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  1. Default Spontaneous roadtrip, LA/Arches/Grand Canyon this wknd. Tips would be appreciated!!

    We're thinking of doing a super spontaneous road trip, starting either tomorrow afternoon to stop over at LV, or very early Sat and was thinking of the following itinerary:

    Fri nt LA to LV
    Sat am LV to Green River UT via scenic route (or Sat dawn LA to Green River UT)
    Sun Arches NP then pm drive to GC
    Mon GC then pm drive back to LA

    Is this too ambitious? Weather looks to be cold but clear in UT. We are family of 5, 3 boys ages 7, 12, 14 in an SUV which will avg 13mpg. Any precautions?

    Thanks for any suggestions!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    South of England.
    Posts
    10,749

    Default I would look at less miles.

    Hello and welcome to the RTA forums !

    As a family trip with young lads I think it might be a bit ambitous with too much time couped up in the car and not enough enjoying the air and wandering around. You are looking at over 1500 miles which is going to represent 3x9 hour days on the road and leaving the GC in the afternoon will mean a late arrival back in LA and a really long day.

    LA to Green river would be an extremely long day in the car and is further than we recommend for safetys sake. Add 3 young lads to the mix and it could turn out miserable. Personally I would head for Springdale UT and spend some time in Zion NP and then head down to the Grand canyon via Page AZ with a possible detour to Bryce canyon or Monument Valley.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Tucson, AZ
    Posts
    9,358

    Default Time in the Car vs. Time on the Ground

    Welcome aboard the RoadTrip America Forums!

    Let's just say that while your proposed trip is possible, I just don't think it would be as much fun as you might think for three young and active boys. Think about the reality of what you have in mind. Each and every day on the road has to cover 400 miles or more. That means that the bulk of your day will have everyone cooped up in your SUV. The payoff will be a couple of hours at most at a national park that deserves a day or two, not an hour or two. Your time will be spent 'entertaining' the boys with videogames and other diversions rather than actually putting feet on the ground in great national parks, not to mention feeding over 100 gallons of gas into your conveyance. So, yes, I think this is a bit too ambitious for a weekend out of LA.

    AZBuck

  4. Default

    Thank you both! I knew the "inner voice" was trying to tell me something. What would you recommend for an outing to Arches & NPs en route, then, and not going to GC? Is this a bad time of year to go? We can deal with cold, having lived in NY for 3yrs recently, but is there snow/ice to worry about?

    Thank you so much, again!

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Tucson, AZ
    Posts
    9,358

    Default But Arches is the Problem

    Arches is the destination that's making your proposed trip too long for a 3(½) day outing, so there's no way to include it and make the trip enjoyable, no matter how many other intermediate points you drop. Just a speed run to Arches on I-15/I-70 and back with no stops would be nearly 1500 miles. Too much for a three day weekend of fun and adventure

    The following route is some 300 miles shorter, but still hits a number of great natural wonders, and shortens the runs between stops a bit so that you shouldn't feel like you're just driving, driving, driving. Head east out of LA with your first stop at Joshua Tree National Park. Spend some time there and spend your first night in the Phoenix metro area. Day two would take you up the very scenic AZ-87/260/277/377 to Petrified Forest National Park (which includes portions of the Painted Desert. After exploring that park, turn northwest for Grand Canyon National Park, aiming to get there around an hour before sunset. Hike the Rim Trail as the sun sets and then leave the park to the south and spend your second night in Williams. Day Three would have you making the return drive along I-40/I-15 with side trips to London Bridge in Lake Havasu City and to Mojave National Preserve. Make a point at each national park or monument you stop at to ask at the visitors center about the Junior Ranger program. It will be right in the wheelhouse of your youngest and might even have something to offer to your oldest.

    AZBuck

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Southern California
    Posts
    4,546

    Default

    If this were ME, I'd make it a weekend trip to the Grand Canyon, period. Drive one day, see the park the 2nd day, drive home the 3rd day. Drive through Joshua Tree on the way there to make it even more interesting!


    Donna

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
    13,064

    Default

    I tend to agree that Arches is probably farther than you want to do for just a long weekend.

    If you have your heart set on Arches, then that's really all your trip could include. It would mean driving to Vegas friday night. Spending 7-8 hours on Saturday driving to Moab, possibly taking a quick tour of Canyonlands/Island in the Sky if you still have any daylight left. Sunday, you'd have much of the day to explore Arches, but you'll have to get back on the road in the afternoon and start heading back home. You'd want to get to Richfield UT, about 3 hours from Moab, to have a manageable drive home on Monday. You wouldn't have time for scenic detours, you'd have to stick to I-15/I-70, and you wouldn't be able to add other national parks, but that's how you could make it happen.

    I'd personally recommend staying a bit closer to home. You could follow Buck or Donna's advice above. One other option would be to focus on Zion and Grand Canyon. Friday at Vegas, Saturday through Zion to GC, Sunday at GC, and Monday home.

  8. Default Thank you, so here's the plan

    Quote Originally Posted by Southwest Dave View Post
    Hello and welcome to the RTA forums !

    As a family trip with young lads I think it might be a bit ambitous with too much time couped up in the car and not enough enjoying the air and wandering around. You are looking at over 1500 miles which is going to represent 3x9 hour days on the road and leaving the GC in the afternoon will mean a late arrival back in LA and a really long day.

    LA to Green river would be an extremely long day in the car and is further than we recommend for safetys sake. Add 3 young lads to the mix and it could turn out miserable. Personally I would head for Springdale UT and spend some time in Zion NP and then head down to the Grand canyon via Page AZ with a possible detour to Bryce canyon or Monument Valley.
    Thanks everyone that's replied! OK, so it's sinking in a little :)
    Since we've camped at Joshua Tree, we're doing Southwest Dave's suggestion, but need a little more input:

    1) We leave this afternoon for Vegas
    2) We leave Vegas tomorrow am hoping to arrive at Zion by 1pm --> What should we make sure to do with these 4-5 hours at Zion?
    3 a) We leave Zion at sunset, driving either to Bryce for the Best Western there.
    b) We leave Zion at sunset, driving to Page or wherever will get us closest to Monument Valley --> Which is better?
    4) We tour Bryce or MV on Sunday, hoping to arrive to GC for sunset. --> North Rim or South Rim? Will going to North give us time to drive through nearby sites at Page?
    5) Spend Monday at GC, leaving after lunch for drive home.

    Thanks for your patience, I know this isn't ideal but you know how things are these days..

  9. #9
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Southern California
    Posts
    4,546

    Default

    South Rim, because the North Rim road is already closed by snow. Save the North Rim for a lovely summer trip!


    Donna

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    South of England.
    Posts
    10,749

    Default Ok.

    There are lots of nice walks in Zion, a stroll through the canyon along the Virgin River and a short walk to Weeping rock would be nice.

    I think that given your limited time you might be better to leave Bryce for another time and head to Page. Next day you could do a detour to Monument Valley and still arrive at the South Rim to enjoy a drive along Desert view drive and witness a sunset, get on the road early though to enjoy both. Next morning you could explore other rim views before making your way back to LA. You should consider leaving around Noon and having lunch on the road [Williams perhaps] as it will be an 8 hour or so drive home.

    Another option would be to stay in the lovely little town of Springdale UT [near Zion] and head direct to the Grand canyon giving you a little more time at each.

    Have fun and let us know how your trip goes !

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