I'm sitting in Scotland planning my third trip out to the western USA for next Summer. I've done two previous mammoth road trips around California / Nevada / Arizona and found this site a HUGE help both times. (Thank you!) I previously visited the Grand Canyon, Death Valley, SF and LA and the PCH, Napa Valley, Sequoia NP, Joshua Tree NP, Mohave NP… so this time I'm hoping to do quite an adventurous route taking in Zion and Bryce Canyon, the Million Dollar Highway, Teton NF and Yellowstone NP, Lake Tahoe, and Yosemite. (I've been to Lake Tahoe and Yosemite before, but in the early Spring, so road closures meant I missed out on e.g. Emerald Bay and the Tioga Pass - hence returning in Summer!)
I've been poring over maps for days now, and this is as far as I've got with my plan. I've put Google Maps' estimate of the time after each stint - in my experience it underestimates a fair bit, so I'm reckoning on adding 1-2 hours of actual driving onto each of those, plus two or three hours for stopping to take pictures, eat lunch, etc etc. So my first question is whether any of Google's estimates look so wildly wrong that adding an hour or two is still unrealistic?
My wife and I will both be driving but (and this may make me unpopular here!) we're not very outdoorsy, so we're mostly happy to see the scenery as we drive through it, rather than spending a lot of time out of the car hiking up to the top of Angel's Landing or the Half Dome… so although that's quite a lot of driving, I think it's about the same pace we've done on our last few trips. But we could for example add a day and do the whole thing a little more slowly if need be, or even drop a destination or two if everyone thinks it's insane to try to see all this in the time we have.
My next question: these stops are really just examples picked to even out the distances on the way around - I've got no particular attachment to any of them, so if anyone has suggestions for specific towns to stay in or even particular hotels within a hundred miles or so of any of those places please do suggest them!
(Nearly done) - I know it seems a little crazy to criss-cross Yosemite just for the sake of it… well maybe less so on a road-trip forum. I guess that CA-4 would be slightly quicker than CA-108 going west, and CA-88 is another option perhaps. I'm thinking of CA-108 purely on the basis of looking at pictures on the internet, so any first-hand advice would be great!
And lastly, the two day trip from Teton to Lake Tahoe is, as it stands, just the first (quickest) route Google maps suggested. I think it'd be perhaps an hour more to go via Salt Lake City? But this whole stretch is the bit I know least about (the rest of the trip is based around places I first heard of on this website!) so ANY thoughts about this section are especially welcome.
Many thanks for any help you can give :)
Day 1: Las Vegas - Zion NP - Bryce Canyon - Escalante (5h 28m, 291mi)
Day 2: Escalante - Capitol Reef - Mokee Dugway - Monument Valley - Cortez (7h 39m, 382mi)
Day 3: Cortez - Durango - Million Dollar Highway - Grand Junction - Rangely (6h 15m, 303mi)
Day 4: Rangely - Rock Springs - Jackson (6h 00m, 336mi)
Day 5: (Teton National Forest, Yellowstone National Park)
Day 6: Jackson - Idaho Falls - Twin Falls - Wells (6h 25m, 363mi)
Day 7: Wells - Reno - South Lake Tahoe (6h 33m, 398mi)
Day 8: Lake Tahoe - Sonora Pass (CA-108 West) - Tioga Pass (East) - Mammoth Lakes (6h 16m, 290mi)
Day 9: Mammoth Lakes - Big Pine - Beatty - Indian Springs - Las Vegas (5h 47m, 312mi)