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  1. #1

    Default LAX-Yosemite-Yellowstone-??-LAX

    Hi, my girlfriend and I have booked a smallish motorhome from 12th Sept for 12 nights from LA, and are trying to plan a route!

    We're UK based, but have been to LA, San Fran and San Diego before. This time we'd like to do both Yosemite and Yellowstone, and/or any other NPs or sights on the way.

    Any comments on trying to fit both these NPs in on the same trip, or suggestions for scenic routes?

    We don't want to spend the whole time driving, but equally, we dont mind doing the odd longish day to cover some miles.

    cheers for any comments!

    Al

  2. Default Some suggestions

    As a real rough route -- it's going to take you about a day to get to Yosemite, and then about 3 days to get to Yellowstone from Yosemite. Some places you might consider in sort of a loop trip would be to hit up

    - Virgina City Nevada
    - Lake Tahoe
    - Black Rock Dessert (particularly if the Burning Man Festival is going on)

    Then coming back
    - Boise
    - Columbia George/ the Dales
    - Portland
    - Crater Lake National Park
    - Lassen National Park

    and back down to LA

    Lay that out, and see what's near the route that you would be interested in. For example, there are very good wine growing areas near Richland WA, Portland, San Francisco, etc.

    Depending upon your specifics and how you lay out your route, you might be able to to a longer wider loop on the way back, up through Glacier National Park, or you might swing over to the Oregon Coast and come down through the Redwoods and the several parks in that area.


    An alternative route would to be loop east, potentially down through Colorado, the national parks in Utah, Monument Valley, Grand Canyon, and then back to LA via Las Vegas.

  3. #3

    Default

    Thanks for the reply, this is our 1st draft at a route I suspect it may be too ambitious. Nights 1 and 2 are fixed in Vegas, everything else is flexible. We have to return the rv at around 10 on day 12.

    Any comments appreciated!

    Al


    DAY TO MILES
    1 PALM SPRINGS 124
    1 LAS VEGAS 280
    2 LAS VEGAS
    3 ZION 160
    3 BRYCE CANYON 85
    4 CAPITOL REEF 125
    4 SALT LAKE CITY 225
    5 YELLOWSTONE 350
    6 YELLOWSTONE
    6 YELLOWSTONE
    7 RENO 750
    8 LAKE TAHOE 60
    9 YOSEMITE 190
    10 YOSEMITE
    11 KINGS CANYON 150
    11 SEQUOIA NATIONAL PARK 25
    12 LAX 250

    Total 2774

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Western/Central Massachusetts
    Posts
    1,703

    Default One day needs adjusting

    I think if you split up a portion of the trip from Yellowstone to Reno - ie, travel a couple of hours in the afternoon from Yellowstone, and complete the travel the next day, you'll find the trip more enjoyable. 750 miles is quite the long day, closing in on 15 hours of just being on the road. If you could do four or five the day before, find a place in between, and complete the remaining ten the next day - you'll be much better off emotionally.

  5. Default

    Alternatively, we have this route idea instead, but need help filling in some of the gaps. We didn't want to do Yosemite - as this is likely to be our next trip to the USA:

    DAY - TO - MILES

    1 - LAX TO PALM SPRINGS - 124 miles
    1 - PALM SPRINGS TO LAS VEGAS - 280 miles

    2 - LAS VEGAS

    3 - LAS VEGAS TO LAKE MEAD
    3 - LAKE MEAD TO THE GRAND CANYON

    4 - THE GRAND CANYON

    5 - THE GRAND CANYON TO ZION - 160 miles
    5 - ZION TO BRYCE CANYON 85 miles
    5 - BRYCE CANYON TO CAPITOL REEF 125 miles

    6 - CAPITOL REEF TO SALT LAKE CITY 225 miles

    7 - SALT LAKE CITY TO YELLOWSTONE 350 miles
    8 - YELLOWSTONE
    9 – YELLOWSTONE TO ___________________

    9 - ________________ TO RENO
    10 - RENO TO LAKE TAHOE

    11 LAKE TAHOE TO __________________

    12 - _____________ TO LAX

    Any help/ideas you can give would be much appreciated.

    Thanks

  6. Default Some comments..

    Hi Jen -- just one thing jumped out on this, and I think I have some other comments..

    Day 5 -- Grand Canyon to Zion. Where are you starting? And which way are you going around the GC? My estimate is starting from Grand Canyon Village (at the south rim of the Grand Canyon -- this is where the hotels are and the National Park's Visitor Center), and goes around the east side end of the Grand Canyon through Page AZ to Zion National Park. That comes out as the fastest route to Zion according to the internet mapping engine I'm using, and is about 283 miles, compared to your 160 miles.

