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  1. Default Lone Pine-Yosemite-Grand Tetons-Yellowstone-Glacier in 25 days?

    Hello everybody, I'm Marc from Spain, first post here; wonderful site BTW ...

    So, I'm planning the above road trip for august next year ... It'd be my second road trip to the USA, as I already did LA-Grand Canyon-Monument Valley-Las Vegas-San Luis Obispo and up the Pacific Coast Highway to San Francisco back in '98 ...

    I have this rough schedule, which basically would be to spend two days in the Lone Pine area, three-four days in Yosemite, another three days to make it to the Grand Tetons (w/ stops in Winnemucca, Twin Falls and Jackson), two-three days for the Grand Tetons, four-five days for Yellowstone, two-day drive to Glacier (w/ stop in Helena?) and maybe three days in Glacier Park ...

    But I need a lot of advice, for one thing I don't know if I should skip the Lone Pine part, I wanted to go there mainly because I'm a huge fan of the western-genre movies and so many classic westerns were shot there; also because of the Mt. Whitney scenery ... Anyway, it's really worth going there? ... On the other hand, maybe trying to get up to Glacier means too much driving overall (like 1,800 miles or more), so it'd be better to finish the trip at Yellowstone? ... And I noticed that on the Nevada part of the trip some areas, specially between Wells and Twin Falls, are pretty much deserted, looks like there's nothing but desert out there, so maybe there's and alternate route, more "scenic" if longer? ...

    Also, regarding each park individually, I'd like to hear some advice on how many days would be consider a minimum (that is, not to miss the unmissable things), and what my plan for each of these days should be, considering I'll be doing this trip with my wife and our six-year old son, which means driving times should be reasonable and only limited hiking would be possible ...

    And finally, I'd really appreciate any suggestions for affordable stays in or ouside the parks (what I've seen so far looks pretty expensive to me) and possible attractions for the stops (I guess Shoshone Falls is a must when in Twin Falls, for instance) ...

    I'm really looking forward for this trip, many thanks in advance for your help ...

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Melbourne, Australia
    Posts
    6,936

    Default Lots of time with little driving.

    Hi Marc, and Welcome to the Great American RoadTrip Forum.

    With 25 days, you have enough time to visit all those places with a minimum of driving. At under 2000 miles, you are looking at less than four of your 25 days, driving. But you do not say if this is a one way trip, or a loop. And where will you be flying into? These little details can make a big difference in the advice we are able to give.

    Why skip the Lone Pine part of your trip, if it something you are interested in seeing? The best things to see on a roadtrip are the things you are interested in. And since that is an individual choice, we do not believe in bests and must sees. But when in the trip you go there all depends on where this trip starts. Shosone Falls are at their best in spring. But even in August there can still be a lot of water going over them. And they are higher than Niagara.

    A more scenic route through Nevada would be US50 from Carson City to Eureka NV. whence 278 will take you back up to I-80 near Elko. And even 93 up to Twin Falls, has a beauty all its own. I take it that you have maps of the US. If you do, you may note that all scenic routes are marked on them. If you don't have any, I recommend you purchase some of the relevant states, or a road atlas.

    Of course we all have different opinions on how long to spend in each NP. Some are satisfied with a drive through, others can't get enough staying for a week. You will have to make the decision of how long to stay on the interests of your family and the time you have available. Suffice to say, that I would definitely make the major NPs multiple day visits. And when in the parks, be sure that your son takes part in the Junior Ranger program. It helps children appreciate the beauty of the parks, and adds an extra interest for them. You might also check out Beartooth Highway and Beartooth Pass as a route on which to leave Yellowstone NP.

    If you want to stay inside the parks, you will need to book early. And yes, it is more expensive, but so is the fuel driving in and out of the parks. And especially at Yellowstone, you are not going to get any budget accommodation close to the park.

    Enjoy the planning.

    Lifey

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

    Default

    As Lifey mentioned, your start and finish points would help in what advice you receive. Is it a loop or a one way trip ? The National parks have plenty of short walks for the family to enjoy and to get info on each park you should visit the National parks website. Around the Lone Pine/Yosemite region you have Death valley [although very hot it's worth driving through from Vegas for instance] and Sequoia NP if you were to head south from Lone Pine via Lake Isabella and leave Yosemite NP over the spectacular Tioga pass.[CA120] Lake Tahoe/Reno could be another option as you head towards Twin Falls.

    Have a look around the forums and road trip planning pages in the tool bars above for more info and let us know as new questions arise. As for your trip plan so far, it is a positively relaxed affair where you have left yourself plenty of time to do things.

  4. Default

    Thanks for your comments and tips, guys ...

