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  1. Default Trip of a lifetime - need help

    My family and I are making a 3 week road trip starting at Ohio and want to go through South Dakota, Wyoming, Colorado, utah, and Arizona (grand Canyon). Have been reading the site and have been able to piece some things together but sure could use some help on the route to take (north to south or south to north). We are wanting to tent 1/2 the time and hotel it the other half. Sure could use some help and tips from the experts....thanks

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

    Default 6 of one?

    Welcome to the RTA Forum!

    I guess I can't see any reason why it would really make too much of a difference which way you went. Maybe you might make a bit of your decision based on the time of year to get the best weather, but over 3 weeks its probably not going to make that much difference, plus, you'll be dealing areas where Elevation will be more of a factor than Latitude anyway.

    The only other thing I could think of it might be easier to start with the Grand Canyon and finish in South Dakota, so you are closer to home for your final leg, but if you want to reduce the anticipation factor, then you could swing it the other way.

  3. Default

    thanks for the quick repy. any particular route if I start from the north and end up in north rim of the grand canyon. Hit colorado last or should I hit it as we move south?

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin

    Default It depends

    That's going to depend upon what sorts of things you are planning to visit in Colorado and Utah.

    Just throwing an idea out there, you might go out to Yellowstone, down through Bryce and Zion to the Grand Canyon, then back east via Monument Valley and start heading back east. But really, I'm just kind of guessing, I think your best bet would be to simply grab a map, plot out all of your major stops. Many times a natural route will work itself out, once you see it all on paper.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Washington state coast/Olympic Peninsula

    Default Paper maps are a great start

    After you've looked over some maps and have a rough idea of where you want to go and the general route you're thinking about, come on back here and share it so we can help you do any tweaking, if needed.

    Also, if you want to share what kinds of things interest you, it's easier for us to make recommendations.

    Last, what other kind of help do you need? How to find hotels/campsites? Budgeting? Good hiking trails? It's hard to help when we're unsure of exactly what help you want.
    Last edited by PNW Judy; 06-02-2009 at 06:12 PM. Reason: added comment

  6. Default More Detail

    Sorry for not putting more information at this. We are wanting to see the following states and major sites:

    1. South Dakota- Mt. Rushmore, Badlands
    2. Montana- Little Bighorn
    3. Wyoming- Cody (see some friends), Yellowstone. Grand Teton
    4. Utah- Bryce Canyon, Zion
    5. Arizona- Grand Canyon
    6. Colorado - Rockies

    My questions are in what order is the best to see (both from a driving standpoint and time to spend at each). Also don't want to miss something that we should make sure to see. I'm assuming that the drive out from Ohio and back will be pretty much driving 10 - 12 hours each day. We would like to tent camp for half the time (not sure where the best camping would be) and stay in hotels the other time. During the stay we would like to do a few activites like rafting, horse riding, maybe some swimming if there is a recommendation, but mostly taking in the sites and doing day hikes. Also would like to see some towns and whatever else the experts recommend. Hope this is enough information and really appreciate the help

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Washington state coast/Olympic Peninsula

    Default That info helps!

    Here's a map that might get you started. Obviously, you don't have to travel this way but it's the most logical way to go to hit the places you want to see plus a few other places I've put in you might enjoy.

    We generally recommend people limit their longer driving days to about 500-550 miles. More than that and it really tires you out. You especially don't want to get weary at the beginning of your trip. It will take you 2 to 2-1/2 days to get to the Mt. Rushmore area. And you will want all of 3 days to get home from Rocky Mountain National Park (or, if you don't go there, the Denver area). This will leave you about 15 days to see everything else.

    This is certainly do-able. However, I'm concerned that you don't realize how much there is to see out there and might find yourself short-changing some places to get someplace else. For example, around Mt. Rushmore are many things to see like the Crazy Horse Memorial, Deadwood, Black Hills, Wall Drug and more. You could easily spend several days here if you wanted. Also, once you start talking about horseback riding trips and river-rafting trips, you could be looking at two more days right there.

    I guess what I'm saying is that you might want to think about what pace you want to travel. If you want to have a leisurely trip, with time to explore places in more depth, you might want to limit your trip to just the northern parks through SD/WY (or, alternatively, just CO/UT/AZ).

    However, like I said, your trip is do-able as long as you don't mind being more on the move. And, of course, you could alternative by staying in some places longer to explore more while doing quicker stops at other places. All these types of trips are fine and fun. Whichever is best for you is which trip fits your travel style.

    I would camp when in the national parks. This is some of the best camping there is. However, if you're traveling soon, you'll want to get your reservations in ASAP as the parks fill up quickly. It might already be too late to get a spot in some parks but there is usually other options not to far outside the parks. However, these can fill up too. Especially in the Yellowstone and Grand Canyon areas.

    Anyway, think about what kind of trip you really want. And go over the map and see if it works for you and make changes if you want. Definitely get your family into the planning and keep asking questions.

    Hope this helps a bit.

  8. Default

    Here's how I would do it.

    Ohio to Denver:However you want to go, as it doesn't seem to be important to you.
    Denver to Rocky Nat. Park:Haven't been yet, so no suggestions.

    Rocky Nat Park to Moab, UT: Arches and Canyonlands Nat Park (not mentioned, but well worth it). Also some outstanding rafting available, search for Moab rafting and a lot of companies will turn up.

    From Moab head S down 191 to Monument Valley. From here, you have options. Head for the crowded South Rim Grand Canyon or the quieter North Rim.

    From the GC Head up to Zion NP.

    From Zion, then head to Bryce Canyon NP

    From Bryce Canyon, take UT-12 to Capitol Reef. CRNP is optional, but US-12 is one of the most incredible roads in the US, and well worth taking. If you want a nice day hike at this point, just after the speed trap town of Escalante is the Calf Creek Recreation Area. A 6 mile round trip hike to the Calf Creek Falls was one of the highlights of my trip to the area.

    From CRNP, head on North to Wyoming and the Grand Tetons/Yellowstone.

    Yellowstone to Cody.

    Cody to Little Big Horn. If you take Wy-14A, beware of another Speed Trap in Byron.

    LBH to the Black Hills of South Dakota, but don't forget to stop at the Devil's Tower.

    SD to Ohio.

    Any of the Nat. Parks have good Camping, but most need some advance reservations.

    How many days at each will be up to you and how much you want to see. Most can be seen in one day, but give you a lot more with more time. Yellowstone, however, really needs at least 2-3 days, and the Black Hills are suprisingly packed with things to do as well.

  9. Default Getting ready to take off

    Thanks to everyone for posting answers to our questions. We are taking off tomorrow and the information has been invaluable. Will post again on our return and maybe help someone else who is planning their trip. Thanks again

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