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Old 09-30-2011, 01:47 PM   #1
3princesshome
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Grand Canyon to Yosemite - Is It Possible?

We are planning a trip to California next summer and I am trying to determine a feasible travel loop that starts and ends in LA since that is where we are flying in and out of. I am currently thinking:

LA to Las Vegas
Las Vegas to Grand Canyon (probably West Rim but maybe South rim)
Grand Canyon to Yosemite
Yosemite to San Francisco
San Francisco to LA

We have 21 days so we'd have time to enjoy each location, but I am curious if anyone knows how feasible it is to drive from Grand Canyon to Yosemite (let's assume to the Yosemite Valley). Is it on remote roads? Does anyone know how long it would take?

Thanks in advance!
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Old 09-30-2011, 04:32 PM   #2
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It's certainly possible, and the roads are just fine in the summer. But if you want to do it in one day, it will be a long day. 11 hours without stops, so 12-13 hours if you stop for gas, meals, and bathroom breaks.

There are at least two ways to go - the scenic route and the fast route. They only differ by an hour or so if you're going to Yosemite Valley. And if your destination is the Yosemite High country, the scenic way is actually faster. They both start by taking Arizona 64 to Williams AZ, where you pick up I-40. So I'll start the directions from I-40.

Scenic - There are a couple of choices, but if you're going to do scenic, I prefer the drive through the Owens Valley. It may be 1/2 hour longer or so, but worth it, rather than the Nevada wasteland. Take I-40 west to Barstow CA. There, pick up CA58 west to the intersection with US395 (known locally as Four Corners). Take US395 north through the Owens Valley, all the way to Mono Lake (great views of the Sierra crest on your left and the White Mountains on your right). At Mono Lake (town of Lee Vining), take CA 120 east. This shortly leads you to the eastern entrance of Yosemite, and on up to the Yosemite high country. You can camp in Tuolumne Meadows. But if you don't want to camp, you'll take 120 west all the way to Crane Flat (note - go to http://www.nps.gov/yose/index.htm and click on "View Map"). There, you'll pick up Big Oak Flat Road into Yosemite Valley. Another note - while on 120, make sure you stop at Olmsted Point for breathtaking views down Tenaya Canyon, past Clouds Rest and Half Dome, all the way into Yosemite Valley.

Fast Route - Again, take I-40 west to Barstow. Take CA58 west from there, but this time, keep going all the way into Bakersfield. There, take CA99 north to Fresno. From there, take CA41 north, all the way to the south entrance to Yosemite. From there, it's about 45 minutes north on CA41, through Yosemite to Yosemite Valley.

-Bob
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Old 09-30-2011, 04:55 PM   #3
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Yes

Grand Canyon to Yosemite is a long-but fascinating trip!
We went west-stopped at Oatman Arizona (Route 66) (www.legendsofamerica.com/az-oatman) then continued west---then headed North through the great Interstates of California.
We went to Sequoia/Kings Canyon National Parks. We used AAA for route planning-but let the GPS Navigate through. I traveled with three kids, and my wife and I-and all in all-long but great day on the road.
We did also enjoy the changing terrain from desert, to mountain, to Orange Groves, to nut trees, and back to the mountains. Words do not give it justice. Head for Bakersfield-we stayed in Visalia-in a nice Best Western-free breakfast-clean and quick.
Sequoia is much less crowded-great bear visits in the summer-and driving in and out is much easier than the larger national parks.
We then went to Yosemite-spent two nights outside of the park-then went west to Monterey...before heading for Disneyland-quite a trip. I drove 1,800 miles-the longest and most challenging was all of the interstate around LA.
We are from western-NYS-so the view, the changing climate, and the sunshine made the miles melt away.
Good luck!
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Old 09-30-2011, 10:06 PM   #4
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If you're going to the Grand Canyon, don't go to the West Rim. It is really not developed yet. You would be better going to the North Rim from Las Vegas, staying at the North Rim Lodge and then going down to Flagstaff to catch the I-40 to Yosemite as GrandBob suggests.
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Old 10-01-2011, 01:01 AM   #5
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HI BURLINGTON!!

