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Old 02-01-2009, 02:32 PM   #1
PRINCESS VIJA
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Is this doable??? which way is better?

I am trying to plan out our days for our vacation, and I need help! Not sure which way would be more beneficial to get more out of our trip. Trying to keep in mind that DH doesn't really want to deal with LA traffic too much.

These 2 options basicly flip flop Universal, tourist stuff, beach WITH Sequioa Natl park. We need to be in DLR on Mon. (DD's Birthday)

I would like to try and find more time to go to DLR... but how? UGHHH, I have no idea how to plan this trip. If you have any better ideas, I am all ears!!!

August 15-aug22
Option 1
Sat. fly in (around 10:00 am) need to rent car
Drive to Sequoia Natl. park and explore
Sun. Horseback riding in park am (9-12) then drive to hotel near DLR
Mon. DLR
Tues. DLR
Wed. DLR
Thurs. Universal
Fri. beach day/ tourist stuff around LA
(can we go back to DLR this night or is there too much to do in LA?)
Sat. fly out in am

Option 2
Sat. fly in (around 10:00 am) need to rent car
Check in hotel near DLR
go to beach / tourist stuff
Sun. Universal
Mon DLR
Tues DLR
Wed. DLR
Thurs. Drive to Sequioa park (poss horseback riding at 1pm)
Fri. (if didn't horseback ride yest, then today in am) drive back to LA area
Sat. fly home
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Old 02-01-2009, 03:34 PM   #2
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I'm not sure where the park is, so I can't help with that, but I think that those who can help will want to know what airport you are flying into and out of!
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Old 02-01-2009, 04:22 PM   #3
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I think we are going to fly into LAX. The park is approximately 3 1/2 hours to the northwest of LA
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Old 02-01-2009, 04:27 PM   #4
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I understand you want to see Sequoia National Park, but 250 miles (500 round trip) just to stay one night and go horseback riding??? That seems like a lot of driving.
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Old 02-01-2009, 05:04 PM   #5
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We camp in Sequoia National Park just about every year. I live 15 minutes south of LAX off of the 405 freeway.

Having said that, it takes us 5-5.5 hours to get to the Giant Forest at Sequoia National Park. If you are planning on staying in the foothills, then your drive will be less, but it takes an hour to get to Giant Forest from the foothills - and I am a fast driver.

Where are you staying at Sequoia? If you rent a car & drive there, you can expect to be up in the mountain around 4/5pm. On Sunday, I expect you'll go horseback riding -- where? Grant Grove? or down below? Grant Grove is in Kings Canyon - another 45 minutes or so from Giant Forest, and Cedar Grove is farther. Last I heard, there was no horseback riding at Wolverton (near Giant Forest). I expect that you will want to see the General Sherman (largest living thing on Earth), and maybe Crescent Meadow before driving down the mountain & back to Los Angeles/Orange County.

I'd recommend Sequoia before doing Disneyland - I think you'll be too tired for the drive/etc. after Los Angeles.

You also need a half day to rest - maybe Wednesday? Plan on hanging around the hotel/pool, or you will be wiped out for Universal Studios.

Monday/Tuesday - DLR would be nice
Wednesday at the beach - Newport or Huntington & maybe LA stuff - you need to rest
Thur Universal Studios - Have early dinner at Citywalk, and then on the way back to DLR - stop at Hollywood Blvd & visit Graumann's Chinese Theater/Kodak Center in the late afternoon/evening
Friday - sleep in - go to Disneyland for final visit

Those are my thoughts.
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Old 02-01-2009, 06:09 PM   #6
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We don't mind driving, and we love the outdoors. we already cut out seeing the Grand Canyon from this trip, I would hate to cut out the Giant Sequioa as well.

Mary Jo, I would love your help on this... as I have NO IDEA where everything is in Giant Sequoia.

This is the website for the horseback riding. It has a map on the bottom left of the website. http://www.horsecorralpackers.com/


I was thinking of staying at the John Muir lodge. sounds like it would be very close to the General Grant Tree
Quote:
Nestled among some of California's most famous trees, the John Muir Lodge is located in historic Grant Grove Village, within walking distance of the Grant Grove and the General Grant Tree.
How far away from each other would you say the horseback riding is from the Lodge?

