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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Location
    London, United Kingdom, United Kingdom
    Posts
    3

    Default South Western USA

    Hey,

    From the 17th October i will be traveling from San Francisco to various points of interest in the South West Region (California, Nevada and Arizona). At 18 years of age i have put myself in charge of choosing the route and destinations despite the fact that i am not the one driving and have not had much experience traveling in the past! So i want to make sure that i have not made any terrible mistakes when planning the route! <br>

    All three of us that are going have decided that we want the trip to be mostly outdoors, off the tourist trail (as much as we can without missing the great national parks) and plenty of hiking involved.

    I have put a link that shows the whole route with the blue markers as the places we will stay for a few nights and the red cameras as places we are stopping for a break. There is few routes on the map that go across places like the Del Puerto Canyon and Death Valley national park which are places that we would like to see when driving. <br>




    Here is a list of the places we are stopping and for how long:

    San Francisco - 2 Nights

    Yosemite National Park - 2 Nights

    Near Mammoth Lakes (hiking to Thousand Island Lakes and maybe camping there with a permit) - 3 Nights

    Mount Charleston (acts as a break so we don't end up driving over 10 hours to our next destination) - 1 Night

    Supai, Grand Canyon (one of the reasons we chose to go to USA for a holiday because of the great hike there and back, the brilliant waterfalls and the village atmosphere.) - 3 Nights

    Sedona area - 3 Nights

    Anza-Borrego State Park - 2 Nights

    Big Sur - 2 Nights

    San Francisco Again - 1 Night

    Thank you all for reading :) I am interested to know if the places we are staying are alright and what places might be a better choice (bearing in mind we are trying to keep off the tourist trail and away from cities etc...). I am also interested to know if the routes i have taken are good choices and whether we are going out of our way to drive through somewhere that is not as interesting as it seems.

    Any help would be appreciated,

    Thanks,
    Ben
    Last edited by Midwest Michael; 09-18-2011 at 06:25 AM. Reason: Added Map

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

    Default on the beaten path

    Welcome to the RTA Forum!

    One thing that I think young travelers focus too much on is "off the beaten path." I know even I was guilty of a similar actions. It's easy to want to get into a mindset of wanting to see what no one else sees, but "Touristy" things, especially in regards to nature, are that way for reason. And even moreso when you are talking about National Park. Also Keep in mind, even in national parks that get millions of visitors a year, the vast majority never get more than a short distance off the main roads. If you spend any time hiking within the national parks, you'll see very few people once you get a little ways down the trails.

    I'd say that in that regard the places where you should look at spending more time are actually some of the more well known places.

    Death Valley would be first on the list. It certainly is worthy of more than a photo stop, and for someone who wants to be "off the beaten path" the options here are countless. Most people only spend a day, or less, here, but you could spend days exploring, and traveling in mid-october should be warm, but nice, temperature wise.

    I would also recommend that you consider visiting Grand Canyon National Park. The Supai area in on an Indian Reservation, and it certainly qualifies as remote, and I'd certainly would still go there (However, do lots of research, as getting there is quite difficult, requires a lot of advance planning, and also make sure the information is up to date as a flood caused some major damage and changes a couple of years ago.). But The Grand Canyon National Park really does have views that you won't find anywhere else, even in the Reservations Lands that are along portions of the Canyon. I'd recommend spending at least one day at the south rim, taking in some of the viewpoints.

    If you're going to take some time away, I'd say you might not want to spend as much time in Sedona (which while a beautiful area worth spending some time, is very much a tourist/resort town). Also more as an alert, keep in mind that crossing the Sierras via Tioga Pass through Yosemite could have some weather issues during the time of your travel. Its possible the road could be temporarily closed if there is an early season storm, and its fairly unlikely, but not impossible, that the pass could close for the season by the time you travel which would have a major impact on your ability to carry out your current plan. Historically speaking, the pass closes in late-october to november, so any time after about October 15th you are at risk of potentially seeing the highway close.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    South of England.
    Posts
    10,749

    Default Car rental sorted ?

    That's quite an awesome trip you have planned ! I agree with Michael that spending a day at the South rim of the Grand canyon would be time well spent, perhaps at the expense of one of the nights in Sedona ?

    I take it that you have sorted you car rental out and that your friends are older than you ? It's almost impossible to rent a car under 21 years old in the US and for anyone under 25 years old there is generally a 'Young drivers fee'.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Location
    London, United Kingdom, United Kingdom
    Posts
    3

    Default

    Hey Midwest Michael,

    Thank you for the reply, i found most of the information very useful! I think after reading your comment i will look towards fitting a night in the Grand Canyon National Park and maybe taking one off Sedona to do that.

    As for Death Valley, i would agree, after researching a little about it that there is so many things to do we would require a lot of days to experience it properly and with limited time we have in the USA we would have to reduce the amount of time we are staying in the other places like Mammoth Lakes and Supai. We are staying in San Francisco, Yosemite and Big Sur are so we can experience a bit of the holiday with our relatives who live in San Francisco as well as that. I think when i have finished my education i will be able to visit the USA for a couple of months and fit in at least a good week or so when visiting places like Death Valley (and some of the places like Mammoth Lakes and Supai if i felt i should have stayed longer).

    Again, thank you for your detailed reply. I will certainly look at spending more time in the Grand Canyon National Park. Also thanks for the information about Tioga Pass, i have a back up plan in the case that it does close, but for now i guess we will just hope it stays open as it seems like a very interesting drive ;)

    Thanks,
    Ben

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Location
    London, United Kingdom, United Kingdom
    Posts
    3

    Default

    Hey Southwest Dave,

    I am glad you think the trip is awesome ;) Your idea of spending the day at Grand Canyon South Rim at the expense of a night in Sedona is exactly what i had in mind after reading Michael's comment! Now you also agree, i think its something i will definitely set about changing.

    As for the car rental my dad who is 54 will be driving us the whole way, so we also have that covered.

    Thanks for the reply :)

    Ben

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