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  1. #1

    Default A circle from Salt Lake City with a 1 year old baby

    Hi All,
    I am new to the forum and hope to receive some advice from you!

    We are a family from The Netherlands. Together with my husband and a baby of 14 months we will be making a RV trip since 26th May. Start and end is in Salt Lake City, we have rented C25 of Cruise America for 21 days.

    We have prepared 2 possible routes. In general the core plan is to go south east towards Moab and further towards Mesa Verde. Then starts the dilemma how to proceed. I paste the ideas below.



    Questions/concerns are:
    1) if the option 1 will not get too long (min 2500 km)
    2) if the option 2 is not too monotonous. Though, we would love to see Grand Canyon which is only in option 2 (I know that sooner or later we will visit it, doesn't need to be this year), but we also love the Rocky mountains and the bigger diversity of landscapes of option 1).
    3) weather - will it not get too warm in option 2?
    4) do you have any suggestions if it doesn't make sense to visit some of these places with a baby?
    5) do you have any suggestions what else to visit? we like historical places, ghost towns, some pioneer trails/towns related attractions, gunslingers ;), Indians...

    I will also add that we have some experience in travelling by RV in US/Canada, only not with a baby.

    Thank you in advance for your tips!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    South of England.

    Default So many options.

    Hello and welcome to the RTA forums !

    With 3 weeks available you should have no problem in creating a loop like you have and be able to enjoy it at a relaxed pace. What I do is concentrate on the places I really want to see and then create a route around them as best I can, rather than making a route and seeing what will fit. If it were me, I would make a combination of the two options you have by starting out from SLC to Arches and Canyonlands. I would then continue towards RMNP along I70 [Colorado NM, Loveland Pass]before heading south to Colorado Springs [Garden of the Gods, Cave of the Winds] and then head west along US50 to Montrose which will take you over Monarch pass, through Currecanti Nat rec area to Black canyon of the Gunnison NP. From Montrose head south on US550 and drive the spectacular 'Million dollar Highway' through the mountain towns of Ouray and Silverton. From Durango you could head to Mesa Verde NP, Four corners, Monument valley to the south rim of the Grand canyon. Then you would head to Page AZ [Antelope canyon, Lake Powell, Horseshoe bend etc to Zion NP as you have planned.

    Of course there are many other options and the only one that counts is the one that appeals to you the most. It also depends on the pace you want to set yourtselves. Once you have it figured out let us know and we can help fine tune your trip and make suggestions. I have RV'd through these parts and will possibly be able to recommend some campgrounds.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tucson, AZ

    Default Rest Easy

    Welkom! Welcome aboard the RoadTrip America Forums!

    First and foremost: I think you're going to have a wonderful time no matter which route you finally end up deciding to follow. I would also like to reassure you that 2500 km is very easy to accomplish over a 21 day RoadTrip. You would only have to cover, on average, a little over 100 km a day or not much more than an hour or two's worth of driving on the wide open roads of the American west - even in a lumbering RV. So most of your time can be spent enjoying the many unique scenic and historic sites on your itinerary.

    As far as what to include and leave out, that is - as Dave points out - up to you and I also agree that you should first decide on a route determined by the main things you want to see and only then worry about what else is along it. There will be plenty of opportunities to fill in bits of history and the 'Old West'. The one destination on your list that I would probably skip if I were planning this trip is Rocky Mountain National Park. It's the farthest from your other destinations and would require twice crossing the spine of the Rocky Mountains. There will be plenty of opportunities to see mountains in Utah and western Colorado, even northern Arizona.

    As for campgrounds for you and your RV, there are two major resources for the best camping at the lowest price. Those would be the state parks (Utah, Arizona, Colorado) and the National Forests of those same states. National parks are another great resource but book up early, although you can check for any last minute cancellations. Commercial RV parks tend to be heavier on the 'amenities' such as stores playgrounds, laundry facilities and the like and lighter on the scenery, space and quiet, but that is a generalization.

    So, for your specific questions... The trip is neither too long, nor will it be too warm in late May/early June. Remember that humidity will be low and much of the area you'll be traveling through is at elevation, thus cooler. Crowds will really start to pick up towards the end of your trip but should still be at a comfortable level at the beginning. Yes, there are a lot of red rocks on Option 2 but you can break that up with visits to the mountainous areas of Utah (Cedar Breaks National Monument, Uinta Mountains) and Colorado (San Juan Mountains). The baby won't remember anything about this trip, of course, but there's no reason (s)he should keep you from enjoying any of it. You will have to forego long hikes into wilderness areas, but the US national park system is set up so that there are a range of opportunities for people of all levels of athleticism, skill, and encumbrance. And as noted, there are opportunities to sample the Old West throughout your target area. Once you have a base plan we can recommend a few specific locales that will fit in with those tastes.


