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  1. #1

    Default West Coast, National Parks, 2 Month Trip

    I'm a college student traveling on my first long (two months) road trip with a friend of mine this summer. Here's our first go at a loose itinerary, starting either on May 27th or June 3rd. We would really appreciate any feedback/advice/suggestions/concerns/etc. Anywhere that we should replace any of our destinations with? Anywhere we're spending too long or too little? Any other tips or things that we should know (i.e. about the weather)? Thank you!

    Saint Louis
    LEAVE AROUND 10 AM Wednesday

    Oklahoma City (1 night, 1 morning)
    ARRIVE AROUND 8 PM Wednesday
    LEAVE AROUND 1 PM Thursday

    Santa Fe (3 nights, 2.5 days)
    ARRIVE AROUND 11 PM Thursday
    LEAVE AROUND 2 PM Sunday

    Chaco Culture (1 night, 1 morning)
    ARRIVE AROUND 6 PM Sunday (Stargaze)
    LEAVE AROUND 1 PM Monday

    Antelope Canyon and Horseshoe Bend (1 night, 1 day)
    ARRIVE AROUND 7 PM Monday
    LEAVE AROUND 4 PM Tuesday

    Zion (3 nights, 3 days)
    ARRIVE AROUND 7 PM Tuesday
    LEAVE AROUND 3 PM Friday

    Las Vegas (2 nights, 1.5 days)
    ARRIVE AROUND 7 PM Friday
    LEAVE AROUND 8 PM Sunday

    Sequoia (1 nights, 1 day)
    ARRIVE AROUND 4 PM Sunday
    LEAVE AROUND 3 PM Monday

    Kings Canyon (1 night, 1 day)
    ARRIVE AROUND 6 PM Monday
    LEAVE AROUND 4 PM Tuesday

    Yosemite (3 nights, 3 days)
    ARRIVE AROUND 9 PM Tuesday
    LEAVE AROUND 3 PM Friday

    San Francisco (5 nights, 5 days)
    ARRIVE AROUND 7 PM Friday
    LEAVE AROUND 3 PM Wednesday

    Eureka (1 night, 1 morning)
    ARRIVE AROUND 8 PM Wednesday
    LEAVE AROUND 12 PM Thursday

    Coastal Drive (0 nights, 1 day)
    START AROUND 12 PM Thursday
    FINISH AROUND 7 PM Thursday

    Crater Lake (1 night, 1 day)
    ARRIVE 7 PM Thursday
    LEAVE 5 PM Friday

    Eugene (1 night, 1 day)
    ARRIVE AROUND 8 PM Friday
    LEAVE AROUND 3 PM Saturday

    Portland (3 nights, 3 days)
    ARRIVE AROUND 4 PM Saturday
    LEAVE AROUND 10 AM Tuesday

    Oregon Waterfalls (0 nights, 1 day)
    ARRIVE AROUND 11 AM Tuesday
    LEAVE AROUND 4 PM Tuesday

    Seattle (4 nights, 3 days)
    ARRIVE AROUND 8 PM Tuesday
    LEAVE AROUND 12 PM Saturday

    Olympic (5 nights, 5 days)
    ARRIVE AROUND 3 PM Saturday
    LEAVE AROUND 8 AM Thursday

    Glacier (5 nights, 5 days)
    ARRIVE AROUND 11 PM Thursday
    LEAVE AROUND 7 PM Tuesday

    Missoula (3 night, 2 days)
    ARRIVE AROUND 10 PM Tuesday
    LEAVE AROUND 10 AM Friday

    Yellowstone and Grand Prismatic Spring (5 nights, 6 days)
    ARRIVE AROUND 3 PM Friday
    LEAVE AROUND 4 PM Wednesday

    Grand Teton (2 nights, 2 days)
    ARRIVE AROUND 6 PM Wednesday
    LEAVE AROUND 12 PM Friday

    Denver (3 nights, 2 days)
    ARRIVE AROUND 10 PM Friday
    LEAVE AROUND 11 AM Monday

    Saint Louis
    ARRIVE AROUND 1 AM Tuesday

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Southern California
    Posts
    4,546

    Default

    Welcome to RTA!

    Overall, it looks like your trip is coming together pretty well. However, I will add one caveat: don't ever count on your departure and arrival times being accurate. I'm not sure where you got the travel times from. It will probably take you a lot longer than 5 hours to get from Missoula, MT to the area of Grand Prismatic Spring in Yellowstone. Travel within national parks, and often times the approaches to, is a lot slower than you think. Within Yellowstone you will be lucky to get to 30 mph. Same with the Yellowstone to Grand Teton -- depending on your starting place in YNP and your ending place in GTNP, it may be lots more than 2 hours.

    As soon as you get this set, you'll want to start looking for reservations for your lodging places if you want to stay inside or just outside of most of the national parks you mentioned: Zion, Yosemite, Yellowstone, Glacier, Grand Canyon. It doesn't matter if it's hotels or campgrounds (you didn't specify), the national parks fill up quickly in June, July and August! If you don't get in right away, keep trying back, as you could catch someone else's cancellation.

    Yosemite's closest places are El Portal, Mariposa, and Oakhurst. Grand Teton's is Jackson (watch out, though, even the Motel 6 is $150/night). Yellowstone's closest is West Yellowstone, MT.

    BTW, that's a long haul right at the end of your trip, to leave Denver at 11 am and drive straight through to get back to STL. That's 850 miles, definitely not something to do in a one day shot. If it were me, I'd cut back one day in Denver, leaving on Sunday and getting home on Monday afternoon.


    Donna

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    South of England.
    Posts
    10,748

    Default Good job.

    As Donna mentioned, don't expect to plan your trip by the hour and add at least 20% travel time to any computer numbers to llow for 'real world' times. In Yellowstone you have even less control over times, if the Bison wnat to block the road they will do and jams will form. Not much of a problem as you have a good amout of time at hand. You could quite comfortably take a night from your stay in Glacier NP and use it to break the journey home, which you need to do one way or another. Depending on whether or not you have plans for Denver, have you considered Estes Park instead? It's a lovely town right on the doorstep of Rocky mountain NP which is another wonderful NP. Talking of NP's, between Page and Zion you could detour to the North rim of the Grand canyon and spend a night at Jacob Lake, or perhaps head up to Bryce Canyon. If it appealed to you I think you could 'pinch' a night from SF to do so. It's obvious you have done your homework and done it well so these are merely suggestions , as there is nothing wrong with your plan, other than the last day that is.

  4. Default

    A very nice amount of time for a great trip. If you want to prioritize National Parks over cities, then you might want to consider adding a bit more time to Sequoia/ Kings Canyon, to visit the redwoods (choice of National and state parks) with your Coastal Drive section, and further north to visit Mt Rainier. As others have mentioned, the driving times may be longer than your estimates between National Parks and cities (such as Yosemite to SF and Crater Lake to Eugene).

  5. #5

    Default

    The coast drive in CA/OR will probably take longer than you have planned. It is a winding road. I assume that you will be going up PCH/HWY101. OR hwy 199 is mostly mountains and very slow going, ave 45mph. It is very beautiful route.

    Depending on the weather, parts of Crater Lake could still be closed. Looks like you are planning on coming in form the SW road... call ahead of time, as "May" is its earliest time it could open. June is a better bet for the roads to be open and driveable without traction devices.

    You will not be able to drive from Eugene OR to Portland OR in 1hr. It is a 2hr+ drive.

    Have fun on your trip.

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