Suggestions for a drive between Las Vegas, NV and John Muir Lodge
June 9, 2019 2:05 PM   Subscribe

Mid-July I need to drive from the Las Vegas airport to John Muir Lodge in Kings Canyon National Park via I-15 and Hwy 58, then back again a few days later. I'd like to break up the drive both ways by stopping overnight both ways (Bakersfield?, Barstow?) and also by checking out any roadside attractions, diners, short detours, overlooks, whatever. Any suggestions?
posted by Jackson to Travel & Transportation (7 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: Mrs. B's Diner, Barstow, best bisquits and gravy ever. Bonus in a large truck stop just before you peel off to the 58. The Old Woman Meteor is in Barstow.

The Padre Hotel in Bakersfield is a really nice place to stay, they have good food and coffee. If you want an adventure, choose to go over Walker Pass and down Kern Canyon into Bakersfield. Kern Canyon is like no other and the magnificent Kern River is amazing. Do not go in it. Where the Kern Canyon opens up is nearly to The Rio Bravo Ranch. This is a huge outfit, growing olives and citrus. Casere's Deli is on the ranch to the left. It is a good stop, they sell food and olive oils

If you go the Tehachapi route, there is a large fruit ranch on the right as you drop to the flats, General Beales, I think. Also a good stop, lots of fruits and goodies to choose from. A good pit stop.

It is possible to take a highway along the foothills of the Sierras, through the orchards, going north if you head out through Oildale. Look for the town of Ducor, this is the railroad's abbreviation for Dutch Corners what the town used to be named.
posted by Oyéah at 3:32 PM on June 9, 2019 [1 favorite]

Best answer: King's Canyon is best driven with someone, because the road is so hairy you have to watch it exclusively if you are driving, I am not kidding about this. The road is 26 miles in, and then 26 miles back out. I saw the clearest river water there of my lifetime, and photographed rainbows in the bottom, refracted from the ripples. There are bears. The foothills of the Sierras up to King's Canyon are beautiful. King's canyou is the depest canyon at least in the US, at 8,000 feet.
posted by Oyéah at 3:38 PM on June 9, 2019

Best answer: Every time I travel through that area I think it would be worthwhile to make a half-day or so detour and visit Death Valley.

Summer is maybe not the most optimal time to visit Death Valley, but it can be done and enjoyed.

You're going to be traveling across a big chunk of the Mohave Desert regardless of whether or not you visit Death Valley, so you ought to be following most of the advice given for traveling in Death Valley and surrounding desert areas whether or not you choose to visit Death Valley (carry extra gallons of water, don't let your gas tank get anywhere close to "E", stay with your car if it breaks down, etc.).

Bonus: Interesting article about some sights in this part of the world.
posted by flug at 8:44 PM on June 9, 2019 [2 favorites]

Best answer: John Muir lodge is in Grant grove village, before you get to the canyon itself. We prefer the 180 over the 198. The 198 although scenic is more winding. The guy mentioning ducor maybe meant to mention the Dutch Frontier Restaurant reservations recommended.
posted by notned at 7:09 PM on June 10, 2019

Best answer: Seconding the Walker Pass and Lake Isabella on Ca 178 via Ridgecrest Ca, the Maturango Museum exhibits and galleries that include naval weapons are located there .
I'm recommending leaving the 58 at Kramer Jct using the 395 to go north , the 178 a very beautiful drive ends downtown Bakersfield
posted by hortense at 9:34 PM on June 10, 2019

Response by poster: Had to mark everyone as best answer - so much helpful information here. Thanks to everyone.
posted by Jackson at 9:55 AM on June 15, 2019

BTW Ca SR 178 begins at Pahrump Nevada just 60 miles west of Vegas .
At the junction of SR127 and 178 is the crowbar inn, and museum , Shoshone Ca, if it is unseasonably temperate you could consider the drive through badwater over town pass using panamint valley road through Trona authentic desert town brutalist architecture , 178 begins again at the pinnacles National Monument,.
posted by hortense at 7:53 PM on June 18, 2019

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