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  1. Default Houston-Grand Canyon-Las Vegas-Death Valley-Yosemite-San Francisco-LA-Houston in Apr

    Hi all.

    Before everything, plz pardon me my bad English.

    I'm trying to plan my first roadtrip. I haven't been to the USA yet.

    Now I am living in Toronto and going to Houston in March. I will stay there for 2 months.

    So my starting point is Houston and I like to travel to natural wonders.

    I've made an outline of the roadtrip : Houston-Grand Canyon(3days)-Las Vegas(2days)-Death Valley-Yosemite(2days)-San Francisco(2days)-LA(2days)-Houston

    I have 2~3 weeks, $3,000 and camping gears which include tent, sleepingbag, stove etc., I'm over 25 and good at driving.

    Actually I don't like to travel to big cities so I'm thinking about replacing San Francisco and LA with additional national parks.

    Plz give me a advice.

    And I have two questions more.

    1. Is it possible to go camping to Yellowstone Park in my condition?

    2. Where I really want to go to is Grand Canyon. How long should I stay there to enjoy enough? I'll do backcountry camping in the bottom.

    Thank you.

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

    Default good start

    Welcome to the RTA Forum!

    I think time is probably going to be your biggest enemy, since it looks like you should have plenty of money for the trip. It really wouldn't be possible to spend the kind of time you are talking about at each of your stops and do it all in 2 weeks, although you could probably squeeze it in during 3 weeks. Remember, its a 3 day drive from Houston to the West Coast.

    Based on your current plan, I think Yellowstone might be too far away, but you could possibly spend more time in Utah's national parks. If you aren't a city person, then dedicating 4 days in LA and SF doesn't make much sense, but you probably want to give yourself 2 days to drive the coast between those two cities. There are lots of options and lots of good choices, but you'll have to decide for yourself what fits with what you want.

    As far as the Grand Canyon goes, if you want to hike to the bottom, your 3 days is probably about right. You need 2 days to hike down and back. However, that the number of backcountry permits are very limited and reservations fill up months, if not years, in advance. If this is something that you are serious about, you should contact the National Park immediately to find out what you'll need to do to make that work.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Location
    The Netherlands
    Posts
    219

    Default

    Its already 2 very long days of driving from Houston to GCNP and you need your 3 days there if you want to hike to the canyonfloor (see MidWest Michael's advices). From GC to Las Vegas is a 5 hours drive and with 2 days Las Vegas you're already on the road for 8 days. So I would skip Yosemite NP, LA and SF. Visit Death Valley NP (2 days), drive from Death Valley NP to Zion (1 day). Visit to Zion (1 day) drive to Bryce NP and visit (1 days). Drive to Page and Lake Powell and visit (2 days). To Monument valley (1 day), to Santa Fe via Mesa Verde NP (2 days), Visit Santa Fe and ABQ (2 days) and drive back to Houston (2 days). Yellowstone is far out of your way and will be closed for most of the routes.
    Yeehaw

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Melbourne, Australia
    Posts
    6,936

    Default

    I would agree with Yeehaw... however, between Zion and Bryce, and before Page, I would stop at Kanab and make a trip to the North Rim of the Grand Canyon. It really is worth visiting, and not at all like the over commercialised south rim.

    Just my biased opinion

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Location
    The Netherlands
    Posts
    219

    Default

    North rim will be closed in april.........I'll explain in febr. -lol-

  6. Default Thank you!!

    Your advice is very helpful. Now I'm thinking of using airplane from Houston to Las Vegas. I think it's a good way to reduce a wasting time. If I use airplane, is it ok to travel the same course for 2weeks? I'll abandon my plan to travel LA and San Francisco.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Washington state coast/Olympic Peninsula
    Posts
    3,318

    Default Yes, saves 3 days of driving

    You could easily do a loop back to the Grand Canyon and then continue on the rest of your trip. Be aware that the Tioga Pass will still be closed causing you to have to get to Yosemite from the west side. Death Valley should be lovely that time of year. Your trip is far more do-able now. If you want, you could probably still do San Francisco, too.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
    13,063

    Default better

    Flying to Vegas will save you some time, certainly. It might give you enough time to make it up to Yellowstone, however that is still a very long detour from the other things you've listed. If you were to do a big loop, Vegas, to GC to Yellowstone and then back via Yosemite and Death Valley, you'd be looking at a 3000 mile drive.

    That's 5-6 full days of driving in addition to the time you spend at your destinations. If you spent 3 days at Grand Canyon, and then 2 days each at Yellowstone, Yosemite, that would leave you for one day each at Death Valley and Las Vegas. You'd also be driving by several other national parks, but I'm not sure if you'd have much time to fit them in.

    Personally, I think I would pick either Yellowstone or Yosemite. If you went up to Yellowstone, you could spend more time exploring the parks in Utah and the Teton. If you went to Yosemite, you could spend more time exploring California, and add in Sequoia and the Coast. Picking one or the other would give you much more exploring time relative to driving time.

  9. Default I've decided.

    1. Houston <-> Las Vegas roundtrip by flying. So the starting and last point of this trip are Las Vegas. I'll stay there for 2days at the last time of the trip.

    2. Grand Canyon 3days(2nights) in the bottom and Mother campground. I've already sent a backcountry permit request. I'll reserve M.C. too.

    3. Where I'd like to go else : Petrified Forest, Canyon De Chelly, Zion, Bryce Canyon, Death Valley, Monument Valley.

    4. Duration : about 2 weeks. It could be 3weeks.

    5. I'll abandon Yosemite and Yellowstone.

    6. Last question : If there are nice places else around, Please let me know.

    Thank you everyone who replied my questions.
    Last edited by risicare; 01-17-2009 at 12:41 AM.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Washington state coast/Olympic Peninsula
    Posts
    3,318

    Default This looks good!

    I'm wondering why you just don't fly into Las Vegas. That's really the best place to launch this trip from.

    You've picked some great choices to visit. If you have time, you could always add Arches, Canyonlands, and Mesa Verde. However, with 5 days just in the Grand Canyon, you probably won't have time to add these places, too. It sounds like a full trip as it is.

    How else can we help you fine-tune the details of your trip?

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