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  1. Default Loop incl. LA / Grand Canyon / Las Vegas / SF

    Hi all,

    Just thought I'd post to see if any of you have any feedback about this road trip? We're from Europe and will be visiting the US for our honeymoon in June.. We plan to spend 3 weeks, including 3 days in New York at the end. So we actually have around 16 days for the road trip.

    Our plan was to fly NY to LA on the same day we leave home, rent a car and start the loop there, ending it 16 days later, flying back to NY and then home 4 days later.

    Does this look feasible? Have we missed anything out? Should we have less stops?

    Day 0 (???!!!): Arrive late evening in LA
    Day 1: LA
    Day 2: LA
    Day 3: Travel to Grand Canyon via Joshua Tree - leave early am arrive pm
    Day 4: Grand Canyon
    Day 5: Grand Canyon
    Day 6: Zion - leave am arrive early pm
    Day 7: Las Vegas via Hoover Dam - leave am arrive pm
    Day 8: Las Vegas
    Day 9: Death Valley - arrive pm
    Day 10: Yosemite NP - arrive pm
    Day 11: Napa - arrive pm
    Day 12: Napa
    Day 13: SF - arrive am
    Day 14: SF
    Day 15: Big Sur drive
    Day 16 - Big Sur drive arrive LA pm
    Day 17: Travel to NY arrive late eve
    Day 18: NY
    Day 19: NY
    Day 20: NY

    Thanks in advance!

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

    Default A couple of suggestions.

    Hello and welcome to the RTA forums !

    In general your trip looks good and you are in for a wonderful time. A few things you might want to alter are as following.

    LA to the GC is quite a full day in itself, but going through Joshua Tree adds to that. You might want to consider stopping in Kingman, or if you are out of LA early and miss the morning rush, then perhaps Williams.

    On day 5 you could make your way along Desertview drive and check out the viewpoints along the way and then exit the Grand canyon via the east kiosk and start on your way to Zion NP. Just a little way north on 89 is the Cameron Trading Post, or depending on time you could get further, maybe Marble canyon area where there are a few lodgings.

    Hoover Dam is not between Zion and Vegas, it is further south. You could make it a drive from Vegas next day if it was important to you.

    You are selling yourself short in Yosemite, it's spectacular and one of the favourite of all National parks and you won't have time to do it justice as things are. From Vegas you could drive through Death Valley and still enjoy the landscape and get as far as Bishop that night. Even then I would recommend spending night 11 just outside the park [Groveland perhaps] and then continue the drive to Napa the following day.

  3. Default

    Thank you very much for your detailed reply. I'll heed your advice due to your forum name! :)

    So if I understood you well, do you mean that it would be better to divide the LA trip to GC in 2, and spend the night in Kingman or Williams? That would mean we would arrive in GC around lunch time on Day 4 - we would have half day 4 and then half day 5 there, then leave towards Zion NP as you say. Would just 1 night in GC be enough you think? I guess the day 5 drive is still GC technically so we'd get to see the place anyway..

    When you mention to stop at Cameron Trading Post or Marble Canyon on Day 5, do you also mean that we can then see Zion NP on day 6 on our way to Vegas or do we still spend the night in the area anyway?

    I get what you mean re: Hoover Dam - might just do this as a day thing in Vegas, or maybe it's not worth it..

    For Yosemite, as you suggest, we won't spend the night around Death Valley but drive thorugh it and sleep somewhere near Bishop. Then we can get to Yosemite by in the morning, spend the whole day there. By your suggestion we would reduce 1 night in Napa to spend a 2nd in Yosemite - meaning we would arrive in Napa on Day 12 lunch time and we can then spend the day there and leave after lunch on Day 13 to SF

    so if I understood you well:

    Day 0 (???!!!): Arrive late evening in LA
    Day 1: LA
    Day 2: LA
    Day 3: Travel towards Grand Canyon via Joshua Tree - spend night in Kingman/Williams
    Day 4: Grand Canyon arrive am
    Day 5: Desertview drive towards Zion NP - spend night in Cameron Trading Post
    Day 6: Zion NP
    Day 7: Las Vegas leave am arrive pm
    Day 8: Las Vegas
    Day 9: Death Valley - spend night in Bishop
    Day 10: Yosemite NP - arrive am
    Day 11: Yosemite NP
    Day 12: Napa arrive am
    Day 13: SF - leave Napa after lunch
    Day 14: SF
    Day 15: Big Sur drive
    Day 16 - Big Sur drive arrive LA pm
    Day 17: Travel to NY arrive late eve
    Day 18: NY
    Day 19: NY
    Day 20: NY

    :)

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    South of England.
    Posts
    10,748

    Default Correct.

    That's pretty much how I would play it, but of course there are other options you could explore depending on your tastes.

    Williams is just over an hour from Grand canyon so with a good nights rest and a relaxed start you could still be there around 10am. That would give you ample opportunity to check out the views up to Hermits rest by hopping on and off the free shuttle bus. You could then walk around the rim edge near the village area and witness a sunset before turning in for the night. Next day you will have more time around the village area before driving to the view points along Desertview Drive. Cameron Trading post is only 30mins from when you exit the park near the Old Watchtower so you can maximise your time at the Canyon. The Trading Post is pretty cool destination in itself, with lots of wide and varied stocks to look around and good food.

