I'm planning a trip from Chicago, to San Francisco, to Los Angeles, and back to Chicago right now. From what I've read some places nearby to check-out (besides the usual places in the cities) would be Sequoia NP, Death Valley, Yosemite, and Grand Canyon (I know it's a little further out from LA, but I've never been there). What else would be good to include? How much time would each need? I've got anywhere from 2-3 weeks for this trip. I haven't gotten my summer schedule yet, but I'm getting it this month and wanted to start picking sites early.
And how pet friendly are they all? I may be able to get my sister to watch my dog, but I'd rather take him along if possible.
Hello and welcome to the RTA forums !
You will find much info by looking around the forums and other RTA planning tools in the tool bars above, you certainly have no shortage of options. Taking a different route each way makes most sense and heading through Colorado and Utah one way where you could include the likes of Rocky mountain NP, Arches, Canyonlands, Zion, Bryce canyon and Yosemite for starters and on the way back via Death valley, Grand canyon, Monument valley, Four corners etc, but you will have to pick and choose to suit your available time and how long you want to stay in those places on your list. A couple of days at places like Yosemite and Grand canyon will give you a good overview but you could spend a week there.
I think you will be looking at a 3 week trip as it will be around a 5000 mile trip, or 10 full days of driving. Look around and as you build your trip and get some dots on the map we can help you to fill in the blanks.
Have a look at nps.gov for dog policies at each park you will be visiting and any other info you may need. If you are visiting 4 or more major parks you may as well purchase an annual pass for $80 as it will work out cheaper than paying individually.
I've sort of revised my plan a little and here is what I'm thinking of:
Day 1: Chicago to Omaha (467 mi)
Day 2: Omaha to Cheyenne (494 mi)
Day 3: Cheyenne to Salt Lake City (439 mi)
Day 4: Salt Lake City to Reno (519 mi)
Day 5: Reno to San Francisco (218 mi) and spend the rest of the day in San Francisco
Day 6: San Francisco to Yosemite (189 mi) and spend rest of day in Yosemite
Day 7: Spend day in Yosemite
Day 8: Morning/Early Afternoon in Yosemite and then Yosemite to San Francisco (191 mi)
Day 9: Spend day in San Fransisco
Day 10: San Fransisco to Big Sur (143 mi) via Route 1 and spend rest of day in Big Sur
Day 11: Big Sur to Los Angeles (305 mi) and spend rest of day in Los Angeles
Day 12: Spend Day in Los Angeles
Day 13: Los Angeles to Sequoia National Forest (203 mi) and spend rest of day in Sequoia
Day 14: Sequoia to Death Valley (250 mi)
Day 15: Spend Day in Death Valley
Day 16: Death Valley to Grand Canyon (432 mi)
Day 17: Spend Day in Grand Canyon
Day 18: Grand Canyon to Alamosa (463 mi)
Day 19: Alamosa to North Platte (497 mi)
Day 20: North Platte to Des Moines (411 mi)
Day 21: Des Moines to Chicago (334 mi)
It comes out exactly at 3 weeks, so I would need to do a lot of readjusting if I only have 2 weeks.
But anyways, is this a decent plan? Anything I should add/remove?
Last edited by corgitripper; 01-12-2011 at 05:17 PM.
Near the limit.
It all looks perfectly doable as long as you are prepared for fairly long days on the road and keeping on the move.
Is there a particular reason why you are going from Reno to SF to Yosemite and back to SF ?
It will add almost 200 miles to your trip when you could drive down 395 and across CA120, the spectacular Tioga pass into Yosemite and then to SF.
I actually don't know why I thought that was a good idea. Your suggestion makes a whole lot more sense. Thanks!
Although it won't take you over the Tioga Pass, I'd go from Reno to Death Valley to Sequoia to Yosemite, then to SF. It's a lot more efficient this way. Then you can go from LA direct to the GC.
Just for sake of Variety, on your trip home, rather than going all the way back up to I-80 and retracing your trip west, I'd look at going back east either by taking I-70 across Kansas and Missouri, or follow the path of old Route 66, buy taking I-40, I-44, and I-55.
I just had too !
Apologies, but it's raining out and I'm a little bored on my day off !
Using the following criteria, Death valley = Furnace creek; Sequoia NP = drive of 198/180 around park from Visalia to Fresno I came up with the following. I knew it would be a close call but it started to niggle me. Lol
Reno > Yosemite > Sequoia > SF > LA > DV > GC 1850 miles shortest route by 2 hours and you get Tioga pass !
Reno > Yosemite > SF > LA > Sequoia > DV > GC takes the same amount of time as glc's suggestion above and is slightly shorter in distance, but once again you get to drive Tioga pass which in my opinion is a big part of the Yosemite experience.
You have time in Yosemite to actually drive up to Tioga pass if you decide to head to Death valley first, but that would of course add to time. All are viable and in the real world away from computers the difference wouldn't be noticeable, but boy I love the Tioga pass ! [could you tell ;-) ]
Gee, I need to get out more !
Would taking I-70 or the path of Route 66 add any extra time to the trip? Or at least more that 1-2 hours? Because I'm pretty sure 21 days is all I can fit into my break.
Hm, I'll have to think about whether to take the Tioga Pass or not. It sounds (and looks from the pictures I've seen) beautiful and I'd love to see it.
I-70 would be an excellent option. In western NE, take I-76 to Denver, then get on I-70. In Salina UT, get on US-50 and take that (the "Loneliest Road") to Reno. I-70 through Colorado and Utah is a lot more scenic than I-80 through Wyoming. This adds about 90 miles to the trip, and shouldn't add more than 3 hours or so. It would require some adjustments to your overnight stops - I'd look at York NE, Glenwood Springs CO, and Ely NV.
If you want to follow Route 66, the best way to do that would be on the way back instead of going up through Colorado. This can be done in 3 fairly long days if necessary from the Grand Canyon, stopping in Santa Rosa NM and Joplin MO.