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is this realistic? Sequoia to Death Valley

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New York, NY
posts: 351
reviews: 90
is this realistic? Sequoia to Death Valley

i am considering a spring road trip from San Fran to Vegas, with my 2 intended destinations being 1.) Sequoia, and 2.) Death Valley. i can only spend 1 day in each park. and yes, i am the type of person who likes to check off major tourist attractions on my list -- i don't particularly want to spend 3 days having champagne with myself anywhere. (for example, i'm the type of person who will drive 4 hours from PHX to the grand canyon, spend 2 hours at the canyon, then drive 4 hours back to PHX all in one day & have a great time)

i have lame budgetary & time restrictions, but i try not to let that stand in my way of seeing the world. so here's my thought:

Day 1 - just drive from San Francisco (i have to start there, i'm there for work) to the outside of the Sequoia park, spend the night outside the park gate as close as i can (probably outskirts of Fresno)

Day 2 - spend 1 day in Sequoia park, and then...

A.) spend the night in Visalia, or

B.) drive to Ridgecrest or similar and spend the night there

DAY 3 -

--- if A.) above, then:

drive to a hotel near Death Valley, spend the night, see Death Valley on DAY 4

--- if B.) above, then:

drive the rest of the way from Ridgecrest or however far i could get, and see major sights in SOUTHERN part of Death Valley on DAY 3 (salt flats, artists drive, devils golf course, zabriskie), then spending the night in Death Valley, or else driving on to Vegas after sun down

does that make sense? i guess what i'm asking is:

do i have to set 1 whole day aside (with no sight seeing) as a travel day between the Sequoia exit & the Death Valley entrance? i do know the distances are great, but i have surprising endurance when traveling. i am perfectly willing to accept that i have to add an extra day just for driving. but was curious if the other option were possible.

thanks!

Monterey, California
posts: 1,027
reviews: 22
1. Re: is this realistic? Sequoia to Death Valley

I wouldn't waste my time or $ staying "fresno/visalia".

If driving doesn't matter spend your nite(s) in the park.

Sequoia to Death Valley is a big drive and you might want to research lodging "near" Death Valley since its quite limited.

Monterey, California
posts: 1,027
reviews: 22
2. Re: is this realistic? Sequoia to Death Valley

I wouldn't waste my time or $ staying "fresno/visalia".

If driving doesn't matter spend your nite(s) in the park.

Sequoia to Death Valley is a big drive and you might want to research lodging "near" Death Valley since its quite limited.

New York, NY
posts: 351
reviews: 90
3. Re: is this realistic? Sequoia to Death Valley

staying in fresno/visalia is cheaper that staying in the park, that's why i considered that. also, i want to spend a day driving from one end of the park to the other, rather than driving into the middle of the park and then starting my sight seeing day in the middle of the park.

i have already researched various options of staying in and around death valley.

i'm not sure if you are saying i should or should not commit an entire day to traveling between the 2 parks?

thanks for your response

Monterey, California
posts: 1,027
reviews: 22
4. Re: is this realistic? Sequoia to Death Valley

What I'm thinking is that no amount of $ saved staying out of the park would equal the amount of time up/down and in/out of the mountains.

If you want to see the park and not the yellow line down the middle of the road since you'd have to focus on that the whole time driving spend more time in the park.

Also its a minimum 6 hours from Three Rivers Ca to Furnace Creek NV without stopping for anything. Wouldn't want to do it in the dark either.

Good luck and enjoy......

New York, NY
posts: 351
reviews: 90
5. Re: is this realistic? Sequoia to Death Valley

ah ok thanks. i did some digging and found a place to stay right inside the north entrance of the park, so i will spend the first night there.

then i'm going to spend a whole day just driving to furnace creek... viewing death valley mostly on the following day

thanks for your help!

Las Vegas, Nevada
Destination Expert
for Las Vegas
posts: 4,799
reviews: 48
6. Re: is this realistic? Sequoia to Death Valley

Though I don't want to do this fast paced trip, it is very do able. We drive from Vegas to Sequoia each summer. It is a long, dull, but easy drive. Get up early and explore Sequoia. than head to Ridgecrest. Ridgecrest is the perfect place to stay before entering DVNP.

Death Valley can easily be done in a day. We do day trips there to hike and explore. When you exit DV you head to Vegas through Pahrump.

New York, NY
posts: 351
reviews: 90
7. Re: is this realistic? Sequoia to Death Valley

thanks! i'm excited to see these parts of the country! :)

New York, NY
posts: 351
reviews: 90
8. Re: is this realistic? Sequoia to Death Valley

just to report back, i had a great time, and i think the itinerary i settled on really worked. i also found the drives quite beautiful. it was definitely a bit fast-paced but i really enjoyed the trip and got to hit all the spots i wanted to within my constraints!

day 1 - i drove from San Francisco to Montecito Sequoia Lodge, where i spent the night. on the way into the park, i stopped at Grant Grove before continuing to the lodge.

day 2 - i got up early & spent the day in sequoia park. i saw belle vista (i think was the name), general sherman + congress trail (take the full congress trail!), moro rock (AMAZING VIEWS!), crescent meadow (i saw a bear!), and then i continued driving out the south end of the park to my hotel in bakersfield, ca (about a 2 hour drive from the border of the park)

day 3 - drove from bakersfield across 58E to 14N, which goes through a Red Rock Canyon Park, then turns into 395N, which i took about 45 minutes out of the way to get up to Lone Pine, just to see Mt. Whitney (from the highway/town center). then i continued along 136E to 190E, where i entered the park (AMAZING VIEWS), stopped at stovepipe wells & Mesquite Dunes (DURING A CRAZY OTHERWORLDLY SANDSTORM -- mindblowingly cool), as well as zabriskie point at sunset, just before checking into my hotel at Furnace Creek Ranch, where i spent the night

day 4 - woke up (sort of) early, drove down badwater to see devil's golf course, badwater salt flats, artists drive/palette, natural bridge, golden canyon, then on to dante's view. finally i drove from there onto Vegas where i spent the next 3 nights.

the route i took was (mostly) large safe paved highways, and i found the drives to be stunning & interesting, not dull at all. i saw all the things i wanted to, and had such a great time!!

thanks

Las Vegas, Nevada
Destination Expert
for Las Vegas
posts: 4,799
reviews: 48
9. Re: is this realistic? Sequoia to Death Valley

Glad to hear you had a good trip.

Santa Cruz...
Destination Expert
for Santa Cruz
posts: 25,016
reviews: 5
10. Re: is this realistic? Sequoia to Death Valley

Thank you for reporting back. Glad you had such a good drive and enjoyed it so much.