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Highway 1 to Monterey to Sequoia National Forest

Highway 1 to Monterey to Sequoia National Forest

Mar 8th, 2013, 10:35 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Mar 2013
Posts: 5
Highway 1 to Monterey to Sequoia National Forest

We're flying into LA and want to drive up part of Highway 1 before making our way to Sequoia National Forest. I've heard that the stretch between San Luis Obispo to Monterey is the most scenic part of the drive.

Given the short time frame we have, we'd like to get to Sequoia from Monterey the quickest but also make sure we catch the most scenic part. Any suggestions of routes from Los Angeles to Monterey to Sequoia? Or any other locations you think might be worthwhile if not that route?
haikue is offline  
Mar 8th, 2013, 10:49 AM
Join Date: Jan 2012
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"Short time frame"? How short? It makes all the difference. The quickest and the most scenic are usually 2 different things. Also, will you need to return to L.A. to fly out?
MmePerdu is offline  
Mar 8th, 2013, 10:57 AM
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I googled the route Monterey to Sequoia National Park and the first route is the one I would take. 4.5 hours 156 to 152 to 99 south to 198. Last week I drove the section 152 to 156 to I5 and it was really pretty. It’s the time of year when everything is really green.
Suzie is offline  
Mar 8th, 2013, 02:29 PM
Join Date: Jul 2006
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You're going to be stuck with a fairly non-scenic drive (unless you like almond trees) across the San Joaquin Valley no matter what. As for the rest of the trip, it will be fairly scenic. 156 to Los Banos is pretty scenic for most of the way. 68 to Salinas and then down 101 to 198 is pretty scenic too. I haven't been on 198 over to the Valley, but I'm guessing its very scenic. I'd probably go that route, as its only 15 min longer, and 101 from Salinas to 198 is definitely more scenic that I-5 or 99 through the Valley. Even more scenic would be to go through Hollister and down 25 to 198, but that would add 30 minutes more on top of the 101-to-198 route.

As for the LA to Monterey route, I'm assuming you want to hit Big Sur. Other than that, it depends on what you're interested in and how much time you have. The wine country around Santa Ynez and Los Olivos is great, as are some of the wineries around Paso Robles. Santa Barbara is a wonderful town. Pismo Beach has a great beach and dunes. Hearst Castle at San Simeon is on the way. Or if you're pressed for time, you're going to bang up 101 all the way to San Luis Obispo. (SLO is a nice little town too btw)

You might want to consider doing LA to Sequoia to Monterey instead, as Big Sur is a bit better heading south as you'll be driving on the oceanside of the road, and it's a lot easier to pull over at the scenic viewpoints.
kbob88 is offline  
Mar 8th, 2013, 05:16 PM
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Sequoia National Park and Sequoia National Forest are two different things.
spirobulldog is offline  
Mar 8th, 2013, 09:53 PM
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I would not go 198. Curvy, two lane, slow.
MichelleY is offline  
Mar 9th, 2013, 12:51 PM
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I suspect the OP plans to go to Sequoia National Park but they can clarify if they really plan to go to Sequoia National Forest.

Ok if 198 is too curvy, I suppose someone should make the recommendation to take 180 out of Fresno instead.
Suzie is offline  
Mar 9th, 2013, 04:41 PM
Join Date: Feb 2013
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Hiakue, Presumably you are going to the National Park. It is beautiful and well worth seeing. If you are, then one thing I recommend is that you stay in the lodge:
The lodge is pretty nice and there is really no other good choice unless you want to drive back and forth from Fresno. This assumes you are planning to spend at last one night there. I would personally not bother to go if you did not have at least one or preferably 2 nights as the drive is too far to go from Monterey or LA and see much in the park in one day. You also did not mention what time of year you plan to visit or if you are big on outdoors and hiking. Only a very small portion of the NP is accessible by car. There are many hikes at all levels, but you probably cannot do many of them this time of year.
jlub is offline  
Mar 9th, 2013, 05:06 PM
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I'm glad Suzie mentioned the 180 route, because I was thinking I would recommend that.

So, from Monterey head across the San Joaquin Valley to Fresno, and from there take 180 into the Park. You will almost immediately encounter the Grant Grove of really giant trees. Continue on through the Park on the General's Highway, which I think at some point becomes 198, which will take you to the Giant Forest area. More huge trees are along there, including the General Sherman tree, the largest in the world. But that's not all. There's also the Crystal Caves, Moro rock, and Crescent Meadow. All of these get major tourist attention. Continue on 198 to Visalia, go south on 99. It will merge with I-5 and then you will go over Tejon pass, also called "the Grapevine" and down into the LA metropolitan area. Somewhere along there will be a sign directing you to the Pyramid Lake visitor center. There's a building there that affords a great view of the lake and explains more than you wanted to know about the California water system and how LA gets its water. (We rob it from other places to the north that have it.)

Of course 198 is curvy and slow. It's a mountain road for Pete's sake, and it drops you from 6500 ft. to 350 ft. in not very many miles.
dbdurand is offline  
Mar 9th, 2013, 10:24 PM
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durand: previous poster was recommending 198 from 101 out of King City over to SJ Valley instead of 156/152. That was the portion I was not recommending as slow.
MichelleY is offline  
Mar 10th, 2013, 07:16 AM
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Sorry MichelleY. I should have read more carefully.

P.S. I agree with your sentiments about I-5 through the SJ Valley. IMO it gets too much undeserved flak on these boards.
dbdurand is offline  
Mar 10th, 2013, 08:31 AM
Join Date: Feb 2003
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Durand- you must have read my post about my short drive down I-5 last weekend. It was so beautiful with the trees in bloom from Westley south to Newman. I appreciate the Westside as I grew up there. My dad grew up in the hills on a sheep ranch, so we spent a lot of time there as kids. Good memories. Detest 99.
MichelleY is offline  
Mar 11th, 2013, 08:21 AM
Original Poster
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Oops, you're right...I'm aiming for the national park, though we have yet to decide. We'll only have 4 full days and then fly out early on the 5th. SO it's super short but we're willing to do both if worthwhile. I have already done Highway 1 but my friend hasn't.

We'll have to drive back to LA to fly out, so we could certainly do the drive on the way back.

Thanks for the suggestions! We'll do some more talking before deciding.
haikue is offline  

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