While the glittering lights and entertainment in Las Vegas can be intoxicating, there is much to be discovered beyond The Strip. After catching a show and lounging by your hotel pool, load up your car and hit the road to on this Las Vegas to Yosemite road trip stopping at Death Valley, Kings Canyon and Sequoia national parks.
Before you get to Death Valley National Park’s entrance, you’ll drive into Death Valley Junction, home of the historic white stucco Amargosa Opera House and Hotel. Grab a cup of great coffee at the Amargosa Cafe. Ask around to see the inside of the opera house where ballerina and Broadway dancer Marta Becket performed for more than 40 years.
From there, head to Death Valley National Park, stopping at Zabriskie Point for mesmerizing views. Then drive north through “the other side of California,” a startlingly beautiful high desert with sparsely populated towns like Bishop and Lone Pine that are full of character. Then enter Yosemite through the East Entrance, taking Tioga Road past alpine meadows before dropping into Yosemite Valley. After exploring the park, exit through the South Entrance and visit the hidden gems of Sequoia and Kings Canyon national parks.
Just outside the two parks are towns like Visalia, Exeter and Fresno, which are part of one of the world’s most productive agriculture areas. Take an agri-tour. Then stop in Bakersfield on your return route to Las Vegas.
Start: Las Vegas, Nevada
Before you head for Yosemite, visit Las Vegas’ 180-acre utopia, Springs Preserve, that features museums, art galleries, animal exhibits, live show, and botanical gardens.
Death Valley National Park
The largest national park in the contiguous United States, Death Valley National Park is just 142 miles from Las Vegas, but you might feel as though you’ve landed on the moon. Stretching across 3.4 million acres, the park is made up of a patchwork of salt flats, badlands, artfully colored hills and ruins from those who dared to settle in this unforgiving landscape. You’ll also find the lowest point in North America in Badwater Basin, which sits 282 feet below sea level and encompasses nearly 200 square miles of salt flats.
Here are our top 6 stops plus road-trip tips from Nokian Tyres for a fantastic scenic drive on the way to Yosemite National Park.
Sights to See East of Yosemite
Inyo County is the Land of Extremes
Inyo County claims the highest and lowest points in the lower 48. Stop at a WWII internment camp, watch and listen to the sky and see restored trains.
Bishop’s Big Backyard
On the Eastern Sierra, walk among ancient trees, watch mules compete, hike to a lake and relax in a small town with down-to-earth people.
Yosemite National Park
Enter Yosemite at its east entrance on Tioga Road. (In winter, enter the South Entrance.)
Pick Your Perfect Yosemite Activities – Climb, Raft, Bike, Ski, Hike
The ultimate guide to activities inside Yosemite National Park. Which ones have you tried?
5 Famous Viewpoints Close to the Road in Yosemite
Visitors to the park won’t want to miss any of these following heart-stopping vistas, all easily accessible from paved roads throughout the park.
Best 2-Day Eco-Friendly Yosemite Vacation Itinerary
Experience the best of Yosemite while traveling sustainably by eating locally grown food, staying at eco-friendly lodges and hiking on gorgeous trails.
Trailside Chef Kena Peay
Kena Peay shows us that cooking in the outdoors can be easy and wonderfully gourmet.
Tour Yosemite Like a Local with Gypsy Guide
On your Yosemite adventure, listen to an entertaining guide in your car.
The Giving Trees
Don’t leave Yosemite without visiting the Mariposa Grove of Giant Sequoias.
The Living History of Yosemite’s Buffalo Soldiers
Yosemite ranger Shelton Johnson brings to life the stories of the Black soldiers who served as the park’s first rangers.
Exit Yosemite at its south entrance.
Relaxing Spots near Yosemite’s South Entrance
Go Jump in the Lake at Miller’s Landing Resort
Just 20 minutes from Yosemite National Park’s South Entrance lies a lakeside paradise where contemporary cabins are just a stroll from the shore, boats of all sizes are available for rent and the water in the summer reaches almost 80 degrees.
Rest and Relax at the Pool and Spa at Chukchansi Gold Resort & Casino
If spending time outdoors has you dreaming of swimming pools, a massage and a clean hotel room, consider getting pampered for a night or two at Yosemite’s south entrance. A modern resort with a swimming pool, outdoor concerts and gaming awaits.
Two More National Parks, Sequoia and Kings Canyon
The Majestic Mountain Loop Stops at Three National Parks
If the only national park you visit in California is Yosemite, you’ll miss seeing the world’s largest living tree in Sequoia National Park and the nation’s Christmas tree in Kings Canyon National Park. Only have three days for your entire vacation? Start the Majestic Mountain Loop in Fresno.
4 Fantastic Fresno Finds
From underground gardens to a world-class zoo, Fresno is the perfect stop between Yosemite, Kings Canyon and Sequoia national parks.
Take a Trip Around the World at Fresno Chaffee Zoo
Journey around the world without ever leaving central California. This incredible zoo is home to more than 200 species and has interactive and award-winning habitats that will make you feel like you’ve been transported to the California coast, the African savannahs or the Australian outback.
Explore the towns that sit at the foot of Sequoia and Kings Canyon national parks.
Stay at Wuksachi Lodge in the Heart of Sequoia National Park
Located just down the road from the famous General Sherman Tree, this stone-and-cedar mountain-style lodge is the perfect getaway.
Choose Your Stay in Kings Canyon National Park
From hotel rooms to rustic cabins, you’ll find your perfect getaway at Kings Canyon National Park.
Driving the Streets of Bakersfield
At the southern end of the San Joaquin Valley, you’ll find country music, craft brews and genuine grub in Bakersfield.