    Another comment might be the first 2 days -- LAX to Palm Springs, and then to Las Vegas. It's possible to make it to Las Vegas in about 5-6 hours from LA (depending on traffic of course, getting out of the metropolitan area) so a stop isn't absolutely necessary.

    However, if you're looking for a bit more off the track travel, stay a bit farther east (about 30 minutes) in the Indio area, and then head north through the southern entrance of Joshua Tree National Park, and up through 29 Palms to Amboy, and eventually up through the Mojave National Preserve and Cima to Las Vegas. This route is not on superhighways, but the roads are at least 2 lane, paved and in good condition. You'll be traveling through at least 2 or 3 different dessert environments and going through mountains, past dry lakes, through joshua tree forests and some interesting countryside. There aren't a lot of services on this route (gas up before you leave and possibly in 29 Palms -- and bring a picnic lunch and extra water), but its not a super isolated road either (cars every 10-30 minutes I'd guess).

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
    13,066

    Default joining in

    I was going to make the exact same comment Larrison made about your Grand Canyon - Zion Leg. If you go to the North Rim, you would be closer to Zion, but the South Rim is certainly the more popular side.

    As far as the holes at the end of your trip, I'd say Elko, Nevada would be a good stopping point between Yellowstone and Reno. For your last leg, if you are eliminating both Yosemite and Sequoia, you could try Death Valley. Otherwise, you could make the trip in a long day, or just do a quick overnight in one of the handful of towns located along US-395.

  8. Default Lake Tahoe to LAX

    Hmm..

    The fastest route from Lake Tahoe to LAX is to come over the Sierras at Donner Summit to Sacramento, and then head south on I-5 to the LA area.

    As an option, you might consider overnighting in Yosemite. Its about 4-5 hours from Lake Tahoe to Yosemite Village (the fastest route is down 395 and over Tioga Pass to Yosemite). From Yosemite Village its another 6-7 hours to LAX on the road, plus maybe an hour or so pad in case of traffic in the LA metropolitan area. Depending upon when you want to get to LAX, you could spend a half day in Yosemite and make it to LAX the evening of the following day without pushing things too hard.

    If you head down the fastest route, which is by I-5, 99 parallels I-5 and is almost as fast. That gives you the options of overnighting in places like Fresno or Bakersfield, before you head upover the Grapevine Pass into the LA metropolitan area.

  9. Default

    Thank you to everyone for posting comments.

    Larrison:
    Thank you for your comments about the Grand Canyon to Zion. I will certainly bare this in mind - and recalculate our distances
    We thought about doing LAX to Palm Springs, just as a quick stop-off and have a look around. Ideally we want to get to Vegas fairly early - but Joshua Tree National Park does sound very good (I've also looked it up on the Internet)

    Midwest Michael:
    Elko sounds like a good idea. Is Death Valley suitable for an RV - and will it be too hot in mid-Septmeber?

    Larrison:
    Regarding day 12, by the end of it, we need to be fairly near LAX airport, as we have to take the RV back in the morning (day 13). Lake Tahoe to ______ to LAX - I will have a look at Fresno or Bakersfield - I've never heard of these places before - so, will go and do some research for "things to do" while we are there.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    Central California
    Posts
    378

    Default Plan A, please

    Howdy,

    Gotta say, I like plan A. And here's why.

    On your return trip from Yellowstone, Tahoe/Yosemite/Sequoia is right on the way. Unless your next trip the US is going to focus on central California, these places will probably be out of your way.

    On the other hand, the Grand Canyon is close to all the rest of the Southwest and Colorado, which is worth another 12 day trip.

    As much as I'd love for you to visit Palm Springs, I'd recommend you save it and Joshua Tree for that other trip and spend some quality time in Zion, Bryce, Captiol Reef, etc. None of these are "drive-thru" places - you'll want to get out and put your feet on the ground for several hours, each. And the driving along this route isn't fast. You'll be visiting during golden aspen season which means Boulder Mountain area near Captiol Reef could be ablaze in yellow leaves. You'll want to stop and gape a while, I guarantee you. The same could be true up through Utah and into Wyoming (you are planing to drive through the Grand Tetons, from Jackson north to Yellowstone, aren't you...just say "yes." In fact, you may want to spend a night (hint-hint) so you can take a walk around Jenny Lake, and look for moose down near the south entrance (ask at the visitor center).

    Have a great trip. Which ever route you take, you can't go wrong.

    Craig Sheumaker
    co-author of the travel guide: America's Living History-The Early Years

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