View Full Version : LA to DC - best route?

06-17-2007, 09:16 AM
Hi, I am going to spend ten days driving from LA to DC with a friend and we are lost with route options. I have heard that Utah and Wyoming have the best scenery as far as driving so we were thinking of doing LA to Las Vegas and up through Utah, Wyoming, and then S. Dakota and eastward.

Want to spend much more time in the west and rush the east portion. I dont think we have time to go up to the Grand Tetons or Yellowstone unfortunately, so I need a more direct route.

So, I'm looking for itinerary ideas from Las Vegas to DC basically, going north. Is this too ambitious? I would appreciate any advice, I am new to this. =)

Thanks so much!

06-17-2007, 10:06 AM
Welcome aboard the RoadTrip America Forums!

With the understanding that possible and desirable may be two separate things, it would be possible to see everything on your list and still make it to DC in ten days. Keep in mind that a minimalist route between LA and DC would take 5-6 days, that leaves you a fair bit of time to play around with. The basic route I'm going to recommend that you look at goes like this:

Take I-15 up through Las Vegas and Utah to Salt Lake City. North of Salt Lake take US-89 north through The southeastern corner of Idaho and up through the Tetons and Yellowstone to I-90 in southern Montana and then head east to DC via I-90/I-80/I-76/I-70/I-270. I would mark the division between your 'seeing the west' portion and your 'rushing through the east' portion as Wall, SD. From there to DC it's around 1500 miles which can be made in three relatively comfortable driving days, but still leave you an hour or two out of the car each day for some exercise or the odd site that catches your fancy.

So have a look at whether you think you'd be comfortable with 7 days to cover the 1700 mile drive up through some of the best of the west to Wall, and if so, decide how best to spend that time. You'd only have to average around 250 miles a day during that portion.


06-18-2007, 06:34 PM
Hi, Plan A above is good (we love Yellowston and the Tetons), but let me suggest an alternative that nets you more scenery and less driving. Starting the same way, take I-15 through Las Vegas, but get off in St. George, UT and wind your way through southern Utah via some combination of Zion NP, Bryce NP, Capitol Reef NP, Canyonlands NP, Arches NP and onto I-70 heading east through Colorado. You'll go by Colorado National Monument, Vail ski area, and if you have time swing north through Rocky Mountain NP. You'll see some of the best of Utah and some great scenery in Colorado. After you've spent most of your time on this first section, you'll have drive like crazy across I-70 or I-80 to get to DC in time but it will have been worth it.

Good luck and happy travels,

Craig Sheumaker

co-author of A Traveler's Guide: America's Living History - The Early Years (http://www.roadtripamerica.com/read/Americas-Living-History.htm)