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  1. Default Las Vegas to San Diego.

    I will be making my way from Las Vegas to San Diego and would appreciate some critique of my proposed route. I'm actually doing it in summer an very much looking forward to going back as I love the USA, especially the desert scenery.

    After flying in from London I'll be staying a few days in Las Vegas at the start of my trip and San Diego at the end, leaving 9 nights to get between the two cities. I've already seen nearly all of the national parks in CA, AZ and UT but my fiancÚ hasn't, so I'm looking for something that's more off the beaten path so I can explore the area in more detail, but also throwing in a couple of the big hitters (e.g. Grand Canyon, Monument Valley, some others) so she can see the highlights of the south west. I've been struggling to settle on something, as there's so much to see!

    My current plan looks like this:

    Day 1: Las Vegas to Bryce Canyon
    Day 2: Bryce Canyon to Moab
    Day 3: See Canyonlands, stay in Moab again
    Day 4: See Arches, drive to Cortez
    Day 5: Cortez to Monument Valley
    Day 6: Monument Valley to Grand Canyon
    Day 7: Grand Canyon to Sedona
    Day 8: Sedona to Wickenburg, see Prescott on way
    Day 9: Wickenburg to Yuma
    Next day: Drive to San Diego

    How would you change my route if you were doing it? Anything you'd add/ditch? Would you ditch it entirely and start again? Is there anything you think I'm missing out on the way? (I know I'm skipping Zion but it feels like it's hard to fit much more in). Does it seem like too much driving? I'm keen to see death valley again but I've been struggling to come up with a route that incorporates it as everything else we're seeing is in the opposite direction. One other thing, I've not been to southern Arizona before, Tucson etc, would it be worth trying to adapt my route to incorporate it? The only certain bits of the 9 days are seeing the Grand Canyon and Monument Valley so my fiancÚ can see them, otherwise there are no other constraints... which is probably making it so hard to decide where to go! Also, is Phoenix worth making a stop at?

    A slight variation on my route would be to swap Yuma with Palm Springs - I don't really know what's in either place, and reading guidebooks doesn't give me an immediate preference either, so it's a bit arbitrary which one I pick - does anyone have any thoughts on that?

    Also, it'll be my first time with me doing the actual driving in the USA so if anyone has any tips on that it would be appreciated!

    Would love to hear what everyone thinks of my route, especially the experienced road trippers among you!
    Last edited by Southwest Dave; 03-19-2012 at 02:01 AM. Reason: Moved to it's own thread for clarity.

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

    Default A few thoughts.

    Hello and welcome to the RTA forums !

    You have a nice plan laid out and I think you have done a good job ! As for preferences, it's like asking if you should have an apple or an orange, ultimately you should go with your instincts and go with what is most suited to your taste.

    Zion is a wonderful place [as are the others] and you could probably stop there for a few hours to ride into the canyon and have a little stroll along the Virgin river. You could still get to Bryce and again take a few hours to explore next morning before heading to Moab.

    You have not mentioned it, but I presume the stop in Cortez is to visit Mesa Verde NP ? Next day I might consider visiting Monument valley but continuing on to the Grand canyon to grab some more time there, or at least to the Cameron Trading post that is the closest lodging to the east kiosk and Desert View Drive.

    If you decided to go to Palm Springs you could take a quick visit to Joshua Tree NP.

    As for the driving, you will soon adapt to it. The vehicle is designed for being on the 'wrong' side of the road so it's a lot easier than say, taking your own car into Europe.

    As you can see, I have started your own dedicated thread for this trip to help get the best possible response.

  3. Default

    Dave, thanks for your thoughts. Yes, you're right, we would be stopping at Mesa Verde on the Cortez part of the trip. Is it worth seeing?

    I'll end up going with my gut feel for the trip of course, though I wondered what routes others would take, given nine days set loose between Las Vegas and San Diego and no other constraints. I imagine there will be considerable variation which may give me some more ideas and help me settle on something!

    Another thing - are there any roads that spring to mind near my proposed route that are particularly spectacular that would be worth taking a detour for?

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Melbourne, Australia

    Default Mesa Verda

    Quote Originally Posted by sfj300 View Post
    Dave, thanks for your thoughts. Yes, you're right, we would be stopping at Mesa Verde on the Cortez part of the trip. Is it worth seeing?
    Not only is Mesa Verda worth seeing, it is necessary to take the ranger tours to see the main attractions, and learn of their history. It helps one to appreciate and understand a great part of the history of North America before white settlement. It is not possible to reach the Balcony House or the Cliff Palace independently.

    To be sure you get into a tour at your preferred time, call the park a day or two beforehand, and book the tour. Take into account how far it is from the park entrance to the visitor centre, and again, the distance to those attractions. It is a large park.

    In that part of the country just about all roads are spectacular... even the interstate through Utah.


  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    The Netherlands


    I'd skip a night in Yuma and drive to San Diego from Wickenburg straight away. You even can drive between Sedona and San Diego in one day but the drive between Sedona and Wickenburg is very scenic. Not the fastest way though.Make sure you'll stop in Jerome and Prescott.
    You can add that night between Bryce and Moab in Torrey. Capitol reef NP, Goblin Valley and Little Wild Horse Canyon are on your way.
    From Wickenburg you can drive to Blythe and take ca 78 via Imperial Sanddunes (spectacular)and make a stop at Osborne overlook. Take 111 to I8 and avoid traffic in Brawley and El Centro.

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