So we're going to be in the Las Vegas area for 9 days over Thanksgiving (Sat->Sun). The main purpose of the trip was to go to Death Valley but nine days is a little much, so we were wondering where else we could go. (We're not going to waste time in the city itself.)
My research suggested the following spots might have decent weather at this time of the year in addition to Death Valley:
Mojave National Preserve
Zion (sort of on the cold side)
I was thinking 4 days in Death Valley, 2 in Joshua Tree and 2 in Zion but am open to feedback.
We'll be skipping Bryce because it looks pretty cold/snowy at that time of the year. We've never driven on snow/ice and don't want to make this a first time. I've been to Yosemite before and I think we'll skip that too on this trip because the Tioga Pass will be closed. It's a bit far anyway...
So few questions:
1. How many days should we spend at Death Valley? I figure at least 3, but was wondering if we should do more. We would like to see the whole park (not every sq. mile obviously but the roads driveable in a normal car) and do a few day hikes. Any thoughts on Stovepipe vs Panamint will be appreciated as well. (We already have reservations at both for the whole week that we can adjust.)
2. Is Mojave National Preserve worth seeing? If so, how many days? Just drive through? Would this be as impressive after Death Valley?)
3. Same questions for Joshua Tree - how many days? If the weather and scenery are decent, we'd like to do one or two nice day hikes? How does Joshua Tree compare to Death Valley?
4. Is it a good time for Zion? Should we do 2 days or more?
5. I suspect Kings Canyon & Sequoia will also be cold and will have the possibility of snow?
6. Is it worth it to go up to Mono Lake and/or does the closure of the Tioga Pass nix it?
7. We've been to the Grand Canyon so will skip that but if anyone thinks that substituting some of the AZ or UT parks for Joshua Tree and Mojave after Death Valley will be better, we're open to suggestions. (The primary considerations are weather and proximity to Vegas. Quality of scenery is a close second.)