The Trip of Our Lives
We (my girlfriend and myself) plan to travel in the US from mid September to Mid October.
It is both our first visit in the US, so i will be more than happy to get your feedback.
We plan our Road-trip to start from Albuquerque, and focusing national parks, LA and California.
Our rough route is (by this order):
2. Santa Fe.
3. Mesa Verde National Park.
4. Arches National Park.
5. Bryce Canyon.
6. Zion National Park.
7. The Grand Canyon National Park.
8. Las Vegas.
9. Los Angeles.
8. San Simeon.
9. Carmel, CA.
10. Kings Canyon National Park.
11. Yosemite National Park.
12. San Francisco.
13. Crescent City, CA.
14. Coos Bay, OR.
15. Yellowstone National Park.
16. Salt Lake City, UT.
17. flight back to NY.
As for now, my main concern is the long miles i need to grind (which i will do mostly by my own).. i need you guys to make it more proportional and realist :]
Feel free to suggest your agenda.
Thanks a lot!
Getting to Yellowstone.
Hello and welcome to the RTA forums !
It sounds like a fantastic trip and with a month should not feel like a grind at all. If you are not starting out till mid September I would set myself up to be in Yellowstone as early as possible. It's a wonderful time of year to travel but winter can come early to Yellowstone and other mountain areas. I would fly into SLC and out of Phoenix [prob cheaper than Albu] to visit Yellowstone first and you will also have the advantage of driving south down the coast, putting the Ocean on your side of the road. You could go from SF to Yosemite and Sequoia and back to Monterey for the coast to LA, or continue to LA from SF and then visit Sequoia and Yosemite and across the Tioga Pass [providing it's still open] through Death valley to LV. It might be cheaper to fly back from Phoenix. [?]
Reversing this trip is the way to go.
Hi Liran, I too would urge you to reverse your trip, and put Yellowstone at the start of your trip. If you can include Yosemite and Death Valley, it would make your experience all the more memorable. Pity you can't make it a loop trip. It could save on flight and car rental costs.
If your flights have not already been booked, it may pay to follow the advice above.
I wonder if you wouldn't be better off doing this as a complete loop, which should save you a fair amount of money in both airfare and car rental costs.
For example, you could start in Salt Lake City, go up to Yellowstone, across to Oregon, down the Pacific Coast to LA, back up to Sequoia and Yosemite, across to Vegas, Bryce, Zion, and the Grand Canyon, over to New Mexico, and then back up to SLC via Mesa Verde and Arches.
If you do a full loop, you really could start pretty much anywhere you find the lowest prices on that loop (comparing SLC to Vegas to LA to SFO, etc), although as Dave Mentioned, you should try to fit in Yellowstone closer to the start of your trip.
Dear Dave, Lifey and Michael
Thank you for your quick response.
Luckily, nothing was booked yet, so we can start from Yellowstone.
We will be re planning our route and get back to you with more questions.
Great trip to look forward to.
That's good. I also agree with the others that a loop could work out well by not adding as many miles as you may think and saving you money in air fares and one way rentals and would give you the chance to compare prices. To get to appreciate Yellowstone you should consider spending 3 or 4 days there and allow time for the Grand Tetons just to the south. You will find a lot of helpful info around the RTA forums and in the planning pages above, just have a dig around and then ask questions as and when needed.
With that many National parks, don't forget to buy the annual pass for $80 as it will save you money. It's available on-line for US residents or simply purchase it at the first park entry kiosk you visit.
I agree with all the other posters. Snow does come early to Yellowstone. Many things around there will be closed by Oct. In fact just this week West Yellowstone was the coldest spot in the U.S. There is also a very good chance of rain on your Oregon leg in Oct. even late Sept for that matter. By reversing your route you'll be heading into nicer weather. Much better for sightseeing and walking/hiking.
Please let us know what do you think about the new route:
1. Salt Lake City.
2. Yellow Stone.
3. Zion National Park.
4. Grand Canyon.
6. Kings Canyon.
9. Flight to NYC.
Yellow Stone is making this a bit hard at beginning, is it worth those 5 hours driving back and forth to Salt Lake?
No need to back and forth.
Yellowstone is worth a visit, it's an amazing place. You have the time to explore different route options and do not have to go back through SLC even though it is an option. Instead exit south from Yellowstone and visit the Tetons and then use the Highways to head south. You could stop at Flaming Gorge Res and/or Dinosaur NM and then head to Arches/Canyonlands before driving to Bryce canyon and Zion. Between Arches and Bryce you would have the chance to drive through Capitol Reef NP and drive UT scenic 12.
If Yellowstone was not high on your list then there would be no point in starting in SLC, instead you could start and finish from SF, LV or LA and visit more southern areas. Your list is a lot shorter than the original ?