I'll be in the Bay Area for Christmas and was planning a solo road trip from San Francisco to Denver - starting from SF on 28th Dec and reaching Denver on 30th Dec. I then plan to fly out from Denver to Chicago (Home!!) on the 1st. Ideally, I would like to drive a max. of 8 hours each day and spend a night in between (Salt Lake City? Moab?). I have experience driving with snow, but the main intention of the road trip is for it to be a scenic pleasant drive, some of which is through the mountains preferably. I don't mind snow as long as it's not falling while I'm driving, and as long as the roads are clear. As far as experience, the longest I have driven in one go was 9 Hrs, and I have some experience with mountains - having driven on treacherous Himalayan roads.
That said, nothing is confirmed yet and I have very limited time to do my research (specially with so many resources on the internet) ,so I'm glad I came across this wonderful website and now seek the advice of experienced road-trippers! (:
I'll split my question in two parts:
Assuming I go ahead with the SF to Denver trip:
- What is the best route to take - based on scenery and traffic - I-80 all the way? or I-15 and then I-70? (This way I can see the Hoover Dam too, and this is my first choice as of now, specially after coming across pics of the Utah landscape in the winter) . If I take the latter route, I do have the option to spend a night in LA at my cousin's place . However, on a recent and similar post , I read that I-70 should be avoided. My main intention is for it to be a scenic drive without much traffic. Thoughts?
- What is a good city/town where I can potentially stop and rest for the night? Salt Lake City & Moab and/or Zion come to mind.
- Last but not the least, what attractions, hikes, short stops are recommended for both, on the way - and after I reach Denver (I'll only have a day over there from the looks of it)?
- Alternatively, I am open to other routes which would be good during that time frame. Is SF to Seattle a good drive? I'm not aware of this at all and would like input on any recommended road trip? I have only seen California in that side of the country. Again driving through a scenic route preferably with mountains is what I would prefer.
Again, I do understand that after the halfway point for the SF to Denver trip, weather conditions will play a major role.
Thank you ! (: