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Another California Road Trip - Advise Please?

Carshalton, United...
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Another California Road Trip - Advise Please?

Hi all

So I'm planning my September 2015 road trip of California and am looking for advice and suggestion regarding my Itinerary. We are looking to spend from 14 - 21 days in total.

Just to to let you know that we are looking a trip with with the best views of the spectacular scenery within this state. Neither my wife or I a into hiking but have no issues with 'a stroll through the countryside!' We would preferably want to drive through the best scenery we can to arrive at even more beautiful destinations. One thing we both want to do though is horse riding (for novices) in the mountains ... it's just one of those romantic dreams we both have!

Neither of us are that interested in LA either ...

Here's my rough itinerary, let me know what you guys think.

Day 1; arrive at San Francisco and spend 3 nights

Ebetts Pass,

Tioga Pass

Yosemite Valley - 3 nights

Sequoia National Park - 1 night

Death Valley National Park - 2 nights

Hoover Dam

Joshua Tree National Park

Palm Springs

take Pine to Palms Highway to;

Santa Monica - 1 night

Santa Barbara - 1 night

take the coastal road to San Francisco and fly home

As you can see it's very fluid at the moment and we are looking for suggestions at where to stay on our route or even alternative suggestions.

Should this route be taken in reverse maybe?

Thanks in advance

Edited: 5:29 am, June 19, 2014
Uden, The...
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1. Re: Another California Road Trip - Advise Please?

Hi

Ebbets pass and Tioga pass are east of Yosemite and not between SF and Yosemite. They also are not on the way from Seki to Death Valley and there's no pass between Seki and DVNP directly. From Seki you can drive south of the Sierra over Badger pass via Bakersfield

Seki will be a detour and if you are comig to see Sequoias you also can see them in Yosemite at Mariposa Grove but not as big as General Sherman in Sequoia NP.

I'd drve from Sf to Yosemite to spend your time there. Then drive over Tioga pass to Mono Lake, visit Bodie (north of Lee Vining) and spend the night along Eastern Sierra like in June Lake, Mammoth Lake and Bishop.

DVNP in september still will be hot but a 1 night stay is recommended (and if you can cope with the heat 2 nights are ok as well). After that you can drive to Las Vegas

If you had 3 weeks you can drive via Hoover Dam to Grand Canyon NP for at least 1 night. To Palm Springs from GC app takes 7 hours.

Palms to Pines hw 74 doesnot go to Santa Monica or Santa Barbara but to the coast south of Los Angeles to San Juan Capistrano. You can drive first part to Hemet and take the interstates to SM after that though. Another option is to drive 74 to Idyllwild and take 243 back to I10. That also very scenic but windng and steep between Idyllwild and I10.

Also suggest to spend 2 nights between Santa Barbara and SF to fully enjoy this trip. If you stay 2 nights in Palm Springs you could visit Joshua Tree NP for a daytrip

Tet

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2. Re: Another California Road Trip - Advise Please?

Agree completely with Tet14 about the route.

Ebetts Pass doesn't really get you anywhere.

If you enter Yosemite from the east (over Tioga Pass), you will still have another 2 hr drive to accommodations unless you are going to stay in the tented camps at Tuolumne Meadows or White Wolf. Even though these are lovely facilities, much more than camping, you have already indicated your wife would not accept this, so you have to stay in the valley floor area.

Grover Beach...
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3. Re: Another California Road Trip - Advise Please?

"....Santa Monica - 1 night

Santa Barbara - 1 night

take the coastal road to San Francisco and fly home"...

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

This isn't logical. Santa Barbara is only 2 hours from Santa Monica, while Santa Barbara to SF via the coast road is a minimum 8 hour drive WITHOUT stops and isn't a feasible day's drive. There's just too much to see/do between SB and SF and one day won't cut it.

As Tet14 mentioned, the coastal drive really needs at least 2 nights. The general recommendations being either Pismo Beach or Cambria for the first night (With a visit to Santa Barbara en route) and then an overnight in Monterey or Carmel,

If you can only afford one night between SM and SF, then Cambria is the logical midway stop for the night, but even that seriously limits how much you can see/do along some of the most scenic stretches of California coastline.

