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  1. Default Biggest trip of my life! National Parks 3 weeks.. Yellowstone, etc

    Hello,

    This will be our biggest/longest trip. A 3 week trip spanning CO, UT, WY, AZ, NV, CA

    Expert comments welcome.

    Day 0 - midnight - arrive in Denver from the east coast. Stay in hotel near airport.

    Day 1 - Drive to Aspen via Independence pass- 1 night Hotel - Snowmass.

    Day 2 - Maroon Bells and vicinity. Night at Grand Junction, CO 1 night

    Day 3,4,5 - Arches National Park/Canyonlands National Park - Camping - 2 nights plus half day

    Day 5 overnight - Rock springs. Via Flaming gorge and Dinosaur national monument.

    Day 6- drive to Yellowstone (Madison Campground), sight seeing on the way.

    Day 7,8,9,10(Day 10 is a half day) - Yellowstone national park. Camping(2 days Madison and 1 day BridgeBay) and 1 day Old Faithful Snow lodge

    Day 10 - Overnight in Heber City, UT

    Day 11(half day), 12, 13, 14(half day) - Bryce Canyon, Zion NP - drive to Tusayan on the 14th day. 5 hr drive. Half day. Hotel + 2 night camping

    Day 14/15 Grand Canyon. 2 night camping

    Day 16(Half day), 16,17 - Las Vegas, NV

    Day 18th (half day drive) - Drive towards LA. Overnight camping at Table Mountain.

    Day 19, 20, 21 - LA

    Day 21 late evening- LA - catch flight to home.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
    13,064

    Default

    Welcome to the RTA Forum!

    That looks like a very well thought out plan.

    I really only have two immediate thoughts, both in regards to Yellowstone. I would recommend spending at least one night in/around Grand Teton. It is a very impressive place in its own right, but it's pretty far to commute from Yellowstone. I'd spend a night there either on your way in or your way out.

    The other thought is a minor one, but if you're tent camping, I would probably try to get an extra night in Madison or see if Canyon is available. First, Madison is fairly centrally located so you'd save yourself the effort of setting up/tearing down. Second, Bridge Bay is not my favorite campground, just because a lot of the sites are set up in an open field with very little privacy between sites.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    South of England.
    Posts
    10,749

    Default

    Near Grand junction is the Colorado National Monument with a nice rim drive through the tunnels and well worth a detour in my opinion. You have the option of visiting the North rim of the Grand canyon if you hadn't considered it. You could go from Bryce to North rim to Zion to Vegas as an alternative to driving to Tusayan and the south rim. If you decide on the south rim there is no real need to go all the way to Tusayan. You could camp along Desertview drive or if you wanted a hotel because of possibly arriving late, check out the Cameron Trading post near the east entrance. Entering the canyon from this point is spectacular as you first have expansive views and then follow the path of the Colorado into the main rim area with viewpoints along the way. You would have already bypassed all this to get to Tusayan without having the time to stop if you are allowing a half day for the journey and then you will have to double back on yourselves somewhat. [By the way, allow more travel time than that stated by an electronic mapping program, normally add 20% more time for 'real world' times.]

    It seems as though LA is a part of your plan rather than a place to fly out of as you plan to spend a few days there. Just be aware that you are likely to face quite a hefty one way drop off fee for your car rental, so check it out carefully. Other than LA your trip would have made a perfect loop in and out of Denver with a bit more time to enjoy other parks.

  4. Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Midwest Michael View Post
    Welcome to the RTA Forum!

    That looks like a very well thought out plan.

    I really only have two immediate thoughts, both in regards to Yellowstone. I would recommend spending at least one night in/around Grand Teton. It is a very impressive place in its own right, but it's pretty far to commute from Yellowstone. I'd spend a night there either on your way in or your way out.

    The other thought is a minor one, but if you're tent camping, I would probably try to get an extra night in Madison or see if Canyon is available. First, Madison is fairly centrally located so you'd save yourself the effort of setting up/tearing down. Second, Bridge Bay is not my favorite campground, just because a lot of the sites are set up in an open field with very little privacy between sites.
    Good points. The lodging at Yellowstone is a real problem as I did not plan well in advance. Even with 2+ months, there is almost nothing available in late June due to the July 4th weekend. The last day at the YSN is really for starting early from the Old Faithful snow lodge and and spending most of the day at Grand Teton and then start the drive to Heber city by 5 or 6 PM. We will also spend time at the GT on the first day. Thanks.

  5. Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Southwest Dave View Post
    Near Grand junction is the Colorado National Monument with a nice rim drive through the tunnels and well worth a detour in my opinion. You have the option of visiting the North rim of the Grand canyon if you hadn't considered it. You could go from Bryce to North rim to Zion to Vegas as an alternative to driving to Tusayan and the south rim. If you decide on the south rim there is no real need to go all the way to Tusayan. You could camp along Desertview drive or if you wanted a hotel because of possibly arriving late, check out the Cameron Trading post near the east entrance. Entering the canyon from this point is spectacular as you first have expansive views and then follow the path of the Colorado into the main rim area with viewpoints along the way. You would have already bypassed all this to get to Tusayan without having the time to stop if you are allowing a half day for the journey and then you will have to double back on yourselves somewhat. [By the way, allow more travel time than that stated by an electronic mapping program, normally add 20% more time for 'real world' times.]

    It seems as though LA is a part of your plan rather than a place to fly out of as you plan to spend a few days there. Just be aware that you are likely to face quite a hefty one way drop off fee for your car rental, so check it out carefully. Other than LA your trip would have made a perfect loop in and out of Denver with a bit more time to enjoy other parks.
    I did not know about the Colorado National Monument. I have seen the pictures of the tunnels but did not know where it was. I will try to drive via that route. It seems very interesting. Thank for the pointers.
    We will be driving via the east entrance in the afternoon and will probably go back to that area in the morning as well. I used to live in Phoenix so I am familiar with that area but my kids have not seen that part of the country. I got lucky with the rental car. I am paying $1250 for the entire 21 day rental for a mini van including unlimited miles and a $375 drop off fee. Most of the rental car quotes were at least twice as much. Also, I am picking up the car near the airport but not at the airport so that keeps the rental cost down. Same at the drop off in Anaheim. I picked the locations closest to the airport and plan to use hotel shuttles or Uber to get to/from the rental location to airport.
    And yes, LA is part of our plan and not just for the flight home. Thanks for the tips!

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Melbourne, Australia
    Posts
    6,936

    Default Sticking with the basics.

    Quote Originally Posted by asrtraveller View Post
    .... but did not know where it was.
    It is marked on all maps I have ever seen, and is in all road atlasses. You would benefit greatly from using at least one of these to help with your planning, and of course you will need them when on the road.

    Lifey

  7. Default

    Atlas! I used to carry one in the 90s and early 2000s but it seems like I should have one for this trip.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Melbourne, Australia
    Posts
    6,936

    Default They'll do.

    Quote Originally Posted by asrtraveller View Post
    Atlas! I used to carry one in the 90s and early 2000s but it seems like I should have one for this trip.
    If you still have one, it will do fine. Towns, roads and national parks do not move often.

    :-)

    Lifey

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