back again trying to plan a return trip to California next year.

We want to repeat part of our previous trip from San Francisco to Santa Barbara through Big Sur and are happy with how to plan our itineray for that section. However, on that trip we went to LA, then out to Death Valley and on to Vegas. This time we'd like to skip LA and go inland from Santa Barbara to Death Valley and then up to Yosemite and back to San Francisco.

It's the Santa Barabra - Death Valley section that I need help with at the moment please. I realise that we'll have to cross over the mountains but it looks possible to take highways 150 / 126 to Santa Clarita and then pick up highway 14 to Palmdale, Lancaster, Mojave and onto the 395 into Death Valley. Do you think this would be our best route? How long do you think it will take (Google maps are never accurate) and should we plan an overnight somewhere along the way?

Earlier this year we did LA to Death Valley in one day, leaving at 6am, stopping along the way at various locations (Calico and Boron) and arrived about 8pm. I don't mind driving like this again if it's the best option but if possible I'd like a stopover.

I'd be grateful for any advice you could give me.

Thanks in advance.

Uden, The...
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1. Re: Santa Barbara - Death Valley: need a stopover?

Hi, I remember you Tk!

You can take 101 to 126, I5 and 14. There's short cut from Santa Clarita but we didnot drive. Instead 395 all the way you also could drive via Randsburg and Jo'burg to Ridgecrest, to Trona and to Death Valley. Depending on traffic this route will take 6-7 hours (to Furnace Creek, DV). If that's too far you can stay for the night in Ridgecrest. Ample lodging and a good town to stock up. Another place to stay is in Panamint Springs within the DV bounderies. What time of year are you coming?

Tet

Malta
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2. Re: Santa Barbara - Death Valley: need a stopover?

Hello TKDALLY

I plan to travel from SF to LA next August along HWY 1 with an overnight stay in Santa Barbara. Any suggestions and ideas from your experience are most welcome. Also, can you please suggest a good family place to stay for one night?

Thank you and good luck for your holiday.

David

Cambridge, United...
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3. Re: Santa Barbara - Death Valley: need a stopover?

Thanks Tet - probably in September.

I was hoping to avoid the 101 if possible because we caught terrible traffic earlier this year around Oxnard and Ventura. I will have a look at your suggestions though.

We intended to visit Randsburg when we were last in the area but it was late afternoon and we were concerned about getting over the Panamints before dark so had to give it a miss. We did take a short detour though to Boron and had some wonderful food at Domingo's restaurant, as well as the town museum and Borax works, so we might try and include again this time around.

The reason I'm looking for a stopover is because last year we were so tired from the journey from LA to DV that we were still feeling it the next day and we didn't do as much in the park as we wanted to. Maybe we should just bite the bullet and do it though. At least I know what to expect this time though when we get to the park.

california
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4. Re: Santa Barbara - Death Valley: need a stopover?

I find Google Maps to be pretty accurate, you just have to look at the very faint print that gives you the time 'up to 9 hours with traffic'.

The route you are looking is good but I also prefer going thru Ridgecrest/Trona as suggested by Tet rather than continuing up the 395 to Panamint Springs.

Ridgecrest is full of motels unless you're going on a peak weekend you wouldn't need a reservation, alternatively there is Mojave but it is REALLY ugly.

Boston and...
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5. Re: Santa Barbara - Death Valley: need a stopover?

I drove from Santa Barbara to Ridgecrest, then up (down) through Trona, last year at this time. Stayed in Ridgecrest. A good drive in less than a day, even through the evening commute on I-5 and 14.

I see that the OP is committed to September, but this is just to say what a fantastic time of year it is now for the whole drive, especially around Death Valley. It can't be more gorgeous, with the sun at lower angles. And moderate temperatures! And traffic is nearly nil. Never a worry about driving those looong, looong grades.

Edited: 30 December 2009, 02:09
Uden, The...
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6. Re: Santa Barbara - Death Valley: need a stopover?

Can be a bit tricky in winter in DV. This is from our DE Frisco_Roadrunner:

For anyone planning on Death Vally in the next few weeks, be aware of the following conditions that might impact your plans.

TITUS CANYON is temporarily CLOSED due to snow at the Red Pass summit. It is not a particular hazard but vehicles going over the top tear up the road when it's muddy. So it'll be closed until it dries out.

SALINE VALLEY North and South pass roads are CLOSED due to snow and ice.

UBEHEBE CRATER PARKING will CLOSE from Jan-Mar. due to road construction. Check with the NPS to see if there are parking alternatives or if the crater will be off limits.

SCOTTY'S CASTLE ROAD will have traffic delays for road work on weekdays and will CLOSE Jan 12-14 for culvert work. Castle access will be from the junction of U.S. 95 and NV 267, via Bonnie Claire ghost town. It's about 60 miles from Beatty this way (plus mileage from your starting point in the park).

BIG PINE ROAD is recommended for high- clearance.

CHARCOAL KILNS ROAD is CLOSED above the Kilns due to snow and ice; you can get to the Kilns and may need 4wd, but cannot get to Wildrose or Telescope Peak trailheads or the high campgrounds.

For updates, contact the NPS at 760-786-3200.

Tet

7. Re: Santa Barbara - Death Valley: need a stopover?

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