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  1. #1
    jago Guest

    Default Santa Monica / Sedona

    hi all!
    first timer here..i am sketching out a trip 3-4 nites on the West coast , leaning to santa monica and will end up in sedona for last 4-5 nites.
    how long do we think this CA/AZ drive will take?
    i will have a wife and two kids (ages 10+) along
    i think i prefer I-10 thru palm springs maybe a stop there or at havasu?
    lets say we leave for AZ way early on monday before thanksgiving.
    we have been to sedona via phx 2x already..
    ps do we have shot at decent beach day in socal late nov?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin

    Default a few options

    Welcome to the RTA forum!

    If you are just looking for a route that doesn't go through Phx, then you might consider taking I-40 across California and Arizona instead. The mileage is very similar, and since you avoid Phx traffic, it might even be slightly faster.

    The route through Palm Springs and Lake Havasu is a perfectly good one too. A quick trip into Joshua Tree NP could be in order for this trip. This route only adds about 50 or so miles to your overall trip, so it should only add an hour or two to your overall travel time (not including possible stops along the way)

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tucson, AZ

    Default There's Plenty Along the Way

    Welcome aboard the RoadTrip America Forums!

    Let's deal with the Santa Monica to Sedona drive first. That's just about 500 miles if you go by way of the Interstates through Phoenix. So that would be a full day's drive with kids, but without stops. If you want something different, and you want to let the wife and kids see something besides road, then you should budget at least a day and a half to two days. My recommendation would be to leave L.A. via I-210 and I-10 to North Palm Springs and then take CA-62 north around Joshua Tree National Park, taking the time to take the loop road through the northern part of it. and continuing on to the Colorado River at Earp/Parker. A side trip from here, and/or another place to stay the night would be Lake Havasu City. From Parker, AZ you would then take AZ-72 and US-60 to Wickenburg. AZ-89 would then offer a great scenic route up to Sedona with a number of possible stops including Prescott, Jerome and Tuzigoot National Monument. As for what Santa Monica will be like in late November, I think you can expect 65-70°F and sunny, with water temperatures around 65°F. AZBuck

  4. #4
    jago Guest

    Default angeles crest hwy? and other questions..

    hi, i'm back with more questions..
    our air and our hotels are booked in santa monica and sedona, now the road trip is still being figured out.
    i need to do this in one day, and i am willing to leave at sunup from SM on mon 11/19.
    how about the angeles crest hwy? looks formidable but might pretty on google map.
    will it be open in nov?
    how much would it add in time vs. just hitting 10/210 as suggested above?

    re the next leg of the drive, i want to go to palm springs and then thinking:
    I-10 to AZ routes 60 , 71, and finally 89, which i know is nice.
    are 60 and 71 utter deadsville?

    thanks for any feedback, the forum is great!

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 1998
    Las Vegas, Nevada

    Default Open year round

    Quote Originally Posted by jago View Post
    how about the angeles crest hwy? looks formidable but might pretty on google map.
    The Angeles National Forest (which the Angeles Crest Highway runs through) is my "home forest" (my first wildland fire fighting assigment) so I have driven the Angeles Crest Highway about 200 times over the years. It is open year-round, but the upper portions do close if it is snowing. Snow on the 19th of November is extremely unlikely....
    how much would it add in time vs. just hitting 10/210 as suggested above?
    So, if you are going from Santa Monica to Palm Springs and you want to use the Angeles Crest Route, (which would be radically out of the way...) you could either stay on CA-2 when you reach Wrightwood or use the "shortcut" and follow Lone Pine Canyon Road to CA-138 and down to I-15 back to I-10 and over to Palm Springs. This detour could add an extra three hours to the trip.

    Alternatively, you could take CA-247 and approach Palm Springs from the north (through Desert Hot Springs) but this would add a total 4-5 extra hours.

    But honestly, I don't see much of a reason not to use I-10 all the way from Santa Monica to Palm Springs. There is no real advantage to using I-210. With the traffic of a normal day, you can expect the journey from Santa Monica to Palm Springs to take 3-5 hours. I would do that and then spend some time looking around the Palm Springs area -- lots of great roads in the area!

    I just received an e-mail from a relatively new site with some great information about art and places to explore in the Palm Springs area. When you look at this link, be sure to click around and look at some of the other articles about possible destinations -- excellent writing!

    Last edited by Mark Sedenquist; 10-12-2007 at 11:56 AM. Reason: added a new resource for road trippers

  6. Default Angeles Crest Highway is still closed...

    Angeles Crest Highway (CA 2) is a gorgeous highway, but its still closed at Islip Saddle (past the tunnels). So you can't drive through on it to Wrightwood.

    When Southern California had their big year of rain about 2 years ago, it took out quite a large section of road between Islip Saddle and Wrightwood. Estimates of the cost to repair the road is greater than $15 M. It's still closed. I was there in May, leading a backpack trip from Islip Saddle to the top of Mt. Islip via the Pacific Crest Trail and Little Jimmy Trail Camp and I can confirm the road is closed beyond that point.

