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  1. Default HELP US!! Roadtrip to SF, LA, Gand Canyon, Yellowstone, Las Vegas, Yosemite

    Hi, and thanks for a great forum.

    My girlfriend and I are planning a roadtrip to the U.S. in August 2010 for 28 days. We come from Denmark, which is not a big country, why we are not accustomed to large distances. We have tried to make a suggestion for a route, on which we would like to have your comments. We want to hear if you would assess whether the program is realistic in relation to the time we have? You are welcome to make suggestions for changes, if there are better places to visit, than those we have chosen. And we would also like to hear whether we have reserved enough time for the different places. Perhaps you would recommend to delete some of the places in order to have more time elsewhere?

    16. aug Arrive in San Francisco in the evening (rest)
    17. aug San Francisco
    18. aug San Francisco
    19. aug Drive along Highway to Santa Barbara where we spend the night
    20. aug Arrive early in LA
    21. aug LA
    22. aug LA, Universal Studios
    23. aug Drive through ”Calico” and along Rute 66 to Lauglin where we spend the night.
    24. aug Drive early from Lauglin to Grand Canyon – arrive at lunch
    25. aug We spend the morning in Gran Canyon before we drive to Mesa Verde past
    Monument Valley
    26. aug We spend the day in Mesa Verde to see the Indian village in the caves before
    going to Moab to spend the night.
    27. aug. We spend the day in Moab, where Arches and Canyonlands is.
    28. aug. We take a long drive up to Yellowstone with one stop on the way to sleep.
    29. aug. We drive to Teton to spend the night
    30. aug. We spend the whole day in Yellowstone and spend the night in the park.
    31. aug. We spend the whole day in Yellowstone and spend the night in the park.
    01. sep. We spend the whole day in Yellowstone and spend the night in the park.
    02. sep. Drive early through Yellowstone to Grand Teton where we spend the nigt.
    03. sep. We are driving south and have one stop to sleep on the way to Bryce Canyon.
    04. sep. Arrive at Bryce Canyon
    05. sep. Drive to Las Vegas through Zion, to make sure we arrive in Las Vegas at night to
    be able to see the lights on the way.
    6. sep. Las Vegas
    07. sep. Las Vegas
    08. sep. Drive to Yosemite through Death Valley, we spend the night outside Yosemite, it
    could be in Bishop or Visalia
    09. sep. The whole day in Yosemite, in the area with the big trees before we drive to the
    cabbins placed further into to park.
    10. sep. Yosemite.
    11. sep. Yosemite before we drive to San Francisco in the afternoon to spend the night at a
    hotel in the airport.
    12. sep. Leave San Francisco at 5 pm (aftenoon) to go back to Denmark.

    One of our biggest problems is the trip from Moab to Teton and return from Teton to Bryce. We'd like to know if there is anything on the route we should stop and see, or we should take the trip in 13 hours in one strike? If we take the trip without stopping to sleep we get 2 extra nights which we could use in places you might think is better.

    We hope that you will give us some feedback on our trip.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Western/Central Massachusetts

    Default Welcome!

    Welcome to the RoadTrip America Forum!

    One thing that strikes out at me is going to the National Parks and staying within their boundaries during their busiest time of year. If you do not have reservations in these places I would highly recommend you get them as they can fill up quickly, especially if you are planning on staying in the lodges (you may already be too late).

    We generally recommend against trying to drive more than 500 miles in one day, and multiple days of doing that can really eat into the fun of a trip.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    South of England.

    Default Busy in places.

    Hello and welcome,

    You certainly would be advised booking NP's as soon as possible [some booking windows may not yet be open] as they get very busy and with your busy schedule you really haven't got a lot of time in some cases to detour to far and add travel time. Some of the parks can take a couple of hours just to drive into. For instance in Moab where you have a day, you won't even have time to see all of Arches and the road into Canyonlands "Island in the sky section" is over 30 miles each way if memory serves me correctly. Zion is an amazing park and you could easily spend a couple of days there but if you realise your trip is going to be on the go all the time it is doable. You can go to for all the info on each park and as you are visiting a few I would purchase the $80 annual pass from the first one you visit, it will save you money over individual fees.

    Having glanced over itinerary I am wondering if you could save some time and miles by doing all the Southern half of your trip in one portion and the Northern half in another. By that I mean that when you head towards GC, Vegas, Zion and Bryce are all close by and hitting these spots then will save you going from Moab to Yellowstone and then all the way back to Bryce and Vegas, instead you could cut across to Yosemite and back to SF.