I love the idea of taking a break on Wed. I think my family would like that. And I love the idea of spending our last day at DLR!
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Old 02-01-2009, 06:36 PM   #7
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do you really want to spend a whole day at Universal? You probably could, but a lot of people say that it's only a half day thing, depending on what you want to do in LA, and how much time you want at the beach, I think you could put all that into 1 day...

When we go back in May, we're going to fit a smidgy bit of LA sightseeing, and lunch at the Disney soda fountain into either the day we fly into LAX, or the day we fly out...

ETA - I like the first option
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Old 02-01-2009, 06:45 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BecBennett View Post
do you really want to spend a whole day at Universal? You probably could, but a lot of people say that it's only a half day thing, depending on what you want to do in LA, and how much time you want at the beach, I think you could put all that into 1 day...

When we go back in May, we're going to fit a smidgy bit of LA sightseeing, and lunch at the Disney soda fountain into either the day we fly into LAX, or the day we fly out...

ETA - I like the first option
I don't mind cutting that day short. How much time would you say we need for Universal? We would definitely want to do the tram tour and hit some of the rides. By what time do you think we could be at the beach? What would be a good beach to go to? And how would you recommend getting there?
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Old 02-01-2009, 06:47 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mary Jo View Post

and maybe Crescent Meadow

Wednesday at the beach - Newport or Huntington & maybe LA stuff - you need to rest
WHat is crescent meadow?

and what kind of LA stuff do you recommend?
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Old 02-01-2009, 06:51 PM   #10
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I'm going to copy this thread to the California & West section to continue the talk about Sequoia, and leave this thread here to continue the talk about Disneyland.
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Old 02-01-2009, 07:17 PM   #11
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Okay, Sequoia is really Sequoia National Park and Kings Canyon. Between these two parks is Sequoia National Forest. It looks like the horseback riding is in the Sequoia National Forest, between Sequoia Park and Kings Canyon Park. Grants Grove is in Kings Canyon, and Giant Forest is in Sequoia.

Looking at the map that they supplied for horseback riding, and to help gauge distance, Visalia is 3 hours from LA, and Fresno is 4 hours from LA. From both of these you have to drive up into the mountains to get to Sequoia.

Here is a map that shows Sequoia, Kings Canyon & Horse Corral Meadow.

http://www.nps.gov/seki/planyourvisi.../parkRoads.pdf

Now that I have a better idea where you will be at, you will be located closer to Kings Canyon rather than Sequoia itself, and I imagine you will be driving up the 99 to the 180 (almost to Fresno), and then to Kings Canyon. If you decide to go through Visalia & take the country roads, be sure you have a good map so you make sure you are on the right roads.

Once you get to Kings Canyon (entering through Big Stump entrance), you can go to the John Muir Cabin. I recommend that on this day you drive to the General Grant Grove and walk around that location. You will see the huge tree (I think it's called the fallen Monarch, but not sure), that laying down is so big that it was used as a stable for the cavalry's horses.

The next day you'll have to get up early to go to Horse Corall Meadow stables. I do recommend the morning ride, as it's most beautiful in the morning. So, the ride will go from 9 to noon or 1pm'ish. Afterwards, you can relax in the area, or head to LA, via the General's Hwy, through the Lost Grove, Giant Forest (with a short stop to see the General Sherman, and maybe a picnic at Crescent Meadow to stretch your legs. It's a beautiful meadow and you can walk around it, or partially around it, depending on how much time you have.

You can then drive down 198 towards Visalia. You will also pass by Hospital rock, which has some pictographs from the Mono Indians who used to live in the area. The rock is probably a 2-minute walk from the road, and worth a quick stop before continuing down.

Let me know how your plans go, and Ill be happy to help, as I'm sure the resident High Sierra experts we have here.
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Old 02-01-2009, 07:39 PM   #12
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Mary Jo, Wow, that was very helpfull!!!! Now a quick question about timing. If we fly in at 10am, rent a car, drive to John Muir cabin... what time do you think we would get to the cabin and be able to drive to Grant Tree?

How long do you think the drive would be to get to the horseback riding place by 8:30-8:45 (in time for the trail ride)

And on the way back, I love the ideas that you have for our trip back, (hospital rock, General sherman tree, etc) how long do you think that would take including the drive to the DLR area? Just gaging what time we would be checking in to the hotel?

