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Thread: Denver to LA

  1. Default Denver to LA

    Hello everyone!

    I have been checking these forums for ideas and advice on my coming roadtrip and I wanted to start my own thread to receive feedback or ideas.

    I am going with a friend (we are both from Spain, 22 years old) from Denver to LA in 14 days of driving. We will get a night of sleep in Denver before hitting the road. We have already rented a Cheverolet Equinox that has taken a good part of our budget, so we plan on spending at least as possible (advice on this will be welcome). Our plan is to do the following route:

    http://maps.google.com/maps?saddr=De...,14,17&t=m&z=6

    We have not made any reservations, but our plan is to go along through motels and hostels as much as possible. However, we plan on being 2 nights in Las Vegas, San Francisco and LA.

    I am looking forward to hearing any comments or feedback.

    Victor

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    South of England.
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    10,748

    Default Good job.

    Hello and welcome to the RTA forums !

    Your trip looks very well organised and at a reasonable pace, well done ! To start out I would consider driving through Rocky mountain NP and over the Trail Ridge road and perhaps stop a little sooner than Aspen [Leadville perhaps] although it would be possible to get to Aspen, if you just drove through the park with quick stops to take in the views. If you didn't go through RMNP [or stopped earlier than Aspen] you could also take the short detour over Loveland Pass from I70 on US6 to Dillon.

    Also, take US6/UT128 through Castle Valley to Moab, it's a wonderful drive ! I hope you have some time to enter Arches NP. I would consider heading from MV to the south rim and then the north and head to Vegas via Zion NP, in fact you could consider just visiting the North rim and spend time at Zion NP.

    Unless there is a particular reason for heading to Baker from Vegas, I would drive through DV via Pahrump and you will need one overnight stop at least between SF and LA to follow the coast road. With 6 days in 3 City's and a 5/6 day drive you won't have a lot of time in anyone place other than those, but it's doable.

    As you have rented before, I am presuming you already know that you will face 'young driver fees' on your car rental [twice if you both want to drive] and most likely a one way drop off charge.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Southern California
    Posts
    4,546

    Default

    Welcome to RTA!

    With 2 of you, it's quite a possibility that a hostel will cost MORE than a motel in some places. So be sure to consider cheap motels. You can check here for online rates, or pick up some of those little coupon books you get at state visitors centers as you enter each state.

    Moab will NOT be cheap. We just came through there not too long ago. We managed to find a decent room for $79/night, and that was about the least expensive we could find outside of a campground. I highly recommend Apache Motel in Moab, as it's clean, inexpensive, and the people who run the place are very helpful and friendly.

    I will second Dave's suggestion for Arches National Park. It's beautiful! If you have time in Moab, also drive down to Dead Horse Point State Park. You can see into Canyonlands, which is absolutely breathtaking. We did both Arches and Dead Horse Point on the same day (a very long day), so it can be done!


    Donna

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Melbourne, Australia
    Posts
    6,936

    Default Hostels often the best value for money - even for two!

    Whereas it is true that sometimes hostels can cost more for two, than a very very cheap motel, don't overlook the additional value of hostels.

    Since you plan to spend at least two nights in LA and SF, check out USA Hostels. I can highly recommend the hostel in LA, as I have stayed multiple days there more than half a dozen times. It is the only hostel I have come across with power outlets inside each locker, allowing you to charge your electronics without worry.

    Furthermore, the LA hostel is in the midst of all the attractions, being on Shrader, between Hollywood and Sunset Blvds. They organise trips to many of the area's attractions, and have discounts to most of them. They organise all the transport, including to the beaches. You won't need a car staying with them. Sometimes they even subsidise the airport shuttle. Coffee and tea on tap 24/7 and self cook breakfast included. I doubt that you would get a decent room anywhere in LA for less, even when both of you will have to pay.

    It is many years since I have stayed in their SF hostel, so am not in a position to comment in detail. But when I did stay there, I was impressed with the service and facilities, just as I was in LA. It seems that the LV hostel, which was part of their network, no longer is. More's the pity!

    The Lazy Lizard in Moab is the cheapest hostel I have ever stayed at. In 2001, I paid $8 for a night and I ended up having the dorm all to myself.

    For hostel locations, this is probably the most comprehensive site on the internet.

    To save money when booking a hostel, always contact the hostel direct. It will save you the booking fee all the agencies charge.... even though they say they don't. An internet search will usually find the direct contacts.

    Lifey
    Last edited by Lifemagician; 08-05-2012 at 10:28 AM. Reason: punctuation!!

  5. Default

    Wow, thank you very much for these responses!

