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  1. Default Help: planning a route LA-GC, Zion, Bryce and Yosemite NP-SF-LA

    Hello all,

    I just started planning my 18 day road trip with my gf in late September/October. The route is going to be a standard route, based on the above posted route by a member Trip. Why this route is interesting to me? It includes all the highlihts I planed to visit, we both are traveling on a budget and have a similar time scope.

    Compared to the above mentioned route I have 4 extra days which I would like to allocate in a clever manner. Breaking a long route at two, having an extra day in NP for hiking or similar activity etc. are my goals. That is why days 12 and 19 are left empty.

    This trip is first of all a holiday and not a road race. I am aware that my schedule is tight, but I dont want to rush and spend all of my 18 days driving in a car. If it will be necessary to skip something - I will skip it.

    Please take a look and give me advice:

    1 ZAG-LAX, overnight at/near airport due to late arrival at 2010
    2 LA
    3 LA
    4 LA-Joshua tree NP, Twentynine Palms, Amboy, Needles, Kingman, section of route 66 - Seligman
    5 Seligman - Grand canyon NP, Grand canyon NP east exit, Cameron, Page (Glen canyon), Horseshoe bend - Kanab
    6 Kanab - Zion NP. Kolob canyon - Cedar city.
    7 Cedar city - Bryce canyon, Kanab, St. George, Valley of fire state park - overnight in Las Vegas
    8 LV
    9 LV
    10 LV-Death Valley junction, Furnace creek, Death Valley NP, Lone Pine, Mono lake - Lee Vining
    11 Lee Vining - Tioga Pass, Yosemite NP, Mariposa grove with sequoias - Fresno
    12
    13 Fresno - Merced, Modesto - San Francisco
    14 SF
    15 SF
    16 SF - Monterey
    17 Monterey - Pismo Beach
    18 Pismo Beach - LA
    19
    20 LAX-ZAG

    Thank you in advance, regards, Matija.
    Last edited by mcquinn; 08-08-2012 at 06:09 AM.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Joplin MO
    Posts
    9,270

    Default

    Welcome!

    I can see where you will need to use those 2 extra days - and possibly more.

    Day 4: There is no lodging in Seligman. I'd spend that night in Kingman.
    Day 5: There is no way you can see all of that in one day. Book a room in Tusayan or at the Cameron Trading Post for that night. You need pretty much a full day just to see the Grand Canyon.

    From Kanab, go to Bryce first, then to Kolob and Zion. Go via Panguitch, then 143 to Cedar Breaks, 148 to 14 to I-15. You are probably going to have to slot in at least one extra day between the GC and LV.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    South of England.
    Posts
    10,748

    Default One way.

    You are trying to cram too much in when travelling between the City's and should adjust accordingly. You need to visit fewer places or perhaps adjust your time spent in the City. You could skip Joshua Tree etc and take a more direct approach to the GC and stay in Williams or Tusayan [or in the park depending on budget] to get to the GC early next day. You could then stay in Page AZ and make your way to Bryce canyon and then to Zion NP. I would recommend staying in the lovely little town of Springdale UT, right on the doorstep of Zion NP.

    I would not go as far south as Fresno to go back to SF, you could stay nearer the park and have time to explore more of this natural wonder next day. Groveland, Mariposa, El Portal and a little further south for cheaper options is Oakhurst. So the middle of your trip would look something like this; Day 4 LA to [near] GC. 5. GC to Page. 6. Page to Bryce canyon. 7. Bryce Canyon to Zion. 8. Zion to Vegas. 9/10 Vegas. 11. Across Death valley to Lee Vining. 12] Yosemite [stay nearby] 13] Yosemite and to San Fran.

    You could use up your spare day [19] to visit Joshua Tree etc but I would leave LA a day earlier and tag it on to the other end of your trip so you are back in plenty of time for flight and to unwind.

  4. Default

    Hello,

    here is the updated version of my itinerary:

    1 ZAG-LAX, overnight at/near airport due to late arrival at 2010
    2 LA
    3 LA
    4 LA- Route 66 - overnight in Williams
    5 Williams - Grand canyon NP, Tusayan - Cameron - overnight in Page
    6 Page - Antelope Canyon, Horseshoe bend, Bryce NP - overnight in Panguitch
    7 Panguitch - Zion NP - overnight in Hurricane
    8 Hurricane - overnight in Las Vegas
    9 LV
    10 LV
    11 LV-Death Valley junction, Furnace creek, Death Valley NP, Lone Pine, Mono lake - overnight in Lee Vining
    12 Lee Vining - Tioga Pass, Yosemite NP - overnight in Oakhurst
    13 Oakhurst - Yosemite NP, Oakhurst, Merced, Modesto - SF
    14 SF
    15 SF
    16 SF - overnight in Monterey
    17 Monterey - overnight in Pismo Beach
    18 Pismo Beach - LA
    19
    20 LAX-ZAG

    My comments:

    Days 6/7/8 are flexible enough and I think there is enough time - I can visit Bryce at day 7 and Zion at day 8 or...

