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  1. Default Road trip novice planning trip from San Jose to National Parks in Utah and Wyoming

    This has to be the most amazing website that could ever be for road trip travel! You are all a wealth of knowledge and we're so grateful that we found this site! We have never undertaken a trip like this before and are very excited about visiting some national parks and towns near them. We flew out to Phoenix a number of years ago; stayed in Flagstaff and visited the Grand Canyon, Sedona, the Petrified Forest and Painted Desert and loved it.

    This time we're really looking for a big adventure. We will fly from Florida, where we live, to San Jose, California, arriving the evening of June 11th and don't fly back till the evening of July 1st. We'd like to spend 4-5 days in San Jose at the end of our trip with our friend.

    We're in our early 60s and enjoy scenery, photography and walks. Hikes, unless short are out.

    Here's our dream so far:

    Leave San Jose morning of June 12th.
    Las Vegas - never been. Not gamblers but thought it'd be a good stopping place and interesting to see.
    Moab - a friend suggested it
    Grand Teton - don't know if we'll have time.
    Incline Village - Lake Tahoe to visit a friend for a couple of days
    back to San Jose

    We thought we'd be better off starting with the southern route due to weather. We're not even sure how much time we should allocate in most places.

    We have never taken a trip like this before and we're hoping someone on the site had done it but we've been unsuccessful in finding a complete trip. I've trip using the map here but since we're doing a round trip to San Jose I'm not having any luck.

    I've checked into lodging suggestions based on posts here. The problem is though, I'm not sure if West Yosemite, as an example is the right place to stay based on where we're driving from and to.

    Any direction you can give us would be greatly appreciated; both in the form of suggestions and resources we can use to better plan our trip.

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

    Default Time quickly disappears.

    Hello and welcome to the RTA forums ! Glad you are enjoying the site.

    Given the time you want to spend with friends and the amount you want to see you will have to keep on the move to a certain extent, if you are happy with that you should be fine.
    From San Jose you should consider visiting Yosemite on the way to Vegas and drive over the Tioga Pass [CA120] and through Death Valley. From Vegas you would visit Zion first and then Bryce canyon from where you could take Utah Scenic Byway 12 through Escalante to UT24 and drive through Capitol Reef NP. When you drive from Moab to Yellowstone you could spend a little time in the Tetons on the way and enter through the south entrance.

    What you have to consider is that if you hit the road on the 12th and want to arrive back around the 26th you have quite a bit to squeeze in in 14 days, including almost 3000 miles of driving by the time you get around the parks etc, that's close to 6 days dedicated to driving. Yellowstone really deserves a minimum of 3 days to do it justice as the park is huge and the going is slow with wildlife jams etc. [You could include a 'quicky' in the Tetons possibly in those 3 days] Then you have a couple of days with friends in Tahoe and all of a sudden you have only have 3 or 4 days to stop in Vegas and visit 4 other wonderful National parks.

    It's doable, but busy if you want to spend that much time back in San Jose.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Melbourne, Australia

    Default Accommodation with the National Parks.

    Quote Originally Posted by Beachsidegirl View Post
    I've checked into lodging suggestions based on posts here. The problem is though, I'm not sure if West Yosemite, as an example is the right place to stay based on where we're driving from and to.
    Is it perhaps West Yellowstone, to which you are referring?

    The recommendation here would be to seek accommodation within the National Parks. You will need to get onto that now, as it is limited and much sought after. If it is all booked, go back to the site constantly, and check for cancellations. There really is nothing like staying within the park. It also saves a lot of time, of which you do not have a great deal to spare.

    West Yellowstone is the closest accommodation outside the park, and as such, also expensive. Be aware that it also books up fairly rapidly.


  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Southern California


    Experience here: the two least-expensive motels in West Yellowstone are One-Horse Motel and Evergreen Motel. We tried to get into cabins at Yellowstone, and have tried several times unsuccessfully, for this summer. We have reservations at One-Horse. Evergreen was already booked for the dates we wanted.


  5. Default

    Thank you! Until I read your post with the 3,000 miles it didn't hit me!

    We've made our reservation for 2 nights outside of Yosemite beginning the 12th. We'll cut back on our time in San Jose to 3 days.

  6. Default

    If you want adventure, do some geocaching. It will take you to some amazing places and double your fun! I did some geocaching in the San Rafael Swell and had a blast.

    Other interesting areas are Goblin Valley State Park and Dead Horse State Park, both in Utah.

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