    Yep, I would spend still spend the night in, or close to Zion. It's a wonderful park with lots of easy walks and great views. Springdale is the nearest town to the park and a great little place with lodging and dining options.

    As you make your way into Yosemite you will have time to stop and take in the wonderful views as you cross the Sierra Nevada on Tioga Pass [CA120] where you can stroll in Tuolumne meadows and Tenaya Lake before getting to the valley. Next day you could explore more of the valley plus visit the giant Sequoia trees in Mariposa Grove. Do not miss the drive and short walk to Glacier point, your jaw will drop and the memory of the view will stay with you forever !

    From SF you could make your way to Monterey for one night and then drive Big Sur to the Cambria area before continuing to LA. These are popular destinations and break the drive up nicely.

    Note. If you are travelling during the first half of June there is a chance that the Tioga Pass could be closed due to winter snow accumulation on the mountains. If it were you would have to go south from Death valley around the mountains via Lake Isabella/Bakersfield and enter Yosemite through the south entrance.

  5. Default

    Thank you Dave, very helpful again..

    We were thinking that we'd rather be slightly more relaxed on the trip and spend less days in the city - so we removed a day from LA and a day from NY, and added 1 day to Napa to relax there, and 1 day to the Big Sur drive to take it easy on our way back to LA.

    This is the updated itinerary based on your suggestions and latest changes:

    Day 0 (???!!!): Arrive late evening in LA
    Day 1: LA
    Day 2: Travel towards Grand Canyon via Joshua Tree - spend night in Kingman/Williams
    Day 3: Grand Canyon arrive in the morning and spend the day there
    Day 4: More GC - Desertview drive - spend night in Cameron Trading Post
    Day 5: Zion NP - arrive morning and spend the day there
    Day 6: Las Vegas
    Day 7: Las Vegas
    Day 8: Drive towards Yosemite NP via Death Valley, spend night in Bishop on the way
    Day 9: Yosemite NP - arrive morning
    Day 10: more Yosemite NP - Glacier point too
    Day 11: Napa arrive before lunch
    Day 12: Napa wine valley
    Day 13: SF
    Day 14: SF
    Day 15: Big Sur drive - Monterey
    Day 16: Big Sur drive - Cambria area
    Day 17: Big Sur drive - arrive LA evening
    Day 18: Travel to NY arrive late eve
    Day 19: NY
    Day 20: NY
    Day 21: Leave NY - Back home

  6. Default

    Hi all,

    Just wanted to give an update on the planned trip to see if this makes better sense. Also have a doubt about part of it so would appreciate some feedback.

    Thanks!

    Day 1: Arrive late evening in LA
    Day 2: LA
    Day 3: LA
    Day 4: Travel towards Grand Canyon via Joshua Tree - spend night in Kingman/Williams
    Day 5: Grand Canyon arrive in the morning and spend the day there
    Day 6: Grand Canyon
    Day 7: Grand Canyon North Rim
    OR Day 7: Monument Valley then go to Zion Park on Day 8 via Antelope Canyon

    Day 8: Zion NP
    Day 9: Zion NP
    Day 10: Las Vegas
    Day 11: Las Vegas
    Day 12: Drive towards Yosemite NP via Death Valley, spend night in Bishop on the way
    Day 13: Yosemite NP - arrive morning
    Day 14: more Yosemite NP - Glacier point too
    Day 15: Yosemite NP
    Day 16: Napa arrive before lunch
    Day 17: Napa wine valley
    Day 18: SF
    Day 19: SF
    Day 20: Big Sur drive - Monterey
    Day 21: Big Sur drive - Cambria area
    Day 22: Big Sur drive
    Day 23: Laguna Beach on way to San Diego
    Day 24: San Diego
    Day 25: San Diego
    Day 26: Leave US via LA

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

    Default Looking good.

    Your trip is looking in good shape and on day 7 only you can decide which you prefer, both are great options and a third option would be to head to Bryce canyon. If you decided on Monument valley and Antelope canyon you could make it to Page quite comfortably on day 7. You could add an extra day here and do 2 of the 3 options and spend one day less elsewhere, for example you could comfortably get from Cambria to Laguna Beach without the day in between, but that comes down to your own personal preferences.

    The other thing I might consider is to go to San Diego from LA and then to the GC, it would save the need to go through LA and then back again at the end of your trip.

  8. Default

    That looks very good, nice trip!

    However, given that you're giving the South Rim of the Grand Canyon a decent amount of time, I'd question whether the North Rim would add significantly to that experience. FWIW my judgement would be to head directly for Zion, giving you time to visit either Monument Valley or Bryce Canyon and possibly Cedar Breaks National Monument. But as ever it's a matter of opinion with no right or wrong answers.

    In Yosemite, Mariposa Grove is also well worth a visit (giant trees). Apologies if that's already part of your plans.

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