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  1. Default 2 week West Coast Loop & 2 week East Coast Loop

    We are a young Aussie couple planning a months road trip holiday in the US in June/July. Currently we have booked our flights but are looking for some suggestions on our route.

    Current plan is:
    11 June: Arrive LA, o/night LA
    12/13 June: 2 nights Las Vegas incl Hoover Dam
    14/15 June: 1 night Grand Canyon, 1 night Flagstaff or 2 nights Grand Canyon
    16/17 June: Fruita/Grand Junction, CO, for the mt biking
    18 June: Cedar City or somewhere else on the way
    19/20 June: Mammoth Lakes, again for the Mt biking
    21/22 June: Yosemite - hiking, sequoias etc
    23 June: San Francisco - Golden gate bridge
    24 June: Cambria or such along the coastal highway
    25 June: LA

    26 June: Fly LA - Nashville, o/night Nashville

    27/28 June: Kingsport, TN to watch the motocross round
    29 June: Blue ridge parkway/ smokey mtns?
    30 June: Bryce Resort VA or Launch Park PA - for mt biking
    1/2 July: New York City
    3 July: Plattekill DH park - more mt biking
    4 July: Niagara Falls
    5/6 July: Cedar Point, OH - amusement park
    7/8/9: Louisville Kentucky + other Kentucky
    10 July: Nashville - fly back to LA in the evening

    Main Interests are mt biking, seeing the major sights, fitting in the mx round, some hiking/outdoorsy stuff in the national parks. Not particularly interested in cities.

    Any help would be appreciated,
    Sarah & Jason

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    South of England.

    Default The west.

    Hello and welcome to RTA !

    If you are travelling from the Grand canyon to Grand junction then really Flagstaff is going the wrong way. When you leave the Grand canyon you can exit from the east kiosk along Desertview drive which has viewpoints to check out along the way. Just outside the east entrance you will find Cameron Trading Post which offers lodging and dining and is pretty cool. The following morning you could drive through Monument valley on 163 on route to Fruita/ Grand Junction. I presume you are planning on riding along the rim of the Colorado National monument which is pretty cool, but you would be driving right by Arches and Canyonlands NP's near Moab.

    A really nice drive heading towards Cedar City would be to take UT24 to Hanksville and past Capitol Reef NP and then through Escalante to Bryce canyon on UT12 scenic by-way. With an early start you could visit Bryce canyon and stay the night nearby, but it would leave you another full day on the road to get to Mammoth Lakes.

    While you are in Yosemite you should try to find time to check out Glacier Point, it's a breathtaking view of the valley from the top. You don't have much time in SF but a trip to Alcatraz is pretty cool and the evening tour is recommended.

  3. Default

    Thanks for your reply.
    We will look at Cameron Trading Post or another town NE of Grand Canyon for exiting, this definitely makes more sense. The drive via Monument Valley/Moab was our planned route so that looks good. We may even stop at Moab if we are sick of driving at that point...

    The stop at Cedar City is mainly just to break up the drive west and can be somewhere else. How much longer would taking UT24 be than taking 50 (or 70 not sure what its name is). Would prefer the scenic route but not if it is significantly longer.

    Glacier Point looks good, we are hoping by having 2 nights at Mammoth Lakes with a short drive and then 2 nights at Yosemite, we will get to see a fair bit of Yosemite, do you have any recommendations for 1 day hikes within the park?

    We are toying with the idea of Alcatraz but not sure whether its something that would interest us.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Melbourne, Australia

    Default Park information and Alcatraz.

    Quote Originally Posted by SJ14 View Post
    ... do you have any recommendations for 1 day hikes within the park?

    We are toying with the idea of Alcatraz but not sure whether its something that would interest us.
    When you enter the park, you will be given the park information, map and newspaper at the kiosk where you pay the entry fee. The rangers who man these posts are very knowledgable. Make sure you ask them and mention exactly what you are looking for. They will direct you to the appropriate area.

    Alcatraz - I did not really spend all that much time in the prison, though it was interesting to see it, and even less time in the shop. However, it was breathtaking to see the lights come on all over San Francisco and on the bridges as the sun sank into the Pacific behind the GG bridge.

