I'm in the process of refining my road trip itinerary. According to Google Maps it seems that if you want to get from Las Vegas to Sequoia National Park (to see the Mariposa groves) you have to travel south, from which you can enter the park taking a sideroad at Pearsonville.

However, I am hoping to find a faster route to a place where the Mariposa groves can be seen. I suspect this is simply not possible due to the mountain range west of the 395, but if somebody found a faster router, I would be glad to hear it.

  • @NateEldredge: That's the one in Yosemite, but it appears that Bart has identified another one further south. Might want to make sure there actually is a grove there before setting out. – Greg Hewgill Jul 27 '15 at 23:37
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    @GregHewgill: Oh, I should have looked at the map. Okay, but now another note. You've routed yourself along a Forest Service road. Those are almost invariably unpaved, and many require a high clearance 4WD vehicle - if they are passable at all. Are you prepared for what is effectively off-roading? All the paved-road access into Sequoia National Park is from the west side. – Nate Eldredge Jul 27 '15 at 23:39
  • I take it back - it appears Sherman Pass Road (22S05) is paved. The last part on 22S41 probably isn't, however. See fs.usda.gov/Internet/FSE_DOCUMENTS/stelprd3800325.jpg (caution huge JPG). – Nate Eldredge Jul 27 '15 at 23:51
  • Uh, did you know the main grove is closed until spring 2017? This page has lists of other sequoia groves that can be visited. – mkennedy Jul 27 '15 at 23:55
  • @mkennedy: I made the same comment earlier but deleted it :-) That's a different grove; it's in Yosemite instead of Sequioa. If you click the Google Map link, you'll see what OP has in mind. – Nate Eldredge Jul 27 '15 at 23:58

What you've found is almost certainly the fastest route to the point you mention. Anything shorter would have to cross from east to west across the southern part of Death Valley National Park, and you can see on the Death Valley Map (PDF) that there is no such road south of CA-190 (not counting a 4WD road that would almost certainly take longer, even if you were equipped to drive it). CA-190 itself is the alternate route shown in your Google Map, which is slightly shorter but has the same predicted travel time (it's probably a narrower, winding road with a lower speed limit).

The area south of Death Valley is occupied by the Fort Irwin army base, so there will be no public roads through there, either. So that leaves you on I-15, which is the route you already found.

(Note that the last part of your route, Forest Road 22S41, is unpaved. See the Forest Service map at http://www.fs.usda.gov/Internet/FSE_DOCUMENTS/stelprd3800325.jpg (caution huge JPEG). Forest Service dirt roads are often in a rather primitive condition - you might need a high clearance 4WD vehicle and off-road driving experience to have a chance of negotiating them successfully. So if you use Google Maps for your navigation, you'll want to pay careful attention to the roads it's suggesting, and their likely condition. For instance, Sherman Pass Road (22S05) is paved, but is also closed all winter. If in doubt, park or forest rangers should have up-to-date information on road conditions.)

As to whether there may be other interesting sequoia groves somewhere else, I don't know.

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