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  1. Default 15-17 days West Coast Road Trip - too much driving?

    Hi there,

    I posted here about 6 months ago about a Road Trip my wife and I wanted to do, but we've slightly changed our plans and will be doing a round-trip rather than a one-way trip. Since this will be our first real road trip I was wondering if we could get some advice from people who've been there before. It will be a lot of driving and we are not sure whether the time to see things is too little. Maybe you could make some suggestions, where we could cut back and shorten our route.

    Attached is also a map as jpg file. We'll be staying in Motels / Hotels along the way and have a rental car. We'll be traveling end of August or September. Distances are in km since we are from Canada :).

    Any help or comments are much appreciated.

    Day 1
    Arriving in Las Vegas

    Day 2 - 3
    LV → Grand Canyon (ca. 445km)

    Day 4
    Grand Canyon → Page (ca. 223km)

    Day 5
    Page → Torrey (Capital Reef Ntl’ Park) (ca. 504km)

    Day 6-7
    Torrey → Zion Ntl’ Park (ca. 333km)

    Day 8
    Zion Ntl’ Park → Death Valley (ca. 545km)

    Day 9
    Death Valley → Yosemite (ca. 546km) via Tioga Pass

    Day 10
    Yosemite → SF (ca. 305km)

    Day 11
    SF

    Day 12
    SF → Monterey (ca. 195km)

    Day 13
    Monterey → LA (ca. 535km)

    Day 14
    LA

    Day 15
    LA → Las Vegas (ca. 443km)

    Day 16
    Leaving LV



    Thanks,
    Andre
    Attached Images Attached Images
    Last edited by AZBuck; 01-02-2010 at 12:01 PM. Reason: Added link to previous discussion

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Tucson, AZ
    Posts
    9,358

    Default It's Not the Miles (or Kilometers)

    Each day's drive on your trip will be quite easy, and I certainly wouldn't consider 2600 mi (4100 km) too much for a two week RoadTrip. However, your itinerary is just jam-packed with some of the best sites in the American Southwest. so many in fact that you can't afford more than a few hours at each one. As a once-over-lightly tour of the area that's just fine, but as an in depth exploration of a unique area it may leave you feel ling unfulfilled. I think I would drop a stop of two to spend more time at some of the truly one of a kind places on your list, say skipping Capitol Reef to spend more time at Zion and Yosemite, but ultimately such decisions are up to you.

    AZBuck

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    South of England.
    Posts
    10,749

    Default Bryce ?

    I agree with Buck, as nice as Capitol reef is I would cut back and have a little more time exploring and less miles driving. Bryce canyon is a fascinating place and would make a great compromise, the rock formations are out of this world and quite unique.

  4. Default

    Thank you very much for your comments. It's good to know that those are easy drives and the miles are not a problem.

    My problem is though I really want to see Monument Valley. And as far as I can see, there is no real way around Capitol Reef. Having said that, I am very tempted to "shortcut" Capitol Reef by taking the ferry across Lake Powell and then the Burr Trail. I know this will take a bit longer but we can stay one in Boulder and then have a shorter drive to Zion the following day, which is nice. To make up some more time, we will also leave Las Vegas the same day we arrive and spend day 1-3 at Grand Canyon. In addition to that, it will be most likely a 17 day trip rather than 15 day trip, since the flights we can catch are more convenient in the reward flights program for 17 days.

    Here's our updated schedule with some sightseeing / exploring. In case we go 17 days, I'd like to spend one more day at Zion. To be able to do the Burr Trail, we will go ahead and rent a SUV for the first 8-9 days until we cross Las Vegas again and then switch to standard due to gas usage.

    However, I have one more question. Is there any point / restaurant / etc. that is a "must-see / stop" on the way. Some insider tips? Or any other place we should see on the way? I guess, that are two questions. Anyways, I'd love to hear your experiences and suggestions.

    Your comments and help is much appreciated.

    Day 1 - 3
    LV → Grand Canyon (ca. 445km ca. 4:25hrs)
    Havasupai Falls
    Rafting Tour
    Hiking Trails

    Day 4
    Grand Canyon → Page (ca. 223km ca. 2:30hrs)
    Antelope Slot Canyon Tours
    Horseshoe Bend

    Day 5
    Page → Torrey (Capital Reef Ntl’ Park) (ca. 504km ca. 5:30hrs)
    Passing through Monument Valley, Natural Bridges National Monument, Capitol Reef National Park.

    Alternatively “Burr Trail (1668 & Ferry)” to Boulder or Escalante
    (Page –> Boulder 502km ca. 8:15hrs.)
    (Boulder --> Zion ca. 255km ca. 3:30hrs)

    Day 6-7
    Torrey → Zion Ntl’ Park (ca. 333km ca. 4:20hrs)
    Zion Horse Back Ride
    Angels Landing Hike
    The Narrows
    Mt Carmel Hwy (hwy89 & hwy12)

    Day 8
    Zion Ntl’ Park → Death Valley (ca. 535km ca. 6hrs)
    Badwater
    Dante’s View (hwy190 & hwy178)

    Day 9
    Death Valley → Yosemite (ca. 470km ca. 5:30hrs)
    Glacier Point Yosemite

    Day 10-11
    Yosemite → SF (ca. 305km ca. 3:45hrs)
    Alcatraz
    Golden Gate Bridge
    Cable Cars

    Day 12
    SF → Santa Barbara (ca. 560km ca. 8hrs)

    Day 13-14
    Santa Barbara → LA (ca. 160km ca. 2hrs)
    Passing through Malibu Beach & Santa Monika Pier
    Hollywood
    Beverely Hills
    Venice Beach

    Day 15
    LA → Las Vegas (ca. 434km ca. 3:45hrs)

    Day 16
    Leaving LV

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    South of England.
    Posts
    10,749

    Default Some thoughts.

