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  1. Default Denver to San Diego, April 2015

    Hi there,

    I'm after some advice and recommendations please! My husband and I fly into Denver next April and we have 9 nights road tripping on the way to San Diego, where we'll stay for a few days to relax.

    I'm thinking we will use this route: Denver 1 night, Vail 1 night (in the Rockies), Moab 3 nights (Arches, Colorado river cruise, day trip to Monument Valley), Bryce NP 1 night, Zion NP 2 nights, Lake Havasu City 1 night.

    Is this route manageable in the time and do we have about the right about of time at each stop? Not sure if 3 nights in Moab is too much. We've been to the Grand Canyon and Vegas on another trip so happy to leave them off the itinerary this time. Ideally we don't want to spend more than 5 hours on the road each day and want to have time to enjoy the journey and take in all the scenic highlights. Any suggestions would be appreciated!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tucson, AZ

    Default I Might Do It Slightly Differently...

    ...but then, it's not my trip!

    Welcome aboard the RoadTrip America Forums!

    What matters is what is comfortable and enjoyable for you and your husband. But just for your consideration, here are a couple of things I'd do differently. First, I probably wouldn't spend three nights in Moab, particularly if Monument Valley were on my agenda. Instead, I'd see Arches in the afternoon and evening (sunset colors!) of the day I drove there from Vail. Then take my river rafting trip on my one full day in Moab so I could just return to my motel, shower, and collapse. Then on the following day drive down to the Four Corners area and see Mesa Verde during the day and Monument Valley in the evening (sunset again!) Next would be the drive across northern Arizona and southern Utah to a base of operations in southern Utah such as Kanab, Cedar City or Springdale that let me split my time between Bryce, Zion, and Cedar Breaks as weather and my mood moved me. And, having been there, I'd probably skip Lake Havasu City altogether.

    I think that by not adding the extra mileage involved in doing Monument Valley as a day trip from Moab, and by skipping Lake Havasu City, I'd get more 'bang for my buck' and see places like Mesa Verde and Cedar Breaks that more than make up for the places I'd skip. But, again, that's me. If your plan works for you, then there's no reason to change it. It's perfectly workable as is.


  3. Default

    Thanks AZBuck, I love all your suggestions and hadn't considered Mesa Verde or Four Corners! My main reason for an overnight stop at Lake Havasu City was to break up the journey between the Zion/Bryce region and San Diego. It looks like a 7-8 hour drive otherwise, which is more than we're comfortable doing in a day. Do you have any suggestions on somewhere alternative to break up the journey to the coast?

    Thanks so much for taking the time to comment. This is such a useful forum! :)

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    South of England.

    Default A few more.

    On the way to Vail you could take take a detour on US6 and travel across the continental divide at Loveland Pass to Dillon Res, some great views to enjoy ! On route to Moab you should also take a detour onto UT128 through Castle valley, again a scenic drive and neither will cost you much in the way of time. Vail is only a couple of hours out of Denver and if you wanted to get further towards Moab there are plenty of options, Glenwood Springs being a popular one with other choices such as Grand Junction/Fruita where nearby is the Colorado National monument and it's scenic rim drive through the tunnels.

    When in Moab you also have the Island in the sky section of Canyonlands which makes a nice drive and easy walk to Grandview point. [ Mesa Arch being a nice stop on the way] I like Monument Valley but if had to choose I would head to Bryce canyon from Moab by way of UT24 [from I70] to Hanksville and Torrey and visit Captital Reef on the way. You then take UT scenic 12 through Escalante to Bryce. Ruby's Inn is a pretty cool place to stay right by the entrance. For Zion NP the wonderful little town of Springdale is the closest choice of lodgings outside of the park. As Buck said, I would skip Lake Havasu and head down I15 towards SD and maximise your time in the Utah. You could get to SD same day or break the trip up, one possibility would be to drive through the Mojave National preserve and stop over in 29 Palms and then drive through Joshua Tree NP the following morning.

    As Buck also pointed out quite rightly, it's what you are both happy with that counts and these are just a few more suggestions for you to consider.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tucson, AZ

    Default It Might Not Be Your Cup of Tea

    Las Vegas would probably be the place to spend that last night on the road. It's only about 30-50 miles farther from San Diego than Lake Havasu City, especially if you stay in the southern part of the city. Besides, it offers many more lodging options. Even if the glitz of the strip doesn't appeal to you, you can take in other natural and man-made attractions such as Hoover Dam or Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area.


  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Southern California


    To add to what Buck suggested: do stay in the southern part of Las Vegas. I would not stay at Primm (State Line), though it's another few miles closer to San Diego. Though the lodgings are a bit cheaper there, there are reasons. Perhaps Buffalo Bill's wouldn't be too bad, but we discovered that Whiskey Pete's was really rundown, two years ago. The fire alarm went off in one of the wings, locking up the doors and the elevator so that folks on the upper floors had to struggle to get down the stairway. It was probably burnt popcorn that set off the alarms, though the sprinkler systems never went on either. Sad, sad, sad!

    Las Vegas to San Diego is about 6 hours down I-15, as long as you aren't trying to travel on a Sunday afternoon/evening! (Add time for traffic if you are.)


  7. #7
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Melbourne, Australia

    Default It's a hard choice.

    For routing, I'd be inclined to go with Scenic UT-12 over going through Kanab. From Glenwood Springs head down through Montrose to Cortez. Visit Mesa Verda, 4 Corners (if you wanted to) and Monument Valley, before heading to Moab. Then UT-12 to Bryce (as per Dave's suggestion), but be sure to leave lots of time. That route is like visiting a National Park.

    You're in for a wonderful trip, no matter what you decide.


  8. Default

    Thank you all for your comments. I need to plot out a few options on a map but will come back if I have more questions.

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