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  1. #1

    Default Advice needed - 3 weeks road trip in August


    This is my first post. I've been reading the forums for some time, as me and my wife are planning a 3 week road trip to the West Coast this August.

    From the information we have gathered from reading the forums and most of the suggestions, this is our provisional plan:

    Day 1 (9/8): Arrive at LAX airport around lunchtime. Pick car at the airport. Go to one or more supermarkets and get supplies (food, etc.). Eventually see a little bit of Los Angeles and leave. Stay in Barstow. Don't want to drive too much on the same day i've arrived.

    Day 2 (10/8): Leave Barstow to Grand Canyon National Park. My idea for the route would be I-40 until Klingman. There take route 66 until Seligman. Merge back to I-40 and then AZ-64 to the Grand Canyon. The idea would be to arrive in the afternoon, in time to catch the sunset over the Canyon. Stay one night in Tusayan.

    Day 3 (11/8): Leave Tusayan. Do the Rim Drive and head for page. Do a tour of antelope canyon. If there's time go to the Horseshoe Bend. Find someplace to sleep. Next stop will be Zion National Park.

    Day 4 (12/8): Arrive at Zion National Park.

    Day 5 (13/8): Zion National Park.

    Day 6 (14/8): Leave in the morning. Stop in Bryce National Park and see some of the sights. Go in the direction of Grand Teton National Park. Stop on the way. I'm thinking we would like to stop at least around Provo, but I would prefer to stop farther ahead...

    Problem: I'm not sure what would be the most scenic route to Grand Teton... Route (A) would be US-189 N, U.S. 30 W and US-89 N; Route (B) would be to go in the direction of Logan and do one of the scenic byways.

    Day 7 (15/8): Grand Teton.

    Day 8 (16/8): Slowly make our way to Yellowstone National Park. Sleep in or near Yellowstone National Park.

    Day 9 (17/8): Yellowstone National Park.

    Day 10 (18/8): Yellowstone National Park.

    Day 11 (19/8): Yellowstone National Park.

    Day 12 (20/8): Leave Yellowstone National Park in direction of Columbia River Gorge. Maybe do a quick stop in the Craters of The Moon and sleep in or around Baker City, OR.

    Day 13 (21/8): See Columbia River Gorge and take Mount Hood Scenic Byway to Crater Lake. Sleep near Crater Lake National Park.

    Day 14 (22/8): In the morning, see Crater Lake National Park. Head to Redwood National Park. Sleep nearby.

    Day 15 (23/8): Continue to see Redwood National Park in the morning. Head to Point Reyes National Seashore. Sleep Nearby

    Day 16 (24/8): Morning Point Reyes National Seashore. Enter San Francisco from the Golden Gate Bridge.

    Day 17 (25/8): San Francisco

    Day 18 (26/8): San Francisco

    Day 19 (27/8): Leave San Francisco and do the Pacific Highway Coast. Sleep near Carmel.

    Day 20 (28/8): Pacific Highway Coast. Sleep near Santa Barbara

    Day 21 (29/8): Sleep in Los Angeles. I would like some place somewhat near the airport.

    Day 22 (30/8): Drop car at the airport and catch airplane home.

    The first and most important question: is this doable? Or is it too much?

    Are there any big errors in the planning of this road trip? Any thing that we should change? The most important parts of this road trip for us - the parts that are - sort of speak - non negotiable, are: Grand Canyon, Zion, Yellowstone, San Francisco and the drive along the coast to Los Angeles.

    Can you give us some pointers or advice on where to stay on this trip? We have already booked nights for days 1, 2, 4 and 5.


    P.S.: I had trouble submitting this post, so if this is a double post I'm truly sorry.

  2. #2


    You may have real trouble finding somewhere to stay in and around Yellowstone this late. Start to investigate this quickly.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    South of England.

    Default Great start.

    Hello and welcome to RTA !

    It looks as though you have been doing your research and have come up with a great plan, well done !

    I think you are under estimating how you might feel after an International flight with your body clocks out of whack. You could get through customs and collect your car, which can be time consuming, and possibly do a little shopping and sight seeing, or get something to eat near the airport and drive to Barstow where you could stock up on supplies. Doing both would be too much and you would be getting near LA rush if you hang around.

    I don't think you should aim for further than Provo while taking in a visit to Bryce canyon on day 6.

    Day 13. You are probably biting off a little more than you can chew in trying to visit Columbia river Gorge and Mt Hood in one day between Baker and Crater Lake. That would be over 500 miles on some slower roads, so you won't have much time from the car and would do a lot of sight seeing through the windscreen.

