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Vegas to L.A with Death Valley sightseeing stop en

Old May 18th, 2008, 11:39 AM
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Vegas to L.A with Death Valley sightseeing stop en

Hello To You All!

This September, We are heading to the States from Ireland for a holiday of a lifetime, and after much thaught, we changed our original itinerary from 2 nights in Death Valley to dropping it altogether, in place of two nights at Zion National Park.

However! I still have an urge to see at least some of your national treasure that is Death Valley.

Is it possible or worth a brief stop while enroute from Las Vegas to Los Angeles (I know this is a 4.5 hour drive!)

Any thaughts? or suggestions?

Many thanks again kind Fodorites.

M.
majorvonhapen is offline  
Old May 18th, 2008, 12:23 PM
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Yes. If you're planning on taking a full day from Las Vegas to LA.

Here's how: this route is about 8-9 hours of drive time, but if you leave Vegas early and arrive in LA late, it's totally worth it.

From Las Vegas, take 95 north to Beatty, Nevada (about 3 hours). This might be worth a quick stop - it's a small but quirky "old west" town. Then you'll head towards Death Valley on 374 and pass the ghost town of Rhyolite - definitely worth at least a quick stop, especially if you're into photography.

The approach into Death Valley on 374 is one of the more dramatic - you'll come in over the mountains and land at the park's main junction of Stovepipe Wells (under an hour from Beatty). From here, the larger sand dunes are a short drive (north, I believe) and then you can drive south through the park. This will lead you past many of the main visitor points, including the lowest point in the US. You can stop at the Furnace Creek Inn for lunch and some really good blueberry pie.

You'll wind up (eventually) in Baker, CA - about 2 hours of straight drive time without stops. Here you can see the World's Largest Thermometer. The fun never ends. From Baker, it's a straight three hour shot to LA - but if you time it for later in the day, you'll avoid icky rush hour traffic. There's also a longer (adds about an hour), but more scenic route, from Stovepipe Wells to Baker.

This has you in the car A LOT, but since it's September, you probably won't want to be OUT of the car much in Death Valley. 9 hours drive time, but if you can allow yourselves at least a full 12 hour day (maybe more?) you'll have three hours outside the car walking around and looking at things.

Have fun!
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Old May 18th, 2008, 12:55 PM
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Hi Ceb122,

You make it sound really interesting and 'do-able'! we'll have to do it!

Thanks ceb1222!



majorvonhapen is offline  
Old May 18th, 2008, 04:07 PM
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Ceb1222 has it exactly right on how to do Death Valley - but the weather in September is about 110 Degrees and too hot to enjoy. What he suggested would be great from late November thru April. I would do Zion/Bryce instead.
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Old May 19th, 2008, 12:04 PM
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Major - you're welcome!

I should also add that you should come prepared with PLENTY of water - as in, a gallon per person - just in case of an accidental car break down or other unforeseen event.

Barney - "but it's a DRY heat". Heh heh. Said tongue in cheek, of course. Yes, it will be hot, but, call me crazy - I think the heat is all part of the experience. Why go to the hottest, driest, lowest point in the U.S. and not experience all three factors?

Major, it sounds Death Valley is something you really want to see, so see it! Just be aware of the heat potential, bring your water (make sure you DRINK it!), wear your sunblock (you're better off in a light-weight, light-colored, long sleeved shirt), and use your head. As I said, you'll be in the car most of the time anyway. And I know you're starting from Vegas, but hold back on the cocktails the night before, or you'll want to live up to the park's name!
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Old May 25th, 2008, 10:00 AM
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Another good tip if you're going to the heat (and that includes Las Vegas by the way)..Drink lots of water the day BEFORE you visit. You'll start off hydrated rather than having to play catch up.

There is another route to LA on the way back from Death Valley that I like. You take the Trona Road and Rte 395 rather than going thru Baker. It may be a bit shorter also.

You come in thru Baker and leave thru Ridgecrest.
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Old May 26th, 2008, 09:40 AM
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i think zion is a better choice for 2 nights but if you don't mind heat, a drive through death valley is interesting.
i really enjoyed the tour at scotty's castle. you could also check at the furnace creek ranch (there's the inn (fancy) and the ranch (more casual). they have a pool and you may be able to get a pass for a couple of hours for a quick dip to break up the day.
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Old May 26th, 2008, 09:56 AM
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ceb1222's plan is totally doable. BUT - I would wait until the day before to decide if you are going through DV.

In Sept it could be mild -- 95-105F (35-40C) -- or it could be really REALLY hot. 120+ (49C) is also possible. If there is a real heat wave at the time - just drive straight through to LA. But if it is under about 110 - go for it.

Since you aren't staying the night, you can decide at the last minute which way to go.
janisj is online now  
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