Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 10 of 14
  1. Default Ultimate Western NP Roadtrip

    Hello all!

    This is my first post and am loving this site!! I just wanted to see what everyone thought about my route and how much time it would take. We plan on Leaving mid May in 2013 and start in Minneapolis MN and head west making the following stops Badlands, Black Hills, Yellowstone NP, Portland, Redwood NP, Yosemite NP, Las Vegas, Grand Canyon, Zion NP, Arches NP, Denver, Kansas City KS then back home to Minneapolis MN! We will have around 2 weeks and out of places listed above we will be staying 1 night in the Black Hills, 2 nights in Yellowstone, 2 nights in Portland, 1 night in Las Vegas, 2 nights in Zion, and 1 night in Kansas City. Everything else on the list we will just stop for lunch and a quick hike but mostly just drive through. All of your responses are greatly appreciated!!

    Thanks a bunch!!


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

    Default Unrealistic goals.

    Hello and welcome to the RTA forums !

    I'm afraid that what you are hoping to do is just not possible. For a start you have 10 full days of driving just to cover the miles, which just doesn't leave enough time to visit all the places you mention, never mind spending a couple of days at some.

    You will have to decide where you want to concentrate your trip but I would be thinking of forgetting about heading to Portland and the Redwoods and Yosemite and make a smaller loop. Even then your trip will remain pretty busy if you were to visit Yellowstone, the parks of Southern Utah, Vegas and the Grand canyon, Denver etc, but at least it's possible.

    You might want to leave Yellowstone to later in your trip and reverse the direction as Spring comes late to this great park.

  3. Default

    SouthwestDAVE- Thanks for your timely reply!! I understand what you're saying and am curious how you calculated the mileage to days? what is the average amount of miles per day are you using?

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

    Default Like so.........

    On 'multi day' trips we recommend travelling between 500-600 miles per day, with appropriate stops for lunch, rest and to fill with gas etc it equates to about 10 hours a day on the road. I estimated that your trip would be in the region of 5500 -6000 miles by the time you add on all those little detours into the City and NP's etc and that's how I came up with the estimate. You may well be able to push a little further some days, but it becomes counter productive as you are needing time to recover the next day. Also once you hit the NP's like Yellowstone and Yosemite where speed limits are greatly reduced they eat into your time. With places like this and getting in and out of a City means that there is not the option to "stop for a quick lunch", it can take a half day just to drive through with minimum stops. Keep in mind that by the time you add an hour for getting up, showered and fed, checking in and out of Hotels etc, and then a couple of hours in the evening to relax and eat before bed and you are looking at 12-13 hour day in reality before sight seeing..

    Sometimes less is more and you will need a whole lot more time or plan to see less if you are to make it an enjoyable and rewarding trip, well that's my opinion at least. No fear though, all planning starts out somewhere and at least you have info to work with.

    Enjoy the planning and any more questions just ask.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin


    You're looking at a loop that's approaching 6,000 miles, so what Dave is talking about is driving 500-600 miles a day as a "full day." That's a good 10 hour day on the road, if you are sticking to freeways in a speed run type of setting. Mind you, in many cases, you're talking about having to use slow-going 2 lane roads that you simply can't cover that many miles in a day.

    I'd be curious as to how you see a trip like this working out on a day by day basis, but I can tell you that Dave is absolutely right, you're trying to do vastly too much with not nearly enough time. Even with 3 full weeks it would be difficult and quite rushed to do the kind of trip you are talking about, with 2 weeks, you simply don't have enough hours available to makes such a trip in anything close to a reasonable way.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 1998
    Las Vegas, Nevada

    Default An overview

    Absolute maximum miles per day is about 500 miles for a trip of this type. Given the slower driving speeds both inside and near national parks, it will require every moment of about ten hours per day to cover 500 miles. If you actually wanted to see some of the national parks you're driving through, and you were to include this many parks, you'd need to drive around the clock and such a trip would probably defeat your goals for visiting them in the first place.

    As a general rule, 8-10 hours is the most you'd want to plan to be in your road trip vehicle on most days. The problem with your planned stops is that you'll need to be on the road closer to 20 hours per day to accomplish the task and you'll miss much of the scenery of this region.


  7. Default

    Thanks for the replies! This is why i am posting this. I am 24 and this would be the first real road trip for my girlfriend and I. Minus trips to the north shore, chicago and places like that. I guess what i am trying to do is start doing road trips with my girlfriend like my family did when i was younger. I will always remember driving to texas, and going to yellowstone, black hills, colorado springs, etc. but I have taken out Portland, Redwood, and Yosemite out of the road trip. According to AAA triptik (what mapping/planning tools do you guys use?) it will be around 4000 miles and 70 hours.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin


    When you are planning a trip like this, looking at the hours kicked out by a computer program just aren't relevant information. 4000 miles on a highway will work out to about 70 hours on the road, but who cares?

    Really what you have to focus on his how far you can get in a day, and how much you are trying to do with a day. Removing the west coast should be a big help in making this trip workable. What I would really recommend doing is now sketching out an outline of how your trip will play out. That can really let you know how much you can really do with your time, and you can see how much driving it would take, and how that compares with the things you want to see.

  9. Default

    I understand! Thank you very much for your knowledge! As i said i am new to this so all of this advice is extremely helpful!

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Melbourne, Australia

    Default Stay flexible.

    As suggested above, do this trip in the reverse direction. Visit and enjoy the many national parks in Arizona and Utah. Leave your plan flexible.

    You may find that you still have ample time to visit and enjoy Yellowstone. Or you might find that you have used up so much of your time that you need to consider heading for home through Colorado and South Dakota, leaving Yellowstone for another time.

    As Mark said, driving through national parks can be very slow, especially in Yellowstone where there is often wildlife on the road. And they get right of way. Last time I was there (late May 2009) the 100 miles from Cooke City MT to West Yellowstone ID, via Mammoth Hot Springs took me a full four hours. I did stop - for 30 minutes or so - to see a new born moose.


Similar Threads

  1. Western US Roadtrip
    By kevhood123 in forum Planning Summer RoadTrips
    Replies: 4
    Last Post: 03-24-2010, 03:46 PM
  2. The Ultimate California Roadtrip!
    By samrothrock in forum Planning Summer RoadTrips
    Replies: 17
    Last Post: 05-20-2009, 09:19 PM
  3. Western US Roadtrip
    By cinstitch in forum Spring RoadTrips
    Replies: 3
    Last Post: 03-20-2008, 05:36 PM
  4. Ultimate American Roadtrip
    By UAR in forum Planning Summer RoadTrips
    Replies: 15
    Last Post: 05-03-2005, 06:11 PM
  5. Planning a roadtrip of the western U.S.
    By imported_Kevin in forum Gear-Up!
    Replies: 0
    Last Post: 11-16-2002, 12:46 AM


Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  • Find the Perfect Hotel
    Search RoadTrip Motels
    Enter city name