Hey everyone! My girlfriend and I are planning on taking a road trip next August and I stumbled across the RTA site as I was doing some research for the trip. I’ve found a lot of great information so far and so I thought I would post our proposed itinerary to get some feedback on it.
Some background about us and our trip… We’re in our early 20’s and full of energy (I know, I know, it sounds corny but that really does describe us). Most importantly, I love to drive. I will be purchasing a BMW next summer so the main purpose of the trip is to ‘put the car through its paces’ and experience as much of the West as we can while doing it. My girlfriend and I don’t mind driving 400-500 miles a day and have done so on numerous occasions. I say this so that you understand we are not the typical people who can’t stand to drive more than 200 miles per day or have to stop to deal with children :) That said, here’s our current plan:
Day 1: La Crosse, WI to Badlands National Park – 520 miles. Planned on arriving in early evening, doing some hiking, and spending the night at the National Park Campground.
Day 2: Badlands National Park to Mount Rushmore to Yellowstone National Park – 580 miles. Planned on leaving Badlands NP early, stopping to see Mount Rushmore, arriving at Yellowstone in the late evening, and lodging at one of the Lake Yellowstone cabins.
Day 3: Yellowstone National Park. Lodging at Lake Yellowstone cabin.
Day 4: Yellowstone National Park / Grand Teton National Park. Leave the parks late, drive through the night (taking turns or perhaps stopping to nap for a few hours) and arrive early morning in Susanville, CA – 870 miles.
Day 5: Susanville, CA. (Girlfriend has family that we will be staying with)
Day 6: Susanville, CA. Visiting Redwood National Park.
Day 7: Susanville, CA to San Francisco, CA. Then on to Cambria, CA by way of the Pacific Coast Highway – 525 miles. Lodging at hotel in Cambria. **Cambria is not set in stone, we’re just hoping to stop at a city on the coast and stay the night – anyone have any suggestions?**
Day 8: Cambria, CA to Hoover Dam to Las Vegas, NV – 470 miles. Planning to arrive in Las Vegas near evening to see the Las Vegas Strip lit up at night. Lodging at hotel in Vegas.
Day 9: Las Vegas, NV to Clifton, AZ – 560 miles. Pretty much just a driving day in preparation for day 10. Lodging is undecided. Hoping to find a nearby campground.
Day 10: Clifton, AZ to Eagar, AZ by way of the Coronado Highway and then on to Grand Canyon North Rim – 500 miles. This is probably one of the most important sections of the trip to me – I have read and heard so much about the Coronado Highway and how it is the one of the best roads in America for a driving enthusiast that this part of the trip is a must. (Yes, I know some of you are thinking I am crazy right about now :) Lodging will be at the Grand Canyon North Rim campground.
Day 11: Hike at the Grand Canyon till around noon then drive to Bryce Canyon National Park – 200 miles. Hike/sightsee at Bryce and then camp in the park.
Day 12: Hike Bryce in the morning then drive to Arches National Park – 265 miles. Hike/sightsee at Arches then camp in the park.
Day 13: Arches National Park to Rocky Mountain National Park – 430 miles. Camp at one of the many campgrounds in RMNP.
Day 14: Rocky Mountain National Park. Camp at RMNP campground.
Day 15 & 16: Drive back to Wisconsin – 1100 miles. Planning on driving about 500-600 miles one day, spending the night (hopefully at a campground), and driving the rest on the next day. **Any suggestions?**
Like I said, that’s the proposed itinerary but we are up for any thoughts or suggestions. If anyone has any suggestions about scenic roads/highways we should take in between any of our stops that would be great – especially through the Rockies. Also, if anyone has any suggestions as to good places to hike in any of the National Parks we will be stopping at we’d appreciate it.
We’re looking to keep costs to a minimum – staying at campgrounds, trying to ‘eat out’ only once a day – but if anyone has any suggestions as to lodging or things to see (even if they are a bit costly) let us know as we are not opposed to spending the money if it’s worthwhile. After all, this is a vacation.
That’s pretty much it. Like I said earlier, we are open to any and all suggestions. Thanks in advance for your help!