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  1. Default Las Vegas to San Francisco

    My wife and I are planning a trip to NV, UT and CA in late Mach / early April. The plan is to fly to Vegas and out of Frisco. We would fly to Vegas, have a day or two there and then drive to (for example) Grand Canyon via Hoover Dam - Monument Valley - Lake Powell - Bryce Canyon - Zion NP - Vegas - Death Valley - Mammoth Lakes - Yosemite, Lake Tahoe and SF. Will Tioga pass be open? If not what route would be the best. How many days would you recommend if we don't want to drive more than 2 hours a day, except when passing the Death Valley.
    Daniel

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Tucson, AZ
    Posts
    9,358

    Default A Few Constraints

    Welcome aboard the RoadTrip America Forums!

    Unfortunately, there are some problems with the trip you envision. First of all, it may not be possible to travel through this area and only drive 2 hours a day. The distances involved are just too great. To hit all the places you have listed (except Yosemite - see below) would require about 2000 miles of driving. So you're looking at taking a minimum of two weeks if you only drive 2 hours a day. And there is no guarantee that there will be appropriate lodging available when you reach your time limit. They don't call these 'wide open spaces' for nothing.

    Yosemite will not be available to you at that time of year, given your driving restrictions and the other places you want to see, particularly Death Valley, Mammoth Lakes and Tahoe. Tioga Pass does not normally open until sometime in mid-June.

    So, I think that this is one trip that needs to go back to the drawing board. Have a look through the similar trip threads listed at the bottom of this page, and use the Search function on the toolbar at the top to find other threads on your destinations. Then, I'm afraid, you're going to have to start trimming down on what you want to see, adding significant time (weeks) to your trip, or be willing to drive considerably farther on some days than allowed for in your first plan.

    AZBuck

  3. Default

    Thanks, I obviously didn't realize the distances.
    If I skip Yosemite, but still want to see the Grand Canyon via Hoover Dam - Monument Valley - Lake Powell - Bryce Canyon - Zion NP - Vegas - Death Valley and Lake Tahoe and SF. Driving 3- 4 hours a day, would it be possible in 8 days?

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 1998
    Location
    Las Vegas, Nevada
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    10,060

    Default Barely

    Quote Originally Posted by j_daniel View Post
    Driving 3- 4 hours a day, would it be possible in 8 days?
    It is possible, but when you say driving 3-4 hours per day -- would this include all of the travel time for each day? If so, it will still be impossible to see all of those places if your total travel time is limited to 3-4 hours per day (you will want to stop and take photos, short walks, tours, etc.)

    The other problem which AZBuck mentioned, is that the distances between locales are, in the most part, too great to find lodging if you are only traveling 3-4 hours per day. It could be done, I suppose, but it would be challenging.

    Mark

  5. #5
    RoadTripper Brad Guest

    Default A thought

    I don't have a lot of my resources availble to me here at work, so I won't get into whether or not 8 days would suffice, however, I do have a thought.

    Instead of looking to drive only a few hours each day, it might be beneficial to set aside 'driving days', that is days in which you may drive for 8-9 hours, covering large distances and doing some sightseeing, then spend more time enjoying your destinations. By planning a few 'driving days' in, you might keep yourself open just incase you get behind schedule, or find it takes longer to get from Point A to Point B than you had planned on.

    The last vacation I was on in which we did both methods, the days where we hit the tourist spots only to have to drive after or before, we found not only did we cover very little ground, but the day really wasn't very enjoyable.

    Example of our vacation timeframe: Seattle to LA: 2 driving days. 2 days at Disney land. Day 5, Spend the morning, mid-day at Universal Studios, then try to get as far north from LA as possible. We ended up stopping only 3 hours outside of LA, just north of Grapevine, CA, exausted. Day 6 was a straight shot back to the Seattle Area, leaving at 2 AM and arriving late in the evening and burnt out.

    If you can specify days primarily for travel, that would be best.

