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  1. #1

    Default From Vegas to.....need some help and info please

    I wanted to do this trip last year but instead we went to Florida, New Orleans and ended up in New York.
    Now this trip is going to happen in June/July, for the duration of about 21 days, and this post is because we are torn between two different directions.
    My daughter and me prefer to avoid Interstates and use the smaller roads, and see more small towns and the amazing nature the US has.
    The idea is to drive a max of 5 hours a day, but we do know that we need to be flexible at this point, because of some longer distance between points of interest.
    There will be 2 major questions in this post, but we do appreciate all the info we can get.

    We will fly from Denmark to Las Vegas, stay there for 1 day and then take the 15 towards St. George and then route 9 to Zion Park.
    1 Question: If we have to choose between Zion or Bryce Canyon, what is the most scenic and impressive place? (we don't mind walking but are not the tracking type ;-))
    From Zion Park we want to take the 89 North and then take the 12 all the way up to Hanksville. From there we want to take the 95 and 261 and 263 to Monument Valley. After that we want to go south to Holbrook and from there we take Route 66 towards Albuquerque.
    2 Question: From here we are torn in two directions, either towards Santa Fe, then the smaller roads west of Denver towards Mt. Rushmore, then back to Denver to fly home. Or we are heading from Albuquerque into Texas, and end up either in Dallas or Houston(depends of which town/area is more interesting).
    If it's going to be Texas then we would love to get some info about roads, nice towns and areas to see.

    According to Google maps this trip should take between 30-40 hours continuous driving, so there should be time enough to explore places like Zion/Bryce, Monument Valley and other interesting and scenic places, areas and towns/cities.

    I really hope that we can get some help, and most of all ideas and information about roads and places to see and visit.

    Thank you
    regards
    Eric van Urk, Denmark

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

    Default

    1 Question: If we have to choose between Zion or Bryce Canyon, what is the most scenic and impressive place? (we don't mind walking but are not the tracking type ;-))
    From Zion Park we want to take the 89 North and then take the 12 all the way up to Hanksville. From there we want to take the 95 and 261 and 263 to Monument Valley. After that we want to go south to Holbrook and from there we take Route 66 towards Albuquerque.
    If I had to choose between Zion and Bryce, I'd go with Zion. There is a lot to do and see, and if you like hiking, there are a few hikes to choose from. When we were there the last time, we spent two full days in the park, and were able to take some of the shorter hikes. (We'd have loved to have tried The Narrows, but the weather did not cooperate.)

    You will find that it's almost all I-40 from Holbrook to Albuquerque. Very little remains of what used to be US-66, as the highway was decommissioned long ago. Much of it was re-paved and used as I-40, however. If you take "Busn 40" through some of the towns along that route, though, you'll find yourself on some of the US-66 pavement.

    According to Google maps this trip should take between 30-40 hours continuous driving, so there should be time enough to explore places like Zion/Bryce, Monument Valley and other interesting and scenic places, areas and towns/cities.
    With 3 weeks, you have plenty of time to see this area of the country. However, don't ever believe Mr. Google about travel times: always add 20-25%. Electronics don't have to stop for the bathroom, food, fuel, or to take pictures. This is especially true on the 2-lane roads like the 12! If this were my trip, I'd stick to the southwest area. BTW, Mt Rushmore is by Rapid City, SD, and is about 430 miles away from Denver -- a good day's drive. It's a slightly longer day's drive from Albuquerque to Denver, about 450 miles.


    Donna

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    South of England.
    Posts
    10,749

    Default

    Hi and welcome back.

    You should have time to see both Zion and Bryce, especially as you will be going right by Bryce canyon on UT12. It then actually joins UT24 to Hanksville and on the way another lovely stop is Capitol Reef NP. If I had to choose, I would also choose Zion but both are spectacular. Bryce can be seen in half a day from the rim whereas Zion needs at least a full day and a day and a half would be better.

    As for your "where next" question, it's one that ultimately only you can decide on. Personally I wouldn't go with either, Mt Rushmore is a long way out of the way unless you find the time to visit some other places up there, Custer State park, Badlands etc. I have not been to Texas as yet, to be honest it doesn't have a great appeal to me. Sorry Texas, maybe one day.

    I would actually look at doing a loop trip and finish back in Vegas which loses the one way drop off fee on your car and would probably make for cheaper airfares. From Hanksville you could continue to Arches and Canyonlands near Moab and head into Colorado, Mesa Verde and RMNP are two of the NP's as well as breathtaking Alpine scenery. You could then head further south and back through Colorado towards Albu, Monument valley, Grand canyon and Vegas. I would do a bit more research and study the map to see what works for you as a whole.