Edited: 10:52 am, June 19, 2014
Carshalton, United...
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4. Re: Another California Road Trip - Advise Please?

Thanks for the comments so far.

I appreciate that both Ebbets and Tioga pass are not direct routes to Yosemite but we are in no hurry to get anywhere. I've heard so much about these routes, I enjoy driving through pretty scenery so I thought it would be a good drive then and see the sights from really high up. Are the views from these routes just not worn the bother or can they be replicated driving elsewhere? If the views are good, (and form all the photos Ive seen the are amazing) Is there any where worth stopping over between SF and Ebbets (maybe around New Melones Lake), so that we could start from there travelling to Yosemite Valley in the morning on a fresh day?

Where or what is Seki?

We both definitely want to go to see the really big redwoods at the Sequoia National Park.

We've done LV (didn't enjoy it and don't want to go back really) and an over night stay at the Grand Canyon NP (which was great, but we want to see new things), which is why I didn't mention it. We didn't make it to the damn to thought that could be kind of cool, but were really looking for a stop off point somewhere in that area that wasn't LV.

The actually the part of the Palms to Pines highway that was recommended to me to drive was towards Idyllwild so the option of driving the 74 to Idyllwild and take 243 back to I10 was exactly the advice I was hoping to get. A windng and steep road is my kinda road.

As for the coastal road, we are entirely at your mercy on where to go and stay. Nether of us are that bothered about looking at the sea but we've been told it would be a shame not to take this route while we are over there as its really nice. Thats the only reason Ive included it really as the 1st option was to fly back home from LA and miss the coastal route out completely!

Keep the suggestions coming … the more local knowledge the better!

San Diego
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5. Re: Another California Road Trip - Advise Please?

SEKI =Sequoia

Washington State
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6. Re: Another California Road Trip - Advise Please?

SEKI = (jointly managed) SEquoia - KIngs Canyon NP

Your route is too convoluted. Tioga Pass is better than the other two, and Yosemite is better than the other two. So spend more time in Yosemite.

Mariposa Grove of Giant Sequoias in Yosemite: www.tripadvisor.com/Travel-g61000-d592681

Carshalton, United...
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7. Re: Another California Road Trip - Advise Please?

Thanks …

We would actually be quite happy to miss the Hoover damn to if it meant spending for time in the NP's or somewhere with great views!

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8. Re: Another California Road Trip - Advise Please?

Oops! Forgot Kings Canyon.

Grover Beach...
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9. Re: Another California Road Trip - Advise Please?

"....Nether of us are that bothered about looking at the sea but we've been told it would be a shame not to take this route while we are over there as its really nice."...

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

That might change once you get here, lol! You might be surprised to learn that many visitors from your country fell in love with our coastline and actually moved here to be closer to it!

Anyway, it really would be best with 2 overnights, as previously mentioned. 3 would be even better, especially IF Staying in Santa Barbara is important to you. The drive between Santa Barbara and Monterey (Well, mainly between Cambia and Carmel) is a twisty, elevated roadway that requires slow driving. That's the famous Big Sur coast, where the coastal mountains rise dramatically right from the sea. Lots to see/do along that stretch of highway. Many famous sights, like Hearst Castle, the elephant seal rookery, beautiful McWay Falls, Nepenthe and Bixby Bridge.

It is not a drive you can, nor should rush through. So do try to add at least one more night to the coastal route and not try to drive SB to SF in one day. That would be exhausting.

Point Lobos State Reserve is a crown jewel in our state park system. Beautiful trails, abundant wildlife viewing.

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10. Re: Another California Road Trip - Advise Please?

I don't know why you think Ebett's Pass is a highlight. Most of us would not consider it a place to stop for the night. Plus you add so much additional time in getting to Yosemite valley floor.

If you wanted an extra day between San Francisco and Yosemite, then make it Lake Tahoe.

But, all in all, Yosemite is far better in terms of scenery than Lake Tahoe or anywhere along Highway 4 or 89

Edited: 12:56 pm, June 19, 2014