LaS Vegas to San Francisco
Replies: 9 - Last Post: Aug 1, 2012 6:38 PM Last Post By: bzookaj
Jul 31, 2012 10:39 AM
LaS Vegas to San FranciscoIm looking for advice on how to get from las vegas to San Francisco.
I will be traveling alone , leaving from either the North Rim at the Grand Canyon or from Las Vegas.
Ideally I would like to see a few things along the way, hence I don't really want to fly. I'm thinking of maybe visiting Death Valley as one of the stops. I have a few days to do the trip, so am in no rush.
I am heading to SF to then go on a group camping trip from there to Yosemite .
My questions are -
Could I do this trip by bus or train and how long will this take?
Or should I hire a car? Is the trip dangerous for a lone female driver who is not too used to driving on the right hand side of the road?
How long would it take?
What would be the must sees along the way and best overnight stops?
I am planning on doing this trip next week i.e beginning of August. Will this be too hot?
Many thanks in advance for any help and advice.
Jul 31, 2012 11:26 AM
1You aren't going to get to Death Valley by transit. There is a bus that goes through on the way to Yosemite, at some times of the year, but all it does is drive through. They will let you off if you want, but you are stuck at the visitor center overnight without transport or a place to stay.
How are you getting ot the North Rim without a car?
You can get to SF by bus or train from Las Vegas, but it won't necessarily be interesting. AMTRAK (train) will take you by bus to Los Angeles. From there you can take a train to SF. There is only one train a day that is an actual train for the whole trip. Otherwise, it is a combination of bus and train. Some routes go through the Central Valley, of interest only if you want to learn why agriculture is California;s #1 industry.
Green Tortoise (are you going with them to Yosemite?) has a Las Vegas to SF express. Overnight on the bus, with bunks for trying to sleep. That's it. no scenery.
If you really want to see the best of the coast, you will need to rent a car in LA and drive north up highway 1 through Big Sur. Common places to stop are Santa Barbara, San Luis Obispo, Morro Bay, Cambria and Monterey. You want 2-3 days for the drive.
The coast, as usually, is likely to be cool and foggy.
Long range forecast for Monday of next week has Death Valley at 116F/47C. For the Big Sur coast "Friday Through Monday: Mostly cloudy. Patchy fog. Highs in the mid 60s [around 18C]. Lows in the lower 50s [around 12 C]."
Jul 31, 2012 11:27 AM
From Vegas, yes, but it will always involve a bus (even for the "train" options).
See the Amtrak (train) and Greyhound (bus) websites for times.
Btw in the US we "rent" things, like cars, and "hire" people. Asking to "hire a car" suggests you want a driver as well, e.g. a limo.
Google will give you approximate times.
Jul 31, 2012 12:11 PM
3Rent a car. You can usually get decent 1-way rentals from Vegas to SFO.
If you're not in to hiking you can do the Vegas-SF trip rather easily in 3 days. Yes it will be hot in Death Valley, but with a car (and a cooler) you can still enjoy many places - there are at least 5 or 6 spots where you can hop out and spend 10-15 minutes seeing interesting sites/views. Then drive up the east side of the Sierras towards Bishop - there are a few towns where you can find a hotel room (Bishop will have te most options). The next day backtrack a bit and drive up to the Bristlecone Pine Forest to do one or both of the walks - these are really cool trees that take on magical shapes. Then head back down into the valley and go north towards Mono Lake to explore the cool formations on the south side (this is before you get to Lee Vining). Find a place to stay and spend the next day driving to SF.
Jul 31, 2012 2:56 PM
Not starting at the North Rim of Grand Canyon National Park.
Take the recommended amount of emergency water 2 gallon (8 liters) of water per person per day. Don't drive off of the paved roads no matter what GPS tells you to do. You'll be fine. For most of the best route, it won't matter what side of the road you take. There is very little traffic.
How long do you want it to take? You can drive through Death Valley and Yosemite on your way to San Francisco. If you meet your friends in Yosemite instead of San Francisco you'll be able to spend more time In Death Valley and Yosemite.
In addition to Death Valley and Yosemite, you can drive through Zion National Park, through the Virgin River Gorge, through Las Vegas, by Mono Lake, take a short detour to Bodie CA, and drive through Tioga Pass to the rest of Yosemite. Take N US-89 away from the North Rim. When you reach UT-9, travel west through Zion National Park. When you reach I-15, head south through the Virgin River Gorge and into Las Vegas. Take NV-160 to Pahrump, NV and then take NV-372 and the Charles Brown Highway to CA-127 and CA-127 to CA-190 through Death Valley to US-395. US-395 is a beautiful drive past the eastern front of the Sierra Nevada Mountains. You can take CA-120 west through Tioga pass at Lee Vining or go a few miles farther north to see Mono Lake and Bodie. Once you leave Yosemite, CA-4 and I-5 will take you to San Francisco. You can work out all the details on Google Maps. There are many interesting places to stay depending on the number of days you have to spend in the trip. The drive is almost 900 miles or 1400 km.
"Too hot" is up to you. Death Valley at its worst is only 15-20 degrees F hotter than Las Vegas. Follow the rules on water and you'll be fine. Your rental car will be air conditioned.
Aug 1, 2012 8:55 AM
5Thank you so much for all of this info. You have all been so helpful and informative.
I've decided to rent a car now, but am still a little undecided about my route. Also, my plan for going to Yosemite after San Francisco has had to change, so I will now go there on my way to San Francisco. Could I trouble you all for more advice please?!
I will be leaving LA by bus arriving in Las Vegas late afternoon / evening. From then I have 7 days in which I would like to do the following
Spend maybe a couple of days in Vegas
Rent a car and go to Grand Canyon, North Rim, staying overnight
Make my way to San Francisco, via Death Valley, Sequoia National park, various places that have been suggested in this thread
Spend a night in Yosemite, before getting to San Francisco.
Is this realistic in the time?
Any suggestions for cheap accomodation?
When going to the North Rim, would I go from Vegas, then after visiting the North Rim, have to double back to Vegas to get on the road for the rest of the trip or is there another route? I tried looking on google maps, but couldn't see a road around it.
Aug 1, 2012 9:08 AM
Either way, skip xSequoia. It's out of the way because you cannot drive in via the east side. Instead, do this.
Aug 1, 2012 1:36 PM
7If you plan to stay at the North Rim of Grand Canyon National Park, you can't make reservations too early. Make them as soon as Xanterra will accept them.
Aug 1, 2012 6:02 PM
8Thanks for advice on Seqouia and route for North Rim. However I clicked on the link you included, but no details came up.
The 7 days doesn't include San Francisco. I have already allowed 3 days for that. I have already spent 1 there at the beginning of my trip.
As for cost of accomodation, preferably less than 80. As long as it is safe. And I don't mind hostels, but prefer not to stay in dorms.
I'm now thinking I may stay one night in Vegas, go to North Rim , then drive back next day, stay another night in Vegas then head off after that.
But if there is another way to San Fran by driving straight from the North Rim, and perhaps just seeing different things instead of Death Valley, then maybe this would be better?
By the way, thanks for the tip on 'renting ' rather than 'hiring' a car.
Aug 1, 2012 6:38 PM
2 nights xVegas.
1 night Grand Canyon
1 night Lone Pine or Bishop
1 night Mono Lake
2 nights xYosemite (depending on lodging)
Try the xYosemite Bug, and in xSF any of the HI or Green Tortoise hostels.
San FranciscoBook now
(3 star Hotel)
From US$209.00 per night
Los AngelesBook now
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San FranciscoBook now
(3 star Hotel)
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