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  1. Default Ideas Need for Roundtrip RoadTrip - Denver, CO to Sonoma, CA

    We're still in the planning stages, but it looks like my boyfriend and I may have ten days in early October for a road trip from our home near Denver, CO to visit relatives in Sonoma, CA. We plan to spend 2-3 days in Sonoma but want to spend the rest of the time exploring near there and/or between here and there... We both love the outdoor/natural world but are a bit out of shape and not looking for adventure trips -- shorter, easy hikes are about our speed. We enjoy photography so interesting and unusual photo ops are high on our list. I'm a history buff (ghost towns, old West, etc.) and we both love animals/wildlife (including wild horse herds). Budget wise -- we're probably looking at economy level accommodations but might spend a little more for the right place. Less crowds are better. We're definitely in the brainstorming and are pretty clueless on what routes we want to take at this point. We're considering driving up the coast north of San Fran but don't have any specifics in mind (or how far north) yet. Another idea is a stop in the Moab, UT area/Arches National Park. I'm interested in visiting Best Friends Animal Sanctuary near Kanab, UT but that might be too far south for this trip. We're looking for ideas on the best routes/loops between Denver and Sonoma as well as any ideas about sites that might interest us (and for that matter, what to avoid) -- any suggestions, comments, warnings? :)

    Thanks for your help!


  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Joplin MO


    Do you want to sightsee in Colorado one direction or would you rather leave that for some other time? I can get you to Kanab if you want to take a less beaten path through Colorado.

  3. Default

    Thanks for the response! We'll probably leave sightseeing in Colorado for other trips since we can do that over a long weekend, although if you have any suggestions for scenic routes we'd welcome the input! We're mainly thinking about Utah, Nevada and northern California right now although would also consider routes through southern Oregon/Idaho/Wyoming.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Joplin MO


    How about this?

    Take I-70 to US-191 and head down through Arches. Go back up 191 and get back on 70 west. Get off at UT-24, take that through Capitol Reef to Torrey, then take UT-12 (FANTASTIC scenery) past Bryce Canyon to US-89 to Kanab. From there, you can either go back to UT-9 through Zion, or take ALT-89 to Fredonia, then AZ-389/UT-59 to 9 and on to I-15. Take that to Las Vegas, then NV-160 to Pahrump. Take the back way through Death Valley, then US-395 north to CA-120, go through Yosemite, then CA-49 and CA-16 into Sacramento.

    Then you can take a more northern route home - possibly US-50 (the "loneliest road") through NV.

    If you visit Arches, Capitol reef, Bryce, Zion, Death Valley, and Yosemite, a parks pass ($80) will pay for itself.

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

    Default Lots of good choices

    The scenery between both cities is quite beautiful and varied, depending on the routes you end up choosing.

    I-70 through Colorado, US-50 through Nevada, through the Tahoe area into CA would give you the Rockies, then you could veer a tad south into Arches NP, enjoy the San Rafael Swell in Utah, the deserts of Nevada, the mountain lake and forests of the Tahoe area, etc. It would be a beautiful drive. Figure at least 3 days for this stretch. Here's more route details.

    This could make a good route taking you through WY/ID/Southern OR. And would give you a chance to see lovely Crater Lake in Oregon. You'll also get a fairly good variety of scenery although the changes will be more subtle than the changes you would see on the route above. You would definitely want at least 4 days for this stretch.

    Anyway, I think these might interest you and should fit the amount of time you have.

  6. Default

    Thank you both for the ideas! Lots of options to consider... :)

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2009
    SF Bay Area

    Default Eastern Sierra/Tioga Pass

    Early October; Tioga pass (CA120) from Mono Lake through Yosemite National Park will probably still be open, and for photogs is a good option.

    Here's a few things in the neighborhood:

    Mono Lake:

    Photo: Don Casey

    Bodie State Park:

    Photo: Don Casey

    Tioga Pass Road:

    Photo: Don Casey

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jan 1998
    Las Vegas, Nevada

    Default Gorgeous shots

    Dang, those are nice. I like the sepia tone on the Bodie shot!


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