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  1. Default Please help with 5 days of NPs from Vegas to LA (Zion/Bryce/Death Valley/Joshu Tree)

    Hi everyone (from a newbie poster!)

    Im doing a short roadtrip from Las Vegas to LA, and was looking for some pointers. Apologies for any obvious failings Im from the UK and this is a last minute trip (Im 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).

    Im travelling on my own and so dont really have a major interest in spending time in Vegas, unless its 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 dont mind doing lots of driving preferably around midday or after sunset though, so i dont miss out on any sunrise/sunsets/dawn/dusk! I also dont mind cramming a lot in but definitely want to do some short hikes (like a couple of 0.51hr 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 dont have to drive there (I could circle back to Vegas and fly from there its 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 youd recommend camping (or not camping)? I don't have financially, but I quite like to in nice spots.

    Any thoughts gratefully received!


  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin


    Are you coming in from the UK at 730 pm? If so trying to drive to either Death Valley or Zion is a very bad idea. I'd going to be well after 9pm by the time you get through customs and get a car. Throw in the fact that you'll have already been up for nearly 24 hours, and your body clock will think it is the dead of the night, and trying to drive several hours is a very bad, and quite likely deadly idea.

    I'd say in general you've got a few other bad ideas in your attempt to do too much in too little time. The biggest is trying to do many of your drives "after sunset." First, you'll be missing the views in some remarkable territory, but in some cases its just not reasonable. Bryce to Vegas, for example, is a half day drive that will take about 5 hours. That's not something you start after a full day of exploration, and certainly wouldn't put you in a good position to try to get up early the next day to drive to death valley.Similarly, the idea that you'd leave Zion after dark, drive 2 hours, and then find a place to set up camp also isn't realistic.

    You can certainly do a trip through this area with the time you have, but you'll either have to trim back on the time you are spending - and really just do a quick overview - or trim out a stop or two.

    I will say I would drive to LA, as it would be quite a bit faster to drive from any of the parks in California you've mentioned to LA than it would be to drive back to Vegas and then try to fly.

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