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  1. #1

    Default Denver, Native America, Yellowstone, Grand Canyon, Monument Valley Loop - Possible?

    Hi fellow roadtripping folks,

    We're planning on heading back to the states - as yet dates not finalised (depending on airfares) but am hoping to pick your brains on intended (very loose at this stage) route for late August / early September (the alternative is July 2012) and probably travelling for 19/20 days.

    We are 4 adults and a teenager at at present thinking about hiring an RV. We are most likely going to be flying in to Denver and (due to one way drop fees) probably flying out of there too. So we want to do a loup and definately want to hit Yellowstone and possibly the Grand Canyon via Hoover Dam. We are first of all interested in seeing some spectacular scenery, and also very much interested in travelling to areas of historical Native American / pioneer significance - such as the Big Horn area. We also have to factor in some fishing - any advice on good spots and how to go about getting licences / information would be very much appreciated (My dad and brother live and breathe fishing here in Ireland so this is a really important part of the trip). We won't be able to bring gear with us - can it be hired or do you think we will have to hire a guide - we're going to be on a budget and a quick look on the internet indicates guide hiring isn't cheap - any suggestions?

    We really don't want to be driving for more than 3 hours a day if at all possible as we'd like to be getting out and looking around a bit. A bit of hiking would be good too and maybe some canoeing / kayaking?
    I've done a rough map on google and the main points are as follows:
    Denver International Airport > Scotts Bluff, NE
    Scotts Bluff > Big Horn, WY (via Fort Laramie, WY)
    Big Horn > Hardin, MT / Billings, MT
    Hardin, MT / Billings, MT > Yellowstone NP - through Gardiner at this stage
    Yellowstone > Grand Teton NP, Jackson, WY

    Now it gets sketchy... From Grand Teton to Hoover Dam
    Hoover Dam > Grand Canyon
    Grand Canyon > Lake Powell
    Lake Powell > Monument Valley / Four Corners
    And back to Denver.

    Questions: Is this going to be possible in 19/20 days in an RV?
    We will also consider hiring an SUV type vehicle and doing a mix of camping and cheap accommodation (although gear is again a problem, but this could be bought / hired when we get there) - RV cost for 19 nights for these dates (29th August - 17th September) is working out just under 4000USD, not counting gas but including mileage.

    Do you have alternative suggestions along this loose route?

    Would you recommend doing this September or July?

    Any ideas on fuels costs for an RV around this type of trip?

    Any 'Don't miss' suggestions? Where would you spoend a couple of days on this route?

    What would you cut if you had to?

    I also read on here about the Mountain Men Rendevous - this would definately be something we'd be interested in seeing. I've been to the states many times - but for 3 of our party this may be the first and last time so I really want to make it as memorable as possible for them.

    I am grateful for all and any advice.


  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    South of England.

    Default 'Bit's and piece's'.

    Hello and welcome back to the RTA forums !

    Your trip is certainly doable in the time you have, but it will add up to 3 hours or more of driving every day by the time you add on all the little detours. You will most likely appreciate a day here and there of no driving and just relaxing so that would add driving time to other days.

    I would opt for September, but early in the month, winter can come early to Yellowstone.

    Expect to get 9/10mpg from an RV or close to 300 gallons of fuel for your trip. If it were $4 per gallon you are looking at $1200.

    Rocky mountain NP would be my first not to miss right out of Denver, but then again right around your route there are an endless amount of options. After the Tetons you could stop in Zion NP and from Monument valley you could stop at Arches NP and Canyonlands in Utah, but like I say I could go on, have a look around the forums and you will find lots of info.

    Once you have done some more research and other questions come up, just ask away !

    If you are considering renting from Cruise America in Denver make sure you check out there 'Hot deals' page, they often have free nights or mileage offers etc if you quote the reference number..

  3. #3


    Thanks for your quick response Southwest Dave!

    I should say that I don't really mind driving for more than 3 hours a day if it's broken up - but 3 hours all at once is what I want to try to avoid wherever possible. But yeah, would love a day or two off here and there.

    Thanks for tip on Rocky Mountain NP - will have a look at that and Zion NP (I may have actually been there before) - if I did Zion NP, do you think I should cut the Hoover Dam and just head for Grand Canyon? Is the Hoover Dam worth going so far out of the way for?

    I am lucky enough to have been to Arches and Canyonlands and loved them - also loved Canyon de Chelly too - and would love to get to these if possible. Will definately be doing some more hunting about here on the forums for ideas, but am glad to have as much input as I can get in an attempt to narrow down or focus on different areas - there's just so much to see, as you say.

    Thanks for the tip on Cruise America - the price I had was from 'Road Bear', but will check out Cruise America and see how it compares.

    I'll be back with more questions as I have them.

    Thanks again.

  4. Default

    if I did Zion NP, do you think I should cut the Hoover Dam and just head for Grand Canyon? Is the Hoover Dam worth going so far out of the way for?
    You might consider doing the Glen Canyon Dam instead of the Hoover Dam. If you skip Hoover Dam, you can go directly to Zion, then Lake Powell which is where you find the Glen Canyon Dam, then Grand Canyon and Monument Valley.

    I'd give up the Hoover Dam for Zion any day ;)


  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2009
    SF Bay Area


    The Navajo are your best bet to get close to Native American culture (albeit not all that close); at either Monument Valley and/or Canyon de Chelley (sp?). Take a guided tour; as both these sights on on the reservation, only Navajos are allowed to guide tourists.

    Demonstration inside Navajo Hogan on Goulding's Monument Valley tour

    Photo: Don Casey

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    South of England.

    Default Or.....

    I am lucky enough to have been to Arches and Canyonlands and loved them - also loved Canyon de Chelly too - and would love to get to these if possible.
    Always worth another visit ! However if you went from Four corners to Durango, [ Mesa Verde NP [?] you could drive up the spectacular Million dollar highway through the lovely mountain towns of Silverton and Ouray and head East on US50 past Black canyon and the Curecanti rec area and over Monarch pass. When you get to Poncha springs you have another load of options !

  7. #7


    Hi Roadtrippers,
    Sorry about delay getting back here - I think I did respond but my internet connection dropped out at the time. We couldn't actually make it this year after all, so now the plan is for July next year. Is this going to be crazy in an RV as it's so busy? Maybe better going for the SUV and cheap accommodation/camping option?

    Thanks Dave for your suggestions - I will have a closer look at these - sounds great!

  8. #8
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin


    I traveled to many of the areas you are talking about this past July, and I was actually surprised about how little I was bothered by crowds.

    You'll probably want to make reservations at very high demand areas like Yellowstone (that was the only stop where I made them) but I wouldn't stop that from letting you take the trip - or even take the RV if that's the trip that sounds best to you. Afterall, in the worst case with an RV, you could always find a legal place to park for the night and boondock (sleep in the rv without using any hookup/slideouts/etc).

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