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  1. #1

    Default Denver/Mt.Rushmore/Yellowstone/Monument Valley/Yosemite/SFO

    Hi!
    Absolutely great site! Congratulations!

    I live in Buenos Aires, and I'm planning a road trip in may.
    Here is the itinerary:

    1 Denver - Laramie 253
    2 Laramie - Mt. Rushmore 303
    3 Mt. Rushmore - Devils Tower 129
    4 Devils Tower - Yellowstone 429
    5 Yellowstone
    6 Yellowstone
    7 Yellowstone - Salt Lake City 381
    8 Salt Lake City - Monument Valley 460
    9 Monument Valley
    10 Monument Valley - Las Vegas 460
    11 Las Vegas
    12 Las Vegas - Yosemite 433
    13 Yosemite
    14 Yosemite
    15 Yosemite - SFO 316

    The numbers in bold are the total miles acording to the routes I've choosen in Google Maps.

    I'd like advise about the amount of miles travelled in this two weeks. Do you think it'd be too much? Would I get exhausted after this trip? My wife does'nt drive so I'll be the only one behind the wheel.

    Any other kind of advice will be very much apreciated!

    Thank you very much!!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
    13,063

    Default skipping over

    Welcome to the RTA Forum!

    I think what you've listed is fairly reasonable, however, it really strikes me that you are skipping over so many things that would be right on your path.

    Badlands is a relatively short detour from Mt. Rushmore, and you didn't list any of the spectacular national parks in Utah or even the Grand Canyon. Death Valley is also a popular stop between Vegas and Yosemite, although in May Tioga Pass could still be closed.

    Every trip is about choices, so you will have to pick and choose what things you stop at, and you can't stop at everything on a 2 week trip. Just as long as you know there is a lot more available that what you've listed, and you've picked the ones that are most important to you, you should be fine.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Tustin, California, United States
    Posts
    272

    Default What route from SLC to Monument Valley?

    I don't know which route you're taking when you go from Salt Lake City down to Monument Valley, but since you don't plan on stopping at any of the 5 National Parks in Utah, I would at least highly recommend going via Route 95, which takes you through Glen Canyon. If you're into scenery, that is one of the best roads in Utah to travel through.

    From SLC you can take the I-15 down to Hwy 28, which eventually dumps you on I-70. Keep heading south and then take Hwy 24 east. You'll pass through Capitol Reef National Park, then when you reach Hwy 95 head south. From here it's pretty much a direct route to Monument Valley and amazing landscape all the way. That route is 424 miles, a little shorter than the 460 which Google Maps advised.

    You'll definitely have your time on the road, but as Michael says, very doable.

  4. #4

    Default

    Thank you very much for both your comments. It is true that I致e paid not attention at all to all the parks of Utah. My goal was to get to Monument Valley (you know, western movies and all that) and nothing else.
    But reading your comments, I realize that I can not lef aside all that. And of course I really want to drive the most scenic routes possible.
    From SLC to Mt. Valley, I plan to take the route 6 / 191 and then the 163. If time allows, I壇 make the tour of the Scenic Drive in Arches NP. I致e found out that on May 20, the day I plan to arrive to Monument Valley, there is horseback tour with the full moon. I have to make some enquires, but I think it would be great to this tour.
    Next day (May-21), after a drive or horseback ride of the park, we値l leave towards Hanksville, taking the 163/261 and 95 as suggested by Kinless. We値l surely enter Natural Bridges NM.
    Next day (May-22) we値l go from Hanksville to Kanab, driving through the routes 24/12 and 89, surely entering Bryce Canyon NP.
    Next day (May-23) we値l go to the North Rim and make a short trip on horseback or hiking. That same day we値l return to Kanab, and perhaps continue the trip to Las Vegas.
    What do you think? I know it's a lot for just a few days, but who knows if I ever return here, right!?

    Again, thank you very much for your advice.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    South of England.
    Posts
    10,748

    Default

    not far up the 261 there is a turn off to goosenecks state park. it's a 4 mile paved road and offers a great view at the end,it might be worth a quick detour if you have the time.

    further along the 261 you'll come across the moki dugway, it'll slow you up a bit but a great view from the top

    {Here are even better photos of the Moki Dugway and the surrounding area posted by Gommy!}

    have a great trip!
    Last edited by Mark Sedenquist; 02-12-2008 at 03:58 PM. Reason: Preferred URL format herein

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Washington state coast/Olympic Peninsula
    Posts
    3,318

    Default Monuments by Moonlight

    Quote Originally Posted by juangr View Post
    Thank you very much for both your comments. It is true that I致e paid not attention at all to all the parks of Utah. My goal was to get to Monument Valley (you know, western movies and all that) and nothing else.
    But reading your comments, I realize that I can not lef aside all that. And of course I really want to drive the most scenic routes possible.
    From SLC to Mt. Valley, I plan to take the route 6 / 191 and then the 163. If time allows, I壇 make the tour of the Scenic Drive in Arches NP. I致e found out that on May 20, the day I plan to arrive to Monument Valley, there is horseback tour with the full moon. I have to make some enquires, but I think it would be great to this tour.
    Wow! That sounds very cool. I hope you get to do this and that you'll come back and share your experience. Maybe with some pictures? (hint, hint)