    It's certainly doable if you are prepared to keep on the go, but you probably expect to anyway. I would make finding Yellowstone lodgings a priority as the park is probably booked out already. They do have a free cancellation scheme so if you keep checking the NP site something might become available. Yellowstone is a huge place so you might want to try and find different lodging locations around the area.

    [Note. Your thread was not posted as it was held in moderation. This may have been due to your user name being the same type of format as spammers use and was picked up by our Spam wear.]

  4. #4


    Thanks so much for the inputs.

    @UK: We have started looking for accommodation. Inside the park, i could only find one (very) expensive room. So our game plan is to try and find accommodation outside (but nearby) yellowstone. I'm right in thinking that our best shot is West Yellowstone, Idaho, Gardiner, Montana and Cody, Wyoming?

    @Southwest Dave: Day one: I think you're right. Change of plans. Get the car from the airport, find some place nice to eat and go straight to Barstow - we do want to avoid that rush. Get supplies in Barstow. If i'm really tired, then it will be easier to get an early night sleep or even a "siesta".

    Day 6: I'll keep Provo as the main goal. Once i arrive at Provo, then i will figure out if I'm able to carry on or if i stay there. This is one of the nights that we will not book ahead.

    Day 13: Do you think it's best that we take one of the five days in Teton/Yellowstone and split day 13 into two days?

    In general: Is it optimistic of us not to book ahead some of the nights/rooms? Namely, in Oregon/North California?

    Thank you all again, very very much!

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    South of England.

    Default Whatever you are comfortable with.

    Many people 'wing it' and do not book lodgings in advance and you will always find somewhere for the night. When I am trying to maximise my time at the places I am visiting on a bit of a time crunch the last thing I want to think about is where I will find a bed for the night. I look forward to the day I have the time to 'wing it' and not worry. It's a personal choice so it's a case of what your most comfortable with. I would certainly make Yellowstone lodgings a priority. You will find that the surrounding areas are already getting booked solid and that usually results in having to choose from undesirable or very expensive lodgings and under the best of circumstances you would struggle to find a cheap room near Yellowstone, August at short notice ???

    Day 13: Do you think it's best that we take one of the five days in Teton/Yellowstone and split day 13 into two days?
    That could work. If you done a little more sightseeing and left Yellowstone at lunchtime you could drive to Twin Falls and then the following day head for The Dalles area. As well as Craters of the Moon there is Shoshone Falls and in TF is the Snake river canyon and Perrine Bridge making it a nice town for an evening stay.

    As you won't have a lot of time for Bryce, here is a tip. When you arrive drive to the far end of the canyon with no stops. On the way back all the viewpoints will be on your side of the road saving you the time and effort of keep pulling across the traffic at the parking spots.

  6. Default

    Quote Originally Posted by UK View Post
    You may have real trouble finding somewhere to stay in and around Yellowstone this late. Start to investigate this quickly.
    That is true, it might be too late by now...

  7. #7


    As others have said booking hotels around Yellowstone could be problematic with some of the chain hotels being fairly expensive also. There are several independent hotels in West Yellowstone that may be a better bet. Cody, Wy. would also be worth checking out. It's approx. 50 miles east of the east entrance to the park. Its been close to 25 years since I've stayed in Gardiner, Mt and that was in an RV park, so I can't speak to hotels accommodations there.

  8. #8



    Thanks to all.

    Thanks for the tip on Bryce Canyon. That is precious information.

    As you have all said, it was difficult to find accommodation in west yellowstone, but I think we have found and booked what seems to be a really nice motel called The Evergreen Motel. And it seems to be a bargain compared to the other motels. At least this late in the game.

    Our next mission is to find where to stay near Grand Teton... And probably then start researching San Francisco, where we are anticipating some difficulties. Do you have any recommendations for those areas?

    For the nights between Yellowstone and San Francisco we are considering seriously the "wing it" option.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Joplin MO


    The Evergreen is excellent. I've stayed there.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    South of England.

    Default San Fran and Alcatraz.

    In SF parking can be expensive with many of the Hotels charging extra for parking even when staying as guests. We found a few choices near Lombard/Gough Street near Fort Mason that were reasonable and offered parking and was happy with our choice of the Buena Vista Motor Inn. It was a few years ago since we stayed but everything was adequate, except for the breakfast. It was quite an easy walk to Fishermans Wharf and the transport links to downtown, you won't need the car for visiting the city. To the right of each page you will find the RTA Roadtrip travel link where you can get a good idea of lodging choices.

    If you are planning a trip to Alcatraz [highly recommended] I would personally book tickets in advance to avoid standing in long queues in the hope of getting on the next boat. The place to book is direct with the NPS to avoid paying agent fees or having to book other tours you may not want. An evening tour is popular so that you can watch the city light up as night falls.

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