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  1. Default West USA loop - doable?

    Hi all,

    I am planning a honeymoon trip for this august. It is a 4500 mile trip, which google maps says takes 80 hours. I am thinking it would take four weeks, with driving for 3-4 hours per day, as well as some longer drives. The main places are decided, but the 'inbetween' places are yet to be decided (I'll call them '___' on the list). Is it doable? Much too rushed?

    Also, I have no clue how much to budget for motels and food. How much would an average day of food and motel cost?,79.013672

    In case this map doesn't work, here is an overview

    Night 1. Arrive in San Francisco (from England, UK)
    2. San Francisco
    3. ____
    4. LA
    5. LA
    6. Death Valley area
    7. Las Vegas
    8. Grand Canyon
    9. Grand Canyon
    10. ____
    11.Salt Lake City
    13. Grand Teton
    14. Yellowstone (don't want to spend too much time here)
    15. _____
    16. Glacier National Park
    17. ______
    18. Banff National Park (Canada)
    19. Banff National Park
    20. ______
    21. Vancouver
    22. Seattle
    23. Oregon coast
    24. Oregon coast
    25. Oregon coast
    26. California coast
    27. San Fransisco

    Thank you for all your amazing advice! Am really excited, but am aware that this could be a very naive plan...

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


    Welcome to the RTA Forum!

    I think your plan looks quite reasonable and I don't think you'd have any problems if you went with it. Having said that, I have a few suggestions and questions.

    First, why don't you want to spend much time at Yellowstone? It's a huge and amazing park, really unlike anywhere else on the planet. It is one place where I think 2-3 days is the bare minimum to take a quick tour, but I'm even more curious as why you specific said you want to limit your time there.

    The other thing is that there are a lot of things you currently don't have on your plans that you'll be nearby, and haven't included. Yosemite National Park is probably the big one, and possibly Sequoia/Kings Canyon too. You don't have a logical spot for it right now, as you will need 2 days to go down the coast from SF to LA.

    Between Grand Canyon and Salt Lake City, Zion and Bryce Canyons would be right along your way, but there's also a ton more in Southern Utah that you might think about, including Monument Valley, Arches, and Canyonlands. You could really spend a lot more time here, if you wanted to cut down your drive, at the expense of say, the Canadian Rockies or other destinations farther north. Similarly, there's quite a lot in the Pacific Northwest beyond Vancouver and Seattle that could be appealing to you and would also be enough for its own trip.

    It just depends upon what you want out of your trip. If you want this to be an overview, and these are your top places to see, then you are in good shape.

    Costs really depend upon how you like to travel. Budget hotels typically start around $50 a night but can rise quickly for higher end properties and high demand locations, like those within national parks. Food, $20 per day per person is another good starting point, but can quickly go up if you are doing lots of eating in sit-down restaurants.

  3. Default

    Wow, thank you for your speedy reply!

    Very helpful information, thank you, and good to know that the trip won't be madly rushed. Will probably add Yosemite in on the end, and add an extra day or two.

    I think I am probably being VERY ignorant with Yellowstone, but all we really want to see is one colourful spring, and that would be enough (don't be offended!). Glacier and Banff look a lot more impressive mountain/snow wise in comparison. Is this wrong?

    Thanks again

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Joplin MO


    Before you "blow off" Yellowstone, I'd spend some time on the park's NPS site. Its neighbor park (Grand Tetons) is very impressive mountain wise. You can look up all of our national parks on that website.

    Before you go to Canada, make sure you will be allowed to take your rental car across the border.

    I don't think you will find much snow anywhere in August.

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


    If you are just looking for great views of mountains, then the Tetons, Glacier, and Banff are going to offer more than Yellowstone. For that matter, if that's what you are looking for, then Yosemite really is a must add.

    But Yellowstone is just much more than mountains. The park is in the mountains, and there are great mountain views and unique mountain attractions, there's just so much more to the park. Maybe the simplest way to give you an idea - when you say you "only want to see one colorful spring" you could be talking about dozens of different places within Yellowstone. You've got several different geyser basins, that all have springs and amazing colors around them, plus the Mammoth Hot Springs area that has even more things of that nature. And that doesn't include the many other attractions, like the abundant Moose, Elk, Bears, Wolves, Bison, and other wildlife, the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone and the many waterfalls around the park, or Yellowstone Lake, one of the largest alpine lakes in the world.

    Don't get me wrong, if you see all that and still decide you just want to see a spring and continue on your way, that's perfectly fine. But I would certainly encourage you to check out the website, as GLC suggested, and make sure that's not a decision you'll regret.

  6. Default

    Thank you both for your help. I will research Yellowstone in more detail then, and will add Yosemite and lake Tahoe to the end of the trip before coming back to San Fransisco. Amazing mountains and beautiful lakes are at the top of our list, so Banff and Glacier are definite... (for now!)

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin

    Default just an idea

    If mountains and lakes are what you are looking for, then you might consider focusing just on the areas from the SF area and north.

    From SF, head straight over to Yosemite and then Lake Tahoe. Make your way towards the Tetons, either via Salt Lake or by going up into Idaho, and then pick up the rest of your loop.

    That would give you time to also add in a lot of extra parks that would fit your goals. There are several other National Parks in the Canadian Rockies besides Banff you could check out, including Jasper and Canada's Glacier NP (unrelated to the US Glacier NP). You could also spend more time exploring the mountains of the Pacific Northwest, including Olympic NP, Mt. St. Helens, and Crater Lake.

    This idea would come at the expense of places like LA, Vegas, and the Grand Canyon, so if those places are a must see for you on this trip, then it wouldn't work, but it is an idea to think about if you really want to focus your time on Mountains and Lakes.

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