  4. #4


    Thank you both so much for your input!

    We will rethink the idea of visiting RMNP, but if we do decide to see it, Dave’s idea to go east after visiting Canyonlands/Arches and then go south is great. We would never think about that That move will let us combine both circles (and to make decisions about length of the route just on the way, we can shorten it when we want what is important because of the baby).
    Before deciding, can you please advise about Pikes Peak and Great Sand Dunes NP – are they worth visiting? Why Pikes Peak is said to be the most visited mountain in the US? I will check the suggestions (Cedar Breaks National Monument, Uinta Mountains) and Colorado (San Juan Mountains) later as now I need to go to work now.

    Regarding campgrounds – still need to plan/make reservations,… if you have concrete campgrounds to recommend , please do so!

    That is a newest plan
    SLC-arches-canyonlands-RMNP (?)-colorado springs/pikes peak(?)-Great Sand Dunes NP- Durango-Aztec Ruins(?)-Mesa Verde-Four Corners-Monument Valley- Grand canyon- Page- Zion-Bryce- SLC

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    South of England.


    Before deciding, can you please advise about Pikes Peak and Great Sand Dunes NP – are they worth visiting? -
    Any popular attraction, especially National parks are considered "worth it", the only thing is that there are thousands of sites that are worth it, so it's always going to be a case of picking and choosing. For me that would be US50 and the Million dollar Highway as suggested above, but thats not to say I didn't enjoy Great sand Dunes and the route through Pagosa Springs. If you keep to your route as above you would still have the option of driving up US550 from Durango and then back down to Mesa Verde via Telluride on a scenic circular route known as "The San Juan Skyway". Another option would be to ride the mountain train from Durango to Silverton, one of the great steam train rides ! Take 163 to Grand canyon you will go through Monument valley.

    Why Pikes Peak is said to be the most visited mountain in the US?
    Pikes peak is one of Colorados' 'Fourteeners', the summit being over 14000ft, but is more geared up for visitors. You can drive to the top or take the 'easier option' and ride the cog railway, which may be wise with an RV. It became famous for being an inspiration behind the lyrics of the song, 'America the beautiful' and the world famous Pikes Peak hill climb motor sport event. At the top you will find beautiful views and a lack of oxygene, 60% of that at sea level and some people suffer from the effects of that. You can also expect anything weatherwise, sunshine, snow, thunderstorms.

    I would look into National park campgrounds and book if you can at the earliest possible time. Here is a list;

    Arches; Devils Garden campground. [Can visit Canyonlands from here.
    RMNP. Morraine park campground.
    Colorado/Manotou springs. Garden of the Gods campground. [Not NP]
    Sand dunes; Pinon flats.
    Mesa Verde; Morefield campground.
    Grand canyon; Mather or Trailer park, latter has hook ups. [On route there is an overnight stop at Cameron Trading post near the park entrance if you arrive later in the day]
    Zion NP. Watchman campground.
    Bryce canyon. There is a NP site but we stayed at Rubys Inn, very good.

    [If you drove the 'Million dollar Highway' there is a nice campground in Ouray called 4J+1+1]

    Between Arches and RMNP you will find the Colorado National monument and in nearby Fruita there is a Colorado river state park campground.

    Between Sand dunes and Mesa Verde near Pagosa Springs is 'Cool Pines' campground.

    Although this is from Denver, it's an RV trip that covers much of the area, take a look here.

  6. #6


    Thanks Dave!
    Just reading your topic, Very interesting and helpful!
    I think we made a decision to skip RMNP, sand dunes NP and pikes peak and instead visit Black canyon of Gunnison and go via Million Dollar Highway. the rest of the trip like in the option 2 from my 1st post.

    Btw, do you think that the travel direction will matter here? For example is it better to drive million dollar highway from south to north or other way?

    now we need to calculate days and make reservations, thanks for the campings!

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    South of England.


    I'm not sure that one way or the other would be better along the Million dollar Highway for views, but driving north to south would probably fit in with your travel plans better and that's the way I have driven it and which I found amazing !

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