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  1. Default Denver to Vegas via yellowstone

    This will be our first real roadtrip in the states and I would appreciate if anyone can give us some ideas on things to see and do based around the itinerary we already have in place.
    Fly into denver form the uk on 10th Sept.
    Denver 2 nights
    Including a trip to Colorado Springs...... Only to drive up pikes peak
    Back to denver and hopefully time to visit red rocks amphitheatre
    Estes Rocky Mountains nat park 2 nights
    Long drive to keystone 2 nights. Take in Rushmore and crazy horse etc
    Trip to devils tower en route to Sheridan 1 night
    Cody 1 night
    Yellowstone. 2 nights one at canyon lodge, one at old faithfull
    Moran 1 night for grand Teton nat park
    Vernal 1 night for dinosaur nat park
    Moab 2 nights for arches and canyonlands nat park
    Monument valley 1 night at monument view
    Zion 3 nights zion nat park and lake Powell
    Final day trip back to Vegas..... Only for the flight, as we have styled thre before, but would like to see the Hoover dam en route if possible
    Any tips, must do' sand things to see would be greatly appreciated

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tucson, AZ

    Default A Problem or Two

    Welcome aboard the RoadTrip America Forums!

    There is at least one spot in your itinerary that I think is going to cause you problems and that is right at the beginning. Most flights from the UK to the US are daytime flights and take around 10-12 hours. Add in the time to get to the airport, clear security, wait for boarding, clear customs and immigration at the other end, get your hire car, etc. and you're looking at a very long day. One night's sleep in a strange bed will not overcome that jet lag. But you've scheduled a grueling set of activities for your one day in Denver including driving up a road that will require you to be at your very sharpest. All that is simply not going to work.

    The other thing you need to be aware of is that if you don't already have your confirmed reservations for Yellowstone, Grand Tetons, Zion and the other national parks you can't count on getting them. Even though early September is relatively late in the tourist season, especially in the northern portions of your trip, you can still expect that sites within the park will be close to fully booked. If you don't have reservations already, start trying to get them and continue to try regularly as there are often cancellations.

    Otherwise, you've got a fairly well planned if chock full itinerary that hits most of the well known and well regarded sites of the American west.


  3. Default

    Ok to answer your points. Firstly we have arranged the trip through a third party specialist so have all accomodation booked.
    Your first point is valid, however having been to the states a few times before the jet lag works in reverse on the way out. Ie we should get to the hotel mid evening but it will be really late on our body clock. We should be awake around 5.00 the following morning, so thought a leasuerly early drive down to Colorado Springs would be fine. Some breakfast a bit of a rest and then drive up pikes peak. Is the drive up the hill really that bad!!??
    After the trip to pikes peak then again leisurely back to denver, some tea and a drive out to red rocks. Another 'good nights sleep' and the following day drive to Estes which isn't that far away, so even maybe drop the red rocks trip into that morning
    Hope that makes sense

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tucson, AZ

    Default Pikes Peak and Jet Lag

    The combination of jet lag (and yes you will feel it even if you are awake) and the drive up the Pikes Peak 'highway' is not one I would recommend. You need to be at the top of your game for that drive. The road is dirt, has multiple switchbacks and no guard rails, is shared with hikers and bikers, and most importantly is above 12,000 feet for much of its length. That last bit is important. If you were piloting a small plane you would have to be on supplemental oxygen at this height to prevent deleterious effects including euphoria, lack of judgement, and slowed reaction time. That you are not required to be on supplemental oxygen while driving is far more a result of there being so few roads above 12,000 feet than any chance that you won't be suffering the same effects of oxygen starvation. And you are going to continue climbing to over 14,000 feet! Add to those altitude effects the fact that your body's time is shifted and it thinks that it's time to be shutting down for a night's sleep and you can see why trying to do this the day after your arrival is such a bad idea.

    Last edited by AZBuck; 07-10-2015 at 11:21 AM.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Southern California


    There are other ways around the Pikes Peak problem. You could always go up and down the peak by the Cog Railroad. Or, better yet (because it involves no driving), have one of the limo tours that's available, pick you up at a designated place, take you up the mountain and down. Normally I wouldn't recommend taking a tour, but when I was younger, this is how we decided to see Pikes Peak. My dad didn't want to drive up the mountain for the very reasons AZBuck stated above, and Mom found out that a limo tour was only a bit more expensive (at that point) than the cog railroad.


  6. Default

    Wow, I thought pikes peak was Tarmac (paved) all the way now?

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tucson, AZ

    Default So It Is

    My mistake, it's been paved for a few years now. Well that's one (of half a dozen) problems solved. By the way, between 12,000 and 14,000 feet you'll only have about 60-65% of sea-level atmospheric oxygen available to you, and given the inefficiencies of the human pulmonary/vascular system about half the sea-level blood oxygen.


  8. Default

    Ok, so we shall see. Maybe we get there and if we don't feel up to driving we opt for the cog railway as Donna57 said? But I guess that still presents us with the altitude issue. Can't see any warnings on altitude and oxygen problems on the pikes peak website
    So leaving that to one side would really like to hear if there are some little gems to see and do en route between stop overs as I appreciate we won't have much time to go off piste exploring for ourselves

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    South of England.


    The thing with jet lag and altitude sickness is it effects different people in different ways/extremes. The thing with the altitude sickness is that you really don't notice it until you get out of the vehicle at the top, however millions of people go up there so see how you feel on the day after your flights. Near Colorado/Manitou springs you will also find Garden of the Gods and cave of the winds if you don't go up Pikes peak. It's going to be a 6 hour plus round trip and then add time you spend at the top and it will be quite a full day.

    Zion is not a good base to visit Lake Powell from, you would do that on route to Zion from MV and perhaps spend a night in Page. Hoover dam is not on route to Vegas, it is out the other side to the south. If you have time you could instead take a detour through the Valley of Fire when heading back to Vegas.

    You have a great trip to look forward to but I would recommend you head into Yellowstone quite early from Cody as 3 days is the minimum you really need to get around the highlights. You could consider heading north from Cody and enter the park from Red lodge along the spectacular Beartooth highway and through Silver Gate. It's a longer drive but it will take you through the Lamar valley and Tower Falls area of the park as you make your way down to Canyon.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Melbourne, Australia

    Default Gems - hidden or not.

    Quote Originally Posted by Foxy View Post
    ... would really like to hear if there are some little gems to see and do en route between stop overs as I appreciate we won't have much time to go off piste exploring for ourselves
    From Vernal you will take US191 south through Wellington. Just south of Wellington on the east side of the road, there is a sign to Nine Mile Canyon, Not only is this a lovely drive through the canyon and the associated rock formations all around, but near the end of the paved road there are the hikes to the magnificent rock art uncovered in that canyon. Post 76 in this thread has more links to the area.

    Just north of Yellowston on US287 (just off US191) there is another little visited gem The Earthquake Lake Geological Area - the result of the 1959 earthquake.. In post 95 of the same thread you can see a bit more about it. These two rarely mentioned but very significant areas both geologically and historically are worth making time for.

    Then share them with your 'third party' so he/she will see the value of them, and not omit them from future trips they design.


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