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  1. Default Route for trip from Loveland, CO to San Francisco, CA late June/early July 2013

    Hi, my husband and I are planning an extended road trip this summer. The first leg is Loveland, CO to San Francisco, CA in late June/early July. I-80 is the obvious route...but since I am a back roads gal, what about taking 40 through Steamboat Springs to hook up with 6 and then 6/50 through western Utah and Nevada? We aren't in a big hurry.

  2. #2

    Default Why not?

    Hello Mama Bear,

    I assume you mean heading immediately west from Loveland on US 34, which is Trail Ridge Road through Rocky Mountain NP, to link up with US 40 at Granby on the west side. Should be open by some time in June, but check with RMNP authorities to determine the opening date for 2013. It's a breathtaking excursion--literally--Trail Ridge Rd gets up to > 12,000'. I highly recommend it.

    Further west, US 40 is wide-open and lonely between Craig, CO and Vernal, UT, but it was scenic and I enjoyed it greatly when I drive it eastbound from Park City, UT to Loveland, CO during July 2011.

    You might consider staying on US 40 to Heber City, UT, thence south down US 189 to UT 92, named the Alpine Scenic Highway. The Alpine takes you past Robert Redford's Sundance Resort, a very nice place to enjoy a lunch or dinner in July, then over the crest of the Wasatch Range, and down the western side to American Fork, UT, where you have several short-distance options to reach US 6 headed west across the Great Basin.

    I say go for it!


  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    South of England.

    Default Where I would consider heading.

    Hello and welcome to the RTA forums !

    Not knowing what the other parts of your trip may include and not knowing roughly what "no hurry" would mean in days [or weeks] it's hard to offer meaningful advice. Personally I would be looking at picking up I70 into Southern Utah where there are wonderful National Parks such as Arches, Canyonlands, Capitol Reef, Bryce canyon and Zion, with wonderful scenic drives between them.

    You could cut down to US50 over Monarch Pass to Black Canyon and then drive the spectacular Million dollar Highway through the scenic mountain towns of Ouray and Silverton to Durango and then on to Mesa Verde NP and Monument valley, or possibly head back up to Southern Utah and it's National Parks.

    From either route you could then visit the Grand canyon NP, go through Vegas, across Death valley and visit Yosemite NP [Probably my favourite of all !] on route to San Fran.

    There are many wonderful scenic route options with many, many more attractions along each. Time to get the map out and have a think then we can help you to fine tune your plans.

  4. Default

    Thank you!

  5. Default

    It is a big I said the first leg is Loveland to SF area, then up the CA and OR coasts to stay with family in OR, then to Salmon Arm, BC, Canada. After that we head east to UP Michigan, down to Detroit area, Illinois, Arkansas, Oklahoma, Arizona and end up back in Loveland in mid September. That very last Arizona back to Loveland leg we plan to do Mesa Verde. I have been to the Grand Canyon before, so not planning that on this round. Also have an ealier jog from AZ up to Missoula, MT in May, so will take in Zion and Bryce on that one. This particular leg from Loveland out to SF is the one I was wondering about since I haven't been on 40 or 50 before but always like exploring new routes and stay off Interstates whenever I can, just using them when I need to go quickly. We'll take 4 days or so to go from Loveland to SF. We'll be staying with family in SF and I've been from there up the route I want to take to OR before, where I also have family. The next unknown part of the trip is from Salmon Arm, BC east and whether we should go across Canada or drop back down into the US. There is still time to plan, but all ideas are welcome. My category says "Day Tripper" but I am really a road trip enthusiast. and

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin


    "Day Tripper" only refers to your level of activity on the forum, with your current status reflecting that of a new member. It will change as you become more active on the forum.

    I would probably be tempted to head east across Canada, potentially going all the way over the top of Lake Superior, and crossing back at Sault Ste. Marie. However, if you were looking to do something in the more western part of the UP, you could come down at International Falls, across the Iron Range to Duluth, and head towards the UP from there.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Melbourne, Australia

    Default The Loneliest Road

    Designated the Loneliest Road in America, US50 across NV is a great drive, as the (almost) straight road traverses valley after valley, and mountain pass after mountain pass. And each of those has its own personality. Just be sure to fill up in Ely. Fuel is expensive until you get to Carson City.


  8. Default

    Now I have an initial plan as follows and would appreciate input:
    Day 1 Leave Loveland and drive through Rocky Mountain NP (we've visited before...husband used to live in Estes Park, so just driving through), hookup with 40 and continue west to Dinosaur NM, the UT side and camp (According to NPS website Green River campground almost never fills up). 360 miles. Depending on arrival time, visit Quarry Exhibit Hall, or visit next am.
    Day 2 Leave Dinosaur NM and drive to Heber, UT and take the Alpine Scenic Highway (as suggested by Foy. Thanks!), then hook up with 6 and continue west to Great Basin NP and camp. 406 miles
    Day 3 Explore Great Basin and visit Lehman Caves.
    Day 4 Leave Great Basin NP and drive west on 50 to Reno, stopping to check out Ely and other sights on the way. 390 mi. Overnight in Reno because hotels are really cheap!
    Day 5 Explore Lake Tahoe area, Virginia City and take 395 down to Lee Vining area. Camp in Mono Basin National Forest Scenic Area. Possibly visit Bodie Ghost Town. 140 miles. (Reno to Lee Vining). Bodie Ghost Town would be additional miles...13 miles each way).
    Day 6 Visit Yosemite NP (Thanks, Southwest Dave) and end up in SF at end of a long day.

    We can add more days if we need along the way. I know one day at Yosemite isn't hardly enough, but we will mainly be driving through.

    I'd appreciate comments and any other must-see suggestions.

  9. Default

    I forgot to put the Day 6 mileage is 248 miles.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    South of England.

    Default Looks good to me.

    I think your overall plan will work OK and will make for a nice drive. If you are happy with the pace [which will keep you on the move] and it works for you that's fine. You would have to check on the status of both Trail Rdge Road and the Tioga Pass as it's possible they could be still be closed, although I would say the odds are in your favour. I think it would be a shame to get to Yosemite and have not much more time available than enough for a 'drive thru'. With one night in Yosemite valley, or in one of the towns to the west of the mountains, you would have time to check out the valley, the wonderful Glaicer Point and perhaps Mariposa Grove of giant Sequoia trees. [I think you have already established I'm a bit of a fan ! Lol] The drive over Tioga is spectacular and it will be hard not to stop to take in the views around the meadows and Tenaya Lake etc, which all takes time.

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