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  1. Default Las Vegas to Portland - via Denver and anything that entails.

    Hello America,

    two mates and I have (all from New Zealand) decided we will tackle america head on with a five week road trip - this is the draft map All happening late July early August.

    Firstly I'd love to know your thoughts of this potential road trip being done in 35days - planning 2 nights in vegas, 2 nights grand canyon, The National (band) in Denver, probably Yellowstone, portland for enough time to soak up some culture and everything in between we are going to just wing it.

    I'd also like to know the least interesting parts of the trip so we can fly through to give us more time in the really amazing places.

    Thanks in advance,


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

    Default Where to start.

    That's a nice trip you have planned. Hello and welcome to the RTA forums !

    35 days is a good amount of time for the trip but it can soon disappear as there are thousands of interesting places along the way, I find it hard to think of "least interesting" as everything has it's merits. In my opinion, it's best not to fly through anywhere but rather create a nice pace so that each day you can explore something new and still have time to relax for a while in other places as you have mentioned. Yellowstone is a place that you really need a minimum of 3 days to get around and enjoy the place and you also have the Grand Tetons just south of the park that need checking out.

    Now you have a route mapped out you can start to research the places in between your points and start breaking the trip down so that you can see how it might work within your time available. Right at the start you are heading straight up to Portland on I5 whereas you have a ton of stuff you could drive through over a few days. Inland from SF you will find Yosemite NP, one of my favourite places on the planet ! If you took an inland route north, after Yosemite you could visit Lake Tahoe, Lassen volcanic National park, Burney Falls, Crater Lake and Mt Hood National Forest. Then again you could enjoy the coast and the Redwoods of Northern California and Oregon ! As you head east out of Portland you should definitely drive the Historic Columbia river Gorge and it's fine waterfalls. Before Yellowstone you could detour to Craters of the Moon and on route to Denver there is Rocky mountain NP. After Grand junction you will find Arches and Canyonlands near Moab and then you could look at taking UT24 from I70 through Hanksville to Capital Reef NP to UT scenic 12 through Escalante to Bryce canyon and include a detour to Zion NP on route to Page AZ. To visit Yosemite you could also consider closing the loop and from Vegas drive through the amazing landscape of Death valley to US395 and drive over the spectacular Tioga Pass [CA120] into Yosemite and then back to SF.

    This covers just a few highlights, you will discover so much more !! As you work on your plan and other questions come up or you need a hand 'fine tuning', just ask. The only problem with 'winging it' in the height of the summer months is being able to find cheaper lodgings in or around popular areas. You should always find a bed but it could be at a premium or some miles away.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Melbourne, Australia

    Default Get some good maps to help you.

    Hi Jonathan, have you been able to get some good detailed maps locally? If not, I suggest you purchase a Rand McNally road atlas from the RTA store via the link at the bottom of this page. You will see on those maps most of what there is to see along the way. Historical sites, natural wonders and even touristy attractions. You will also see just how many routes there are from which you can choose - from high speed interstates, to old US highways and back roads. Scenic routes are hilighted on all maps.

    Those maps are not only invaluable during the planning stage, but are essential when on the road. Don't be tempted to rely solely on your electronics. Many have done so at their peril, some fatal. And if you bring the atlas home with you, you will have it for planning the next trip. It gets addictive you know!

    As Dave said, it is hard to find anywhere 'least interesting'. Scenic routes and historical/natural attractions are everywhere, especially in the west. You're in for a great trip with hundred - maybe thousands - of attractions to choose from. It will certainly whet your appetite for a return trip.

    If any of you are a member of your local automobile club, be sure to bring the membership with you. It will give you access to tourism information from AAA all over the country.

    Enjpy the planning. Might see you on the road.


  4. Default

    Thanks heaps!! We're actually heading the other way starting in Vegas. Im guessing those roads go both directions? Are there any permits for National Parks that i should try to acquire via lottery?

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    South of England.


    Yes you can travel either way around. If you are visiting a number of National parks you should purchase the Annual pass for $80 which pays for entry parks for one vehicle and all occupants for a year. There are a few exceptions like parking at Mt Rushmore and the boat trip to Alcatraz which are not included. The only permits you would need are if you were to do any back country camping.

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