    A couple of pointers are that the Havasupai falls are nowhere near to the National park and on Indian lands and not easy to get to when tight for time. I also believe large parts of the Burr Trail are unpaved and if you are in a rental car could breach the terms of your contract. [And possibly to the Falls?]

    Page to Torrey is a almost a full day's drive and if your main reason for going this way is to spend time at Monument valley you really are not going to get much of it, never mind Capitol reef etc. With your time line I would have thought it wiser to head to Monument valley from Grand canyon and have some quality time there, stop the night and head back to Page. You will also be closer to Zion starting from Page rather than Torrey.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Joplin MO
    Posts
    9,271

    Default

    Here's my suggestion:

    Day 4: GC - Blanding UT via Monument Valley
    Day 5: Blanding - Torrey via 95 and 24, see Natural Bridges and Capitol Reef
    Day 6 - Torrey - Bryce Canyon via 12
    Day 7 - Bryce to Zion via 89 and 9

  7. Default It's all booked! Our Southwestern trip is now official!

    Hi guys,

    Well, it's all booked now :). Motels / Hotels along the way and rental car is booked :). Just waiting for the final day at the end of the summer to start our tour. Just want to thank you for your insights and let you know where we are going! Our plans are more detailed than outlined below but it should give a good view for fellow travelers what to do - even though we won't have that much time. Some things are optional (depending on time) some definitely are going to do. Most parks we will just drive thru without being able to do any hikes.

    Any comments, hints, etc along the route are much appreciated (Hiking, Restaurants, Sightseeing, etc.)

    Thanks again guys. I hope to be able to post a few pictures after the trip!

    Day 1-2
    LV → Grand Canyon (ca. 445km ca. 4:25hrs)
    Hoover Dam
    Drive to Grand Canyon Valley
    Hiking

    Day 3
    Grand Canyon → Mexican Hat (ca. 445km ca. 4:45hrs)
    Antelope Slot Canyon Tours: Scenic Tour
    Horseshoe Bend
    Passing through Monument Valley Navaja Tribal Park

    Day 4
    Mexican Hat → Escalante (ca. 385km ca. 4:45hrs)
    Passing through Natural Bridges National Monument
    Passing through Capital Reef National Park and Torrey

    Day 5-7
    Escalante → Zion Ntl’ Park (ca. 210km ca. 2:50hrs)
    Grand Staircase Escalante
    Badlands Escalante
    Bryce Canyon National Park
    Mt Carmel Hwy (hwy89 & hwy12)
    Coral Pink Sand Dunes
    Angels Landing Hike Zion Natl’ Park (5miles)
    The Narrows

    Day 8
    Zion Ntl’ Park → Las Vegas (ca. 256km ca. 2:40hrs)

    Day 9
    Las Vegas → Mammoth Lakes (ca. 592km ca. 6:40hrs)
    Passing through Death Valley Natl’ Park
    Badwater
    Zabraskie Point
    Dante’s View (hwy190 & hwy178)

    Day 10-12
    Mammoth Lakes → SF (ca. 420km ca. 5hrs)
    Passing through Yosemite Natl’ Park (HWY 120)
    Alcatraz
    Napa Valley

    Day 13
    SF → Santa Barbara (ca. 560km ca. 8hrs)
    Hwy 1

    Day 14-16
    Santa Barbara → LA (ca. 160km ca. 2hrs)
    Hollywood
    Beverely Hills
    Beach

    Day 17
    LA → Las Vegas (ca. 434km ca. 3:45hrs)

    Day 18
    Leaving LV

    Thanks,
    Andre
    Last edited by AZBuck; 04-25-2010 at 03:32 PM. Reason: Merged with previous posts. Please do not start multiple threads for the same trip.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Joplin MO
    Posts
    9,271

    Default

    I'm afraid that your drive times are totally unrealistic. You need to add at least 20% to all of them. By the time you get through the security checkpoint at Hoover Dam, the LV-GC drive can be a good 7 hours, for example.

  9. Default

    Ui, 20%? I calculated the routes with AAA TripTik Planner and double checked with google maps. The time is for the drive only without stopping.

    At Hoover Dam, we won't take tour. It just means, that we will go past it and stop for a few minutes. Same applies to a lot of other things.

    Are the drive times from TripTik unrealistic or did mean if we stopped we had to add 20%?
    Last edited by mitchell-goosen; 04-28-2010 at 09:21 AM.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Tucson, AZ
    Posts
    9,358

    Default Driving Without Stopping is Unrealistic

    The drive times computed by all software routines assume that you can drive at or above the speed limit without any interruption of any sort. They do not include stops for gas. They do not include stops for meals. They do not include bathroom breaks. They do not include traffic slowdowns or construction delays. They do not include just savoring the drive or pulling off for "a few minutes" at a scenic overlook. And by the way, it can take several hours to cross Hoover Dam due to truck traffic and security delays even if you do not get out of the car and/or the line of traffic. So yes, the estimates you get from AAA, Google or MapQuest are totally out of whack with real world driving times, which is why the recommendation that you add 20% to them for driving, and then add any meaningful tourist stops on top of that.

    AZBuck

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