I couldn't help commenting when I read your post. We are in Oakville and had the same trip planned for our 21 day vacation.

But we are leaving in November so we had to revise a bit because we found out that the road crossing Yosemite is closed when we go through.

So now our itinerary is fly to LA (do Disneyland and other sites), up HWY 1 to San Fran then down (maybe a short Yosemite visit on our way) to Las Vegas (visit Death Valley) then out to Grand Canyon and then flying out of Las Vegas.

I had to ask my husband he if posted what you wrote Even the name would fit our family. Too weird!!!
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Old 10-01-2011, 08:52 PM   #6
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Hello Oakville!
Isn't that funny?! It seems like you find dis'ers everywhere - although we are practically neighbours. I'd love to hear how your trip was after you return - and any tips you have after you complete it. We thought about doing something like you are and fly out of a different airport than the one we fly into, but I had heard that the fee for rental cars when you drop off at a different location is quite high. We're flying on points, and since there are 5 of us, I wanted to book early, so our flights are booked in/out of LA, but other than that, I still have a lot of planning to do. We're planning to do the same in LA - do Disney first - my kids will be too excited to wait!!

Thanks to everyone who has responded so far - the detailed directions are a huge help !!
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Old 10-01-2011, 10:53 PM   #7
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We had concerns regarding the one way car rental too and that was not the original plan. After a little study we found out that there were great deals to be had if we went through Enterprise. It might be because of the time of year we are traveling. We got a Grand Cherokee for $644 including taxes and drop. This ended up being cheaper than round trip rental (min van was a little more...$20 a week).

I hope to write some sort of trip report after so I will let you know how it goes.
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Old 10-02-2011, 12:59 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by disneyfaninaz View Post
If you're going to the Grand Canyon, don't go to the West Rim. It is really not developed yet. You would be better going to the North Rim from Las Vegas, staying at the North Rim Lodge and then going down to Flagstaff to catch the I-40 to Yosemite as GrandBob suggests.
Doesn't the North Rim add about 180 miles to the trip to Yosemite compared to the South Rim?
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Old 10-02-2011, 11:22 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CPT Tripss View Post
Doesn't the North Rim add about 180 miles to the trip to Yosemite compared to the South Rim?
Yes. It makes a lot more sense to visit the South Rim on a trip like this.

Quote:
Originally Posted by disneyfaninaz View Post
I don't know. But the North Rim is closer to Vegas.
No, it's not. At least, not in time. According to Google Maps:

Las Vegas to North Rim is 268 miles, 5 hours and 16 minutes.

Las Vegas to Tusayan (south rim) is 271 miles, 4 hours and 42 minutes.


But I agree with the comment about the "West" rim. Actually, there is no west rim - that's a term that came into usage when the Hualapai nation built the Canyon Skywalk tourist trap. While I have respect for the Hualapai nation and the natural wonders that you can reach on their reservation (by doing lots of hiking), Skywalk is, by all accounts, just a tourist trap. OP, I recommend you visit the South Rim, which is what I suspect you had in mind all along.

-Bob

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Old 10-02-2011, 11:28 AM   #11
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Thanks for confirming.
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Old 10-09-2011, 12:33 PM   #12
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we just got back from our trip it was AWESOME (thanks disboards) we drove from GC south rim village to Yosemite- here's what we did.... left GC in the morning- drove to Death Valley ( 6 hours)saw the sights,stayed overnight in Furnace creek Ranch...(awesome stop,great pool!) saw some more sights in the morning left Death Valley by about noon and drove to Yosemite (the mountains are truly terrifying and wonderful to drive through) it took about 6 hours to go up over Tioga road and down into Yosemite Valley where we stayed at Camp Curry (don't recommend the tents) we got there about 10 minutes before sunset (essential) and we stopped a few times to take pics,as the views are simply incredible.... I'd do it again in a heartbeat.... this way it was 2 days of driving, but lots of sights along the way for the kids......
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