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  1. Default LV to LA - In 13 days?


    We have read through some of the questions and comments in this forum and considered options for routes. We are looking for suggestions on how to keep our trip an enjoyable one.

    It has been 15 years since my last trip to the US and this will be the first for my wife. We start with a week on the east coast, visiting DC and NY – just walking around each city and with a bus trip to get between them, ending with a flight to LV.

    We then have 17 days for the south west. We thought to have three nights, 2 days, in LV and end with two days in LA, one for driving around and sight-seeing and one for Universal Studios. That would leave 13 days to drive – first looping around in canyon country and then finding our way to LA.

    Monument Valley and Grand Canyon are must-see locations for us.

    We appreciate that distances are much greater than a short trip to Europe would be.

    Considering our time limits would we be better, after Zion & Bryce, to leave out Moab and head S/E via Natural Bridges then MV, Antelope and GC, or perhaps go directly south to Paige, then MV then GC?

    We have considered then heading to SF via Death Valley, Tioga Pass and Yosemite but worry that might just be too many additional road miles. Is this something others have achieved sanely – canyons & Yosemite & SF in 13 days? We have read of people doing it in 3 weeks.

    Would a southern trip, close to the Mexican border then San Diego, be an interesting option after the canyons?

    Would Death Valley be interestingly different after the hot canyon country?

    In general we would appreciate suggestions on how a non-American couple could best spread out those 13 days of touring from people with actual experience of distances involved and sights to see and enjoy.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Melbourne, Australia

    Default Your style will decide how many parks.

    Hi and Welcome to the Great American Roadtrip Froum.

    You have a pretty good take on the layout of the country and a good grip on what you want to experience with your wife. Regardless of what you do, it will be a great trip. As to how much and what you visit will depend very much on your style of travelling.

    What I would do is route from LV to Zion, Bryce and then via UT12 - The Million Dollar Road - to Capital Reef, then onto Arches and Canyonlands near Moab. Take UT128 from I-70 into Moab, it is a spectacular drive through wonderful country. Then through Monument Valley and onto the Grand Canyon via the East Entrance - entering the canyon along the Colorado River. How long you like to stay at each of these parks, and whether hiking is part of your enjoyment, will depend on whether DV and Yosemite are then on the menu.

    As a guide I would allow at least a day or two at each of Yosemite and GC, a full day for Zion (if you are into hiking). Bryce can be seen in half a day, unless you like to go hiking down in the canyon among the hoodoos. Same really goes for the other NPs.

    Would Death Valley be interestingly different after the hot canyon country?
    Death Valley is an amazing and unique landscape, definitely worth your time, even if you only drive through it. Note that will be hotter than the canyon country. It is the lowest, hence the hottest part of the States, but that should not deter you. A drive in your air conditioned car with ocassional stops for a photo is definitely doable in summer. Carry lots of drinking water.

    You're likely to get respite from the heat in Yosemite, especially the Tioga Pass area, which is high up in the Sierras.


  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    South of England.


    You would need to choose between Mesa Verde and Arches and Yosemite and the coast in my opinion and to mix things up a bit I would go for the latter. If that was the case your trip would look something like this; LV to GC to MV to Bryce canyon to Zion to DV to Yosemite to SF and down the coast to LA with an overnight stop, possibly Cambria.

  4. Default

    Thank you ‘Dave’ & ‘Magician’

    Dave is there a reason you recommend travelling counter-clockwise. We had thought the GC would be a grand-finale of canyon country, but perhaps it works better as a starter? Another reason we had thought to go clockwise is that we would know by when we leave GC whether we were too short of time to head to Yosemite – hence questions as to whether southern routes in to LA via San Diego were interesting or whether to head via DV regardless.

    Why we worried most about travel times is that we started off planning using Goggle Maps. Then we realised that although people suggest LV to GC is a 5 hour drive it is shown as 4hrs on Google. We now see that ViaMichelin and our phone-based GPS suggest 5hrs – hence a request for input from people who had done these routes as to achievability.

    This is what we had been considering:
    1 To Zion, Zion Afternoon & evening
    2 Zion East, driving/stops & Bryce evening
    3 Bryce morning walk, afternoon on to canyonlands
    4 canyonlands to Moab
    5 Moab: Arches in morning; afternoon to Mulie Overlook and Mexican Hat
    6 MV: Drive in to MV for the morning; go to Page by evening
    7 Page: Antelope in morning then GC in afternoon
    8 GC: South Kaibab in morning then head west Pharump
    9 DV morning; on to east of Yosemite
    10 Tioga and Yosemite
    11 To SF and overnight
    12 SF morning; then Carmel
    13 Carmel to LA Area
    14 LA
    15 LA-Universal; fly out

    Day 7 we would consider changing to drop Page/Antelope and go directly to GC (South Rim) if we have spent extra time at earlier locations.
    Last edited by soundsgood; 05-20-2015 at 05:46 PM.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Melbourne, Australia

    Default Two thoughts.

    Carmel to LA is too far for one day. You'd be best leaving SF in the morning and driving to around Cambria to make it to LA the next day.

    If you are getting to Bryce late in the afternoon, drive into the park, even for a short way, and experience a sunset over the park. Spectacular!


  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    South of England.

    Default A 'brisk' pace.

    Your trip can be done as long as you are happy to get a brief overview of the places you are visiting, but it does a little too rushed in my opinion. Canyonlands and Arches are long drives just to get into the heart of the park, Zion and Yosemite need at least a full day, but a day and a half would be better.

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