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  1. Default Rocky Mountain Road Trip

    The itinerary:

    *Leave the Los Angeles area on 30 June. Proceed via the most logical routes to the Grand Canyon (my first night reservation in Tusayan, AZ is the only one I've made for the trip).
    *Proceed via the logical route to Four Corners.
    *HWY 160 over Wolf Creek Pass, CO.
    *HWY 149 over Slumguillion Pass.
    *Zigzagging east on Hwy 50 over Monarch Pass, then north, then zigzagging back west over Independence Pass and through Aspen.
    *I-70 east, with a detour over Loveland Pass.
    *North through Rocky Mountain National Park.
    *I-25 North to Buffalo, WY.
    *West to Cody, WY.
    *Detour north to Montana and over Beartooth Pass.
    *Yellowstone National Park.
    *Through Idaho to I-15 and a long drag home with nothing on the agenda other than an overnight stop in Las Vegas.

    Length of trip: ~3300 mi.
    Time allotted: 10 days.

    It'll be awesome.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tucson, AZ

    Default Minor Addition(s)?

    I love loop trips such as you've laid out, and you certainly are going to be seeing some amazing country, but of course any trip can be tweaked. I offer the following for your consideration.

    You say that you're going to go from the Grand Canyon to Four Corners "via the logical route". But this is one place where logic should be thrown out the window. From Kayenta, the 'logical' route is US-160, but if instead, you turn north on US-163, that will take you through the heart of Monument Valley. You would then use UT-262 and CO-41 to return to US-160 just 5 miles east of Four Corners for an easy side trip to that geographical oddity.

    Similarly, when you zigzag your way north to US-50 in central Colorado, you will be joining that road just east of the Black Canyon of the Gunnison, so I hope you have time for a short side trip to the west before turning around and heading east to Poncha Springs and your next zig (or is it a zag?) north.

    Since it looks like you're going to be entering Rocky Mountain National Park from the west, be sure to take the short hike up to the headwaters of the Colorado River, if for no other reason that to contemplate how dependent all of us in the southwestern US are on this river, which here is nothing more than an easily jumpable little stream.

    I don't know, of course, how far north you plan to go into Montana before heading for Beartooth Pass, but be aware that if you take I-90 to Billings, you will be passing right by the Little Bighorn Battlefield National Monument, another detour that is well worth it. If you do go this way, then from Laurel (just west of Billings) US-212 will take you up through the Beartooth.

    If you're not 'scenic'ed out by this point and still have a little time, give some thought to taking US-89 south out of Yellowstone through Grand Teton National Park and continue on this highway for the scenic 'back road' to Salt Lake City.

    Last edited by AZBuck; 06-24-2007 at 09:38 PM.

  3. Default

    I don't know about the Black Canyon of the Gunnison, because while I will zigzag to my heart's content, one thing I do not like to do is retrace my steps. Of course, I could go east through the canyon to Hwy 550, then north to Delta, then northeast on Hwy 133 over McClure Pass to Carbondale, then south through Aspen, then north to Leadville and Vail...

    ...nah. Will probably skip the canyon, as I've also made the hard decision to skip the Mt. Evans Scenic Byway, on the basis that I can't see everything in Colorado.

    Monument Valley is a fine idea. I'd completely missed that on the map. I might well do that. Thanks. It'll be like going into a John Ford film.

    I've been to the Little Bighorn battlefield before, but that is tempting. Actually, three years ago I visited Yellowstone going on the same route I am planning now, heading east on Hwy 16 and 14 from Buffalo to Cody, but it was late and we were starting to run short on time for our trip, so I wound up driving from Buffalo to Cody after dark, finally falling into a hotel room at something like 11:30. I've always kind of regretted that. My current plan is to make that drive from Buffalo to Cody again, in the daylight, and swing up from Cody to Red Lodge, MT in order to cross Beartooth Pass and approach the park.

    Grand Teton is another excellent suggestion. As you say, that will depend on how road-tripped out we are by that point.

    [Click here to read the field report that Bogart posted upon the end of this epic trip]
    Last edited by Mark Sedenquist; 07-31-2007 at 05:27 PM. Reason: Navigation

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