Hi everyone! My SO and I will be moving cross-country in the early summer of next year (April/May). We would like to turn that ordeal into an awesome American road trip! My SO is not American and has not seen much of the country aside from the coasts. We will begin in Boston, MA, and end in San Francisco, CA, and would like to take a bit over a month to really take our time. We will be driving our personal car (Civic), and there will be two drivers (at times, possibly 3, as a few friends are interested in joining for certain legs) and no children. We are avid hikers and would like to take at least a short (3-5 mile) hike every other day or so, with several all-day hikes.
I have divided the trip into 4 phases:
1. Boston -> Paducah, KY -- this is where my family lives so I think it's a great idea to stop here. It only adds a couple hundred miles to the "minimal" Boston->SF trip so it would be hard to get out of stopping here.
2. Paducah, KY -> Utah -- Have to cover this ground somehow! This is the section I have the most concern about.
3. Utah -- previously we had planned a hiking roadtrip in Utah for next summer, before the move, hence the extreme detail and slow pace here!
4. Utah -> San Francisco, CA -- Again, this part is hard to avoid as we must end in San Francisco.
Average driving per day is ~150 miles, but given that a lot of days we don't plan to drive, average driving per "driving day" is closer to 250 miles.
Detailed prospective itinerary is below.
My questions are:
1. Does this seem feasible? Too much driving? We have done a good number of "utilitarian" trips in the 750-1000 mile range, nothing like this (~5500-6000 mile range).
2. Is there something along our approximate route that is a must-see? If so, what would you drop from our itinerary to make space for it?
3. Is there anything on the route that seems not worth how out-of-the-way it is?
4. Any specific hikes you recommend?
5. If we had to cut this trip down, what would you cut?
6. Any other advice?
Your advice is very much appreciated!
PART 1: Boston to Moab https://goo.gl/maps/jMUnW
PART 2: Moab to LA https://goo.gl/maps/tIigK
Phase 1 -- Boston to Paducah
Day 1: Boston -> Washington, DC (440 mi)
Day 2: See Washington, DC -- I have been many times but SO has never been.
Day 3: Washington, DC -> Raleigh, NC (250 mi)
Day 4: Raleigh, NC -> Asheville, NC (230 mi)
Day 5: Relax/Hike in Asheville. May leave Asheville in the late afternoon to cut down on day 6 driving.
Day 6: Asheville -> Paducah, KY (427 mi)
Day 7-8: Visit family in Paducah
Phase 2 -- Paducah to Utah
Day 9: Paducah, KY -> Memphis, TN (185 mi). Civil Rights Museum.
Day 10: Memphis, TN -> New Orleans, LA (400 mi). Longer if we stick close to Miss River.
Day 11: Explore NOLA. None of us have ever been.
Day 12: New Orleans, LA -> Houston, TX (350 mi)
Day 13: Houston, TX -> San Antonio, TX (200 mi). Would like to see the Alamo.
Day 14-15: Finish seeing the Alamo. San Antonio, TX -> Big Bend, NP (412 mi)
Day 16: Big Bend, NP - hiking, see Rio Grande (??)
Day 17: Big Bend NP, TX -> Carlsbad Caverns NP, NM (242 mi)
Day 18: See Caverns.
Day 19: Carlsbad Caverns NP, NM -> Santa Fe, NM (292 mi)
Day 20: Santa Fe, NM -> Mesa Verde NP, CO (247 mi). I think we can get by only stopping for a half-day here.
Day 21: Mesa Verde NP -> Moab, UT/Arches NP (124 mi)
Phase 3 -- Utah/AZ
Day 22: Hike Arches NP.
Day 23: Hike Canyonland NP, UT (~30 mi)
Day 24-25: Drive Canyonland NP, UT -> Bryce Canyon NP via Grand Staircase National Monument, Capitol Reef NP (300 mi)
Day 26: Hike Bryce Canyon
Day 27: Another day in Bryce (and/or flex day to make up for something awesome earlier!). Drive Bryce Canyon NP -> Antelope Canyon (124 mi)
Day 28: Bryce Canyon -> Antelope Canyon, see Antelope Canyon (120 mi)
Day 29: Antelope Canyon -> North Rim Grand Canyon, AZ (250 mi)
Day 30: Hike Grand Canyon
Day 31: Grand Canyon North Rim, AZ -> Zion NP, UT (75 mi)
Day 32: Hike in Zion NP, UT
Phase 4 -- Utah to San Francisco
Day 33: Zion NP, UT -> Hoover Dam/Valley of Fire State Park (264 mi) towards Las Vegas, NV
Day 34: Las Vegas, NV
Day 35: Las Vegas, NV -> Death Valley -> ?? (154 mi to Death Valley)
Day 36: ?? -> Los Angeles, CA (257 mi from Death Valley)
Day 37: Visit Los Angeles, CA
Day 38-38: California Coast to San Francisco, CA (~400 miles)