    Next day (May-21), after a drive or horseback ride of the park, we値l leave towards Hanksville, taking the 163/261 and 95 as suggested by Kinless. We値l surely enter Natural Bridges NM.
    Next day (May-22) we値l go from Hanksville to Kanab, driving through the routes 24/12 and 89, surely entering Bryce Canyon NP.
    Next day (May-23) we値l go to the North Rim and make a short trip on horseback or hiking. That same day we値l return to Kanab, and perhaps continue the trip to Las Vegas.
    What do you think? I know it's a lot for just a few days, but who knows if I ever return here, right!?
    Yeah, it is a lot and I think you'll be a bit hard-pressed to do all of this. However, if you're like me, the adrenaline rush I get when traveling keeps me going. I just need to recuperate once I get home. The distance to drive between these places in this amount of time can be done. I just think you're underestimating the time to do the horseback trip/hike/etc. But if you're energetic, flexible, and open-minded to make adjustments as needed...even if that means dropping some activities you hoped to do...then I think you should go for it.

  7. #7

    Default

    Thanks again for the advise. As Judy said, I have to be flexible and open-minded while planning this trip. The only thing sure is the day my plane arrives to Denver, and leaves from San Francisco. For the rest, I have a plan which can be changed along the way. I have no problem with that. I know 3,500 miles it's quite a lot for a 15 days road trip, but I also know that the journey itself it's the destinaton, not just the places I'll arrive at the end of each day.
    I am not going to make any reservations at hotels, but I'll cary a quite large list of hoteles/B&B and make calls before arriving. May is not the bussiest seasons, I think.
    I really would like to post pictures at the end of each day. As I will not be travelling with a laptop, I'll have to look for a place to download the photos from my camera. Maybe the hotels would have a computer for the guests to use.
    Gommy, after viewing the pics I certanly hope to make a stop at Goosenecks! Great place!
    Thanks!!

  8. #8

    Default Denver to Laramie

    I need some advice, for the first part of my trip.
    Originally I was arriving at Denver at 7.00am. After picking up the car, I'd go to Laramie. My idea was to go through Rocky Mountain NP using the Trail Ridge Rd (if it is opend by may-13). Google Maps says its a 5h30m drive to Laramie, plus stops along the way.
    But now my plane is arriving at 4pm. So after picking up my car, I'll be leaving Denver at 5pm, hopefuly.
    I think you will agree with me that I cannot do the journey I was planning.
    If I take de I-25 Google Maps says I'd arrive in 2h10 to Laramie.
    Do you have any suggestions for another route a "little" more scenic than the I-25?
    Thanks!!

  9. #9
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    Central California
    Posts
    378

    Default Just drive

    Hi,

    If you are leaving Denver at about 5pm and heading north, I suggest you make the best time you can and not worry about scenery. That part of Colorado (east of Denver, Boulder, Loveland, Fort Collins, etc.) is very flat - no mountains. You can see the mountains to the west, but you won't be driving through them if you are going north toward Mt. Rushmore.

    Therefore, your best bet is to get on I-25 and drive as far as your endurance will take you. Cheyenne is only a couple of hours away, though Denver's rush-hour traffic may slow you down some, and after Cheyenne you'll find several towns where you can pull in for the night.

    The main reason for putting as many miles behind you as possible is that the Black Hills area of South Dakota has many unique features you won't find anywhere else on your trip, besides Mt. Rushmore.

    For example (from south to north):

    Black Hills Wild Horse Sanctuary, south of Hot Springs, South Dakota, home to America's largest herd of wild horses.

    Also in the Hot Springs area is the Mammoth Graveyard Site is the site of an ongoing dig to uncover many mammoth fossils.

    Custer State Park, about the only place on your itinerary where you can see pronghorn antelope herds, often very close. There are also bison herds there that you may have a better chance of seeing than in Yellowstone because the bison herds don't usually migrate in to Yellowstone until June.

    Wind Cave and Jewell Cave are wonderful caves to tour.

    The 1880 Train is a fun steam train ride between Keystone (a fun, touristy town) to Hill City (a fun, quaint town).

    There are gold mine tours, more historic towns to see. People spend days in this area and still don't see it all.

    Though many will recommend that you see the Badlands are nearby, I'd suggest you save your wild desert sight-seeing time for Utah.

    One final note on a completely different part of your trip. The Moki Dugway in Utah is indeed scenic - the view from the top, looking south, is very dramatic. It is also a gravel section of road that is quite steep, with hairpin turns, no guard rails and long drop-offs. I loved it, my wife hated it - with a passion. She doesn't like heights and this one really got to her. There is no way around it once you are on Hwy 261 heading north from Mexican Hat, UT. It may be less frightening since you'll be going up instead of down, but for folks with acrophobia, it can be terrifying. I'm not trying to scare you away; I'm just trying to give you fair warning.

    Have a wonderful trip,

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

  10. #10

    Default

    RedCorral, thank you for your suggestions.
    I'll surely take your advise about going straight to Laramie, the fastest possible way.
    Its good to know about the bison herds not coming to Yellowstone until June. I'll consider Custer State Park instead (still going to Yellowstone!).
    Moki Dugway sounds great! I love that kind of landscape. I'm not sure about my wife. She suffers a little vertigo. I'll try to drive slowly!
    Last edited by Mark Sedenquist; 02-21-2008 at 04:19 PM. Reason: Scroll down for some recent photos of Moki from this link!

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