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  1. Default SF -> Grand Canyon -> Las Vegas June/July 09

    Hello everybody,

    First of all, this website is very useful.. so thanks for the information I have got already :)

    Anyway, I know this has roadtrip has been discussed many times before, but I'm after some specific advice about the time of year.

    My wife and I are planning a road trip from 20 June -> 5 July. Basic rough itinerary is something like:

    Arrive San Francisco from London
    Yosemite NP
    Death Valley
    Zion NP
    Bryce Canyon
    Grand Canyon
    Hoover Dam
    and end up in Las Vegas for 4 July before flying back home on 5th July.

    Unfortunately this is the only 2-week period we have free (that time of life where everyone is getting married, so most weekends are weddings, stag/hen parties, etc).

    I am a bit concerned about the heat this time of year, whether it will be intolerable and prevent us from fully enjoying everything these places has to offer.

    Obviously Death Valley will be crazy hot, but we're just planning to drive through, not do any hiking, etc.

    Many thanks!
    Ben

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    South of England.
    Posts
    10,748

    Default Tolerances.

    Hello and welcome to the R.T.A forums.

    That's a great looking itinerary you have there.

    Many,many people visit this time of year [a good reason to book in advance in or around the parks to get lodging] although we all have different tolerances of heat. The weather is unpredictable but generally speaking once you leave the coast you could expect day temps to be between 75 and 95 in most areas but Vegas could well see over 100. The bright side is while you are there the attractions are mainly to be found in the air conditioned Hotel lobby's.

    If you plan walking in the canyons make sure you have water, sunscreen and hats.

  3. Default

    Dave,

    Thanks for the advice. Think we can deal with that.

    Anyway, those guys at Google done an amazing job with their maps. I have used it to plan our route so far:

    http://maps.google.com/maps?f=d&sour...5,4.960327&z=8

    Interested in some feedback - e.g. anything else that we could take in, whether it's the best route, etc.

    The little lollypops (popsicles I guess?!) are rough guesses at overnight points.

    Cheers,
    Ben

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    South of England.
    Posts
    10,748

    Default A few ideas

    For what you are aiming to do it's pretty much spot on.

    The one thing to bear in mind is the travel times, they are usually over optimistic and don't allow time for Gas, food, any hold ups or sight seeing breaks. With the wonderful views it could easily take you 4 hours or so to cross the Tioga pass, so allow time on the road. The same can be said of Death Valley and Zion to Bryce and so on.

    anything else that we could take in,
    Don't miss out on the view from Glacier point while in Yosemite.

    When you meet the 395 from Tioga pass there is a gas station on the junction, there is a road that runs up the hill from the Gas station with lovely views of Mono lake at the end. If you are feeling peckish there is a great little diner in the gas station called Woah Nellies Dellie with great grub.

    Death valley you might want to stop at Furnace creek ranch and close by is Badwater the lowest spot in the US.

    Between Zion and Bryce you will drive through Checkaboard Mesa and Red Rock canyon, both are worth short stops.

    When you are at Bryce if you are to visit all the viewpoints along the canyon drive, head to the far end first and stop on the way back out. This will put all viewpoints on your side of the road so you won't need to keep pulling across traffic.

    Just before the turn off into G/C you might fancy a look around the massive shop at The Cameron Trading post.

    When you enter the park stop at the Watchtower for your first glimpse of the Colorado heading into the canyon.

    When you leave G/C you have the option to divert onto part of original route '66 through Seligman with the quirky Memorabilia shops.

  5. Default

    Dave,

    Thanks again for the advice. Most useful.

    We've been mulling over the itinerary, and have a couple of sticky points.

    The main question is how long to spend in Zion NP and Bryce Canyon.

    My original thoughts were to have one whole day in each. We're not massive hikers but would enjoy a 1-2hr walk in both places.

    With this schedule there are a couple of "loose days" hanging around - don't want to get to LV too early.

