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  1. Default LA-SF-YOSEMITE-VEGAS-DENVER in 10 days


    Needed some advice/suggestions on this trip i have planned in the first week of September. Would love to extend this trip but need to back in Denver in 10 days. Does this plan look too ambitious ? The idea is to visit as many places as possible but dont want it to be too driving intensive. Should i drop some parts of this trip in favor of doing justice to others ?

    Day 1 - Flight from Denver to LA. Pickup rental car and see few places in the evening
    Day 2 - LA sightseeing
    Day 3 - Drive towards SF on Highway 1. Would like to cover San Luis , Big Sur and Carmel/Monterrey on this route.Can i make it to Carmel that night ? Any other options for staying overnight
    Day 4 - Half day Carmel/Monterrey and reach SF by afternoon. Visit couple of places in SF in the evening
    Day 5 - SF sightseeing
    Day 6 - Drive to Yosemite and plan on reaching Vegas next day around 4 PM. What places can i cover in this time frame. Where do i stop overnight. Can i take in a bit of Yosemite and make it to Bishop/Lone pine by evening ?
    Day 7 and 8 - Las vegas. I have made hotel reservations already for this
    Day 9 - Start driving towards Denver to reach by next day around 6 PM. Hoping to cover Zion , Bryce canyon and MOAB along the way

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin

    Default too much to enjoy

    Welcome to the RTA Forum!

    Right now your plan is doable, but only if you don't stop for anything along the way.

    The worst section is Vegas to Denver. If you just stick to I-15/I-70 without detours, its a solid day and a half drive. There's just no way you'll have time for Zion, Bryce, or Arches/Canyonlands at the pace you've planned. Maybe you could rush through one of the parks, but even that would hardly allow enough time to enjoy it.

    The earlier section of your trip is also very fast paced.

    LA to SF via the coast really requires 2 full days, and you've only got a day and a half. You can do it, if you basically skip the coast everywhere except the big sur section, from Cambria to Monterrey, and use US-101 (generally a freeway) for the rest. Even there, making it to Carmel would be tough to do in one day, unless you are really rushing to get there.

    Similarly, SF to Vegas via Yosemite can be driven in a day and a half, but its going to leave you almost no time to actually see Yosemite. You'll have almost no time to stop there, or in Death Valley. Making it to Bishop/Lone Pine would be possible, but a "bit" would all you'd have time to see of Yosemite, basically only Tioga Pass which you'd be driving across. You might not even have a chance to visit the Yosemite valley itself at that pace, and even if you did, you'd have to be back in your car almost as soon as you got out of it.

    I really think something's got to give here, or you're not going to have much fun. I'd really recommend you try to cut a few things out, and rework your plan, even if that means changing hotel reservations. I'd even consider flying back to Denver, especially since the one way drop fee for a car rental is likely going to cost about as much as a plane ticket to get back.

  3. Default

    Thanks for the reply. Unfortunately time and money are two of my main constraints for this trip and i'm trying to make the best of what i can get.

    I'm considering returning the car in LAX and flying back if i can give the 1.5 days gained to SF and Yosemite.

    LA to SF - If i strech my PCH drive to 2 days instead of 1.5 what would be a good ovenight spot. My budget for accomadation is around 100-120 per night or less.

    SF to Vegas - what is the minimum time i should have to enjoy Yosemite and Death Valley and what will be good overnight points . I wanted to reach Vegas by 4-5 PM as that gives me the best opportunity to enjoy the strip on the first evening there.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    South of England.

    Default A loop.

    If you take the one way drop off fees for the car rental into consideration, it might be better to do a loop trip in the southwest, flying in and out of the same city.[s] You could also compare combined flight and rental costs for LV, LA and SF and start out from the cheapest. If you did decide to do a loop, head south from SF to LA and put the Ocean on your side of the road.

    For a stop over on the coast, Cambria, Cayacus, San Simeon area would work well.

    To be able to enjoy Yosemite and DV you could really do with 2 nights, stopping in Yosemite or to the west for budget reasons, Groveland, Mariposa and El Portal have options. Oakhurst is most likely cheaper, but a little further south. Night 2 you could stop around Bishop and enjoy more time at Yosemite and along the Tioga Pass. [reverse if you reverse your trip direction] If you only have one night then you should be looking at Mammoth Lakes or Lee Vining area. Lee Vining is closest to Yosemite and would give you more time in the park.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Southern California


    To add to what was said above:

    To see anything of Arches, you have to have 2-3 hours just to drive through. You'll need more time if you want to walk up to see any of the Arches themselves, which is needed. We just spent about 6 hours and all we did were 3 hikes.

    Driving from Moab to Las Vegas is about an 8-1/2 hour drive via I-70 and I-15. (We just drove from Moab to Primm NV, which is about a half hour past LV on I-15, and took 9 hours. We only stopped for fuel, food once, and bathroom breaks.) Don't try to add Canyonlands, Capitol Reef, Zion and Bryce into the plans without making a few extra days into your plan.


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