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What route from Las Vegas to Visalia

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Oslo
posts: 6
reviews: 2
What route from Las Vegas to Visalia

Hi, in July my wife and I will be travelling from Las Vegas to Visalia in two days (one night). I was thinking about driving from Las Vegas, throug Death Valley, spending the night in Ridgecrest, before driving to Lake Isabella, then North on Sierra Way, Highway SM99, Great Western Divide Highway and "road 190" to Springville, before ending up in Visalia.

Does this sound like a nice route, or do you have some tips for a better one?

Thank you.

Oslo
posts: 6
reviews: 2
1. Re: What route from Las Vegas to Visalia

Sorry to bump... but does anyone have some advice?

Thanks!

San Francisco
Destination Expert
for Death Valley Junction, Death Valley National Park
posts: 11,288
reviews: 42
2. Re: What route from Las Vegas to Visalia

The route you've picked goes through some remote, steep backcountry areas of Sequoia National Forest (not the same as Sequoia National Park). Despite the name. Great Western Divide Highway is not a major state highway, but a county road through some heavily forested mountain areas. Much of national forest land is only irregularly maintained and patrolled. These are multiple use lands: logging, mining, farming, grazing, and recreation, not specifically focused on recreation or tourism. Roads are not as clearly signed as in national parks and there are fewer visitor services. It's easy to take a wrong turn and then spend hours getting back on the right track.

If you are interested in a backcountry experience, have plenty of time, and realize what kind of area this is, you could do this. Be sure you have lots of water and some food.

If you want to see beautiful scenery but be on more populated roads, I have a couple of suggestions. Take Hwy 178 all the way to Bakersfield. You will pass resort areas at Weldon, Mountain Mesa, and the town of Isabella, then along the Kern River as it flows down into the San Joaquin Valley. In Bakersfield; follow the signs for Visalia. If your destination is Sequoia National Park, you don't need to go to Visalia; instead, follow the directions for Porterville. From Lake Isabella to Visalia this way, it's about 125 mi/200 km.

For a little shorter but (I think) less scenic route, turn off from Hwy 178 to 155 (signed for Wofford Heights and Glennville). From Glennville, stay on the county road until Hwy 65, then turn north (right) for Porterville. From there, you should see signs directing you to Visalia or Sequoia National Park. This is about 25 mi/40 km less, but it has some steep climbs and you will not be by the Kern River.

Oslo
posts: 6
reviews: 2
3. Re: What route from Las Vegas to Visalia

Thank you for your advice. We need to arrive not to late in Visalia on the 11th, so if the chance of loosing time on the back roads are high, we will take hwy 178 instead.

How about driving through Death Valley in July, should that be any problem?

Visalia, CA
posts: 1,350
reviews: 40
4. Re: What route from Las Vegas to Visalia

Quickest way to get to Visalia from LV is Hwy 15 to Barstow, then Hwy 58 to B'field, north on 99 to Visalia. This takes about 5-6 hours driving time.

If you want a scenic drive go up Hwy 385 and take Tioga Pass through Yosemite. I haven't driven this myself but I'm told it's a nice drive. You could stay the night in Lee Vining.

Oslo
posts: 6
reviews: 2
5. Re: What route from Las Vegas to Visalia

Ooh, that looked like a really nice route... but how are the roads from Las Vegas to Lee Vining? It looks like at least a seven hour drive.

And, is it possible to see a bit of Yosemite on the way, or will the trip from Lee Vining to Visalia take too long?

San Francisco
Destination Expert
for Death Valley Junction, Death Valley National Park
posts: 11,288
reviews: 42
6. Re: What route from Las Vegas to Visalia

From Las Vegas to Lee Vining on the most direct route is close to 375 mi/600 km. From Lee Vining to Visalia through Yosemite Valley is only a little shorter.

These distances do not include any side trips or sightseeing detours. You would just be driving straight through, like a commuter on the way to work. Not all the roads are fast freeways, so 6-7 hours is not a realistic estimate.

Neither Death Valley or Yosemite can be truly enjoyed and appreciated this way. They both deserve at least an overnight stay to get the most from your visit.

Oslo
posts: 6
reviews: 2
7. Re: What route from Las Vegas to Visalia

I understand that I will not get the most out of these places... I am just looking for the most pleasing route from LV to Visalia, using two days.

Visalia, CA
posts: 1,350
reviews: 40
8. Re: What route from Las Vegas to Visalia

I hear what you're saying. A few years ago a cousin & I toured the Pacific Northwest. 1500 miles in 2.5 days. Didn't stop anywhere very long. Just wanted to see the countryside.

Checking my atlas it looks like a drive of about 350 miles from LV to Lee Vining going through Death Valley. This is a long drive but definitely doable. The roads are two lane and you might be stuck behind some traffic. Plus you'll be doing a little gawking yourself. As mentioned I've never actually been on Hwy 395 all the way to Lee Vining but I'm guessing it'll take about 6-7 hours depending on how fast you drive. Please note there's not much to see between LV & DV so you can zip right along that stretch.

Lee Vining to Visalia looks like about 200 miles. However a good part of the drive will be on mountain roads so you won't be going very fast. I'm guessing about 4 hours drive time from Lee Vining to Visalia. Perhaps someone else can give you a better estimate. It's a lot of driving but you'll see some pretty country, allbeit at 50+ mph. If you do this let us know how it turns out. Have fun.

Salt Lake City, Utah
posts: 630
reviews: 8
9. Re: What route from Las Vegas to Visalia

If you are driving from Lee Vining to Visalia, you will travel through Yosemite where speeds definately won't be 50mph ... extending driving time.

But, you would be able to stop at the best fruit stand between Fresno and Visalia ... the Blossom Trail Fruitstand in Minkler, CA.

10. Re: What route from Las Vegas to Visalia

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