    I thought about going through Rocky Mountain NP, but since I was there a few years ago I decided against it to spend more time in other places. However, I will strongly consider both taking the Loveland Pass detour as well as taking US6/UT128 through Castle Valley to Moab.

    About the Grand Canyon, I find interesting the option of going to the North Rim only and spending time in Zion. Will I be missing out on anything key? If I choose that option, I will not take the short piece of Route 66 and will not go through Grand Canyon Caves. I will also not enter Vegas from the Hoover Dam. Which option would you reccomend?

    Regarding Baker, there was no particular reason other than taking the Death Valley road, but I presume that your option will allow me to save some time and I will also get a sense of the DV while I drive through it. Tell me what you think.

    About the rental, Yes, I am aware of all the fees that I will incur in. As I said, the rental has taken a good amount off our budget, but we really had no other option. I was able to book it through a tour-operator back in Spain which allowed me to save a few dollars.

    Thanks for all the info on the Hostels and Motels. I will definetely check out the LA hostel, sound great!

    Finally, could I get some advice on what to do for food on the road? Which options do I have? Which will be cheaper? I was thinking of packing in Denver a fair amount of not-perishable food out of a cheap super-market. Also, if I could get any simple practical tips on travelling on the road, I would greatly appreciate it.

    Thank you all again.

    Victor

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Joplin MO
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    9,270

    Default

    There is no need to go through Baker to get from LV to DV. Take NV-160 west out of LV to Pahrump, then a couple miles north of town, turn left on Bell Vista Avenue. This will take you to CA-127 at Death Valley Junction. Turn right, then an immediate left on CA-190 to go into the park.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    South of England.
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    10,748

    Default Zion for me.

    About the Grand Canyon, I find interesting the option of going to the North Rim only and spending time in Zion. Will I be missing out on anything key? If I choose that option, I will not take the short piece of Route 66 and will not go through Grand Canyon Caves. I will also not enter Vegas from the Hoover Dam. Which option would you reccomend?
    From a personal point of view, I'd visit one rim of the canyon [North in this case] and spend time at Zion NP. You are going to miss Key points whatever way you go and just won't have time to visit all the possible options. It's nice to have some time in each place rather than rushing through, so that you can take it all in and 'Smell the Roses', sometimes less is more.

    I enjoyed route 66 and the Hoover Dam, but Zion is something else. Strolling alongside the Virgin River with the towering Red rock walls towering around you is quite magnificent. For me natures creations beats mans by a long, long way ! At the end of the day it's your trip and you must decide, the good news is you can't go wrong really.

    Regarding Baker, there was no particular reason other than taking the Death Valley road, but I presume that your option will allow me to save some time and I will also get a sense of the DV while I drive through it. Tell me what you think.
    Yes, that's correct. Follow the route above by glc.

    Finally, could I get some advice on what to do for food on the road? Which options do I have? Which will be cheaper? I was thinking of packing in Denver a fair amount of not-perishable food out of a cheap super-market.
    Eating out of the cooler will save you some money and it's nice just to be able to stop someplace quiet and eat, although eating out in the USA is not that expensive compared to Europe.
    Last edited by Southwest Dave; 08-06-2012 at 10:12 AM. Reason: Added link.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Melbourne, Australia
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    6,936

    Default North Rim

    Would have to agree with Dave. I would visit the North Rim and Zion in your case. The North Rim is no where near as commercialised as the South Rim, and parking so much more plentiful. You can drive to all the view points. There is a fair bit of early American native history there, as well. And don't miss seeing the Colorado River through Angel's Window. A fantastic photo opportunity.

    Besides, you are nearly 1000 feet above the South Rim. Also a great place from where to watch the Sunset.

    The walk described above, in Zion, is amazing.

    If you are looking for somewhere to stay in that region, Kanab is a neat little place. I stayed at a hostel there, way back in 2004.

    Lifey

  9. #9
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    Oct 2008
    Location
    Joplin MO
    Posts
    9,270

    Default

    Another thing to keep in mind is most hotels have some kind of free breakfast for their guests. Take advantage of that when you can.

  10. Default

    Thank you again. I am amassing lots of tips and advice towards my trip.

    Thanks to your advice, I am leaning towards doing the North Rim/Zion option, is sounds great. Thank you also for the "eating out of the cooler" tips.

    I had also a question about the part of my trip from Las Vegas to San Francisco. I would like to do a maximum of two nights in between, ideally doing only one. What would you reccomend? In any of the cases, where would you suggest I spend the night? What should I definetely not miss out on? What can I see just by driving through and making short stops?

    Thanks again.

    Victor

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