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Best route for Serquoia trees to Death Valley

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12 posts
1 review
Best route for Serquoia trees to Death Valley

A quick question ;)

We want to go on a RV vacation, starting at San Francisco.

We want to take the Tioga pass/road? (Don't know the difference) to Death Valley.

But we also want to see Sequoia trees. Just to walk around them, take pictures and look at those giants.

Sequoia is a little but too far and Yosemite have some Sequoia trees also.

But, what would be the extra driving time if we want to see the trees at Mariposa?

I've heard that is the best option. But it is not exactly on the route (Tioga pass/road).

Maybe we need to forget about Mariposa and choose for Tuolomne Grove.

It is for early september 2019, i know Mariposa is still closed, but hopefully reopened by then.

Thanks!

Can't wait to explore America <3

11 replies to this topic
Level Contributor
12 posts
1 review
1. Re: Best route for Serquoia trees to Death Valley

Or maybe skip Yosemite and go from SF to Calaveras Big Trees State Park. And from there to Desth Valley? What would be better?

Washington State
Destination Expert
for Yosemite National Park
Level Contributor
70,631 posts
123 reviews
2. Re: Best route for Serquoia trees to Death Valley

Hi

First step is to determine if an RV is a good choice for you. The Top Questions on the right side of the California state forum page has a topic about RV travel. It's slower, more expensive, and more challenging. But it's a good choice for some travelers.

In Yosemite, you need to use one of the few larger parking places.

A basic route via car or RV would be SF -> Oakhurst (shop for picnic foods or whatever) -> South Entrance (park, take Mariposa Grove Shuttle) -> Glacier Point & Sentinel Dome (not RV friendly) -> Yosemite Valley (lots to see & do) -> Tioga Road (include Tuolumne Meadows) -> Tioga Pass Entrance -> Eastern Sierra / Hwy 395 -> Death Valley -> onward

I think this particular itinerary is much easier via car and would need 4 or 5 nights to make it work nicely.

There are numerous topics in the Top Questions on the right side of this page.

For your overall itinerary planning, use the California state forum page if you're sticking with California. If this trip includes several states, use the Road Trips forum. Maybe there is another section when you can enjoy RV travel.

Top Questions are only visible on the full TA website, not the app.

Level Contributor
12 posts
1 review
3. Re: Best route for Serquoia trees to Death Valley

Hi! Thanks for your time!

About our RV choice:

We do not enjoy city's very much. On every holiday we want to visit max 1 city and then we are happy to go back to the country side.

We thought SF would be the best choice for us.

We know an RV is slower, but we go first decide what to do and then decide how many time we need for that.

We have a little one with us, 2.5 years old by then.

And i think it is a good choice to give him every night the same bed.

Also we want to bbq/cook in/at the RV. So that would be cheaper then every diner to a restaurant.

We have made a calculation about the rental costs, lots of benzine, campsite costs and the diner costs and we think it is not a huge difference.

Besides that, i think it is nice to try a RV vacation, we have never done that.

Everyone says that we need to visit Las Vegas. Also when we do not enjoy city's and even with our little one. So we need to look how we can manage that one day with a RV.

---

About my question:

We are looking for the most beautiful but also the shortest and quickest route from Mariposa Grove to the Tioga pass/road, to Death Valley.

We have no intention to take 4 or 5 nights in Yosemite in the first week.

What is the shortest route (but also the most beautiful) from Mariposa to Death Valley?

And how many hours will it take with a RV?

Long Beach...
Level Contributor
7,537 posts
4. Re: Best route for Serquoia trees to Death Valley

Good to plan so early. Early September is Labor Day Weekend, try to avoid this weekend in Yosemite.

Mariposa Grove to Death Valley in an RV. 8-9 hours? (Do you want to visit Yosemite Valley?).

I would pickup RV in afternoon, get supplies. Stay in an RV Park on the way to Mariposa Grove- maybe in Oakhurst. Next day visit Mariposa Grove, then travel to Yosemite Valley for 2 nights (full day for Yosemite Valley). Then travel to June/Mammoth Lakes for a night. Then Death Valley or Las Vegas for the night. (So that is 4 nights between SF and DV/LV)

Here is the link to the article about the drive between Las Vegas and Yosemite. You'll be driving in reverse. Lots to do. Confirm that you can drive your RV through Death Valley in September.

