Results 1 to 8 of 8
  1. #1

    Default Mid Sept Fifteen day road trip from Twin Cities to Santa Fe and beyond

    I'm about a year and half from retiring and thinking about places I might look into as retirement locales. One place I want to check out is Santa Fe, NM. A friend of mine loves to drive, and we're talking about driving to Santa Fe from my home near Saint Paul, MN. I'd like to spend a few days around that area to check it out, and then "while we're in the neighborhood", take advantage of being relatively close to a number of national parks in the Southwest. We're not going to be camping or doing a lot of hiking at the parks (I have some mobility issues), so our stops at the national parks will be short walks and photo ops.

    This is the preliminary itinerary I've put together for a two week plus a days (leave on a Friday, come home on Saturday two weeks later). Having not been out in this part of the country before, I'm wondering if this is too aggressive an itinerary? I know we could spend days at each location.

    Any thoughts would be appreciated.

    1. Twin Cities to Wichita, KS
    2. Wichita, KS to Santa Fe, NM
    3. Santa Fe, NM to Grand Canyon National Park
    4. Grand Canyon National Park to Zion National Park
    5. Zion National Park to Bryce Canyon National Park
    6. Bryce Canyon to Salt Lake City, UT
    7. Salt Lake City, UT to Yellowstone National Park
    8. Yellowstone National Park to Devil's Tower National Monument
    9. Devil's Tower National Monument to Mount Rushmore National Memorial
    10. Mount Rushmore National Memorial to Badlands National Park
    11. Badlands National Park to Twin Cities, MN

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Southern California


    Welcome to RTA!

    Minneapolis to Wichita is over 600 miles, and the next day is 566 miles. Unless you are very, very used to driving long distances, we recommend 500-550 miles per day. Commercial drivers are not allowed to drive more than 10 hours for very good reason -- once you reach that point on the road, you have reflexes similar to that of a drunk driver.

    Another thing that strikes me is that, seemingly, you've left no time for Yellowstone. To see the highlights, it's 2-3 days. "Just driving through" can be very, very slow, due to "animal jams" and heavy traffic. Also, by mid-September, Yellowstone is starting to close the roads and facilities for the winter.


  3. #3


    Thanks for feedback!

    My friend (the primary driver), is used to driving long distances (she drives to her daughter's in Myrtle beach, SC from the Chicago area on her own), and she loves doing it. Me, not so much. I also don't want to get back from this vacation exhausted (I'll have to go back to work right after).

    Good to know about Yellowstone. I hadn't gotten far enough along in planning with checking on seasonality and closures. I'll look into other possible routes home.

    Thanks again!

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    South of England.


    You will have around half your days spent on the road, travelling for 9-10 hours a day so I would say it's not overly aggressive, but it's going to be a busy trip by the time you have spent a bit of time looking around the places you wish to visit, especially when you need at least a couple of days in Yellowstone as suggested above. You could save miles and have a bit more time enjoying the natural wonders if you were to stick to Southern Utah and possibly head back through Colorado and leave SLC, Yellowstone and Badlands etc for another trip where you may be able to afford the time to really enjoy Yellowstone.

  5. #5


    Thanks for the input. This is very helpful. I haven't done a road trip since I was a kid, so this feedback is very helpful.

    I'll go back to looking at the maps and see what I can come up with.

  6. #6


    Here's what I've come up with for a revised itinerary - it's about 700 miles shorter than my original one, and I think perhaps more feasible, given the time limits.

    Twin Cities to Kansas Cities KS (rest stop to break up trip)
    Kansas City, KS to Wichita Falls TX (rest stop to break up trip)
    Wichita Falls, TX to Carlsbad Caverns National Park, NM
    Carlsbad Caverns National Park, NM to Santa Fe, NM (spend a couple of days in Santa Fe)
    Santa Fe, NM to Colorado Springs, CO
    Colorado Springs, CO to Rocky Mountain National Park. CO
    Rocky Mountain National Park. CO to Custer, SD (to visit Mt Rushmore, Custer State Park, etc)
    Custer, SD to Badlands National Park, SD
    Badlands National Park, SD to Twin Cities, MN

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    South of England.


    That's a comfortable itinerary and if it hits the spots you want to see then that's good, providing when you say "Rest stop" you mean an overnight stop for a good nights rest. From Santa Fe you could possibly consider heading a little further north and west towards Durango and drive up the spectacular 'Million dollar Highway' [US550] and spend a night in one of the mountain towns of Silverton or Ouray and take US50 from Montrose past Black canyon, through Currecanti Nat Rec area and over the continental divide at Monarch pass.

  8. #8


    Yes the "rest stops" are for a full night's sleep.

    I'll take a look at your suggestions. Thanks! I'm so glad I found this forum.

Similar Threads

  1. 90 Day Sports Road Trip down Eastern North America from Sept to Dec
    By thebandwagoners in forum Fall & Winter RoadTrips
    Replies: 13
    Last Post: 08-09-2013, 11:36 AM
  2. Advice on Toronto/Thousand Islands and beyond...7 day trip!
    By Stephkklein in forum Planning Summer RoadTrips
    Replies: 12
    Last Post: 06-25-2013, 09:32 PM
  3. St. Louis to Twin Cities
    By wjmonahan in forum Spring RoadTrips
    Replies: 2
    Last Post: 03-10-2012, 10:51 PM
  4. San Francisco to Chicago Road trip – Aug to mid Sept
    By jamie488 in forum Planning Summer RoadTrips
    Replies: 5
    Last Post: 08-20-2011, 08:19 AM
  5. Road trip from Las Vegas to Santa Fe in mid November
    By ekcor1 in forum Fall & Winter RoadTrips
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: 10-16-2010, 06:55 AM


Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  • Find the Perfect Hotel
    Search RoadTrip Motels
    Enter city name