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  1. #1

    Default First time road trip in september

    Hi there,

    My girlfriend and i are planning a road trip to the USA this september. We are hoping to spend 21 days exploring the west/southwest and was hoping some of the experts on here could give us some advice on our plans so far. Here is our plan at present:

    Start in LA (2 nights)
    LA to Grand Canyon (1 night)
    Grand Canyon to Canyonlands National park (1 night)
    Canyonlands to Denver and Rockies national park (3 nights)
    Denver to las vegas, stopping for a couple of nights in Utah, then spending two nights in vegas
    Vegas to Death Valley (1 night)
    Death Valley to Yosemite (3 nights)
    Yosemite to San Francisco (2/3 nights)
    San Francisco to LA, stopping at a couple of towns on the coast (2 nights)

    I know this is a lot to fit in but that plan still leaves a couple of spare nights to fit anything else that you guys think i have missed or spend longer at some of the places along the way. Also any advice on where to visit in Utah on the way to Vegas would be appreciated. I thought Bryce Canyon might be a good place to stop but am open to suggestions.

    Thanks in advance for any suggestions/tips.


  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    South of England.

    Default A couple of thoughts.

    Hello and welcome to the RTA forums !

    The first thing I notice is that you have 1 night in Grand canyon with a full days travel either side, so I would certainly use another night there. Possibly stop at Williams from LA and Cameron or Monument valley out the other side, if you don't want the expense of staying in the National park where the lodging is dearer that is. You really want some quality time here and witness sunset and sunrise if poss.
    I also think an extra night in the Canyonlands area [Moab] would be worthwhile as you also have Arches NP close by.
    Bryce canyon and Zion are both incredible and you might want to find the time to visit both. Capitol reef is also an option if you take the 24 to Torrey and scenic 12 to Bryce.
    Other options you have is to take a more Southerly approach to Denver by going through the Four corners region and Mesa Verde on the 160 to Pagosa springs and continue to 285 to Denver. Another option taking longer, is up the scenic Million dollar highway [550] through Durango and Silverton to Montrose and the 50 to 285 that takes you past Black canyon of the Gunnison and Currecanti rec area. This would mean visiting Canyonlands/Arches on the way back through to Utah and would save going over the same ground. There is nothing wrong with how you have routed it but it is an alternative.

    Use the search button for many other ideas and check out the roadtrip planning pages and let us know when you have more questions !
    Last edited by Southwest Dave; 05-21-2009 at 10:13 AM.

  3. #3


    Thanks for the advice. I hadn't realized there were so many great stops in Utah so think we might use the extra nights to explore a bit more. Would you guys recommend booking all our accommodation before we go or is it possible to just find somewhere when we're over there? I thought about booking accommodation in the cities and then just finding a cheap motel at the other stops as we don't have a huge budget.

    Again any advice would be appreciated.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    South of England.

    Default Lodging.

    Some of the popular parks like Yosemite and Grand canyon could be full, but you won't find "cheap" accommodation in either park. You will find some outside the parks at cheaper rates but generally the closer they are the costlier they are for "like for like" lodging.
    Some people like to "wing" it and see where they end up and others prefer to know they have a bed for the night so it's down to how you want to play it, but I am sure you will find lodgings on the road if that's what you decide, but doing a bit of research and taking notes of places you like the look of within your budget wouldn't be a bad thing.

    The NPS site has info on the parks and lodgings and should be a useful planning tool.

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