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  1. #1

    Default Grant Grove cabins Kings Canyon

    Hello everyone!
    My family(wife and two kids, aged 11 and 13) and I are in the process of planning an epic trip starting in Las Vegas, travelling to the Grand Canyon, possibly to Monument Valley and Canyon de Chelly, to Palm Springs via Joshua Tree, on to San Diego, up through LA, along the coast, up to San Francisco, across to King's Canyon/Sequoia and back to Vegas for flight back to England.
    We've got three weeks. Is it realistic to think we can do this without having to drive for more than a few hours every other day or so? I'm also a bit stuck about what is worth seeing between Flagstaff and Joshua Tree - we'll be staying overnight on this stretch.
    Any other useful tips would be appreciated such as where we might meet/avoid huge crowds or traffic congestion. Looking forward to your replies.
    Cheers! Phil.

  2. Default

    Hello philmag, and welcome to the Great American Roadtrip forum!

    Quote Originally Posted by philmag View Post
    Hello everyone!
    My family(wife and two kids, aged 11 and 13) and I are in the process of planning an epic trip starting in Las Vegas, travelling to the Grand Canyon, possibly to Monument Valley and Canyon de Chelly, to Palm Springs via Joshua Tree, on to San Diego, up through LA, along the coast, up to San Francisco, across to King's Canyon/Sequoia and back to Vegas for flight back to England.
    We've got three weeks. Is it realistic to think we can do this without having to drive for more than a few hours every other day or so? I'm also a bit stuck about what is worth seeing between Flagstaff and Joshua Tree - we'll be staying overnight on this stretch.
    Any other useful tips would be appreciated such as where we might meet/avoid huge crowds or traffic congestion. Looking forward to your replies.
    Cheers! Phil.
    Hmm.. a couple of quick comments?

    The trip is very doable in 3 weeks -- but, my back of the envelope estimate is that you'll be driving probably 15 days or so out of the 21. You're travelling a fair bit of distance, and while the roads are fast to travel and in very good shape over where you're going, you'll need to set aside the time to make the miles.

    Between Flagstaff and Joshua Tree there are some interesting places to stop, depending upon what are your interests and your itenerary and schedule. There's an interesting sidetrip alternative to I-40 that follows the old Route 66 up through Seligman through Peach Springs and goes past the Grand Canyon Caverns (a privately operated cavern tour).

    There's another interesting stop (but not on the superhighway) in Oatman, Arizona (between Kingman and Needles). Its an authentic old western town with burros roaming the streets and with gunfights staged on weekends. The burros are tame and can be hand fed.

    Not too far north of Needles is Laughlin Nevada, which is a mini-Las vegas type area along the Colorado River.

    Heading from Needles to Joshua Tree, my usual route is on the old Route 66 (now the National Trails Highway) towards Amboy. This lets you see some of the real desert regions of California (not many people or anything at all...) and gives you the option of visiting Amboy crater (a recent volcanic crater), or even stopping to look for rocks (Marble, obsidian, etc) or even look for trilobyte fossils near Cadiz (a bit off the road...)

    There are also the possible places to visit in the Mojave Natural Preserve - a huge park area a bit farther north of this. That includes the Cima train depot, the Kelso Dunes, several interesting natural formations, and the Karcher Caverns.

    I'm guessing from your route you'll do Monument Valley, then Canyon de Chelley, and then swing south to catch the I-40. An alternative route would be to visit the Petrified National Forest (before you get to Holbrook), Meteorite Crater, and then swing south at Flagstaff to Sedona. Eventually you'd head down I-17 to Montezuma's Castle and then Phoenix, before turning west on I-10. This will take you into California at Blythe/ Quartzite, and bring you into the Palm Springs/ Joshua Tree area somewhat farther south. There' a military musuem at Chiracio Summit (the George Patton Musuem), and you can enter Joshua Tree National Park from the south here .

    Either route works --

    The worst traffic or crowds on your trip will be either in the big cities you might go through (usual rush hour traffic) or in the larger, more popular parks as July and August are the popular vacation months here. You'll see rush hour traffic during the week days in San Diego, LA, and San Francisco for sure. Popular spots (Grand Canyon, Yosemite, the beaches/ beach camping sites) may be full, and if you want to stay in the park or right at a location, you may want to get reservations to ensure you can do this. Places like Disneyland which are surrounded by hotels may not require such advance bookings, but the most highly desirable hotels may be full up if you show up at the door in peak season.

    Since this is the summer, I would also add the caution that you may see rather warm weather at places along your route. I'd recommend you purchase an inexpensive ice chest and load it with water and drinks for the family -- and it will give you the option of picnicing out of the car for lunches.

