A couple of friends and I are planning to drive from Philadelphia to Seattle over a 10 day period via the Smoky Mountains and the Zion/Bryce National parks. We came up with a 10 day itinerary covering about 3800 miles and would welcome feedback especially on the following.
- Recommendations on where to stop on the route between the trip points
- Feasibility, driving tips, precautions
- Attractions that we should not miss
- Nuggets on the route or alternatives we should consider
- Cellphone dead zones, stretches without gas stations/rest stops
A few questions
- We have two drivers among us and think we can comfortably do about 7 -8 hrs a day at an average rate of 60mph.
On three days though because of the nature of stopovers, we might have to drive as long as 9-10 hrs is that impractical?
- We expect to need to book accommodation at the national parks (or just outside them) in advance. However for the stop overs in between, we were planning to wing it and book them on the day of the stay depending on how far we could drive.
Is that a safe strategy, any pointers on how to get beds at the last minute
- Philly to Gatlinburg TN. Its a 12 hour drive and we were thinking of stopping around Bristol TN if we ran out of time/energy.
Day 2 Visit places in the park, likely Roaring Forks, Laurel Falls, Clingmans Dome
Day 3 & 4
- Head out from Townsend TN mid afternoon on Day 3 after spending a few hours in the park in the vicinity of Townsend
- Keep driving in the direction of Zion and stop somewhere in Kansas/MO for the night
- Drive on to Colorado for a final stop before hitting Zion
- Make it to Springdale outside Zion and spend the night there
- Visit Zion
- Leave for Bryce Canyon a little before noon
- Get to Bryce late afternoon and do a few things like the scenic drive, maybe a ranger walk or so
Day 9 & 10
- Head out for Seattle with a stop in Idaho and Washington
- Reach Seattle around noon on Day 10