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  1. Default Month Long Tour of the West

    Me and my girlfriend are planning a road trip of Western USA by car for next August and have come up with the following route, which is a loop begining and ending in Vegas. Ive used the site to get an idea of the most scenic routes but would welcome any tips from people who know these routes better than me.

    Many thanks!

    Day 1 Vegas> Death Valley> Yosemite
    Day 3 Yosemite to San Francisco
    Day 5 San Francisco to Lassen Volcanic Nat park
    Day 7 Lassen to Redwoods NP
    Day 8 Redwoods to Portland (taking coastal drive)
    Day 10 &11 Portland to Yellowstone
    Day 13 Yellowstone to Cody
    Day 14 Cody> Sheridan> Devils Tower> Deadwood
    Day 16 Custer to Estes Park (CO)
    Day 18 Estes Park to Santa Fe
    Day 20 Santa Fe to Scottsdale
    Day 22 Scottsdale to LA
    Day 24 LA to Vegas

  2. Default

    looks good, except i think i would allow more time between when you leave Vegas on day 1 and when you arrive in SF on day 3. Thats a lot of driving and sightseeing in 3 days. Yosemite is worth 2 nights itself if you want to tour the valley and do some hiking (head up half dome if you can).

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tucson, AZ

    Default Just the Odd Problem

    Welcome aboard the RoadTrip America Forums!

    Most of your driving days will actually be fairly relaxed, but there are a few exceptions. You won't really have much time to see Death Valley other than to drive through it, although that may not be a bad plan in August! You will not, however be able to get from Redwoods to Portland in a day if you stick to the coastal road, US-101, That is a very beautiful, but very slow stretch of road that will be especially time consuming as you try to drive through all the resort towns at the height of the summer season. Other than that, you've got a few 500 mile days and the like, but those are quite doable as long as you realize you won't be doing much sight seeing on those days.


  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Washington state coast/Olympic Peninsula

    Default 2 days for Oregon Coast

    Minimum of 2 days. Traffic can be slow due to RVs and other slower-moving traffic and you can drive awhile before you can safely pass or they find a place to pull over to let you pass. And there is just so much to see. Even though I've driven the Oregon Coast many times, I still find myself stopping several times an hour for photo opps and to just enjoy the scenic views. And there are many wonderful little towns to explore.

    So you can do it in two days with fairly limited stops but there's really no way you can make it in one day. It's a beautiful drive and worth caring out an extra day for.

  5. Default

    Thanks for your suggestions. I was originally planning a day's ride from Crescent City to Portland but will set aside 2 days on yr recommendations. To make this trip as flexible as possible I only want to book a minimal amount of lodgings before I go, as i like the idea of 'winging it'. I will definitely make reservations at the national parks, but where else could i struggle to find a motel on any of my routes in the height of summer without booking first? I wasn't planning on reserving anywhere around Redwoods NP areas. Is this wise?



  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Washington state coast/Olympic Peninsula

    Default As a person who normally camp...

    ..I have a hard time knowing about specific hotels or specific places.

    I will give you a hint of something I've done if I'm traveling where I'm pretty sure lodging choices are going to be quite limited while, at the same time, not wanting to tie myself to having to stay in a certain spot.

    I will make several reservations for that day, spread over a stretch of road where I feel I'll likely end up. Ya know, like a reservation in 3 different towns spread over maybe 120-150 miles. And then I'll make careful note of their different policies for the time you need to call by to cancel in order to not be charged a penalty. When it gets close to the earliest cancellation time, I'll start seriously thinking about where I am and where I think I'll end up. Then start canceling the ones I don't need.

    Maybe that will help a bit.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Central California

    Default Just one...


    Hi Ben,

    I like your basic plan, but I might suggest switching Mt. Lassen to Crater Lake, OR. The reason being that your intinerary will take you to bigger mountains and more extensive hot springs. And no place in the US is like Crater Lake, especially if you take the boat ride to Wizard Island.

    You are going to be racing through a few places where I wish you could spend more time (I'm curious about your trip to Scottsdale - golf?). I'd rather you go through Colorado, Utah and the Grand Canyon on your way to LA, but you know what is most important to you.

    Have a great trip, and keep reading the posts on this website for things to do along the way. There is a ton!

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

  8. Default

    Thanks guys.

    Ive been looking at alternative routes for our trip and came up with ideas below.

    If I was to drive from Vegas to Yellowstone, could anybody recommend the best route. I was thinking the following over the course of three days:-

    Vegas> Grand Canyon (South Rim)> Kayenta (ONE DAY)
    Kayenta> Moab> Salt Lake City (ONE DAY)
    Salt Lake City> Jackson> Yellowstone (ONE DAY)

    I'm not too concerned that there'll be alot of driving for this period as we'll have a few days rest at Yellowstone. There seems to be quite a few nice scenic drives through Utah. Which is the best? Also, is Salt Lake City the best destination in between or is there an alternative midway point?

