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  1. Default 7 days from Denver

    Hi, I am planning a road trip with my family (wife and 11 year old daughter) starting in Denver mid September, driving to Las Vegas and back in 7 days, we plan to only spend 1 night in Vegas, we wish to see the best of the south west that we have time for, we are not backpackers but are on a budget as this is only part of a larger trip in the USA. I would love some suggestions for places to visit and stay, cool things to do, routes etc, to make the most of our 7 days.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
    13,064

    Default tons of options

    Welcome to the RTA Forum!

    There will certainly be no shortage of things you can do, and the real struggle could be figuring out how to narrow things down.

    I'd imagine you'd want to do a loop, so you are seeing different things both directions.

    A few of the many options would include hitting some of the national parks, more or less along I-70/I-15 like Rocky Mountain NP, Arches, Bryce, and Zion to name a few (there are several more). The other direction, you could do a more southern focus like Grand Canyon, Monument Valley, Mesa Verde, The Million Dollar Highway, Sand Dunes NP, and Pikes Peak.

    That's just a very rough outline, and with a week, you'd have to pick and choose from stops on that list, and the many others. I would recommend getting out a good map to see all of your options, and also spend some time on the national parks website to see which areas strike your interest.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    South of England.
    Posts
    10,748

    Default Vegas?

    I just thought I would ask, is Vegas a must ?

    To get to Vegas for "just a night" is going to result in having to rush through and miss some wonderful natural wonders. Of course with so much to see you are not going to be able to see and do it all anyway, that could take a lifetime ! lol. I understand the appeal of Vegas, but it will add considerable miles with limited time.

  4. Default

    Hi we are not welded to the idea of seeing Vegas as we have seen it before (a long time ago) but we just felt that seeeing as we are in the area... it might be fun to wander down the strip and get a meal at a good buffet, stay the night then get out of there. we are certainly more interested in the parks and Grand Canyon and I hear the Silverton Railroad is worth doing.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Melbourne, Australia
    Posts
    6,936

    Default Train Rides

    Quote Originally Posted by videoross View Post
    ... I hear the Silverton Railroad is worth doing.
    I loved this little train, and have hundreds of photos taken on the trip. But don't be talked in taking the bus back. Not only have you already paid for a return journey on the train, and then have to pay extra for the bus, but it was not a very interesting ride at all.

    It was warm when we left Durango.... and snowing when we got to Silverton.

    Another rail ride which is really worth taking is the Royal Gorge Train.

    Lifey

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    South of England.
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    10,748

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by videoross View Post
    Hi we are not welded to the idea of seeing Vegas as we have seen it before (a long time ago) but we just felt that seeeing as we are in the area.
    I just mentioned it as being "in the area" could be an extra 150 miles plus an extra night taken. As I mentioned I understand the appeal, but it's quite a large chunk of your time considering you only have 7 days, of which approximately half could be spent driving.

    Once you figured it out we can help to 'fine tune' what you have.

  7. Default

    Hi and thanks for the forum!!
    The rough plan so far is leave Denver early 12th September on the 70, do Arches,Bryce,Zion, stay in Vegas on the 16th, then return via North Rim, Marble Canyon, Monument valley, Durango then back in Denver afternoon 19th September, we have not decided where to stay except 1 night each in Vegas, North Rim and Durango, we could still skip Vegas subject to negotiations with wife and daughter who want to do Vegas. We could also do the reverse direction depending which works the best for time /distance, any advice would be appreciated!

  8. #8
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
    13,064

    Default

    I don't really know how you make the trip back work on your timeline.

    If you're in Vegas the 16th, you'll spend at least half of the day on the 17th driving to the north rim. Even if you left GC early on the 18th, you're looking at a 400 mile drive to Durango, and from Durango to Denver is another 400 miles mostly on 2 lane mountain roads where you'd have to leave first thing in the morning to make it there in the mid-afternoon.

    I don't know how you'd have time to squeeze in Marble Canyon, Monument Valley, or Silverton on that schedule. Reversing things really wouldn't help much either, since you'd be just as rushed trying to fit in Zion/Bryce/Arches on that timeline.

    Basically Zion to Vegas to North Rim is going to require quite a bit of backtracking no matter how you do it.

    What I could possibly see you doing it Reversing your trip, going towards Durango first, and hit Zion on your way from the North Rim to Vegas. Then on the way back, skip Bryce, and just make a stop at Arches on your way back to Denver.

    Even that is going to be pretty rushed, and even with skipping Bryce, I'm not sure you could fit everything into your timeline, but that's an idea I'd take a look at.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Melbourne, Australia
    Posts
    6,936

    Default

    You need to take into account that the Durango-Silverton train is almost a full day, there and back. The Royal Gorge Train is a two hour return journey.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    South of England.
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    Default

    As it is at the moment I would be looking at Moab/Arches for night 1 and carry on to Bryce/Zion and visit the North rim at this stage. You will really need 3 nights to visit all 3 parks or it's gonna be rushed anyway. [You could opt to drive to from the North rim to Vegas and have a quick stop at Zion on route, but not what I would recommend]. That will put you in Vegas on the 16th, but you would have already visited the North rim. Head South past Hoover dam to I40 to Flagstaff and north on 89 to 160. You could make it a long day and head to Cortez/Durango or stop at Monument valley on 163. That leaves you 2 days to get home, from whatever start point, you could head North on US550 [very scenic 'Million dollar highway'] through the lovely mountain towns of Silverton and Ouray to Montrose and East on US50 past Black canyon and through the Currecanti Nat rec area and over Monarch pass. From Gunnison [for example] you would have a 200 mile trip home.

    As you can see from the posts above as well, your itinerary is going to be pretty packed and certain bit's are going to have to give, only you can decide what.

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