  3. #3

    Default

    Welcome to Roadtrip America!

    Not sure of the exact mileage there but we did a pretty similar trip earlier this year and did approximately 4,000 miles. Your trip is not gonna be far short of that so there may be a little more driving than you'd like. But, to be honest, it's pretty easy going, driving in the States, and there's so much to see out of the window that the time will soon pass.

    If you have time between Kings Canyon and Vegas, make sure you visit Death Valley NP.

    Between Flagstaff and Joshua Tree NP? You've got to go to Lake Havasu and see the old London Bridge. Absolutely tragic, but it has got to be done... make sure you're in the 'village' area on the stroke of the hour, you'll not believe their version of Big Ben!!! :) If you enjoy that then you might want to visit the Queen Mary at Long Beach also.

    Have a great trip.

  4. #4

    Default

    Larrison and Craig, thanks for the replies.
    My initial plans have been pared back now - there probably was TOO much driving involved. I've reluctantly cut out Monument Valley and Chelly and am flying between Vegas and Diego, and Fresno and Vegas.
    Thanks again,
    Phil.

  5. #5

    Default Busy roads Grand Canyon/Big Sur

    Hello again, RTA!
    Having rejigged our plans to cut down on driving, I find our schedule now requires our visits to the Grand Canyon, along the Big Sur and to Kings Canyon, to take place over weekends.
    As we're coming to the States in July/August, I'm concerned that we might end up in traffic jams and overcrowded beauty-spots on a Friday and Saturday. Am I worrying unecessarily or should I think about rearranging the itinerary again?
    I think I read somewhere about a bridge being built near Boulder, causing delays on the Vegas road. Therefore, is it reasonable to attempt to drive from the Grand Canyon to Vegas airport in no more than five hours on a Sunday afternoon?
    Finally, for now(!), am I mad to contemplate a drive from Laguna Beach, through LA, by way of Hollywood and on to Santa Barbara in a day? I hope someone can reassure me or put me straight on these matters. Thanks, folks.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 1998
    Location
    Las Vegas, Nevada
    Posts
    10,060

    Default Possible, but EXTREMELY UNLIKELY!

    Quote Originally Posted by philmag View Post
    As we're coming to the States in July/August, I'm concerned that we might end up in traffic jams and overcrowded beauty-spots on a Friday and Saturday. Am I worrying unecessarily or should I think about rearranging the itinerary again?
    It is just as likely to find traffic mid-week to be much more intense as it is on weekends. I don't think you can solve traffic issues by making any scheduling changes.
    I think I read somewhere about a bridge being built near Boulder, causing delays on the Vegas road. Therefore, is it reasonable to attempt to drive from the Grand Canyon to Vegas airport in no more than five hours on a Sunday afternoon?
    Yes, there is a new bridge being built that will bypass the Hoover Dam and day-time construction delays on work days is the norm. On a Sunday afternoon, it is possible that the road will be relatively open, and if so, it is possible to cover that distance in five hours. But if road work is underway, it could easily take an additional 1-2 hours.
    Finally, for now(!), am I mad to contemplate a drive from Laguna Beach, through LA, by way of Hollywood and on to Santa Barbara in a day? I hope someone can reassure me or put me straight on these matters. Thanks, folks.
    The distance can easily be covered in a single day, as long as you don't spend too much time sightseeing.

    Mark

  7. #7

    Default

    We were at the Grand Canyon last August on a Thursday and Friday. We didn't experience any major traffic and, although the lodgings in the park were fully booked, it never felt crowded.

  8. #8

    Default Grant Grove Cabins Kings Canyon

    Hi everyone,
    thanks for the responses I've received so far.
    Next question!
    Has anybody stayed in a Duplex bath cabin in Grant Grove village in King's Canyon? If so, how would you rate it? I'd like to stay somewhere quite rustic but wife/kids are a bit worried about how 'rustic' it may be (wusses)! Nobody is expecting Bellagio type luxury, though.
    The other option may be to stay in one of the lodges I suppose.
    Waiting to hear. Cheers.

  9. Default Cabins web site

    http://www.sequoia-kingscanyon.com/cabins.html

    This is the web site for the cabins. They claim they have "private bathrooms with a bathtub / shower, electricity, a propane heater, and they are carpeted. The Duplex Bath Cabins each have two double beds, daily housekeeping service and an in-room coffee maker. They feature a Mission style decor to reflect the period of origin."

    I've stayed at the Wuksachi Lodge in Sequoia, and it was pretty nice -- about a 3 star hotel, but nothing amazing. Enjoyed it.

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