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LA to DV route?

tokyo
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89 posts
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LA to DV route?

Our plan is to drive from LA up the coast to perhaps somewhere around Cambria, spend the night there, then next day drive to Isabella Lake via Wasco, spend a second night there and on the 3rd day head for DV via r.190.

On the map at least, it looks pretty nice and varied...we get the coastal scenery along r.101, then the mountains as you head inland on r.46, the farmland round Wasco/Kern county, then more mountains round Isabella Lake.

However, the map is one thing, real views are another!! If you had a choice, would you opt for this route, or opt for:

a) the most direct route to DV - possibly coming in via Trona - and have an extra 2 days in DV (as it is, we'll have 3 full days, 4 nights at DV).

b) miss out the coastal stretch and head up r.5 to r.46, then head for Isabella Lake and have 1 extra day in DV.

We'll be going in early October, by the way, not sure how green it is this time of year, especially the farmland area (do like driving through farmland, but only if its fresh and green - if the fields are barren and crop-free in October, there's not much point). Similarly, not sure if the LA-Cambria stretch of R.101 is particularly spectacular...

Just to put it all into context, after DV, the plan is to drive to Joshua Tree NP via Mojave NP, spend 2 nights/1 full day in Joshua Tree, and on the last day drive back to LA.

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Cambria
Cambria
San Luis Obispo County, CA
Joshua Tree
Joshua Tree
California Desert, CA
San Francisco
Destination Expert
for Death Valley Junction, Death Valley National Park
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51 reviews
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1. Re: LA to DV route?

If you're talking about having 3 full days in Death Valley alongwith the scenic tour through Cammbria, Wasco, and Lake Isabella, I think you should take the scenic route just to see more of California's enormous variety. If you were going to have only a day for Death Valley, I would say that Cambria to Wasco etc. would be too time-consuming.

The section of 101 from Ventura to Santa Barbara is spectacular. It's actually better southbound, but you'll enjoy it northnound as well. North of Santa Barbara, 1 and 101 split off. If you want to see the little Danish village of Solvang, take 101.

Are you going to Hearst Castle or Big Sur? This is just my opinion, but I think if you are not, then I would just keep you on 101 through San Luis Obispo and Atascadero, then east on 41 which takes you to 46. You don't even need to go to Paso Robles. The Hwy 41-46 junction is called James Dean Memorial Highway in honor of the actor who was killed there in a collision in his Porsche (the other driver survived). If you do this, you'll have some time to look around San Luis Obispo, a gracious mission town that strongly shows its Spanish heritage.

If you do go all the way to Cambria, the road from there to Paso Robles is narrow and curvy, but it straightens out once it gets into the San Joaquin Valley.

Lake Isabella is a nice area. Hwy 178 goes along the Kern River Canyon and passes several resort communities, which I presume you've researched because you're planning to stay there. October will be past the main vacation peak period and it won't be as busy as in summer.

Mentioned in this post
Cambria
Cambria
San Luis Obispo County, CA
Ventura
Ventura
California
Santa Barbara
Santa Barbara
California
Solvang
Solvang
California
Hearst Castle
Hearst Castle
5,915 Reviews
San Simeon, CA
Big Sur
Big Sur
California
San Luis Obispo
San Luis Obispo
San Luis Obispo County, CA
Paso Robles
Paso Robles
San Luis Obispo County, CA
tokyo
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89 posts
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2. Re: LA to DV route?

You're a gem, Frisco!! Many thanks!!

3. Re: LA to DV route?

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