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  1. Default Driving from Toronto to Southwest US

    Hi all,

    I came upon your great website by accident and have spent many hours sifting through the mind-boggling amount of information available.

    My wife and I are planning a driving trip from Toronto, Canada to the southwest USA. Our 70 lb dog will be accompanying us on the trip. We have done a trip of this length before with our previous dog, diving across the Canadian prairies and on to The Northwest Territories, the Yukon and parts of Alaska so the distance is not a deterrent. We drive a four-wheel- drive vehicle and during this trip drove the Dempster Hwy, 736km of dirt road each way. We tend to be quite flexible in our travels and often change our plans as the moment dictates to take the road less travelled. Having said that there is still a lot of pre-trip planning that goes into our excursions.

    Our trip will begin around April 13 and we expect to return home approx May 16. This will include a few days in Las Vegas as a hub for some day excursions. We have flown in and done this previously. Then on to Taos arriving April 25 where we will stay for 10 nights. While my wife participates in a painting workshop the dog and I will explore the area, driving, hiking and geocaching.

    Since we live in a large city, cities tend to be low on our list of priorities and we prefer hiking and nature.

    Any help and/or suggestions as to routes and must-see attractions are much appreciated.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tucson, AZ

    Default Very, Very Generally

    Welcome aboard the RoadTrip America Forums!

    With that much time and so few restrictions on your travels, it's tough to offer much specific advice, and as you may have noticed in your perusal of these pages, "Must see" is simply a term that has no credence here. It is much too personal a judgement. That said, I will offer some relatively general hints that should help you plan out a rough itinerary. First, of course, plan a completely different set of routes westbound and eastbound to maximize the new ground that you can cover and explore.

    Your route west will most likely follow I-80 for the most part. Past Omaha, this closely follows the North Platte River and the old Oregon Trail. While not well known, it is a fact that most of the pioneers who crossed the continent on this and other famous trails did so on foot. There were simply more important things to load up the wagons with than a few hundred pounds of people. There are places where the wagon ruts are still worn into the prairie soil. Seek them out and walk in their footsteps. Once into Colorado, there are great parks like Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado National Monument and several national forests, all with great hiking trails most of which allow dogs on a leash. In Utah, Arches, Bryce Canyon and Zion are just a few of the many spectacular national parks at your disposal. All of the above listed pars are near Interstate highways, but there is no need to use such roads exclusively, or even mainly. In almost every case, the 'old' US highway that was superceded by the Interstate is still out there and has been relieved of carrying most of the traffic making them a wonderful alternative. Just some examples US-30 across Nebraska parallels I-80, US-6 runs beside I-70 through much of Colorado, although the former roadway now carries state or county designations, and in Utah UT-24/UT-12 offer a relaxed alternative to I-10/I-15 between Arches and Bryce Canyon.

    On the way home, I'd suggest heading east from the Grand Canyon to the Petrifi8ed Forest, then north by Canyon de Chelley to Monument Valley and Mesa Verde before following US-160/US-84/US-64 down to Taos. From there head up through Walsenburg and La Junta to US-400 east across the plains to the Ozarks of southwestern Missouri. Then US-60 through Missouri and Cairo, IL to the Land Between the Lakes and Mammoth Cave in Kentucky. Finally, follow either the Ohio River or the Appalachian Mountains up through the forests of western Pennsylvania and back to Toronto by way of Niagara Falls.

    As I said, that's just a rough outline for a month's round trip between Toronto and Las Vegas, but should give you a starting point and a number of ideas that you can use to refine and define your own trip.


  3. Default

    Thanks for the input. I am looking at your suggestions.

    Do you have any comments on going across the lower part of Wyoming and on to Salt Lake City and then to Las Vegas versus going through Denver?

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Joplin MO


    Yes. I-70 through CO and UT is one of the most scenic Interstates in the country. There really is nowhere near as much to see on I-80 in WY. It's also 175 miles shorter and will cut at least 3 hours off the trip.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin

    Default huh?

    Quote Originally Posted by glc View Post
    It's also 175 miles shorter and will cut at least 3 hours off the trip.
    I think somewhere along the way your mapping program seriously led you astray here!

    The difference between taking I-15/I-80 via Salt Lake City and I-70/I-76 via Denver is less than 50 miles. Taking I-70 may save a little time, but it's not going to be 3 hours of difference.

    For the scenic aspects, I-70 through Colorado is widely considered to be one of the most scenic stretches of freeway in the world, and it's a great choice.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Joplin MO


    I was measuring from Denver to LV - taking I-25 north out of Denver to I-80. You are correct from say, Omaha to LV - then it's only a 50 mile difference, an hour at the most. I partially misread the question.

    The only downsides to taking I-70 are getting through Denver (not too bad except in rush hour), and there's a 108 mile stretch in Utah between Green River and Salina with no services whatsoever. That stretch is also one of the very few places I've ever driven on an Interstate highway with very little cellphone service.

  7. Default

    Thanks for all the input.
    What do you think about taking highway 2 from Grand Island to pass through the Sandhills? Worth it for the extra time it would take>

  8. Default

    Refining our trip a bit.

    For the portion of the trip from Denver to Las Vegas, I was wondering what part of I-70 or 6 is the most scenic and worth not missing. I was planning to leave it and take some of the smaller roads as follows:

    I-70 ==> 141 ==> 90/46 ==> 191 stay in Moab 1 night


    I-70 ==> 128 ==> stay in Moab 1night


    191 ==> 95 ==> 24 ==> 12 ==> 89 ==> 9 ==> I-15 to Las Vegas staying 1 night somewhere along the way.

    We would be staying in motels and not camping.
    Are these roads driveable at this time of year?

    Thanks again for any input.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    South of England.


    How long have you got to spare for the trip between Denver and Vegas, just 2 nights ? If you have just the one night stay in Moab before moving on, I would use the more direct 128 route through Castle valley and try and get a little time at Arches NP. Your other alternative is quite a time consuming detour. If you take the 24/ UT scenic 12 route from Moab, I would spend a night at Bryce canyon [Rubys Inn?] and visit Zion NP on route to Vegas.

  10. Default

    Leaving Toronto early Wed morning April 13. I'm thinking 3 days driving to Denver or thereabouts.
    Make our way to Vegas to arrive Mon 18th or Tues 19th.
    Stay a few days to visit with family and a few day trips, such as Red Rock Canyon, Death Valley, Mt. Chaleston etc
    Then make our way to Taos to arrive Mon 25th and staying there 10 nights.
    Then make our way home for the 16th or 17th of May.
    Stay in Taos is a must and need to be home for an appointment May 18th.

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