    Since you enjoy cycling, albeit mountain biking, you may be interested in what my daughter and her husband did, hire a bike and cycle the GG bridge. I think they took a ferry one way, and cycled back.

    One thing I thought I'd mention, be sure you take your membership of the automobile club (RACV, NRMA, etc.) to which you belong. It will give you access to free maps and tourist information from the AAA all over North America. Nothing quite like travelling with decent maps, even when you have a satnav. In fact the satnav is secondary to good maps. (Can't tell you how often mine has sent me down the wrong way.) You can get maps for every State of your trip, at the first office you visit. Having a good detailed map of the major cities is also a plus.


  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Joplin MO


    Between the GC and MV, your lodging choices are the Cameron Trading Post, a Quality Inn in Tuba City, and a couple hotels in Kayenta. Expect about $100 a night at the trading post, $125 in Tuba City, and close to $200 a night in Kayenta.

    Grand Junction to Cedar City is about 5 hours via I-70/I-15. If you take the scenic route (UT-24/UT-12/US-89/UT-14) that makes it close to 10 hours with no significant sightseeing stops.

    Cedar City to Mammoth Lakes is a full day's drive - at least 8 hours - whether you cut across Nevada or go through Las Vegas. If you are going to cut across Nevada, Cedar City is the last decent lodging choice, but if you are going through LV, you have options - St. George or LV itself. If you go through LV, you could go through Death Valley on the way to Mammoth.

  6. Default

    Cycling across Golden Gate bridge sounds good, thanks.

    We may head all the way to Blanding from Grand Canyon rather than stopping at Cameron Trading/Tuba City/Kayenta, gives us a few more options accommodation wise.

    Considering the UT 6 with a stop at Ely halfway between Mammoth Lakes and Grand Junction which is ~6hrs driving each day which gives us time to stop and see stuff on the way as well. We don't really want to go all the way back down to LV as we will have already spent 2 nights there previously.

    Thanks for the advice re AAA we will probably sign up for an RAC membership before we leave.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Joplin MO


    Okay, what I would do is go to Kayenta, then US-163 through Monument Valley to US-191. It's about 5 hours from the GC to Blanding. Monticello is also a decent lodging option.

    From there, take 191 to Moab, then cut across UT-128 to get to I-70. This is a 4 hour drive at most to GJ, so you would have time to take a quick run through Arches if you want.

    GJ to Ely is more like 8 hours via I-70/US-50. Ely to Mammoth can probably be done in 6 hours via US-6/CA-120/US-395. Note that services are few and far between along that route, there's nothing between Green River and Salina, and very little between there and Ely. There's nothing between Ely and Tonopah. Don't get caught out there with a low gas tank.

  8. Default

    Thank you for all your help. We have been busy watching mt bike park videos and getting excited. I think we are going to book the night Alcatraz tour and have pretty much got the main driving route sorted on the west coast.

    Not quite road trip related, but we are considering doing a helicopter tour of GC from Vegas. We are tossing up between skywalk or just a west rim landing. Any suggestions???... We are still planning to do South rim on the way through to Colorado.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    South of England.

    Default Not for everyone.

    That's a kinda personal decision to make, but we always recommend the National park over the west rim and Skywalk if it's a choice between the two, so that tells you something. If the helicopter flight appeals to you then it's certainly an opportunity but you would also have the option to book a flight from GC airport in Tusayan while you are at the GC. You can get a 45 min flight over the canyon to the North rim and back but they do not land, no tours do in the National park area. It was a highight moment for us.

    I noticed you are doing a trip to Hoover dam from Vegas You could consider stopping on the way to the Grand canyon as it is on route and would save you driving the same route 3 times. There is plenty to keep you occupied in Vegas, but if you decided against the West rim, there are plenty of other options, a trip to Death valley, Red rock canyon Conservation area, of Valley of Fire.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Southern California


    Do remember that Skywalk and West Rim are Indian-owned, and not a part of the national park system. Each are expensive, and not the portions seen in most travel guides/maps/brochures photos of the Grand Canyon.


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