    Another alternative leg to our trip might be the following:-

    Redwoods> San Francisco (ONE DAY)*
    San Francisco (ONE DAY)
    San Fran> LA (ONE DAY)**

    *Can anybody recommend where best place to stay around the Redwoods area? (Gasquet? Orick? Eureka? etc). Ideally, We'd like to ditch the car and stretch our legs for a day walking through a grove of old redwoods. Also be nice to have somewhere in the evening nearby with a bit of life.

    Driving down the coast to LA, should we hug the coastal road or is there a better drive? It looks like a day's drive on a map, but will we need to factor in traffic and the like?

    Id welcome everyone's valid opinions!


  9. #9
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tucson, AZ

    Default Miles vs Hours

    Well, the shortest route from Las Vegas to Yellowstone is about 780 miles straight up I-15 until you get into southeastern Idaho. Your proposed route, by contrast, is 1225 miles. Certainly, you can do this in three days, but I'm not sure why you would. I think you're trying to do too much. On day 1 you're going to try to cover 435 miles, and cross the Hoover Dam, and see the Grand Canyon. On day 2 you're going to drive another 400 miles and see Monument Valley, and see Arches National Park, and visit Salt Lake City. On day 3 you're only attempting 380 miles but you're mostly on two-lane highways and trying to see Jackson Hole and the Grand Tetons. It's not that there's so much driving. 400 mile days are not that bad. But rather that you're going to be driving through so much country that requires more than a drive by photo op to really appreciate. Nothing terribly wrong, but not the 'best'.

    By the same token, while you can get from Redwoods to San Francisco in a day, you cannot make the drive down the Pacific Coast Highway to L.A. in a day. That would be 450 miles of either congested urban roads or scenic but slow twisting two-lane tourist magnets. In the end both of these segments are up to you as to what to do and how long to take. I'm just trying to point out the logistics of what they entail.


  10. Default

    Thanks for all your comments. I never realised how complicated organising a road trip can be! The more I do my research and listen to informed opinions, the more ideas I get and so very quickly the plans change! i suppose thats how road trips should be, open to flexibility and not too planned!
    Anyway, we've rejigged our plans to reduce long periods of driving which has extended the trip by a few days.

    Here's the latest route. All were really looking for is reassurances that this is practical and most of all maximising our time in America.

    1 Fly in to Vegas
    2 Vegas (recover from jetlag)
    3 Vegas> Zion > Kayenta
    4 Kayenta> vernal
    5 Vernal (Do some rafting or other water activities)
    6 Vernal>Jackson
    7 Jackson>Yellowstone
    8 Yellowstone (horse ride through backcountry)
    9 Yellowstone> Cody(leave early afternoon-rodeo in evening)
    10 Cody> Sheridan> Devils Tower> Deadwood
    11 Deadwood/ Black Hills (gold panning/ Mnt Rushmore/ Buffalo safari)

    12 Black Hills (hike through Black Elk Wilderness)
    13 Custer to Estes Park (CO)
    14 Estes Park (chill out in mountain cabin/ hike)
    15 Estes Park to Santa Fe
    16 Santa Fe (recharge batteries)
    17 Santa Fe to Tombstone
    18 Tombstone (Chiricahua National Monument tour)
    19 Tombstone to Phoenix
    20 Phoenix (recharge batteries by pool)
    21 Scottsdale to LA
    22 LA (sightseeing tour)
    23 LA> Sequioa or Big Sur coast?
    24 > San Francisco
    25 San Francisco (Alcatraz, sightseeing)
    26 San Fran> Gasquet
    27 Redwoods (sightseeing/ walking)
    28 Gasquet> Mineral
    29 Mineral (Hike thru Ishi Wilderness)
    30 Mineral> Yosemite
    31 Yosemite (Hike)
    32 Yosemite> Death Valley> Vegas
    33 Vegas
    34 Vegas (Helicoptor tour of Grand Canyon)
    35 Fly out

    We're very conscious for the need to stretch our legs after long periods of driving, so have thrown in a few hikes in. I grew up on a diet of western movies so areas such as Deadwood/ Tombstone and Ishi wilderness are a small slice of self indulgence for me! Also ive always been fascinated by the Big foot legend so have factored in a ride through that area of California- if only to get the obligatory photo shot of standing beneath the carved 'replica' of Big Foot at Willow Creek! I have already done the drive from Vegas> Death Valley and Yosemite which is very doable in one day, but it is such a great ride I want to let my girlfriend have the experience.

    Wont be booking anything til the end of the year so please feel free to criticise our plans! I agree that the trip is a little ambitious but this may be our last chance to do this kind of trip, so would rather see a little of a lot as opposed to a lot of a little.

    As a footnote, I would love to take in as much native american history as possible, so would be very grateful for some ideas on where to find it.



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