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  1. Default Western US loop road trip 20 days

    Beginning stages of planning a 20 day road trip around the western US. Flying in from New England to Seattle. I have Never been out to the western US except vegas for a week so i would like to see as much as possible without rushing through places. Planning on doing a mixture of staying in hotels and camping; probably more camping giving the NP's we(2 of us) would like to visit. We will be doing this late July early August. Below i added a preliminary itinerary and a map of our initial plan for a road trip. The colors represent the days. I would like some input and feedback as to whether or not this trip might be a little to much for 20 days and alternatives to the route i have chosen. Major points of interest we want to keep are, the CA coast, redwood forest, SF, Yosemite, Vegas, Grand Canyon, Utah, and Yellowstone. We would like to go to Glacier NP but it might make this trip a little to much if so i would appreciate feedback as to what route to take or what to do after Yellowstone, as well as suggestions on must see/do places in the western US. Any feedback at all is appreciated. Thanks in advance.

    20 day Road trip starting in Seattle.
    1 night in Seattle
    1 night somewhere along the Oregon coast
    1 Night in Northern CA
    2 Nights in SF
    1 day in Santa Cruz stay somewhere outside of Yosemite to get there early in the am for first come first serve camping
    2 nights in Yosemite NP
    2 nights in LV
    1 day to see grand canyon north rim, stay somewhere in Southern UT
    1 night in Capitol Reef NP after visiting Zion NP
    1 night near Arches NP
    2 nights in Yellowstone NP

    2 nights in Glacier NP
    1 night around Spokane WA?
    1 night near mt Rainer
    last night Seattle

    Road Trip summer.jpg

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tucson, AZ

    Default The Nature of Samplers

    Welcome aboard the RoadTrip America Forums!

    As long as you realize that, at best, this trip is going to offer just a representative sampling of what's available in the western United States, it is well within the range of possibility. If you have come to grips with that and are comfortable with the fact that you are more than likely going to regret having to leave many places just as you are getting to appreciate them, that's fine. You will also be spending quite a bit of each of your 20 days cooped up in the car rather than out hiking in all the great nature you are spending so much time, effort, and money to get to. All that said, there is nothing basically wrong with the kind of trip you have planned, especially as a first reconnaissance of the region to scout out future, more relaxed, trips. The addition of Glacier is not the straw on the camel's back here and I would recommend that you keep it in your plans.

    So what to do to make this trip as enjoyable as possible. You've already done about as good a job as possible of mixing in urban and 'wilderness', as well as sitting put for a day every so often. Some other things you can do in advance of your trip are: Start making reservations now. It actually may already be too late to lock in good campsites inside the more popular parks such as Yosemite, the Tetons, Yellowstone, Glacier, etc. These, all have very short seasons (3-4 months) and book up early. If you can't get a space in the parks themselves, your next best bet would be in one of the many national forests that surround them. For your main driving days, do your homework and know ahead of time what smaller attractions you'll be driving by and plan to make use of these lesser known parks, monuments, historic sites, etc. as places to take a break from the road and to have a more personal (less crowded) experience than you will get in the big parks or cities. And by all means invest in a National Parks Pass at the first entrance you come to. These are $80, but give free entry to pretty much all the parks in the NPS system (camping and special use fees, though, are extra) for everyone in your vehicle.


  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    South of England.

    Default Busy.

    Hello and welcome to the RTA forums !

    I would say your trip is doable, but it's getting the balance right as you say you don't want to feel too rushed. You will have some long days in the car and perhaps not as much time at each destination as you might hope for. I think there are parts that might be better left out, so that you can appreciate the others more. I would be looking at juggling a little, perhaps not going to Santa Cruz, and dropping Capitol Reef, Arches and maybe Glacier NP from your list and spend a little more time around the GC, Zion and Bryce canyon, where at the moment it is all a little too busy.

    The NP's will also be extremely busy in the height of the tourist season and that means slow going. I think you have a good itinerary as a starting point, but also think that this is a case of when less, could be more.

  4. Default

    Thanks for the replies it is much appreciated. My intention was to use this as more or less a sampling of whats to offer in the Western US. The NP pass is an absolute must, I do agree. being cooped up in the car doesn't bother me as much because the way I planned the trip was to be around 8 hours in the car a day of traveling and a few of more like 10-12 hours but we are early risers and I think it should give us some time to stop here and there to do a few things. We also are going into this knowing that we have never been out there and might stop somewhere we love and want to stay longer then the plan, therefore we can change the trip as we go which also is preventing us from getting reservations at places so were not stuck to a schedule although it would be nice to have the knowledge that we will get a site somewhere in the major NP's . Thanks again

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