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  1. Default Rocky Mtn National Park to the North Rim

    I am taking my dad out west for the first time at the end of August into September for nine days. We fly into Denver and my stops are Rocky Mtn National Park, Arches National Park, Canyonlands National Park and the North Rim of the Grand Canyon. I need help on figuring out the best route to visit all the places in nine days.

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

    Default One of many ways.

    Hello and welcome to the RTA forums !

    You have a great trip to look forward to, although 9 days isn't a whole lot of time for a visit out west with so much to choose from. From Denver you can head to Estes Park and visit the Bear lake area of RMNP and stay for a night. The following you can drive across the park on the fantastic Trail Ridge road, providing a freak storm doesn't close the road. Once back to I70 you could cross the continental divide at Loveland pass which is a detour onto US6 to Dillon. Great views at the top ! To give yourself time to enjoy it you might want to pull up for the night before reaching Moab for Arches and Canyonlands. If you stopped around Grand junction/Fruita you could take a detour along the rim drive at the Colorado National Monument before continuing on. To get to Moab, leave I70 onto UT128 through Castle valley, a great little drive alongside the river through the red rocks that hardly costs any time.

    From Moab you have a few choices, but I would head back to I70 and take UT24/UT scenic 12 through Capitol Reef and down to Bryce canyon which is an incredible place and one worth spending the night at before continuing to the North rim. If you have no luck, or the budget for lodgings in the NP, try Jacobs lake, a great place that also gives you the option of good value cabins. Presuming you are headed back to Denver you could head through Page and drive to Monument valley on 163 and head towards Cortez/Durango with another possible stop at Four corners. Near to Cortez is Mesa Verde NP but you might be getting tight for time by now. From Durango I would head north to Montrose on the 'Million dollar highway' [US550] and then take US50 past Black canyon and through the Currecanti Nat Rec area before heading north back to Denver from Poncha Springs.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tucson, AZ

    Default As Always, That Depends

    Welcome aboard the RoadTrip America Forums!

    If you just want to see the places you've listed, then there is one answer. If you want to see a few more sights in the area for not too much more driving then there is another slightly different answer. It all depends on the pace you want to set - how much time you want to spend at each spot. You're going to need to spend about three and a half days behind the wheel either way so consider a few other sites that you could easily add to this trip including Bryce Canyon, Zion, and Mesa Verde National Parks along with scenic drives like the Million Dollar Highway. So your two basic options are:

    What you asked for: The 'best' route, meaning the shortest in terms of time and distance, is to go from Denver up I-25 to US-34 west through Rocky Mountain National Park and then take US-40 (east) to Empire Co and I-70 west. Take that west into Utah and Use US-191 south to Arches National Park. Return to US-191, north this time, to UT-313 and follow the signs for the Islands in the Sky section of Canyonlands National Park. When done there, retrace your route back up to I-70 west and follow that to Sevier UT and take US-89 south to Kanab. Next switch over to Alt-US-89 south to Jacob Lake AZ and AZ-67 into the North Rim of the Grand Canyon. To get back to Denver, the 'best' route (again, on the basis of shortest/fastest) is jut to return the way you came: Up AZ-67/Alt-US-89/US-89/I-70 to Denver.

    Adding more: As with most RoadTrips, if you make the drive a loop instead of a simple out-and-back you can see considerably more for not that much more in the way of miles or time. In this case you'd basically use the same route westbound but then on leaving the North Rim and getting back to Jacob Lake you'd turn right instead of left and continue on Alt-US-89 south until it rejoins US-89 south of Page and then take US-89 north to Page and AZ-98 east through the Navajo Reservation to US-160 up past Monument Valley and the Fur Corners area, to Mesa Verde National Park and Durango. From there you can either continue on US-160 over Wolf Creek Pass to Del Norte and take CO-112 to US-285 north back to Denver, or from Durango you can take US-550 (the Million Dollar Highway) north up to Montrose and US-50 through the Black Canyon of the Gunnison to US-285 and Denver.

    Along either route you'll have roughly five days worth of time to spread out among the places you visit, so perhaps your first job is to determine home many places you want to explore and how much time you want to spend at each of them


  4. Default

    Thanks for the advice Southwest Dave.

  5. Default

    Thanks for the advice. This will help me a lot planning out our trip.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Melbourne, Australia

    Default Mesa Verde.

    Mesa Verde is a park which is best understood and enjoyed with the ranger tours. . This park has so much history of how folk lived a thousand years ago, it is almost essential to do the tours. Without the tours you cannot get to the most famous and interesting sites However, you need to book into the tours, especially if you want to do both on the same day. As soon as you have your dates and places organised be sure to book. I found this park much more interesting than most national parks.


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