    The fastest route from Santa Monica to Palm Springs is, as Mark notes, to take the I-10 the entire distance. This works fine unless you are concerned about traffic. The 210 is a good route to avoid traffic, but the route ends about San Bernadino, and you have to shift south on the I-15 to pick up the I-10 to head eastwards again.

    An interesting note on this route, it the route roughly parallels the old Route 66 (south of 210, and north of the 10).

    For an alternative route in case of traffic, I would recommend the I-60, which begins just east of downtown LA. This freeway typically does not have the superheavy traffic you can find on the I-10 and has carpool lanes almost all of the distance to Riverside. Past Riverside I-60 continues past March Air Force Base (now March Air Reserve Base), and links up with I-10 at Banning.

    If your goal is to make Palm Springs in a day, that's about 3 hours drive, without traffic via I-10 or I-60/I-10. There's an alternative route doable in a day, which comes into Palm Springs from the south west. That is to head to Hemet California, and then take CA 74 to past Mountain Center, and then down from the mountains on the Palms-to-Pines highway into Palm Springs. A variation on this is to take CA 243 from Banning up through Idyllwild (a resort town in the mountains) and then catch 74 down the mountain into Palm Springs. That will be a bit more time consuming than heading straight in -- I'd add at leaset 2-3 hours for the 243 route, since it will be mountain driving.

    If you get to Palm Springs early, and want to look around, a couple of interesting places to visit might be:

    - 1000 Palms Oasis, north of Palm Springs (about 15 minutes north of the I-10 near 1000 Palms). This is a true desert oasis including a nature walk, large groves of palms, and some nature exhibits.

    - The Palms Spring Tramway. This takes you up from the Palms Springs desert floor to Long Valley near the summit of San Jacinto Peak on the west side of Palm Springs. Very pretty view, and there's a chalet at the top of the mountain, hiking trails and etc. There's a restaurant on top. This is sometimes fun to do in the winter -- when its 80 F below, and snowing and 30 F on top of the mountain. They have sled dog races here every winter.

    - Palm Springs Desert Musuem. Western and Native American art collections, the natural history of the desert, and an outstanding anthropology department, primarily representing the local Cahuilla tribe (partially funded by the tribe).

    - Palm Springs Air Musuem. Pretty good aviation musuem at the Palm Springs Airport.

    - Living Desert Zoo and Gardens. About 1200 acres focusing on the deserts varying habitats, environments and natural resources including plants, animals and wildlife.

    - Indian Canyons (Palm Canyon, Tahquitz Canyon), operated by the Aqua Caliente band of the Cahuilla Indians. These are canyons near Palm Springs, still part of the Indian lands which have large groves of Palm Trees, and are desert oaises you can hike through.
    Last edited by W. Larrison; 10-12-2007 at 02:49 PM. Reason: ##$$!! typos...

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 1998
    Las Vegas, Nevada

    Default Arghhhhhh!

    Quote Originally Posted by Larrison View Post
    Angeles Crest Highway (CA 2) is a gorgeous highway, but its still closed at Islip Saddle (past the tunnels). So you can't drive through on it to Wrightwood.
    I should have remembered this -- thanks for catching this goof. Even the Big TJ road was hammered.

    What does work is to take the Forest Highway to Pearlblossom and then east -- but that will not save any time!


  8. #8
    jago Guest


    belatedly, thanks!
    any other info on these state routes or good stuff to see or bad stuff to avoid, is appreciated.

  9. #9
    jago Guest


    Quote Originally Posted by jago View Post
    belatedly, thanks!
    any other info on these state routes or good stuff to see or bad stuff to avoid, is appreciated.
    hi all,
    after some trepidation re the fires i decided to go ahead with this trip.
    so any more ideas re:
    going from LA to Sedona (via AZ 89)
    scenic routes, stuff to see, and roads to avoid
    is greatly appreciated. so far folks have been real helpful here.
    i am doing it in 1 day remember :)

  10. #10
    jago Guest

    Default LA to Sedona via hoover dam?


    Plan A (above) is still I-10, (with maybe a veer off in the mtns somewhere near LA) lunch in palm springs and then AZ60/71/89 into sedona in a day. figuring dawn to dusk.

    Plan B: go up and see the Dam and try to make it to Sedona.
    this of course leads to a few new questions:
    is this utterly impossible in a day?
    is the hoover dam 'overpass' available? can you get near the dam?
    does I-15 and/or I-40 offer any scenic advantages over I-10?

    Plan C:
    i can still alter our trip to stay one nite near the dam..if you have a recommend that i can book on short notice please share it.
    i dont want to go into vegas proper.
    we did the south rim of the canyon already..if we stay over maybe we can swing around the north rim and then into sedona?
    is there a north rim ride worth taking?
    how long would that take?
    i dont want to spend most of a second day on the road.
    trip is less than 2 weeks away and i might be able to adjust it.
    Last edited by jago; 11-06-2007 at 01:40 PM. Reason: Threads merged -- all the same trip

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