    So do you think it would be best to spend a bit longer in Zion/Bryce, or maybe add another destination like Flagstaff, AZ to fill the time between Grand Canyon and LV (day 12). Another option is to take a bit longer going through Death Valley and fill the extra day here, but we're trying to avoid arriving at places in the middle of the day - I reckon 1 whole day in a place is better than 2 halves, if you know what I mean.

    Currently the itinerary looks like this:

    Day 1
    Arrive SFO 11.30AM

    Day 2
    SFO

    Day 3
    SFO

    Day 5
    AM SFO. PM Drive to Yosemite

    Day 5
    Yosemite NP

    Day 6
    AM Yosemite NP
    PM Drive to Lone Pine

    Day 7
    Drive through Death Valley.
    Overnight @ St George, UT
    [Thinking this might be a bit far, but wanted to get an early start into Zion NP]

    Day 8
    Zion NP
    Overnight @ Zion NP

    Day 9
    Bryce Canyon
    Overnight somewhere near, maybe Zion NP again.

    Day 10
    Drive to GC South Rim
    Overnight GC South Rim

    Day 11
    GC South Rim
    Overnight GC South Rim

    Day 12
    ??

    Day 13
    Hoover Dam
    Arrive LV evening

    Day 14
    LV

    Day 15
    LV

    Day 16
    LV AM
    Depart 16.00

    Cheers,
    Ben

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
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    South of England.
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    10,748

    Default Win, win !

    Hi Ben

    It's a nice itinerary and you can't go wrong with the choices you have got, it's just which one would suit you better.

    Personally I would have an extra day in Zion and not put yourself under pressure to get to St George as well get an early start to fit Zion in. It's a great place and you can spend 3 or more hours just having a stroll along the riverside walk to the top of the canyon. You can actually go further up into the slot canyons if you don't mind wading through the Virgin river.
    You also have weeping rock and Emerald pools among many others to have a look at via fairly easy walks. Bryce is spectacular but most of the viewpoints are a short walk from the car and quicker to see as such, but I would spend a night there and watch the sunset over the red spires.

  7. Default

    Hi

    Sorry to hijack the thread, but I'm planning to do a very similar trip but in reverse and would welcome all ideas and opinions. We will be starting in Las Vegas and ending in San Francisco, taking in Grand Canyon, Bruce, Zion, Death Valley and Yosemite along the way.

    We have 12 days on the road between SFO and LV. We have been told that the coastal route is not to be missed, so was wondering if we would have enough time to fit in maybe a trip to LA, and drive along the coast before going back inland?

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    South of England.
    Posts
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    Default A bit rushed

    No need to apologise, it's an open forum.

    Hello and welcome to the R.T.A forums beegee !

    The coast road is indeed spectacular but to head into LA and have a little time there and drive the coast road is going to feel rushed if you want to spend "quality time" at the other places you have mentioned. I recommend a full day and 2 nights at Grand canyon, Zion and Yosemite which will give you some time on arrival and departure day to do a little exploring as well.
    Although, another option would be to drive towards the coast from Yosemite and then to SF, spending a night in Morro Bay perhaps and go from there, rather than LA.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Melbourne, Australia
    Posts
    6,936

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by nebjamin View Post

    Day 9
    Bryce Canyon
    Overnight somewhere near, maybe Zion NP again.

    Day 10
    Drive to GC South Rim
    Overnight GC South Rim

    Day 11
    GC South Rim
    Overnight GC South Rim

    Day 12
    ??

    Ben
    After leaving Bryce, and since you have a day up your sleeve, I would take the opportunity to visit the North Rim. This is every bit as spectacular as the South Rim, and since you will be visiting in the 'busy' season, you will find it is much less crowded than the South Rim.

    It is also much easier to get around, no shuttle bus to wait for, drive to all points of interest, and take the short hikes to the lookouts. For my money, I would visit the North Rim everytime.

    Stay at nearby Kanab - a neat little town - or in the park.

    You can then drive through Monument Valley and Page to the East entrance of the Canyon.

  10. Default

    Hi Folks,

    Been off-line for a while but just thought I'd drop by and thank you guys again for the useful advice. All booked now, just 5 weeks to go.

    Cheers,
    Ben

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