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Yosemite to Death Valley drive through Sequoia/Kings Canyon

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Yosemite to Death Valley drive through Sequoia/Kings Canyon

Hey everyone,

I am planning a trip to both Yosemite Valley and Death Valley in mid/late April and am hoping to make the most of the drive. Maximizing the sightseeing and seeing both Seqouia and Kings Canyon would be fantastic if possible. The lovely scenery of Bakersfield is not at the top of my list, so I'd happily add on hours of driving for the scenery of the parks.

Any advice on the optimal route is welcome, especially in regard to seasonal road closure.

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Long Beach...
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1. Re: Yosemite to Death Valley drive through Sequoia/Kings Canyon

Are you doing this drive with an overnight or just straight through?

You'll want to call prior, just to make sure the road between the parks is open, particularly if storms are predicted or if recent storms have passed.

"For the most up-to-date 24-hour road conditions and advisories, please call (559) 565-3341 (press 1, 1). Weather and chain control advisories can change rapidly, often multiple times per day."

(You could go North, via Hwy 49, 88, 395-- also very scenic)

So Cal
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2. Re: Yosemite to Death Valley drive through Sequoia/Kings Canyon

If you're doing this straight through, I don't think you have time for the side trip to Sequoia (even considering the delights of Bakersfield's scenery). We recently had to drive Bakersfield > Death Valley > Sequoia, and both those legs took a good chunk of those days. I would not have wanted to add the extra hours to get to Yosemite on top of that, and I don't see how there'd be much time to enjoy Sequoia in the middle. On the plus side, April will have more daylight, but the journey will still be as long.

Yosemite Valley Vis Ctr to Stovepipe Wells in Death Valley (not knowing your exact starting and ending points) is seven hours if you drive direct, not counting any stops or traffic, no detours to Sequoia/Kings. Add Sequoia/Kings and you're looking at 10-11 hours - just driving, wheels turning, not counting any stopping.

If you did do it, I'd get a very early start and not count on much time out of the car. And I definitely would not make the drive down into the bottom of Kings Canyon - that's another couple of hours in itself.

So Cal
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3. Re: Yosemite to Death Valley drive through Sequoia/Kings Canyon

Here's a thought. All the times above used the most direct routes. What you could do instead, to add a bit of scenery, *if the weather is clear*: take the 178 from the 395 to the 99, instead of the 58. It goes up higher in elevation and is much prettier and more pleasant. (We drove both routes this trip, to change things up.) It does take longer, and you still get to (ahem) enjoy Bakersfield. But it does give you something else to look at besides desert for a while.

***This would be instead of detouring through SeKi, not in addition to.***

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