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  1. Default West Coast + Yellowstone

    Hi everyone I hope you can offers ome advice.

    My partner and I are looking to travel across most of the West Coast and up to Yellowstone next summer and are starting to plan the itinary.

    We have decided on the following basics of the trip:

    Fly to San Francisco - visit San Fran, Los Angeles, Las Vegas, Death Valley, Grand Canyon, Yellowstone.

    The rest is pretty much unplanned.

    We were thinking of going from SF to LA to LV then possibly drive up to Yellowstone (albeit a long way!). Do any of you think that it would be better to fly to Yellowstone (i.e. Denver airport from LV)?

    And is the route SF-LA-LV the best way?

    Any input and suggestions of places to visit/stay along the way would be very much appreciated. We are hoping to travel over June-July, so suggestions/tips on what to do for independence day would also be great.


    An excited first timer in the USA from England


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

    Default linear

    Welcome to the RTA Forum!

    There never is a single "best" when it comes to routes for roadtrips, however, if it were me, I'd probably start in LA then go to SF and to Vegas via Yosemite and Death Valley (you don't currently have yosemite on your list?).

    In any case, you'll certainly want to do Death Valley before Vegas, even if it is on your way from LA to Vegas.

    Flying from Vegas to Denver wouldn't give you any significant advantage. You'd only be saving 200 miles/4 hours of driving, and you'll spend at least that much time going through security/changing rental cars/in flight. Not to mention, the extra time you'd need to backtrack from the Grand Canyon to Vegas.

    How much time do you have for this trip, and what do you plan to do after Yellowstone?

  3. Default

    Thanks for your quick response!

    Looking over my initial post, I did miss out some specifics about the trip.

    We are looking at devoting around 3 weeks to the trip - we are unable to take any longer at once from work. Are we being too optimistic about the distance we can travel in this time?

    We are unsure what to do after Yellowstone, mainly due to the hire car situation. I understand that we would incur a hefty one-way fee if we were to drop the car back at Denver (after Yellowstone) rather than back in LA.

    The two options I guess, would be to pay the large fee OR dependent on time, drive back to LA and fly back to the UK from LAX.

    In terms of accom, we are looking at prebooking 'essential' rooms in the big cities and Yellowstone, but were considering 'winging it' in motels along the way as and when we need them. Do people think this is the best idea?



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

    Default Just an outline.

    Three weeks should allow you time to get a taste of the places you have mentioned and not have to drive all hours, even doing a complete loop it's actually not much more than 150 miles per day by the time you add diversions. Keep in mind that if you spent 2 days at LA, Vegas GC, Yellowstone and SF then the daily figure will almost double but is still well, well inside our daily recommended max of 550 miles per day. Just checking the mileage I quickly came up with this map and as you can see it includes Yosemite and goes through Monument valley to Moab and Arches NP but you can tweak that as you want. For example, from GC you could head through Page to include Bryce canyon and Zion NP. You could check flight costs and choose either of the major airports to see which offers the best deal. A one way trip would also work but you could possibly fly from Salt lake city which is closer to Yellowstone. You can vary the route all over but by studying it and cross referencing places that look interesting to you by searching the forums and road trip planning pages will help you "paint a picture". When you have done so we can help you "fine tune" it.

    WRT to winging it or booking in advance it really is a choice between having the security of knowing where you will be sleeping the night or the freedom to tweak your trip on the road. I think you are along the right lines of booking those "hotspots" and leaving some of the stops in between to chance. Having an idea of the area you are in each night and finding a few places that appeal to you and your budget and making a note of them so that you could call ahead from the road is something I like to do. You lessen the Chance of ending up in a dump or driving miles to find that there is "no room at the Inn"

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 1998
    Las Vegas, Nevada

    Default Wow, Nice Map

    Southwest Dave,

    I build these maps all of the time, but I guess I'm not familiar with how you loaded the street view for all of the way points. Excellent work (and how did you do that?)


  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    South of England.

    Default Not sure !

    When I am signed into my account all those functions are ready available, I then press the link button on the top right and copied and pasted, but I was actually wondering what other people see as I have the window I created it in still open and when I click on the link I see it as me signed in. I hope when I sign out or do another route that this one remains.

    [I backed the map up by saving it in my maps and signed out and closed the program and I am still seeing it with street view in this thread so fingers crossed. Note; The copy map I saved in "my maps" does not display the street view so using the link button before saving it appears to be the reason I kept the street view.
    Last edited by Southwest Dave; 08-18-2009 at 09:59 AM. Reason: Testing link, and adding info.

  7. Default

    Wow thanks for the tips and great route map Dave, it's really helpful. I think we are going to spend this coming weekend on swotting up on places to go along the way,etc... from the forum and guide books so we can start putting some meat on the bones of the trip.


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