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  1. Default San Francisco "Loop" trip itinerary?

    Hello all,
    We have been planning this trip for a while, but recently one of our flights was cancelled, so we now have the chance to change things up a bit (maybe for the better?). We are taking the California Zephyr Amtrak train from Denver-SF in July.

    From there, we will have about 16 nights (give or take) to spend traveling a loop from San Francisco. We had originally planned to fly out of Phoenix, but the flight was cancelled so we can now change plans. After seeing the cost of the one-way car rental, we think a SF-SF loop might be best!

    Our original plan:
    SF (3 nights)
    Monterey (1 night)
    Yosemite (Curry Village - 2 nights)
    Mammoth Lakes (1 night)
    Henderson, NV (1 night)
    Springdale UT/Zion (2 nights)
    Bryce (1 night)
    Grand Canyon (2 nights)
    Phoenix (3 nights)

    If we fly out of SF, I am looking for suggestions for a route. We are still interested in many of these destinations, but could be talked into changing our minds if someone has another great plan:) None of it is set in stone, although we have made reservations.

    We would ideally like to have some days in between at nice resorts with pools for the kids (hence, Mammoth Lakes Westin, resort in Phoenix).

    Also, we have driven CA coast from San Diego to Carmel, so no major need to add that in (although a wonderful trip). Not that we'd have to avoid the coast, but it's not a necessary part of the trip. We also have no major interest in the LV strip (been there, don't really want to bring the kids).

    Thank you!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    South of England.
    Posts
    10,748

    Default A loop is good !

    Hello and welcome to the RTA forums !

    To do a full loop and include Phoenix would mean cutting back on nights in places to complete the trip or get more time. You could head from SF south as far as Cambria and then head towards Phoenix, up to GC, through Page to Bryce and Zion, across to Mammoth Lakes,into Yosemite and back to SF. Depending on your desire to go to Phoenix you could just head from the coast to Grand canyon, perhaps with an overnight stop around Lake Havasu or Laughlin. You would need to stop on route to Phoenix in which case you could stop around 29 Palms/Palm Springs and visit Joshua Tree. In fact you might find a resort that fits the bill here, and then go to the GC direct.

  3. Default

    Thanks for the reply! You seem to have lots of expertise on this route (found your report with photos & it inspired me!).
    I am totally fine with dropping Phoenix if we do the SF "loop" trip. We only had Phoenix in there because that was where we were flying from. Since that flight was cancelled, we now have the chance to book from a different airport.

    I don't want to totally lose out on staying IN Yosemite (I currently have reservations), but if I can get them for different nights, would it be best to first go South from SF and do the loop ending in Yosemite?

    Also, about how far South would we go if we were driving right to GC from CA coast?

    Thanks!!!! I will be doing more research in the upcoming days, so hoping to get feedback from you experts:)
    Last edited by Southwest Dave; 04-11-2013 at 02:30 AM. Reason: Added link.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Tucson, AZ
    Posts
    9,358

    Default A Couple of Things that Might Help

    Fortunately, I have a bit of mapping software that solves the "Traveling Salesman" problem, that is it finds the most efficient route between a set of stops. It came up with a somewhat different order for visiting all your sites. I'll describe it in clockwise order although you could just as easily go the other way:

    San Francisco
    Yosemite
    Mammoth Lakes
    Henderson
    Springdale
    Bryce Canyon
    Grand Canyon
    Phoenix
    Monterey
    San Francisco

    There are other places in that general area that you could certainly add to such a trip as you travel pace and time available allow. But just because it such a target rich environment for RoadTrippers, I would caution you against adding too much more.

    AZBuck

  5. Default

    Thank you AZBuck! Any thoughts on where to stop between GC and Monterey if we skip Phoenix?

    Thanks!

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Joplin MO
    Posts
    9,270

    Default

    I'd take old 66 between Seligman and Kingman - and I'd probably look at an overnight in Barstow if you aren't going to go up the coast. Take CA-58 to Bakersfield, then CA-99 north to CA-46, take that west to Paso Robles to pick up US-101. At Salinas, CA-68 will take you into Monterey.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    South of England.
    Posts
    10,748

    Default One example.

    I don't want to totally lose out on staying IN Yosemite (I currently have reservations), but if I can get them for different nights, would it be best to first go South from SF and do the loop ending in Yosemite?
    Definately don't miss out on Yosemite and try for at least 2 nights as originally planned. Going south from SF will put the coast side pull outs on your side of the road.

    Also, about how far South would we go if we were driving right to GC from CA coast?
    I'd probably go as far as Cambria and catch the scenic Big Sur section of CA1 with something like this.

    San Fran 2 nights.
    Monterey 1 night
    Cambria 1 night
    Laughlin/Lake Havasu/Kingman 1 night
    Grand canyon south rim 2 night.
    Page AZ via Monument valley. 1 night
    Bryce Canyon 1 night [leaving after lunch next day]
    Springdale[ Zion] 2 nights
    Vegas/Henderson 1 night
    Mammoth Lakes via Death valley 1 night
    Yosemite 2 nights
    SF 1 night.

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