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Drive from Vegas or LA?
#59489 04/12/22 02:30 PM
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I'll be flying in from out of state when I do Whitney. It seems my options are to fly into Vegas or LA and drive to Lone Pine. Is there any advantages picking one over the other? I was thinking Vegas because then I would get to drive through death valley and that seems like it would be a fun add on to the trip. But I'm also trying to consider things like length of the drive and ease of navigation.

Also, is there anything important I need to do to drive through death valley? I keep hearing stories about cars over heating when driving through and the last thing I want to do is get stuck out there.

Re: Drive from Vegas or LA?
Gowzers #59490 04/12/22 04:06 PM
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If you could get a direct flight to LV, I would do LV because it's going to be a more streamlined situation. While the mileage is similar, the drive will be quicker and better from LV.

Re: Drive from Vegas or LA?
Gowzers #59491 04/12/22 06:27 PM
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I agree with the Las Vegas choice. You may also want to consider Reno, since that's a straight shot down highway 395.

As for driving through Death Valley without living up to the valley's name: Don't drive a crappy old car. Have lots of water. If it's very hot, don't make a lot of long stops. Long hikes in the Summer are a bad idea.

But you MUST stop at Badwater so you can brag that you were at the lowest spot in the lower 48 and the highest spot in the lower 48 (Mt Whitney). smile
Bonus points if you actually hike all the way from Badwater to Whitney (I have never done that and probably never will).

Re: Drive from Vegas or LA?
Gowzers #59492 04/12/22 07:47 PM
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I like to fly to vegas. Cause i'm familiar with the airport, car rental, and town as vegas has been my base of operations for multiple hiking trips.

I did note that for me coming from Washington Dulles that LA was a LOT cheaper flight than Vegas at the time of my booking. And not much further to fly.

I've made the trip to whitney from vegas once before.
Funny story, i'd been in vegas for defcon. Set my alarm for before dawn, to avoid the august heat in death valley. Slept through it. Or it wasn't set up right.
So I failed to make a trip to Badwater Basin (lowest point in the 48). I just wanted to get out of death valley before it got too hot so drove straight through.
May be related, but i then failed to summit. Got up to trail camp on a day hike, and was so spent. And low on water. So i wisely decided my definition of a successful hike was returning to my car.


This August, i'll definitely hit bad water basin to avoid any bad mojo. laugh

Bring water. And a PLB. open the hood and double check the antifreeze levels. Dont rent the car with wear bars on the tires laugh


Bring your national park pass. I'd left mine at home and had to pay just to cut through the park.

Re: Drive from Vegas or LA?
MtP #59493 04/12/22 08:50 PM
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Thanks for the info everyone. I was already leaning towards Vegas so I will be booking my flight there. And I will definitely make a stop at badwater seems like the perfect extra bonus for this trip. I'll be able to get an early flight so hopefully I'll be able to beat the late day heat on the trip for the most part.

Re: Drive from Vegas or LA?
Gowzers #59494 04/13/22 08:19 AM
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We have flown into Vegas a number of times in the past few years. I am impressed by how the airport is oriented to moving a lot of people relatively fast. The centralized car rental building works well. There are free shuttles to and from. The drive from LAX to Lone Pine would be difficult. The LA freeways will have bumper to bumper traffic.

You do not have to pay to drive through Death Valley. The paved roads belong to the state of California not the NPS. If you stop to view the sights, then you should pay. If you have an annual park pass, you will have to show it at the visitor's center to get a receipt to display in your window. The machines about the park don't take annual passes, only credit cards.

Re: Drive from Vegas or LA?
RichardK #59510 04/16/22 07:42 AM
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Thank you for the info. Booked my flight into Vegas.


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