    The idea of moving days 2/3 at the end of my trip is a good one but I still have doubts...My flight will take in total 26 hours - I taught that visiting LA would be a relaxation before taking a roadtrip?

    Is there any natural wonder on the way to add or to remove from my list?

    Regards, Matija.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
    13,063

    Default

    This version is better, certainly, but I still think you are really rushing through all the natural areas you are planning to visit.

    You really aren't even spending a full day at any of the national parks you've listed. The Grand Canyon especially sticks out, as a place that really deserves at least a full day, and you'll have at most half a day with your plan to get to Page that night. I think you'd almost have to push Bryce to day 7 and Zion to day 8.

    Similarly, Vegas to Lee Vining could be done in a day, but it will pretty severely limit your time in Death Valley, and you could easily spend another day in Yosemite.

    Essentially, your plan will certainly work, but it strikes me as just being a bit unbalanced, in the sense that you are spending several days in every city you visit, but just hours at each national park. That may just be reflecting your own personal preference, which is perfectly fine, but if it were me, I'd look at cutting a day or two out of each of the city stops, and spend more time exploring the natural wonders.

  6. Default

    Yes, it is absoulutely true.

    The problem is that I simply dont have a perception and feeling how big these parks are and how far they are...This is our first journey to USA...

    While I am collecting valuable infos, if you have any advice - please, shoot ;-)

    We have the whole month to re-work my itinerary.

    Thanks, Matija.
    Last edited by mcquinn; 08-11-2012 at 08:01 AM.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Joplin MO
    Posts
    9,270

    Default

    Have you used the NPS.GOV website to investigate the parks you want to visit?

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

    Default Look at it this way....

    When you look at a map of the USA, and you look at the cities and the National Parks, you can see the areas these cover. This can be done on paper maps, or on the computer. The area of the Grand Canyon NP, for example, would be as big as the area of a big city. It takes a long time to get around in them, and there is a lot to see. In fact, it is so amazing, that the first time you visit you are likely to stand there in wonder.

    Although not as large, Zion has a couple of wonderful walks, which when done at your leisure give a great feeling of that park. You will want to stop and take photos.... often.

    As glc wrote, have you checked out the NP website? It will give you all the information - for example... the Grand Canyon is 1.6km deep, the river in the park is more than 400km long and the canyon is 29 km wide.

    I doubt that you would regret following Michael's advice... take some days off the cities, and allot them to the NPs.

    Lifey

  9. Default

    Yes, I checked NP websites and downloaded guides. Sites are really helpful and all the infos are there.

    I tried to reorganize itinerary considering your comments:

    4 LA- Route 66 - overnight in Williams
    5 Williams - Grand canyon NP -overnight in Desert View Campground
    6 Desert View Campground - Grand Canyon NP - Page
    7 Page - ? - Panguitch
    8 Panguitch - Bryce NP (shuttle, hiking) 7 hours - overnight in Hurricane
    9 Hurricane - Zion NP (shuttle, hiking) 7 hours- overnight in LV.

    * If camping wont be a solution, I can stay in expensive Tusanay hotels.

    A have (almost) a full day in Bryce, a full day in Zion and day and a half or more in Grand Canyon.

    Any advice on day 7?

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

    Default Closer to the attractions.

    There are lodging options nearer to Bryce with 'Rubys Inn' a popular choice right by the entrance and shuttle buses and that's where I would head after Page. For Zion you would be better off staying in the wonderful little town of Springdale which again is close to the entrance and shuttle bus services run from there into the canyon.

    On day 7 you could visit Antelope canyon and/or Lake Powell, or simply head straight to Bryce canyon and have an extra half day or so at Zion NP. Between the two parks you could stop at Red Rock State park and Checkaboard Mesa. There is also the 'Canyon overlook Trail', just before you head through the Mt Carmel tunnel in Zion NP.

    Are you camping when at Zion NP ? If yes, have you checked for availability in the NP at the 'Watchman Campground' ?

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