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  1. Default Roadtrip to UTAH & COLORADO - need advice / suggestion

    Hi everybody...
    We are planning to do a scenic road trips with our 2 kids from L.A. to UTAH & COLORADO on the week of Thanksgiving holiday.
    From Sat. Nov.22nd to Sat. Nov.29th.

    Main focus of the trip is to just drive leisurely, sightseeing, taking lots of pictures & enjoy the beauty of UTAH/COLORADO winter scenery.
    May be a quick stop here & there at some interesting places along the way to capture the moment.
    Planning to drive daily around 5-7 hours only... before dark & rest, overnight at any safe area.

    We would leave L.A on Sat. 11/22 to Vegas and spend a night there.
    So the actual journey will begin on Sun.11/23 from Vegas onwards.
    Thinking of taking 15 to Salt Lake City | 80 & 25 to Denver & Aspen | 70 to 15 back to L.A.

    The extended 10 day weather forecast for Salt Lake City & Denver looks good with no severe weather/storm warnings.
    As far as the highway & road condition will check them on a daily basis as we progress.

    Would highly appreciate if any of you could share your thought & experience
    1) of what do's & don't.... especially driving in high country during winter season.
    2) Must see & highly recommended places during this short trip.
    3) Other alternative or better suggestion on the itinerary, route/highway...or the order of the trip.
    4) Good places to overnight

    Thank you in advance
    Jay

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    South of England.
    Posts
    10,747

    Default A little confusion.

    Hello and welcome to the RTA foprums !

    A couple of things don't quite fit for me as to your goals. You say you want a leisurely drive to take in the beauty and scenery and then say you plan to travel Interstate up to SLC and across to Denver which adds a lot of miles with not a lot of free time to spare in the first instance. I am also confused as to what you mean by finding "any safe area" to overnight at ? I trust you mean a Hotel, or if you have an RV that you plan to spend the night legally in a designated area, campground or truck stop.

    Given your time restraints I would look at going into Utah and visit Zion NP, Bryce canyon and then perhaps drive scenic Byway 12 through Capital Reef and to Moab for Arches and/or Canyonlands. You could then return to LA via Monument valley and the Grand Canyon NP, but even that would be a little rushed to visit the parks while using your driving hours each day. You would have the option of skipping some of the Utah parks and 'dipping your toes' into Colorado, perhaps drive the scenic 'Million Dollar Highway' [US550] through the mountain towns of Ouray, Silverton and Durango and possibly visit Black Canyon and/or Mesa Verde NP's. You could make Aspen your turn around point and take I70 out with a couple of stops and come home via the Million dollar highway/Durango and Monument valley etc. Of course you can stick to your original plan, but you will by-pass some extraordinary places while adding up to 6 or 700 miles of time in the car mainly on Interstate.

    As you rightly said, keep checking the forecasts and road conditions before committing to any routes.

  3. Default

    First of all.. thank you very much for your prompt response & very informative suggestion. Sorry for the confusion.
    I will be driving a mid SUV. Yes... most of the time we will be on the road and only stop at interesting places to take some pictures & coffee break. May be some places will be longer than the other depending on how interesting the place is.

    Example:
    1st day (Sun.)
    Leaving Las Vegas around 8am to Salt Lake City.
    Along the way... stop at Zion NP (around 2:30 hrs drive) for 1 or 2 hrs just to get a glimpse & some photo at the Entrance.
    Then continue driving to SLC (around 4:30 hrs drive).
    Overnight at SLC.

    2nd day (Mon.)
    Driving around SLC area
    Overnight in SLC

    3rd day (Tue.)
    Heading towards Denver. Along the way... stop by any interesting places.
    If needed, overnight at any city in between & continue the journey next day.

    Safe area... I mean town & hotel in between SLC & Denver. I've read some other travelers experience to avoid some area (not specifically in Utah or Colorado... but other part of the country) because tourist are not welcome or they just don't like foreigners. I've never been to Utah/Colorado... so I don't know.

    I've been to Grand Canyon NP but not Monument Valley.

    Today extended weather forecast says that Sun/ Mon. will rain/Snow in SLC & Aspen but not Denver.

    I will google your other suggestions to come up with better itinerary.
    Thank you for your valuable input.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Joplin MO
    Posts
    9,270

    Default

    Where are you getting your driving times from? You should add 20% to what a computer tells you to reflect reality, more if the roads are not dry.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 1998
    Location
    Las Vegas, Nevada
    Posts
    10,059

    Default It's just like your own hometown...

    Quote Originally Posted by nine9la View Post
    Safe area... I mean town & hotel in between SLC & Denver. I've read some other travelers experience to avoid some area (not specifically in Utah or Colorado... but other part of the country) because tourist are not welcome or they just don't like foreigners. I've never been to Utah/Colorado... so I don't know.
    Jay, Utah and Colorado would never be able to pay their state expenses without tourists. I never can imagine how these rumors get started -- I've been in all 50 US states -- there is no state that doesn't like and encourage visits from tourists. It is possible to find small, distinct areas within most states with economic issues where tourism doesn't really generate much local benefit -- and there might not be an obvious out-pouring of support for tourists -- but local businesses are universally welcoming to anyone interested in purchasing goods and services -- Don't worry about this.

    Mark

  6. Default

    Quote Originally Posted by glc View Post
    Where are you getting your driving times from? You should add 20% to what a computer tells you to reflect reality, more if the roads are not dry.
    From Google Map. That 20% tip make sense. Thank you for your valuable input !

  7. Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Mark Sedenquist View Post
    --there is no state that doesn't like and encourage visits from tourists. It is possible to find small, distinct areas within most states
    Mark
    That's true Mark. Thank you for your thought
    I actually meant a small town, distinct area in between SLC & Denver if for some reason I need to stay overnight.

    By the way, SLC to DENVER using 80... is there anything "must see" places in between?

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Joplin MO
    Posts
    9,270

    Default

    Between SLC and Denver on I-80? The following towns have a decent selection of hotels:

    Evanston, Rock Springs, Rawlins, Laramie, Cheyenne, Fort Collins

    There are other smaller towns along the route too. I would not worry about staying in ANY town along I-80 or I-25, they are all there to serve travelers.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Melbourne, Australia
    Posts
    6,936

    Default Scenic detour.

    Quote Originally Posted by nine9la View Post
    That's true Mark. Thank you for your thought
    I actually meant a small town, distinct area in between SLC & Denver if for some reason I need to stay overnight.

    By the way, SLC to DENVER using 80... is there anything "must see" places in between?
    I've never come to any town or place where I have not been welcome. Sometimes it depends on the visitor's demeanour. Most folks one meets are genuinely interested in your travels.

    Heading into Denver, be sure to take the short detour over Loveland Pass - US-6, which stays open all year to accommodate the trucks which are barred from using the tunnel. Should be a fantastic sight up there in Winter.

    Lifey

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jan 1998
    Location
    Las Vegas, Nevada
    Posts
    10,059

    Default Do you really need to go to SLC and I-80?

    Quote Originally Posted by nine9la View Post
    By the way, SLC to DENVER using 80... is there anything "must see" places in between?
    Jay, just curious -- starting in LA -- why are you using I-80. I-70 is one of the most scenic Interstate Highways in America. Here is a field report I wrote about the Utah section of I-70....

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