Results 1 to 10 of 10
  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    Nelson, New Zealand
    Posts
    6

    Default Can't Wait - LA to Denver in 10 days

    Hello from New Zealand,

    My hubby and I will be driving LA to Denver in May 2008.
    Regarding overnight stays; I think Iíve got the California and Arizona portion sorted in the first four nights, but from thereÖ Iíll be leaving the Grand Canyon (South Rim) in the morning heading for Utah and Colorado via Hwy 89. I have four free nights for this and would like to see Zion, Bryce, Capital Reef, Arches, Mesa Verde (in depth), and Black Canyon of the Gunnison. In what three (or four) towns in Utah and Colorado do you suggest we bunk in order to facilitate this?

    Of course, Iím open to any other advice or routing suggestions.
    Am I being too ambitious for a couple of middle-aged lifestylers who must have their couple glasses of wine every night? Or can I see more?

    Thanks,
    Patrice

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

    Default A Bit Much

    Welcome aboard the RoadTrip America Forums!

    On your Grand Canyon to Denver leg, hitting all the sites you've listed would require about 1200 miles of driving. That's three solid days in the car given the type of roads you'll be using for the most part, leaving only two days to try to cram in 4 or 5 of the most scenic and intriguing parks in the U.S. I don't think you'll be able to do any of them "in depth". That said, if you can devote a half day each to Zion, Bryce, Arches and Mesa Verde, and see Capitol Reef and the Black Canyon of the Gunnison as drive-throughs, then this is just (barely) within the realm of possible. In that case, you will have to get started each morning at the crack of dawn if you hope to be comfortably ensconced in the evening for your glass(es) of wine. And I'd aim for seeing Zion and ending up around Cedar City, UT for Day 1; visiting Bryce and then pushing on through Capitol Reef to Green River, UT on Day 2; Arches to Cortez, CO on Day 3; Mesa Verde to Durango, CO on Day 4; and making the final run into Denver via the Gunnison on Day 5. Each of the places I've suggested for overnight stops is large enough to have a few diverse lodging options, and Day 4 is your shortest driving day as you see Mesa Verde.

    AZBuck

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    Nelson, New Zealand
    Posts
    6

    Default Crikey!

    Thanks so much for the reality check. This is just the type of advice and direction I was after. The vastness of the American West is difficult for the uninitiated to comprehend. And in-depth is a relative term; I suspect my in-depth is someone else's drive-by.

    Iíll take two Tylenol and get back to the drawing board.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    Central California
    Posts
    378

    Default Es posible...

    ...but it is jammed!

    Hi, Buck has layed out a good itinerary, but I hate to see you blasting through some of these sights in such a hurry.

    To me, the big problems are these:

    1. Arches is complex and interesting enough that you need most of a day, and it would be great, if not a life-altering experience, to be at Delicate Arch at sunset.

    2. Mesa Verde is best seen out of the car and on the guided tours to the best sites. Again, it should take the better part of a day.

    3. Bryce Canyon can be seen from the rim, but you don't get the full impact of the hoodoos unless you get out and hike a little bit.

    None of these, including the Black Canyon of the Gunnison, is a drive through in the way that the Grand Canyon is. They are all dead end roads so you drive into the park as far as you want to, then have to backtrack back out - in most cases, a fair distance.

    I guess my point is that I'd suggest that you make some selections, more to save time than distance.

    To see the best variety, I'd pick Bryce, Capitol Reef (since it is on the way and you can just drive through), Arches and Mesa Verde.

    Squeeze in what you can, but don't miss these.

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

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    Nelson, New Zealand
    Posts
    6

    Default Bye-bye Denver

    Greetings,
    I've come up with this as an alternative to my LA to Denver adventure.
    I'll fly into Las Vegas and scratch Denver. This gives me 2 more nights. I'll make a circuit beginning and ending in Las Vegas. I can commit 7 days/6 nights.

    depart Las Vegas
    Grand Canyon (overnight)
    Mesa Verde (2 nights)
    Arches (overnight)
    Capitol Reef (drive through)
    Bryce Canyon/Zion (2 nights)
    Back to Las Vegas.

    I think this is a plan. Thank goodness I hadn't already told my aunts in Denver I was going to be seeing them!!!
    Another question: Can Death Valley be taken as a day trip from Las Vegas? How much time would need to be alotted?

    Regards,
    Patrice

  6. #6

    Default

    If you leave very, very early, and are are prepared for a long day... yes. If you've never been before I am of the belief that it deserves a little more time however. Here's an article you may find interesting

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    Nelson, New Zealand
    Posts
    6

    Default No Death Valley

    Thanks Craig,
    Just as I suspected. Death Valley looks to be huge--even on the map.
    That's okay, I'll have a relaxing day scooting around Vegas instead.
    Patrice

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jan 1998
    Location
    Las Vegas, Nevada
    Posts
    10,060

    Default Another opinion

    Quote Originally Posted by Amerikiwi
    Another question: Can Death Valley be taken as a day trip from Las Vegas? How much time would need to be alotted?
    Actually, I drive to Furnace Creek for lunch and then back to the office in Las Vegas. (due to an irritating medical challenge, I can't drive anywhere right now, but I have done this in the past...). From downtown Las Vegas, you can be in Furnace Creek in two hours and I frequently take visitors to Death Valley for day trips. It is true that one can easily spend a month in DV and not see all of it, but if you have the time -- spend 6-7 hours in Death Valley -- you will never forget it!
    I've come up with this as an alternative to my LA to Denver adventure.
    I'll fly into Las Vegas and scratch Denver. This gives me 2 more nights. I'll make a circuit beginning and ending in Las Vegas.
    Excellent job on revising your trip goals - this is a much more realistic time frame!

    Mark
    Last edited by Mark Sedenquist; 09-29-2007 at 09:58 AM.

  9. Default Just a personal opinion

    I would opt for Death Valley over Mesa Verde anytime of the year. It sounds like you really want to visit Mesa Verde though, and that you already have a great deal of appreciation for it. It really isn't the same after the fires from a few years ago. The guided tour at Mesa Verde is great though -- well worth the price.

    As long as you are overnight in Moab/Arches, you may as well spend a couple of hours to detour and visit the Needles Overlook of Canyonlands at the very least.

    If you find yourself needing to shed a day, you can get up early and do Bryce and Zion in one day/one night if you don't plan on doing extensive hiking.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    Nelson, New Zealand
    Posts
    6

    Default Squeezing

    The archaeological fare on offer at Mesa Verde and elsewhere was the impetus of the trip and that has at least kept me focused. The geology and scenery are a bonus.

    Now that I've got the plan on paper, it seems so far away.

    This website has been a great help for me. Cheers to all of you.
    Patrice

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