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  1. Default California Roadtrip

    Hi, me and my friends are looking to do a roadtrip around California and were just looking for the best route to take. We'll come into San Diego on 18/06/14 and fly out at San Diego on the 17/07/14. We want to go to the obvious places but was just looking for the best route so we could see as much as we could

    The places that we definitely want to go see are:
    Las Vegas
    Drive through Death Valley
    Maybe stay at Yosemite Park
    Lake Tahoe
    San Francisco
    Santa Barbara

    Thanks in advance for any replies :)

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin


    Welcome to the RTA Forum!

    The list you've outlined is pretty much the obvious order to visit them, with a couple of exceptions.

    I would go directly from SD to Las Vegas, and then hit LA at the end of your trip. LA is west of SD, so it's out of the way to hit it at the beginning, but you'd drive right through LA while coming back down the coast.

    I'd also look to do Lake Tahoe before Yosemite. There will be a little bit of backtracking either way, but there is a mountain range in between the two. I think you'll find it easier to do Death Valley, go up to Tahoe, then go back down to Tioga Pass to cross the Sierra's through Yosemite National Park.

    With basically a month for this trip, you could pretty easily also add in the Grand Canyon, and perhaps some of the highlights of southern Utah. If you did that, you'd want to head right to Arizona from San Diego, circling back to Vegas after viewing those areas.

  3. Default

    That's a good idea actually - we thought the Grand Canyon would be too far to reach but we've got quite a bit of time thinking about it.

    Is there anywhere you would recommend us visiting whilst we're here? Any small towns/cities to pass on the way, any food locations to visit, routes we should take? Just any small gems that we wouldn't know about?

  4. Default

    Quote Originally Posted by MexicanBandit View Post
    Is there anywhere you would recommend us visiting whilst we're here?
    As Michael suggested, the national parks in southwestern Utah: Zion and Bryce Canyon - and also Cedar Breaks National Monument which is nearby.

    If you visit the south rim of the Grand Canyon, be sure to do the Hermit's Rest free shuttle bus route for the best views. In addition, there are a few national monuments near Flagstaff, mostly Ancestral Pueblo People/Anasazi ruins, well worth a look.

    Between Needles and Kingman you might want to take the Oatman road, part of the old Route 66, but it's a slow mountain road.

    Between Kingman and Seligman there's a longer stretch of Route 66, namely Az66 via Peach Springs, that's a decent two-lane road.

    Alternatively, you could visit the north rim of the Grand Canyon instead. IMHO it wouldn't be worth doing both rims.

    With a month, you could consider heading further east:

    Southwestern Colorado, for Mesa Verde National Park (cliff dwelling ruins), the Durangp-Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad (steam train through the mountains), the Million-Dollar Highway (highly scenic road through the same mountains), and the Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park near Montrose.

    The Moab area of eastern Utah, for Arches and Canyonlands National Parks, Dead Horse Point State Park (fabulous view of the Colorado River from above), and Ut128 from Moab to I-70 which runs alongside the Colorado with enormous sandstone bluffs on either side.

    Check these out on a map. Be sure to check the daily mileages and not try to do too much.

    In general, balance each day of driving with at least one day with only local driving. Most of the national parks deserve at least one full day, some two days.

    any food locations to visit
    In-n-Out Burger, who now have locations throughout the southwest. Spotlessly clean, excellent prices, excellent food.

    Sonic, a drive-in fast food chain, for a uniquely American experience.

    Apologies if you're already aware of those chains.

  5. Default

    Thanks for all the tips! I'll take them into consideration when I'm planning my route :)

  6. Default

    In southeastern Utah I should have mentioned Monument Valley - huge isolated sandstone bluffs, where some of the old classic western films were shot.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Melbourne, Australia

    Default Different deserts, different views.

    Following on from Michael's suggestion to visit Lake Tahoe before Yosemite, you could exit Death Valley to Beatty NV, visiting the ghost town of Rhyolite along the way. Then take 95 north for a different view of the desert. 395 South will take you back to Yosemite.

    You could cut accross to 395 at Hawthorne, or continue on 95 past Walker Lake to Schurz and follow the signs to Lake Tahoe, or go via Carson City, the State capital.


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