Hi everyone (from a newbie poster!)
I’m doing a short roadtrip from Las Vegas to LA, and was looking for some pointers. Apologies for any obvious failings – I’m from the UK and this is a last minute trip (I’m being sent to LA for a conference, but have decided to tag on a bit of a side-trip to make the most of it).
I’m travelling on my own and so don’t really have a major interest in spending time in Vegas, unless it’s convenient to spend a night whilst getting from A to B. In any case, I will go back to Vegas another time with the girlfriend to do a trip to the Grand Canyon (she has forbidden me from going to the GC this time as she is desperate to go!).
What I do want to do is check out some of the NPs in/around Vegas and LA. Of particular interest are Bryce and Zion, Death Valley, Mojave (though not really a NP?) and Joshua Tree. Am I missing anything (excluding GC, Hoover dam, and the canyonlands east/N.E of GC)?
I have 5 full days plus a bit extra. I don’t mind doing lots of driving – preferably around midday or after sunset though, so i don’t miss out on any sunrise/sunsets/dawn/dusk! I also don’t mind cramming a lot in but definitely want to do some short hikes (like a couple of 0.5–1hr trails) at each place. Probably do the scenic routes with lots of stops to wander around and take photos.
So, I arrive in Vegas on Friday 25 March at about 1930 and need to get to LA by 4pm on Thursday 31 March. I don’t have to drive there (I could circle back to Vegas and fly from there – it’s only $50!), but they are the start/end points.
I was thinking something along the lines of:
Friday 25 March – 7.30pm – arrive Vegas, pick up rental, drive to Zion, spend night in Zion.
Saturday 26 March – Day in Zion, then drive to Bryce after sunset, camp in Bryce.
Sunday 27 March – Day in Bryce, then drive to Vegas after sunset, spend night in Vegas.
Monday 28 March – Drive to Death Valley first thing (northern end) and work way down. Camp in DV.
Tuesday 29 March – morning in DV, afternoon in Mojave. Camp in Mojave.
Wednesday 30 March – morning in Mojave, drive to Joshua Tree, afternoon and camp night in JT.
Thursday 31 March – morning in JT, and leave for LA around 12pm.
I appreciate that this all looks a bit manic! One thing I considered is maybe just driving through Mojave on the way to Joshua Tree (the landscape and predominance of the JTs looks more stunning at the NP)? That would mean I could have an extra day somewhere or extra half day at a couple of places…
Alternatively, this way around would save driving from JT to LA:
Friday – 7.30pm – drive to Death Valley
Saturday – Full day in DV
Sunday – morning in DV, then drive through Mojave to Joshua Tree, night in JT.
Monday – day in Joshua Tree, then drive to Vegas after sunset, night in Vegas.
Tuesday – Drive to Zion first thing and full day there.
Wednesday – Morning in Zion, drive to and rest of day in Bryce.
Thursday – Drive to Vegas after sunrise and fly to LA.
Okay, so am I crazy? (rhetorical question!)
Am i overlooking something/somewhere, or spending too much time somewhere (apart from the car!)! Is there a better route?
Is there anywhere you’d recommend camping (or not camping)? I don't have financially, but I quite like to in nice spots.
Any thoughts gratefully received!