I know you would just be guessing as you don't know how long we would be hanging out in these places, just looking for approximate time frames.

thanks!
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Old 02-01-2009, 07:53 PM   #13
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Looking at that map link again, when we go from Lodgepole Campground (near Giant Forest) to Hume Lake (just north of Horse Corral Meadow), it takes us about 45 minutes. In my opinion, you should leave no later than 8am to get to the stables. You may get there a little earlier, but that's okay, as I'm sure they'll be getting ready for the trail ride. I also recommend you call them ahead of time & ask how long it takes to get from Grant Grove to the stables (you can also probably ask at the lodge), and they'll be able to give you better timing.

Grants Grove is probably 15 minutes from where you will be staying, so even though it's afternoon, you'll still have time to walk around (I think it gets dark around 8pm). There is also a really nice gift shop at Grants Grove that I like to visit. You'll also see the national Christmas tree while you're there.

I expect that you will get to LA late on Sunday, but in my opinion it will be worth it. Figure on 45 minutes - an hour to get to Giant Forest, half hour to visit the General Sherman (it is just a short walk away from the road - you can't miss it), and maybe an hour at Crescent Meadow (it's up to you). Hospital Rock maybe 15 minutes in total - see the pictographs and take a picture. It's just that it is so accessible that it would be a shame to miss it.

Near Crescent Meadow is also the fallen tunnel tree & you can drive your car under the fallen tree - this is on the way to Crescent Meadow. There is also Moro Rock, but that is 1/4 mile of steps almost straight up a huge boulder, so I don't know if you'll have time to climb it. You can certainly see it, and you will see it on the way down the road.

As you leave Sequoia, on the way to Visalia, you can stop at a little market on your left - they sell fresh produce grown there in the valley, and also California olives (I got some with garlic in them so good), as well as nuts. It'll take about 1.5-2 hours to get to Visalia, and 3 hours from Visalia to Los Angeles. Visalia to Bakersfield is 1 hour, and then you'll get the 5 right south of Bakersfield. You take the 5 all the way to Disneyland Drive, or Harbor Blvd. Disneyland entrance is off of Harbor Blvd.
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Old 02-01-2009, 08:08 PM   #14
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thanks! That really helps out a lot. so hard to narrrow down choices and you helped do that, and put them in order!

Now, back to the other part of the thread...Not sure if I should put this on this thread, or the other one?

You mentioned the beach and then LA stuff. What kind of LA stuff would you recommend? I am trying to find a bit more time to squeeze into going to DLR. I don't want to overwhelm us, but maybe just a bit more.

sat/sun Giant Sequioa excursion
mon/tues DLR
Wed Beach day/ LA stuff
Thurs Universal/ hollywood blvd etc
Fri DLR

anywhere else to squeeze in DLR?
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Old 02-01-2009, 08:22 PM   #15
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There's so much to do in LA, I think you have to choose, and then not try to overdo it.

Do you want to visit zoos, museums, or spend your day on the coast? Do you want to visit any of the missions? I would recommend San Juan Capistrano. In La Jolla they have what is called Seal Beach, where seals relax, and there are baby seals. You can't go up to them, but you can see them from a vantage point.

Would you be interested in seeing the Queen Mary?

On the day you go to Universal Studios, I'd say spend 1/2 the day there from opening until maybe 1 or 2pm. Then you could go up to Mulholland Drive & get a GREAT view of the Hollywood sign and the Hollywood Bowl below you. You could visit the Kodak Center/Graumann's Chinese Complex (with the Disney owned El Capitan Theater across the street) and look at the stars on Hollywood Blvd. Drive down Sunset Blvd to the Beverly Hills Hotel, and then drive along Rodeo Drive. Go to La Brea Tarpits, and then visit the Grove in the evening for dinner at either the delicious Italian restaurant there or Cheesecake Factory. That is a full day in itself.

For your beach day, you can go to Huntington Beach - if you get there early you can stake out a fire pit and have a bonfire there. Or go to Newport Beach, rent bikes or rent boogie boards to ride the very mild waves. There is a restaurant at the end of the pier there where you can enjoy a meal. If you rent bikes, you can ride to the south and take the ferry to Balboa Island just for the fun of it (probably $1/$2 per person to take the ferry). You'll see a channel to sea - that is the one they filmed Gilligans Island on.

Whatever you decide to do - you cannot do it all, so pick the 1 or 2 most important things you'd like to do and then see if you can fit in any extras.
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