Given that this is my first post here, first of all my apologies if I missed any of the etiquette of this forum! I read through some threads before posting, so hopefully I have the general idea right.
Background and current plan:
I am 22 years old and will be travelling from Europe to the USA in the first week of May. In Las Vegas, I have rented a van for 48 nights which means I have to return to Las Vegas in the second to last week of June. The current (and most likely) plan is to travel solo. I have done previous roadtrips, including some solo ones, though none of them as long as the one I am currently planning. Concerning the van: it is similar to the vans that can be rented from Escape and includes a bed but no toilet. The main idea is to explore California, Nevada, Utah and Arizona. I already did some planning have a good idea of which places I want to visit. However, I am not yet sure which order I should drive, which is why I am seeking advice here.
Here are the two routes I am currently considering:
Route 1: Death Valley - Yosemite - Lake Tahoe (only if the Tioga pass is open by that time) - San Francisco - Highway 1 - Los Angeles - Joshua Tree - Grand Canyon - Antelope Canyon - Monument Valley - Natural Bridges National Monument - Canyonlands - Arches - Capitol Reef - Grand Staircase Escalante - Bryce - Zion - Valley of Fire.
Advantages and disadvantages:
+ The highlights of the trip (for me) are well divided across the trip with most of them being towards the end of the trip. This might make it less likely that I will get bored after being on the road for so long.
+ The route follows a more logical order than route 2.
- The temperature might be (relatively) low in California early May, while it will be a lot warmer in parks such as Capitol Reef, Arches and Zion during the middle / end of June. The first is not an issue, the latter might be. Being a big fan of hiking, I fear the temperature may be too high to do longer hikes (4+ hours) while visiting those parks. I have previously asked family members who have done a similar trip and although they said I should be fine, I would like to have a second opinion on this. I would consider temperatures around 90F or 31C still acceptable if I take sufficient precautions, but feel free to comment on this.
Route 2: (Death Valley) - Valley of Fire - Zion - Bryce - Grand Staircase Escalante - Capitol Reef - Arches - Canyonlands - Natural Bridges - Monument Valley - Antelope Canyon - Grand Canyon - Joshua Tree - Los Angeles - Highway 1 - San Francisco - Yosemite - (Sequoia?).
Advantages and disadvantages:
+ The weather will likely be more temperate (relatively speaking) for the Utah part of my trip, allowing longer / safer hiking.
- If I want to go to Death Valley, it has to be at the start of my trip due to restrictions from the rental company. However, this also means I have to drive back a bit.
- More highlights early during my trip.
I suppose it mostly comes down on a combination of the weather and the risk of getting bored towards the end of the trip. Therefore, I would like to ask your opinions on those matters in particular (i.e. will it be too warm to hike responsibly in some of the parks if I take route 1, and what route would you recommend?). However, feel free to comment on other parts of my trip as well, such as adding / removing destinations and practical matters. Any advice is most welcome!
I can provide slightly more detailed information on request if necessary. Simply let me know if this is the case.
Thank you in advance for your help!