  4. Default Long distance

    Mass Tim:
    We know that we very soon have to book our lodges if we want to stay inside the NP (Yosemite, Yellowstone and Grand Canyon) and we will do this as soon as we have the exact route but we already know that the most populare an cheap lodges already are gone but we are ready to pay the price fore lodging in the NP. We also know that the trip up to and back from yellowstone will be at killer-drive but we are running out of days with so many things to see. Is it possible to drive from Moab to Teton one one day or can enyone already tell us now that itīs impossible?? If we know before we leave that we have to take two killer-drives on our trip but in the other hand gets an extra day or two i Vegas or so I think we can pull our selves together those two days.

    Southwest Dave:
    interesting idea but if we drive SF - LA - GC - LV -Moab and then up to yellowstone, then we have to cut of Monument Valley, Mesa Verde an Death Valley donīt we? And the drive from yellowstone to Yosemite is very long when I look at the map. Are there any must-see atractions on that route? I have not done any research on that area?

    We have also considered to leave the U.S from denver but again we dont have time to get around Devils Tower and Mt. Rushmore unless we sacrifice the NP i Utah. We then have to take a longe drive up to Yellowstone an then a long drive to Denver. And we also have to pay af oneway fee on our carrental (300 USD).

    We have realy tryed to place many needles on a map to get the most out our days, so itīs great with some new eyes.

    Does anyone have a suggestion on what to see and where to sleep on our way up to and back from Yellowstone if we donīt decide to take at very long drive both ways?

    And again does anyone suggest that we sacrifice something else on the route because we want to see Yellowstone?

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Joplin MO


    At the beginning of the trip, it's going to be rushed trying to go from SF all the way to Santa Barbara in one day via the coast road. I would look at options to spread this out a bit.

    I don't think you will have a problem with Yellowstone - you could cut out one day there and still see a lot.

    If you stick to the Interstate highways as much as possible, it IS possible to drive from Moab to Jackson in one day - and drive from Jackson to Bryce. If you must do it, do it, leave at dawn and switch drivers about every 3 hours. In August, you should have at least 14 hours of daylight.

    On the way from Moab to Yellowstone, you could look at leaving Moab late in the afternoon and going part way - stopping at Green River, Price, or Provo - or leave Moab early in the morning and driving to Idaho Falls for the night, then heading in early the next morning. On the way back, you could also look at leaving in the afternoon and making it to Idaho Falls - or leaving early and making it to Salina or Richfield, then into Bryce in the morning.

  6. Default Clockwise/unclockwise

    Thanks for the feadback. I have a couple of questions:

    You say that I have to stick to the interstate highways. Does that mean that I have to enter Teton from the west, pasing Salt Lake city on the way. When I was plotting the route in googlemaps it sayed that I should inter Teton from the east.. Is it because of the smaller roads that you sugest that I take the west entrance to teton eventhough the route seems longer?

    Something else. I have now read al lot of treads about SF, Yosemite and Las Vegas and I am in doubt how we should drive the route?? Are we driving it the wrong way round?? Should we start from SF to Yosemite to Las Vegas and so on, because the scenic i better driving down the 395 from Yosemite. We will be driving up the 395, but are we getting the same out it driving north that way?

    I only desided to go unclockwise because I have heard that you must travel south on highway 1 to get the best view? Pleas tell me if I an planning my route the wrong way round??

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Joplin MO


    There is no "wrong way around" anywhere, but yes, driving the coast road is better in a southerly direction. For the rest of the trip, direction doesn't really matter.

    I just optimized my mapping software for fastest route, and from Moab to Teton, it suggests this:

    US-191 N to I-70 W to US-191 N to US-6 W to I-15 N to US-26 E to ID-31 E to ID-33/WY-22 E to US-189 N. This is 560 miles, and is about a 12 hour drive. This is the south entrance to Teton, you will go through the town of Jackson.

    To get back to Bryce, retrace your steps, but do not get off I-15 at US-6, continue south to UT-20 (exit 95) and take that to US-89. This is 590 miles and should also take about 12 hours.

    Again, this is the *fastest* route, not necessarily the shortest or most scenic.

  8. Default

    No, Moab to Grand Tetons is not a one-day trip. Even if you did this marathon drive in one great swoop, you'd be so exhausted the next day that you'd sleep away that "extra day" that you'd gain.

    We went the other direction -- I can't remember road names and am just about to give up and go to bed, so I'm not consulting the atlas -- but we went from the Grand Tetons through Salt Lake City and into Las Vegas. What terrible roads they have from the Tetons to Salt Lake city. It really was the worst part of our entire three-week trip. Although it wasn't the longest drive we made, it was the only one that I minded.

    The moral: This is not a one-day drive.

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