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  1. #1

    Default Brazilian couple going to Las Vegas/Grand Canyon/Arches/Yellowstone on 1st Road Trip

    Hello everybody,

    After reading several posts in this forum, and using some as a guide to make a first draft for our trip, I would like to ask the nice people here for some advice and tips to this endeavour. I have some plans to each of our stops, but, I rather see what the more experienced folks have to say about our itinerary.

    The road trip will start after Vegas, and we will be driving a 4x4 from there until we reach San Francisco. I know we will be spending some heavy time on the road, with a tigth schedule sometimes, but we have no extra days to add to the trip, and the first five days are to be spent with family, so no way to get some days from there.

    The trip will start on May 20th:

    D01 - San Francisco
    D02 - San Francisco
    D03 - San Francisco / Las Vegas
    D04 - Las Vegas
    D05 - Las Vegas
    D06 - Hoover Dam / Grand Canyon South Rim
    D07 - Grand Canyon South Rim (leaving at nigth to North Rim)
    D08 - Grand Canyon North Rim (leaving at nigth to Moab)
    D09 - Arches National Park
    D10 - Colorado River Rafting
    D11 - Colorado River Rafting (leaving at nigth to Salt Lake City)
    D12 - Salt Lake City / Yellowstone
    D13 - Yellowstone
    D14 - To San Francisco stoping at Lake Tahoe
    D15 - San Francisco / Brazil

    Thanks in advance for all the help you can give us.

    Regards,

    Alexandre

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

    Default

    Welcome to the RTA Forum!

    The Yellowstone section of your trip simply won't work. Its a good half day drive from SLC just to get to the gates of Yellowstone and its a full 2 days back to San Francisco. Basically, you need more time just to drive the miles than you've got available, and that doesn't even include any time to explore the park. Yellowstone is a huge park and even doing a quick tour in 2 full days is tough.

    I would strongly recommend on your timeline you skip Yellowstone for this trip, you just don't have anywhere near enough time.

    Instead, spend more time exploring the many other areas of the southwest you are skipping over. I'd strongly recommend you check out Yosemite and Death Valley between SF and Vegas - although that would mean adding in at least a day between the two rather than just doing the 9 hour freeway sprint between the two.

    In Utah, you could also spend time in Canyonlands, Monument Valley, Zion, or Bryce Canyon.

    If Yellowstone is your must see, you could still go there, but then you need to skip the Grand Canyon and Moab. You just don't have time to do both without adding much more time.

  3. #3

    Default

    Hello Michael,

    Thanks for the quick response!

    We would love to do Yosemite and Death Valley, but the trip from SF/LV will be made by plane, since we will still be with the rest of the family at that time. We would get the car from Vegas only.

    I must have made something wrong though, because Google Maps has given me 18h drive from Yellowstone to San Francisco, and that is why we reserved the full 14 day for that trip, stoping only to eat and refuel.

    Yellowstone is a must see for me, and I thought one day and a half (the 12/13) would be enough at least for a peak. I had already cut Zion and Monument Valley from the first draft to make room for Yellowstone.

    What about if we cut North Rim or Arches, do you believe it would be more doable?

    Thanks,

    Alexandre

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
    13,064

    Default

    Google estimates assume you never have to stop for food, fuel, or a restroom. You're talking about a 1000 mile drive, a portion of which is not on a freeway, that is not in any way shape or form something you should even consider doing in a single day. Again, this is a full two day drive.

    To do both Grand Canyon and Yellowstone you'd certainly have to cut Arches and possibly the north rim too. There is rafting around the Tetons and Yellowstone.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Joplin MO
    Posts
    9,271

    Default

    Please do not try to drive more than 500 to 600 miles in one day, and that would be on Interstate highways with very little, if any, sightseeing.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    South of England.
    Posts
    10,749

    Default North rim.

    As you may have gathered by this point, you need to have a serious re-think. We have all been in the position where we want to see as much as possible and then have to step back when we realise it isn't possible. For example leaving places at night to take on a 212 and 400 mile drive with 2 day's of activities is not good.

    What about if we cut North Rim or Arches, do you believe it would be more doable?
    It would actually be better to cut the South rim and Hoover dam and head north from Vegas to the North rim. Zion NP would be on route and Bryce canyon isn't so far out of the way either. I think you would get far more from visiting these two great parks considering your time frame, than you will heading to Arches NP.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Melbourne, Australia
    Posts
    6,936

    Default Another consideration

    Much of the area through which you are planning to drive at night, is open ranch country. Black cows are very hard to see at night, and it is not much easier to see brown ones. It simply is not wise, nor safe to travel after sundown in these areas of free roaming cattle. And I haven't even considered wildlife!

    Lifey

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    South of England.
    Posts
    10,749

    Default And another.

    Quote Originally Posted by Lifemagician View Post
    And I haven't even considered wildlife!

    Lifey
    Not to mention the amazing scenery you will miss !!

  9. #9

    Default

    Thanks Everybody,

    We are taking in consideration all the safety warnings you have given. So, we are doing some adjustments in the itinerary, and Dave´s choice of cutting South Rim and Hoover Dam is probably our start point.

    I have not considered wildlife or cows (black or browns!), although we have the same problems here in Brazil, but usualy with horses. Thanks for the advice, Lifemagician!

    Our "must sees" are basically Grand Canyon, the Colorado River Rafting at Moab, and Yellowstone. As they are all very far from each other, and we won't be back to this area for many years, we are prepared to face some real road time, even if it means sacrificing some beautiful places along the way. But not by being reckless! So, we are taking very seriously everything that's been said.

    If you have any tips about were we should stay in those places, considering a tight budget, and also, wich are the best atractions considering we won't have much more than a day for each park/place visited, we would be very grateful.

    Thanks again,

    Alexandre

  10. #10
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
    13,064

    Default

    Is there a reasons that you are drawn to rafting in the Colorado specifically, more than say rafting in the Snake or Yellowstone Rivers?

    I really have to say that you are at a point where something has to give. You simply can't dedicate the kind of time you want to your family, and visit all of your "must sees" on the timetable you've laid out. It isn't a matter than you are looking at long hours on the road, its that after those long hours on the road, you just won't have any time left - even to have a brief look - at the areas you consider to be "musts." Sometimes you just have to concede that you can't do it all, and you are better off enjoying what you can rather than trying to cram in everything and end up enjoying nothing.

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