    Yes, I should have mentioned it's a one way trip; anyway, what I meant by asking if it was too much driving is that you probably have a lot of driving to do even in the quietest days, depending on where can you find or afford accommodation, not to mention the drives in the actual parks, and so I'm afraid this could turn into a non-stop driving affair, detracting in the long run from the real enjoyment of this unique trip ...

    About the flights, guess my best option is one-way Madrid-LA, but maybe I could find it cheaper via NYC, and then fly from there to a nearer (to Lone Pine) airport, maybe Bakersfield? ... For the return, I still have to find out which is the best choice for car return and flight back to NYC in a reasonable proximity of Glacier Park ...

    @ Lifemagician, regarding maps, I've been mainly using the ones I made here with the map wizard; also been looking some books I have, but more in general terms, not detailed info really ...

    About the desert, I enjoy that kind of landscape myself, but I know my wife doesn't, and anyway my concern was it's going to be extremely hot in august ...

    And for the prices, well, yes, I must admit I'm a little surprised, as I remembered that reasonable accommodation was easy to find (even without booking anything at all) on my first road trip; I understand now that since these are the most popular NPs the prices are affected ... How early do you think I should start booking? ...

    @ SouthDave, yes, I know the np site, haven't used it much, though ...

    Thanks again ...

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    South of England.
    Posts
    10,748

    Default Decisions to make.

    It really is only you that can decide what is or what isn't 'too much driving,' but with 25 days you are not going to be anywhere close to a "non stop driving affair". Starting in Las Vegas, or LA and ending in Seattle or Salt lake city still doesn't amount to more than 2500 miles when hitting your list of places. Sure you will add extra miles with driving around the parks and detours etc, but if you covered 3000 miles it will 'only' equate to 6 or 7 days of driving from 25 days available. That, as I mentioned previously, would be regarded as a relaxed pace compared to a lot of trips undertaken, but again, it is your trip and you must find your level of comfort. It would seem that you have some research to do and decisions to make between you and your wife, and when you have the basics in place we can help to 'fine tune' your trip and make suggestions.

    Yes, the desert areas will be hot and if between you and your wife, you decide it's not worth it, then perhaps you could look at other options. Perhaps flying into Salt lake city and do a loop trip where you would only have one return flight and no one way drop fees for your car rental.

    Enjoy the planning !

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

    Default Detailed maps

    Quote Originally Posted by Marc151 View Post
    @ Lifemagician, regarding maps, I've been mainly using the ones I made here with the map wizard; also been looking some books I have, but more in general terms, not detailed info really ...
    May I suggest that you get yourself good detailed maps of the States which you are planning to hit - NV WY ID and MT. Computer mapping is ideal for the detail, but to get the overall picture, see which routes are scenic routes and where all the State Parks and Forests are along the way, as well as other smaller national parks which you may not have thought of (and which may not be mentioned in the guide books), nothing beats good paper maps (or a road atlas).

    Have a look in the 'shop' on the green bar above, or just google for them. It will also be almost essential to have them with you when you are on the road. Nothing, not a gps, not a computer mapping program, nor a guide book, beats good paper maps.... and the ability to read them.

    Lifey

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Southern California
    Posts
    4,545

    Default

    Near Lone Pine is a place called the Ancient Bristle Cone Pine Forest. It contains the oldest trees anywhere. Driving to the temporary visitor center (the old one burned down a few years back) is allowed even with rental cars, though you can't venture much further than that with a rental. But it's quite fascinating, seeing all those old, old trees.


    Donna

  8. Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Southwest Dave View Post
    It would seem that you have some research to do and decisions to make between you and your wife, and when you have the basics in place we can help to 'fine tune' your trip and make suggestions.
    Yes, that's right, I have a lot of research to do, I'm just beginning the plannig at this point, and, sure, I have a lot of "googling" before me in order to find reasonable air rates, car rental and accommodation ... However, the main basic idea is already there and I don't think it won't change much; also, please consider that in most places you can't book flights or lodging with more than one year of anticipation, as is the case here ... And I still feel I could use some advice even whithout having everything worked out just now, that's the purpose of the advice in the first place, IMO ...

    Thanks again for your comments, anyway ...

  9. Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Lifemagician View Post
    May I suggest that you get yourself good detailed maps of the States which you are planning to hit - NV WY ID and MT.
    I'll certainly do that, thanks again for your interest, Lifey ...

  10. Default

    Quote Originally Posted by DonnaR57 View Post
    Near Lone Pine is a place called the Ancient Bristle Cone Pine Forest. It contains the oldest trees anywhere. Driving to the temporary visitor center (the old one burned down a few years back) is allowed even with rental cars, though you can't venture much further than that with a rental. But it's quite fascinating, seeing all those old, old trees.


    Donna
    Many thanks for the tip, Donna, I could easily include that in the pre-Yosemite part of the trip ...

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