  4. #4

    Default

    Thanks for your info. Dave the reason why we want to head towards Texas or Colorado is because we took the trip along the south rim, Sedona, Flagstaff, Kingman to Vegas for 4 years ago, that's why we want to go north of Vegas this time (even yellowstone was in the picture at one point instead of Mt.Rushmore and Texas.) It's not easy to know where the best places are and where to go as foreigner. So please if you have a better idea for a spectacular roadtrip, don't hold back ;-). All what is curtain is that it will be last week of june and 21-23 days.
    I have to take a look at Arches and Mesa Verde.......what is RMNP?

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
    13,067

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    RMNP = Rocky Mountain National Park, located northwest of Denver.

    It's really hard to beat the National Parks system for fantastic places to visit. Certainly, there are no shortage of them in Utah and Colorado, and you could more than fill 3 weeks just staying in those 2 states. It's also worth noting that Yellowstone would be a significantly shorter drive than Mt. Rushmore, and very doable within 3 weeks.

    But perhaps natural attractions aren't your thing - that's really the only reason why I can figure that you wouldn't make time for both Zion and Bryce if you're going to be on the road for 3 weeks. If you are more interested in city life, heading to Texas might make more sense (but then it might make more sense to just focus your time there, then doing the long drive from Las Vegas.)

    There are no generic "best places" or list for "where to go as a foreigner," it really just depends upon what you want to get out of your trip.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    South of England.
    Posts
    10,749

    Default

    why we want to head towards Texas or Colorado is because we took the trip along the south rim, Sedona, Flagstaff, Kingman to Vegas for 4 years ago, that's why we want to go north of Vegas this time. (even yellowstone was in the picture at one point instead of Mt.Rushmore and Texas.)
    This type of info does make a difference, although what I was suggesting would have you heading north of Vegas through Utah and Colorado and then making your way to Albuquerque which was on your list of places to visit. You could drive from there back to Vegas in one long day, or a day and a half if you have driven through that way before and it would save a one way drop off fee as mentioned.

    Not only is Yellowstone a very good option, that also could work as a loop trip from Vegas. Head to Zion NP and continue towards Yellowstone and the Grand Tetons, then down into Colorado and back through Utah and Monument valley.

    Closer still you have the NP's of California like Death valley, Sequoia and the beautiful Yosemite, but as Michael alluded to, you might prefer the city life.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Apr 2015
    Location
    Vevey, switzerland
    Posts
    7

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    Hi Eric,

    I was there last November 11 days: LA - Vegas - Grand Canyon - monument valley - page - brice canyon - Zion - Vegas - back to LA on route 66.

    After Grand Canyon and monument valley, my favourite was brice canyon. Amazing "hoodoos" for European people! brice has a "human" size so you can experience going down the canyon from sunrise point and up to sunset point and back along the canyon in 3 hours easy.

    We didn't plan to go to Zion but as it is very close (2,5 hours drive) we finally did both. But I found brice more impressive.

    By the way, in page we visited the antelope canyon, was not planned but was the best surprise during our trip. Take a look for pics on Internet! Wonderful. Furthermore, we had the chance to be in the first jeep of the day, meaning nobody on the pictures as its same way back.

    Enjoy

  8. #8

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    On our trip 4 years ago we ended up in SF and visited Yosemite, Sequoia and so on. City life is not for us, and I saw enough last year in Miami and NY. Nature, beautiful scenery, small towns, see and learn more about native americans are things we want to experience. We have just looked at the route you suggest Dave and we like that idea very much, but then skip Colorado and Albuquerque (safe that for next trip).....Vegas, Zion, Bryce, UT12, Yellowstone, Grand Teton, Arches NP, Moab, Monument Valley, Page, Vegas. Is this a realistic roadtrip without having to sit in the car 90% of the time?

  9. #9

    Default

    Thanks for the info about Antilope Canyon, that looks amazing and when we pass Page on the way back this would be a great opportunity. Will try to get that first jeep of the day ;-)

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Apr 2015
    Location
    Vevey, switzerland
    Posts
    7

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    Quote Originally Posted by Eric van Urk View Post
    Thanks for the info about Antilope Canyon, that looks amazing and when we pass Page on the way back this would be a great opportunity. Will try to get that first jeep of the day ;-)
    Be careful, 4 jeeps leaves at the same time but make sure to be in the first arriving, ask the Navajo guide !

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