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Travel-g28926-c1…

(A night in Las Vegas is OK. Evenings are best because of the lights, so I would stay the night.)

Level Contributor
12 posts
1 review
5. Re: Best route for Serquoia trees to Death Valley

Thanks!

I think we can get our RV around 1 PM, but it takes time to explain the RV and check the RV, so i think we won't leave earlier then 2-3 PM and we need to go to Walmart, so maybe it is already 4 PM before we are on our way.

From Cruise America in SF it is 3 hours to Oakhurst.

Maybe we need an earlybird, of we need to choose for staying the night around SF...

Washington State
Destination Expert
for Yosemite National Park
Level Contributor
70,631 posts
123 reviews
6. Re: Best route for Serquoia trees to Death Valley

>>We are looking for the most beautiful but also the shortest and quickest route from Mariposa Grove to the Tioga pass/road, to Death Valley.<<

That is the one I described.

SF -> Oakhurst -> South Entrance & Mariposa Grove -> Glacier Point & Sentinel Dome (not RV friendly) -> Yosemite Valley -> Tioga Road (include Tuolumne Meadows) -> Tioga Pass Entrance -> Eastern Sierra / Hwy 395 -> Death Valley -> onward

If you prefer shortest over most beautiful, skip the drive up Glacier Point Road. Don't drive all the way into the Valley and stay, just skirt the edge and leave.

But why would you visit Yosemite National Park and plan a trip that skips two of the best places?

And you MUST stay in a campground. In the time leading up to your booking date, practice on the website at least once. The reservation date for early September camping will be April 15, 2019. The date for the latter half of September will be May 15, 2019. Will you be arriving after Labor Day?

.

I think there are four Cruise America depots in the San Francisco Bay Area. Which one are you using?

.

>>Everyone says that we need to visit Las Vegas.<<

I will be the sole voice of dissent. A family with a 2 1/2 year old traveling in hot September who do not like cities should avoid Las Vegas. Maybe drive through to see the extravaganza / hoopla / big-mess, but don't stay there. It's an adult playground.

Long Beach...
Level Contributor
7,537 posts
7. Re: Best route for Serquoia trees to Death Valley

If it is a weekday, you will also be dealing with Bay Area Traffic.

You might want to look for a Campground/RV Park with easy 'pull-through' RV sites for your first night. East Bay Parks and Rec has some Campgrounds. Turtle Bay RV Resort in Tracy. Other well rated RV Parks along Hwy 99.

Level Contributor
12 posts
1 review
8. Re: Best route for Serquoia trees to Death Valley

Thanks so much! If i am correct we are driving through Las Vegas, so i think we should see a lot of crazyness.

Yes we will arrive after Labor day, the day after i believe so. Because of everything is closed etc.

Thanks for the tip for practice first. We know about the dates (and times) for booking!

Edited: 17 May 2018, 04:27
Washington State
Destination Expert
for Yosemite National Park
Level Contributor
70,631 posts
123 reviews
9. Re: Best route for Serquoia trees to Death Valley

No, almost everything is open on Labor Day. Many people are traveling over that weekend and it's harder to get campsite reservations or lodgings. And most folks are driving back home on Labor Day after the long weekend.

California
Level Contributor
61 posts
8 reviews
10. Re: Best route for Serquoia trees to Death Valley

I used to live in the SF Bay area, have worked in Oakhurst and been to Yosemite many times, and have been a few times to Death Valley. Traffic will be horrible in/around the Bay area on Labor Day weekend and it will be crowded in Yosemite National Park. Death Valley will be incredibly hot that time of year (120 degrees F or higher.)

Big Trees State Park and/or Sequoia National Park will be far less crowded than Yosemite. Also, near Big Trees, you have the small town of Murphys which has a thriving wine country, if you are into wine tasting. Also near Big Trees, there are numerous towns involved in the California goldrush. Columbia is a great little town with lots of free outdoor exhibits. Kids and adults frequently like to take a ride on the stagecoach.

Edited: 17 May 2018, 06:30
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