    Planning on only driving for 4 hours might not get you very far.

    -Brad

  6. Default

    Thank you all!
    As AZBuck put it:"So, I think that this is one trip that needs to go back to the drawing board", that's what I did. Now I intend to fly to Vegas and visit:Zion NP, Bryce, Lake Powell, Flagstaff, Grand Canyon (south rim), Lake Mead and back to Vegas.
    How many days should I devote to such a trip, assuming I take Brad's advice to set aside "driving days"?
    What would be the weather at the end of March, early April?
    Is Good Friday a crowded season at the Grand Canyon?
    Daniel
    Last edited by j_daniel; 12-17-2006 at 03:31 PM.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Tucson, AZ
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    9,358

    Default Day by Day

    The easiest way to do this is to just work out (roughly) what each day would look like. So there are however many days you wish to spend in Las Vegas at the start, then a day to drive up to Zion (about 3-4 hours) and start looking around the park. The next day would be similar, about a 3-4 hour drive to Bryce and explore there. The drive to Lake Powell (I'm assuming you're going to Glen Canyon NRA) is a bit longer at 5-6 hours, so let's call that a full day, Spend the next day at Glen Canyon and then spend another full driving day (8-9 hours) going down to Flagstaff. The next day you can make the drive up to and along the south rim of the Grand Canyon, ending in Williams (4-5 hours of driving). Williams to Lake Mead (Hoover Dam) is another 4+ hour day of driving, but the drive back into Las Vegas can be done in an hour. So that's a minimum of 7 days, plus whatever time you're going to spend in Las Vegas, plus whatever you're going to spend at your other destinations beyond the half day or so I've allowed. So at one week, this trip would be a bit rushed, but with two weeks, this could be a very nice, scenic, and relaxing trip.

    Weather in late March - early April will, on average, range from highs in the 70s in Las Vegas to lows in the low 20s in Bryce, so quite a range. Chances of rain or snow are small, but not nonexistent. Good Friday is still very early in the season at the Grand Canyon. Schools are still in session at that time of year, and there is a chance of snow, so I wouldn't expect it to be crowded at all.

    AZBuck

  8. Default

    Thanks AZBuck
    Daniel

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jan 1998
    Location
    Las Vegas, Nevada
    Posts
    10,060

    Default One Caveat

    Quote Originally Posted by AZBuck View Post
    .. but the drive back into Las Vegas can be done in an hour.
    One caveat here -- because of the construction for Hoover Dam bypass bridge, it is not uncommon to have bumper-to-bumper traffic from Willow Beach (on the Arizona side of the dam) to Boulder City. A "normal week day" usually takes about two hours to cover that 15 mile distance. Average speed while crossing the dam is about .05 MPH! It is still an amazing trip to drive down and across the dam, but you don't want to arrive here, expecting a quick descent over to Las Vegas. The slow speed does allow for watching the mountain sheep on the ridges above the roadway.

    Mark

  10. #10

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by AZBuck View Post
    (I'm assuming you're going to Glen Canyon NRA) is a bit longer at 5-6 hours, so let's call that a full day, Spend the next day at Glen Canyon
    The Glen Canyon Dam has a very interesting visitor centre which would be worth a look. Also I would suggest you drive down to the seriously impressive Navajo Bridge and then descend down to Lees Ferry where you can stand alongside the raging Colorado River. And you absolutely must not miss out on a quick stop at the Horseshoe Bend as you make your way back to Page where you'll likely be staying overnight. Just be very careful near the edge... it's a hell of a long way down!

    We stopped at a decent little motel in Page at a ridiculously cheap rate, Econo Host, I think? From there we walked to a wonderful restaurant called Ken's Old West Steakhouse - a hilarious little place with a great atmosphere and lovely food (even though it's not recommended by tripadvisor.com at all!!)
    Last edited by Mark Sedenquist; 12-17-2006 at 06:00 PM. Reason: Added link to RTA's coverage of the Navajo Bridge

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